Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To everything there is a season

It is the close of another year, and the close of a decade. I started looking back on the year and the decade and am amazed at where we are. At the start of the decade, I was living in Colorado working at United Airlines and Rocky was in Chattanooga, TN working for the Fox Station there. We started dating at the beginning of the decade and here we are now! 3 cities, 3 dogs and 1.5 kids later, we are enjoying the Montana life. It's been a rollercoster ride of many ups and downs. 2009 was rough. 2008 was average. 2007 was exciting. 2006 was filled with wonder. 2005 was amazing. 2004 was fun. 2003 was brilliant. 2002 was an adjustment. 2001 was simply unbelievable. And 2000 was the start of it all.

Last night at our young married group, Brian read the first 8 verses of Ecclesiastes 3:
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I think the end of the year and the end of a decade is a good time to think about how there really is a time for everything. We talked a bit about the "negative" sides last night and how we don't embrace the "positive" sides, or remember the positive sides, as much as we do the negative. So this year, instead of the usual resolutions, my resolution is to continue blogging about the little things in our life that bring us joy: the Maggie-isms, the photos of all of us just being us. I believe 2010 will be an amazing year and I pray it is for you as well.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Christmas Party


We hosted the Young Married's Christmas party on December 19. We had decided to make it a family party, and Brian had the great idea to invite the church babysitters to come so the adults could enjoy the party, as could the kids! Chelsei and Miles watched the kids downstairs while the adults had fun eating and drinking upstairs. We decorated cookies – and the kids ate a lot of frosting! We watched some of the Cowboys/Saints football game and played “Mad Gab” which the men won.100_3053

We are truly blessed to have found such a great group to hang out with and we all look forward to Tuesday nights. Maggie enjoys playing with Caleb, Olivia and baby Dylan (last Tuesday, Maggie and Caleb pretended they were married. Not sure what Olivia would have to say about that!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas morning at the Dailey house

Maggie must have been a very good girl, because she got bored with opening presents before they were all opened! She is blessed with some very generous grandparents, and Santa came through with a unicorn pillow pet. She was very excited for Christmas Day, and I think it shows.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Church Christmas Program

Maggie's first Church Christmas program. She is in the top row on the far left. She was one of the few kids that actually sang most of the songs. The girls were dressed as angels and the boys were shepherds. Maggie told me that only boys were shepherds, so we had a little talk, which left her upset as she thought I meant she couldn't be an angel! All I know is I was usually a shepherd when my Sunday School class did the nativity scene! Maggie did love being an angel as did her friend Olivia (top right).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

You know, Jingle Bells!

Maggie's preschool Christmas program was last Thursday morning. Maggie did a great job singing and following directions. She doesn't look quite so small this year!! I think she enjoys being one of the "big kids." They sang 2 songs: "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sesame Street Live!

100_3031 We received tickets to “Sesame Street Live!” and went on Wednesday.  Maggie LOVED it. The four year old in me loved it as well!  We had great seats and were right on the aisle, which gave Maggie the opportunity to give Abbey Cadabby a big hug!!  They had lots of songs and dances – I was very impressed with the dance moves, especially entertaining was watching Cookie Monster doing some flips.  It really was a fun show and I’m happy that we have the opportunity to take Maggie to these kinds of shows.  She loved it so much, she was very upset when it was over.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009


Santa was at the Gazette this afternoon and Maggie was very excited to meet him and ask for "A Unicorn Pillow Pet" which is her gift of choice this year. When we arrived, she waited patiently in line and there was no coaxing this year to chat with him. She ran up and gave him a hug and hopped right up on his lap to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.

The Gazette purchases gifts for the kids and Maggie received a BIG gift. She waited to open it until after the family photo. We got back to the tables with cookies & juice and she tore into it. She received a Barbie princess accessory package. Unfortunately, as it wasn't what she asked for, the first words out of her mouth were: "But I asked for a unicorn!" Daddy explained to her that this was just a party gift and Santa would be bringing more gifts at Christmas. It worked well as while I was opening the box after we got home, she told me it was "the best toy ever" several times. We tried to introduce her Animal Doctor Barbie to the princess set (it didn't come with a Barbie Princess), but Maggie was having none of it. It's not for doctors, it's for princesses. So hopefully Santa remembers to put a princess Barbie in her stocking!!

Almost ready for an announcement.

"No woman ever conceived a child, no mare a foal, without Him. But once, and for a special purpose, He dispensed with that long line which is His instrument: once His life-giving finger touched a woman without passing through the ages of interlocked events." C.S. Lewis

So, there really is a baby in there (and just one). We saw the baby on Tuesday December 9. We watched him/her wiggle around, try to suck his/her thumb, the heartbeat. The due date is holding steady around June 15. I'm just going to say "mid June" rather than a date. We had an ultrasound to complete a genetic screening. While our odds are very low that anything would be wrong with this child, we have known too many people who have had problems in pregnancy and we just want to be as prepared as we possibly can for the child God has given to us.

The baby was very cooperative for the ultrasound, and even finding the heartbeat at the OB appointment on Friday the 11th. Heartbeat was around 157. I forgot to ask what my blood pressure is, though that's not really something I'm overly concerned about until we get closer to the end. I've lost about 3 pounds since last month, but I feel almost normal again, or at least I feel like eating and not just nibbling on crackers constantly, as I have for the past 6 weeks or so. I was feeling good until we decided to go for coffee before the OB appointment on Friday. Guess I'm not quite ready for coffee yet.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Is it Christmas NOW?

Anyone who has children (or for that matter has been a child at Christmas time) probably knows well the torture that we parents can put our children through simply by putting presents under the tree prior to Christmas. Perhaps your family doesn't do this as I do know several people who wait until Christmas Eve to put packages under the tree. For me, growing up, Santa always came to our house during the Christmas Eve church service and filled our stockings at that time. Though, typically, he always left presents earlier for Mom and Dad to put under the tree. There's just something about a tree without presents under it that just doesn't feel complete to me. Even so, this year, I do feel a little sorry for Maggie.

We put the tree up last weekend, after Thanksgiving of course. As our tradition, we got a real tree (I was going to say "live" but of course, it is no longer living, but we hope to keep it green until Christmas and/or a few days after). We pulled out the decorations and Maggie really got into decorating this year. She enjoyed putting ornaments on the tree and asked a lot of questions about them.

Grandma and Grandpa Dailey left a Christmas present for Maggie when they visited in November. So naturally, Rocky put it under the tree once it was up. And naturally, Maggie asked if she could open it. We told her she needed to wait until Christmas. And of course, the next question out of her mouth was "is it Christmas now?" And pretty much every day since then, she has asked "Is it Christmas NOW?" I was going to get her an Advent Calendar this weekend to help with the countdown, but fortunately, they made one in preschool. Now, each morning, we put a sticker on and wait for Maggie to ask if she can put on more or if it is Christmas now. Only 20 more days to go . . .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All I Want For Christmas is a Rock 'n Roll Electric Drumset

Earlier this summer, "Guitar Hero World Tour" for the Wii was on sale at Toys R Us and Rocky decided we should have it (I didn't argue too much). We played it a little and Maggie enjoys jamming on occasion. A week or so ago, Rocky also decided to buy a "family" gift: Guitar Hero drums and microphone from eBay. It arrived yesterday. Maggie was very excited to try it out and drummed a bit with her hands as the eBay seller did not include drum sticks with the sale (I picked some up on the way home from choir). She was eager to jam and told me "It's going to be awesome."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's not Grandma's Feather Bed

With 2 dogs and a little girl who loves to snuggle, it can sometimes get a little crowded in our bed. Otis is not a snuggler and on the rare occasion he will get into bed with us, he never stays long. His "spot" is on the floor by my side of the bed. Last night, however, was a different story. When Maggie and I went to bed, Otis was sprawled out on my side of the bed. Just happy he was wanted to be part of the pack, I let him stay there and Maggie and I snuggled next to him. Well, it was long after that Wiconi must have decided it was time for her to come to bed as I heard her jingling up the stairs and she jumped into bed with us. She took her typical spot at the foot of the bed. With the four of us in bed, I started thinking about John Denver's song "Grandma's Feather Bed", specifically, the Muppet Show version. One more kid and we may need a bigger bed, especially if we get another snuggler!!

Otis, in true fashion, did not spend all night. Soon after I turned off the light, I felt him stand up, and then heard him whine at the foot of the bed. I turned on the lamp and he jumped right off. Stinker was scared to jump off the bed in the dark!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Holiday Parade

For the first time since moving to Billings, we decided to attend the Holiday Parade. Part of our motivation was to help out with the church as they have a float and also give out hot chocolate and cookies to passers by, as the church is right on the way to the parade.

We got there in time to help set up a table and chairs and bring out some cookies. Maggie even helped taste-test a few and stated they were good. Once the crowds started coming through, Maggie decided she wanted to help pass out candy canes. She was very polite and asked people as they passed "Excuse me, would you like a candy cane?" She took the first few rejections a little personally, but was soon handing them out like a pro! At one point, she told me "I'm serving the church!" Get them while they are young!

A little bit before the parade started, we headed to find a good spot to watch from. Maggie got the best seat, on Daddy's shoulders. We saw lots of Boy Scouts and even saw cousins Terry, Christy and Ethan on a Boy Scout float. Once the church van passed and Maggie got a candy cane from Miles, she was ready to go. We saw about 20 minutes of the parade, which was about enough for all of us! We did have a lot of fun and will help out next year as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

I love Thanksgiving: the food the food and the food. It is amazing that I spent several hours throughout the week and many more hours Thanksgiving morning preparing all the food, we spend about 15 minutes actually eating, and then Rocky, during the clean up, always remarks about just HOW many leftovers we have. Of course, I could have bought a smaller bird, made fewer potatoes, but there's just something about the smell of that large bird roasting away, the giblets flavoring the juices that will turn into gravy. (And yes, the gravy turned out yet again, though I made too much roux to start with and ended up with more gravy than we will EVER need).

I love the Thanksgiving afternoons of lazing around, watching football, playing Candy Land with Maggie and reading through the Black Friday ads to see if there's any saving just soo enticing that we MUST head out bright and early tomorrow morning (as usual, there is not). Currently, I'm trying to decide when to start the apple pie, Maggie is "reading" her Sponge Bob book using her Leap Frog Tag pen, and Rocky is watching the pre-game show for the Cowboys/Raiders game.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A new church home

I've been a part of many churches throughout my life, the majority Presbyterian. The church I grew up in which gave me my faith foundation; the church in Boulder, CO which rather helped keep me in my faith at times when I wandered and where I learned a lot about how to sing; the church in Grand Rapids, MI where Rocky and I were married and started our walk together; the church in Richmond, VA where Maggie was baptised. And now, after a search of approximately 2 years, we have found a church home here in Billings.

Our search started with looking at Presbyterian churches and for an early service. We are early risers and enjoy going to church early as well. We opened up to other denominations while seeking an early service and attended a Catholic and Methodist church near our home in the early search attempts, but never felt quite at home. We then opened our search to include those churches without an early service. We knew about the downtown Methodist church (as it is directly across the street from the Gazette), but had never tried it. So, last spring, we decided to check it out. Friendly congregation? Check. Members of all ages? Check. Strong youth programs? Check. Choir? Check check. And we just kept going. And today, we officially became members.

We are making good friends, as Rocky and I have joined the Young Married Group. Maggie is also making friends by going to Sunday School and hanging out with the YMG kids while we are in our discussion. There have been several times she has cried when it has been time to leave because she is having so much fun playing with the big kids as well as the kids her age. I have joined the choir and sing with the Praise Team. All in all, it is a wonderful match for us and I think we will enjoy being Methodists.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grow up?

As any parent, I wonder what Maggie will do when she grows up. With her love of animals, it never quite surprises me when she says she wants to be a Zoo Keeper or an animal doctor or even a zoo doctor. While riding with Daddy a few days ago, they saw a school bus. She asked Daddy about the school bus and then told him that when she grows up she's going to drive the school bus!

Now, Maggie is developing yet another talent: photojournalism. Perhaps she will follow in her father's footsteps. At a minimum, she certainly does enjoy helping him: She got to visit the set of "Peter Pan" at the Billings Studio Theater and received the opportunity to interview Peter Pan "him"self!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm trying to remember the early pregnancy with Maggie. I was never very sick -- I threw up once or twice, though I did have the dry heaves many many mornings in the beginning, probably had the queasy stomach most of the time. But I don't remember when that all started or ended. I do remember the awesome boobs. I don't remember when I started to show or really needed to wear maternity clothes -- I started wearing them probably before I really needed to.

This time around, I really want to compare to reassure myself that everything is okay. But apparently, the whole thing about forgetting about labor is applying to the whole pregnancy with me. I'm sure part of it is that it's been almost 5 years since I've been pregnant. And we haven't told about this pregnancy yet, so I feel like I'm being successful at hiding it as only one person has guessed. Maybe I'm just one of those lucky women that pregnancy agrees with. I'm sure 26 weeks from now I will be eating those words as I close in on the end of the pregnancy (look at me being all optimistic) and am feeling the Braxton Hicks. Or probably sooner: probably as soon as I can no longer lift Maggie easily.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"But I was just scared."

Maggie was the talk of coffee time at church today. After a difficult drop off at Sunday School -- even though she LOVES Sunday School and was very excited to go today --apparently, when another parent left, the teachers couldn't find Maggie. One teacher ran upstairs to see if she had come looking for us (we were in the new member class). A few minutes later, the other teacher looked under the table, and there was Maggie, hiding.

When we picked her up, she had tears in her eyes and didn't want to talk about what she learned. We're pretty sure she was just hungry as after a cookie and a fruit roll up, she was in a much better mood. Later this afternoon, when I asked her about it, she told me "But I was just scared of my teachers and friends." She couldn't articulate exactly WHY she was scared of these people she has spent time with every Sunday and Tuesday since September.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Still not ready

After some panic and worry, I decided (much too late really) to put this all into God's hands. There is really not one blessed thing I can do about the pregnancy at this point and after spending last week worrying off and on (I guess part of that is the hormones, which is a good sign -- no mood swings would probably not be good. This is the best part of pregnancy, you are happy to be sick and tired and upset when you feel fine.) So, late last week, I told God that this is His child and I would be honored if He would allow me to carry this child and lead him or her to adulthood and that as I can't do anything I am putting this child into His hands. And today, I got to see His child. Kind of. Have you seen "Monsters vs. Aliens"? Well, His child currently looks like B.O.B. (without the eye and hands). We got a photo and the sonographer pointed out the baby's head, which I just can't quite make out, other than the baby looks like either a 3 portioned peanut or B.O.B.

We're still not quite ready to make this all public. We have a strong heartbeat (170) and Dr. McCracken said that while there is still a miniscule chance of miscarriage, once we see a strong heartbeat, typically everything is fine. We have our next appointment scheduled for December 11 and we will have some genetic testing completed then, including an ultrasound. I am feeling so much more confident about everything this time around. And praying. Lots.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Great Escapes

In early June, we had a fence put in. Otis immediately found a "weak" spot and got out, but in his usual fashion, just went over to the neighbor's. We still kept him in the garage during the day as we hadn't put in the doggie door yet and he really enjoys hanging out in the garage -- probably because that's where his bed is.

Along come Wiconi and Rocky put in the doggie door. Otis decided to utilize this new power source and escape the backyard, less than 4 hours after we had left for the day. Again, in his usual fashion, he headed to the neighbor's. They didn't know who Wiconi was, but as she seemed to be with Otis, neighbor Jan took them both into their backyard. All of this happened as Rocky was coming home for lunch to check on them. They got to spend the rest of their days in the house and wait for us to come home for a potty break.

In the meantime, we would leave the doggie door open when we were home as they seemed to just go out to do their business and come back in to hang with us. Apparently, they were just lulling us into a false sense of security as one night, they escaped the backyard. When we got home in the morning, they were sleeping just outside the fence by the side deck. A few weeks later, I got the priviledge of chasing them down after another escape. We're fairly certain they were probably chasing after something when they got out and just couldn't find their way back in.

So, the doggie door remained closed for several weeks while we decided what to do. After some research, Rocky felt the best course of action was an invisible fence. Rocky spent most of yesterday putting in the fence. Wiconi seemed to recognize the collar, but Otis wasn't quite sure what to think of this new collar. After finishing the invisible fence and collars on, Rocky took the dogs outside. Maggie and I scrambled to find slippers to watch as I knew Otis would be the first to get shocked. Before we had even found the slippers, Otis was yelping after getting a little too close to his usual escape spot. Of course, it isn't funny, but it SO is! Wiconi had to be enticed/dragged to get close to the fence so we could show her what would happen. She definitely knew what was going on with the new collars.

We left the collars on and the doggie door open all night. Otis went out and came back in, tail between his legs, in the late evening. We knew what happened to him. He ran a little close to the garden earlier today and got another shock. At least he won't dig once we plant there.

The current plan is to leave them with collars on and doggie door open tomorrow as we are fairly certain they aren't going anywhere. Especially as Otis' first move after the shock is to run into the house and hide by our bed. It will take a long time to dig out that way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The worries

Still just writing for me. But writing because I'm so very very worried and I can't tell anyone about it. We still haven't told anyone (well, I told my VP because we were having a conversation about stress and the conversation lead that way and I really wanted someone in the office to know, just in case). And today, I woke up with zero pregnancy symptoms. No sore boobs, no fear of throwing up, no upset stomach that will calm down with toast or cereal. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Maybe I'm one of the lucky pregnant women who doesn't have a lot of symptoms, or those that will come and go. But it wasn't that way with Maggie. The sore boobs and upset stomach continued into the 2nd trimester. I remember dry heaving many mornings for many many weeks. And when I did that the other morning, I was so so very happy. If I'm sick, then everything is fine, right? The good news is I'm not cramping or bleeding, but part of me wonders if that is the progesterone, not letting that happen.

All I know is I'm scared and feel oh so alone right now. I can't cry at work. Well, I can, but not without arousing questions I'm just not prepared to answer right now. I'm hoping for a busy day and a call back from nurse Shelly to lay to rest my fears. Though, I doubt that will happen until I see the heartbeat on the monitor next week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

After spending most of the week worrying about a cold and snowy Halloween, we were once again blessed with a beautiful, albeit windy, day. Maggie's Halloween celebrating actually began on Thursday with a party at preschool and she came home with a bag full of goodies. Grandma Bonnie & Grandpa Mike came for the weekend and arrived Thursday evening, so Maggie was able to spend all day Friday with them. This also afforded Rocky and I the opportunity to attend a Guitar Hero party at some friends from church's home. We dressed as punk rockers and had loads of fun and stayed out way past our bedtime! One of the benefits of having a free babysitter!! We had forgotten our camera (actually brought it but left it in the car and forgot we brought it) so will have to pilfer more photos from those who were there that had cameras.

Maggie decided several weeks ago that she wanted to be a nice witch for Halloween and Rocky helped her find a costume at Toys R Us. She has enjoyed playing with the costume since then!! We went to Boo at the Zoo. We got there right as it was starting and missed the massive line. We got candy from a few tents and then walked over to see what Bruno was up to. We got there just as the keeper was going to start an "enrichment" so we hung around to check it out. She put out some fruit and meat and then let Bruno out to check it out. Maggie really enjoyed it when Bruno came right up to the window and she got a personal encounter with him, watching him eat some cherries.
We had lunch and then headed home to relax a little before heading out trick or treating in the neighborhood. Maggie was very excited to go, but once we got out there, she decided she didn't want to go very long. We hit 5 houses when she said she wanted to go back to her house. And now, she is playing with Grandpa Mike, we are watching the Oregon football game (current score 3-3) and waiting for trick or treaters to come to our house.
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not ready for a real announcement

The real announcement will come later. This is just for me. I'll post it after the real announcement, but by that time, it will probably be a little hidden, unless someone comes looking for it.

I'm pregnant. I tested 2 weeks ago during the Vikings/Packers Monday Night Football game -- 2 days before I was "late" -- because, and I do have to admit this, Rocky brought home some really good beer and I wanted to know if I could have one. And I couldn't. And I told Rocky with "well, your boys can still swim." I wasn't really worried about becoming pregnant again. The last pregnancy, a surprise, showed me that we are still fertile. I've been worried since the miscarriage about being able to carry the pregnancy through.

And here I am at 6 weeks and still pregnant. Our first OB appointment is November 10 and we will have an ultrasound right before. My OB has already put my on progesterone, which is extremely interesting in itself. Used one way, it brings a woman's cycles on track. Used the way I'm using it, helps keep a viable pregnancy moving forward. The prescription is much more expensive than I expected: $60/30 pills. And I will need to get it filled one more time. At first I rather balked at the thought of paying $120 for this prescription. But then what is a healthy pregnancy worth?

And now here I am with the worries: will this pregnancy continue? if it does, how will Maggie react? And then the guilt. Guilt for moving on after the miscarriage. Guilt for changing our family dynamic.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Fall Fashions

Maggie is the fashionista in our house. For the most part, she picks out her own clothes each morning. Every once in a while, she'll let me pick out something for her to wear, but 9 times out of 10, she picks her own outfit. So, I thought I'd share some of my favorites:

One must look her best when going to the movies. Even if mom and dad make you wear something "warm" you can still dress it up. Add a tiara.

For those times that you don't want to look like you care, a hoodie always makes a great statement.
This fall, boots are definitely in!
Looking for something new to wear for Halloween? Super heros are always good! If only Spider-man wore pink.
A fun new hair-do is always a must!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lazy Lazy Sunday

Just another lazy Sunday. I've been fighting a cold, which is a fight I seem to be winning (hooray) despite the lack of drugs, so we stayed home from church. Rocky and I watched football in the downstairs and even got Maggie cheering for the Vikings (or the Bikings as she calls them). It's snowed most of the day and Maggie and the dogs enjoyed playing out in it. Well, Maggie did. The dogs spent most of their time outside begging to come inside.

But, I think my favorite part of today was listening to Maggie when she was upstairs, while we were downstairs, playing on the ottoman. She was rocking back and forth, practicing her counting "Yee haw! Giddy up cowboy! One!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Six Years and Counting

Today is our 6th anniversary.  Unfortunately, I am nursing a rather nasty cold and it is bitter cold, so our celebration will be at a minimum.  Between my cousin’s daughter and the church, we do have a couple of options for babysitters so at least that is no longer an issue for us getting a date night.

I looked through some pictures to see if I could find a recent picture of Rocky & I to share.  Unfortunately, living with a photographer who doesn’t enjoy having his own picture taken means I had to go back to my cousin’s wedding in 2008 to find a picture that had both of us in it.  There is a family photo from the reunion this summer that might have worked, but in trying to crop out the rest of the family, the quality of the picture went down and it ended up as a not so good picture.  Perhaps when I’m feeling better or maybe if the Gazette does holiday family photos again, I’ll be able to talk Rocky into a photo of just the two of us.

Happy Anniversary!  I love you.287078658605[1]

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Neighborhood visitors

I have posted before about watching deer in our backyard. See here and here. We finally have the photos of the mule doe and her fawn downloaded from the camera and here's a taste:

Why I no longer watch TV crime dramas

So I was walking the dogs this morning -- it seems to be my duty on Sunday mornings.  I don't mind it as the sun has already risen and I can take them on a longer walk as I'm not in a hurry to get back home.  The past 2 walks, I've taken them to the ditch behind Lake Elmo.  There is a path that I assume the parks department uses to turn on and off the water flow to the ditch.  The ditch runs through our area of the Heights and right past our backyard.  The path, however, does not.

So, Otis, Wiconi and I were walking this morning and my mind started to wander.  As I walk along the water, I started thinking about TV crime dramas and thought about how this is usually where someone finds "the body."  Then I wondered how long I would have to be gone before Rocky started getting worried about me, if something happened to me (this is NOT a dangerous area by any means, but TV crime dramas on the brain and you can see where I'm going).  Then I realized I have 2 large dogs with me.  No one would bother even a single woman with 2 large, vicious dogs right?  But, Otis and Wiconi aren't vicious.  They probably wouldn't even bark if someone came up to us.  Maybe if I was attacked.  And if I was, would they go right home?  Or would they wander the neighborhood a little bit with their new found freedom, thus increasing the amount of time it would take for anyone to realize there was something amiss.

Then I realized I'm walking the dogs in Billings MT where it is very unlikely that something would happen.  And I just have an overactive imagination sometimes.  And that's why I no longer watch TV crime dramas.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Maggie!! (now with link to pictures!)

Maggie is 4 years old! She had a nice birthday: took treats to preschool, got to open a box from Grandma Alana with lots of great stuff and got a pop-up play house from Mommy and Daddy. She really had a lot of fun with that (and Wiconi likes it too!)

The biggest part of her birthday, however, was the birthday party at ZooMontana. We had the party at the Living Wall, which Maggie and her little friends just loved. We had cupcakes and Maggie opened presents. Then we had an animal encounter with the Flemish Giant Rabbit and then we went to see Bruno the Bear. The kids had a lot of fun watching Bruno play in the water.

8 of Maggie friends came to her party: Alex and his baby sister, Madison and Keiko, Jade, Lucius, Stephanie and Trevor. Everyone had a really nice time and I bet most of the kids ended up as Maggie did: asleep on the way home.

I've uploaded pictures to Facebook and you can see them here, even without a Facebook account!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Through the years

Maggie turns 4 years old tomorrow!! 4 years ago today we were told we were going in the hospital and coming out with a baby. We were given 2 hours to go home, kennel the dogs, pack our bags and eat (Frosty and Wendy's Cheeseburger for me). The next evening at 6:58 p.m. Maggie arrived. I thought you might enjoy a senimental journey with me:
Newborn Maggie (maybe a week old)
One month
5 months
10 months
15 months
18 months
2 years
3 years
2 nights ago

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More Maggie-isms

Maggie has been quite the chatterbox today.

Our day started with a trip to the vet. Wiconi was in need of several shots and her heart worm test. Maggie went with me. She was fascinated with the entire process. She told the vet about our trip to Luccock Park and how she enjoyed sleeping in the cabin, in her sleeping bag. She told the vet about her birthday party (planned for next Saturday at the zoo). While the vet was listening to Wiconi's heart, Maggie commented that she couldn't hear her heart, which sounds like "bump bump." So the vet let Maggie listen with her stethoscope. Her face lit up as she heard the heartbeat and said "I hear it go bump bump." Later when telling Daddy about it, she said "The heart said 'hi, I'm a heart."

At supper, we were trying to get Maggie to try some potatoes and peas. Earlier in the day, Daddy and Maggie bought her Halloween costume: a pink witch. In an effort to encourage her, Daddy said "Maggie, the book says that good witches eat their potatoes." To which Maggie replied, "MY book says witches don't eat their potatoes."

Maggie helped me make brownies tonight. After we were done, she hung out on the counter checking out what was there. We have 2 bananas that I'm holding on to because I should make banana bread (but I never do, so I really should just throw them out). Maggie picked up the bananas and said "Hey Mom! I'm crushing you with the bananas!" (Wish I could say she got it from the Kids in the Hall; probably the Danimals Crush Cup Yogurt commercials)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Walking the dogs at sunrise

Jingle jingle
Jingle jingle
Let's me know it's time.
Let's me know they are ready to go.

No coat is necessary.
The stars are starting to fade as
the sky changes from purple to pink
to blue
Light clouds cover
Reflect the rising sun's rays.

Jingle jingle
Jingle jingle
Dogs pulling this way and that.
Sniffing to see who came this way before.
Ears perked as dogs bark in their homes
waking their sleeping humans.

A short walk to greet the morning.
Refreshing and alerting like a nice cup of coffee
But different
I wonder why I don't do it more often.

Jingle jingle
Jingle jingle
Home and ready to start the day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maggie and the Stars

Last night was a beautiful late summer night. We got out Maggie's trike and went for a little ride. The neighborhood is a little hilly, so she struggled a little, but still had a lot of fun. As the sun went down, we continued to hang out in the front yard and were rewarded for this by our neighbor who was trying to get rid of some tomatoes (I will be making some salsa later this week as I have a lovely tangerine pepper plant that has some beautiful orange peppers just waiting to be picked).

In the western sky, a star shown very brightly and Maggie pointed it out. Coincidentally, I had listened to NPR on the way home and a short segment from "Earth Sky" just happened to be on Venus, which was the star we were looking at. So I thought I would use this as a little astronomy lesson for Maggie.

Me: Maggie, that star is a planet called Venus.
Maggie: It's a star planet!
Me: That's right. And it's the third brightest thing object in the sky. Do you know what's brighter than Venus?
Maggie: Um, the moon!
Me: That's right! And do you know what's brighter than the moon?
Maggie: A spider!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The big moments

This week, Maggie started her 2nd year of preschool. She is once again in the Tuesday/Thursday class, as suggested by last year's teachers. However, she has new teachers this year, one who was a daycare teacher and knows her fairly well. Maggie was very excited to be with Miss Amy in preschool. Miss Amy thinks Maggie IS ready for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class. We've started her in T/Th and will see what the recommendation is as the year progresses.

Today, Maggie started Sunday School. I was prepared to hang out with her for the hour, but after checking out the room and showing me all the animals on the rug (they have a Noah's Ark rug), she shooed me out of the room. I wasn't quite prepared -- I had even begged out of singing on the Praise Team as I didn't think I'd make the pre-church rehearsal (and also because we were skipping church to watch the opening game of the football season ;) ) -- so I made a quick trip to Albertson's and messed around with my mp3 player (and actually figured out how to do a few things). Maggie had a great time at Sunday School. They learned about Joseph and his "coat with all the colors" and Maggie got a pencil and 2 stickers!

And with these 2 momentous occasions, I did not take pictures. I didn't really think about it for Sunday School and the past 2 years of preschool I've only thought of it after the fact. Maggie goes to preschool from daycare and if we were to wait to take her in, it would throw off her schedule. I do plan to take a day off work when Maggie does go to Kindergarten and will get pictures then, so I try to not feel guilty about not capturing these special moments.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Maggie the Entomologist

Maggie loves bugs. "They are so cute!" She loves to pick them up and watch them crawl on her hand. She also loves to squish them. Saturday, she "rescued" a grasshopper from the dogs' outside water bowl. She played with him for quite sometime, until we convinced her to let him live on her flower. Maggie told Daddy his name was "Hoppy" and told me it was "Grabby".

I sincerely doubt I ever would have gotten this close to any kind of bug at her age.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Montana Livin'

It's a beautiful Saturday morning. Rocky has been walking the dogs each morning this week, so they woke us up early. Until we can figure out how to teach them to tell time, I'm afraid this will probably happen a lot. And of course, once Rocky got up, it wasn't long before I was up, and it wasn't long before Maggie was up. While Rocky was walking the dogs, I made coffee and got Maggie settled in with "Sesame Street". When Rocky got back, he turned on NPR and asked me to join him on the deck. Our deck is on the west side of our house, so we can watch the sky turn to blue as the sun finishes rising. The cows in the pasture are lowing. Mule deer are in the meadow across the ditch. The dogs are playing in the backyard and would soon join us on the deck. Hot coffee. Cool morning.

A mule doe and her fawn (still had his/her spots) were in the neighbor's yard a few mornings back. We watched the fawn get breakfast and then bound off. Wiconi watched intently. Another cool morning.

A Montana Life is definitely worth living!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Luccock Park Camp - Family Camp Weekend

This is my Father's World
and to my listening ears
All nature sings

and round me rings,
the music of the spheres
This is my Father's World!

I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees,
of skies and seas
His hands the wonders wrought!

We spent this past weekend at Luccock Park Camp with members of our church and other Methodist Churches in the area. We all had a wonderful time and I think Maggie is hooked on summer camp! Our church has one week each summer for elementary, middle and high school kids.

We arrived Friday evening in time to get settled into our cabin, to hear a few stories and to PLAY! We were 2 cabins away from the playground and I think Maggie would have been very happy to spend the entire weekend right there. It was her first thought each morning and her last thought each night.

They had a lot of planned activites, but also a lot of free time and I did wish we had brought a few more books. The cabins all had electricity, so we were able to watch the same Veggie Tales movie "Lord of the Beans" several times -- always good at bedtime. Maggie has recently decided her favorite blanket is one my Grandma Gilbert made back in the 80s (because it is pink) and insisted on bringing it along. It was quiet warm and a nice compliment to the sleeping bags, especially after Maggie decided she wasn't going to sleep in her own bunk and bunked with me.

The service project was replacing some of the wood chips in different walk-ways through out the camp. Maggie really loved helping, for about 30 minutes (we were completely finished in about an hour). She did talk about it several times throughout the weekend. At least we are getting her into service projects while young!!
We did send both dogs to the "doggie hotel" for the weekend, but discovered many of our camp mates brought their four legged family members. Maggie thought that was pretty cool. She got to play fetch with Poncho -- she picked up pretty quickly and hopefully will not expect it of our own dogs :)

We got to do a lot of hiking and even tried to make it up to the Park Creek Falls. Maggie was game, for a while, but as she did not take a nap, she started asking for piggy back rides from me and shoulder rides from Dad. We made it about 5 minutes from the falls when Maggie decided she had enough. It only took about 10 minutes for her to fall into a deep sleep after we returned to the cabin. She even slept through supper! That evening we enjoyed singing around the campfire with most of the group. Maggie even got to play with Poncho more, which always makes something better for Maggie.

As it was our first trip to Luccock, we discovered a few more things to bring next year: our camp coffee maker, our camp cot, jiffy pop, stuff for smores, books, and maybe invite a few others to join us. We had plenty of room in our cabin: 7 bunks! We were lucky and got a cabin to ourselves. It was a gorgeous weekend and the only thing I think we missed out on was a clear night Saturday night so we could have watched the stars.