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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Family Stories

A few days ago, I was on a message board I frequent and in one of the sections someone had asked "What stories about your family did you just learn are really true?" I didn't respond, but it got me thinking about all those family stories that are out there and how we just don't sit down and tell them like people used to. Radio, TV, movies and the Internet have taken the evening time that probably used to be used telling stories of when grandmas and grandpas are little girls. One of my favorite book series, the "Little House" series, is essentially just Laura Wilder taking the stories her father told her as a little girl and the stories of when she was a little girl and writing them down.

When Maggie was born, my mom bought a Grandma Remembrance book (kind of like this one) and completed it for Maggie. A few years later, after spending the weekend with my own grandmother, I purchased a couple of these and gave one to my own grandmother and my mother-in-law (I have one for my Dad too, but keep forgetting to send it to him). My Mother-in-Law completed hers a while ago and put pictures in it. I really like having both of these books so these stories aren't lost. I know a few of my grandmother's stories: like going to the movies for 2 cents in Hitchcock, SD; how her brother Bud ran away to the Army during WWII and her mother never forgave her father for letting him go; going to college. My other grandmother told us about going to school in town and having to stay in town during the winter; how she didn't like her roommates; on her 75th birthday, we went to see the old school house and we drove by the farmstead she grew up on.

And all of this got me to thinking: what stories will I tell Maggie about my own childhood and how do I help myself remember all the stories we will have of her childhood. And then it hit me: the Blog, the personal websites are the new stories by the hearth. I started the website, and now the blog, to share pictures of Maggie, our dogs, to keep in touch with our families. And now I realize how much more this can mean. It is a way to keep our stories alive and we will be able to share them down the generations. After all, we aren't so many generations removed from that hearth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Rocky!

Happy Birthday Rocky!! I didn't really forget your birthday, though I didn't say anything right away and your birthday gift is probably going to be late because of shipping so hopefully I can make it up to you with a last minute dash on the way home from work.

You are a wonderful, loving husband and I know I wouldn't be the person I am today if you were not such a big part of my life. I certainly wouldn't be as clean. You make me a better person and that's only one of the many many reasons I love you.

You are also a great father. I love to watch you play with Maggie, to read to her. I also love that you are the disciplinarian, even though you don't like it. Maggie knows that deep down you are a softy. And I hope in the next year we will have another child for you to give your love to. And maybe we'll even get a kid who will call for Daddy in the middle of the night, though we may need a larger bed :)

I love you and hope to be able to celebrate many more birthdays with you!

Maggie's Nursery Rhymes

Today is show and tell day at day care and the kids were asked to bring in their favorite book. Maggie decided to take "Where's God When I'm Scared?" a book based on the VeggieTales video. Rocky got it for her while we were waiting in the Billings airport. She was very excited to share it with her friends and was even more excited when Miss Sandy said she would read it right away. Miss Sandy had also brought down some nursery rhymes on posters, so Maggie was momentarily distracted from her book and decided to show me the nursery rhymes. She showed me each one: "Mary had a little lamb", "Hickory Hickory Dock", and everyone's favorite "The Grandma and the Stinky Shoe!" (otherwise known as "There was an Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe.")

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spanish Wine

The other night, after a particularly difficult day, I opened the rose (not sure how to do accent marks here) , Merum Monastrell a "Product of Spain" in my "wine cellar" (a rack that holds approximately 18 bottles in my crawl space). Also purchased at City Vineyard, thanks to my wonderful husband who gave me a gift card for my birthday, it came with the salesgirl's recommendation of a great rose. I'm feeling rather "meh" about it. It is a beautiful color, but a tad drier than I expected. It has a pretty label, but I am not impressed. The other night, I guess I didn't care to much as when I thought back, I thought I enjoyed it. Of course, the other night was the night before I had to attend the funeral of another coworker's son who was killed in ANOTHER car accident. I counted up and realized I have gone through 6 different deaths this summer and only one was a timely death (rest in peace Great-Aunt Lovella). I supposed most anything would do after a summer like that. Though a few coworkers do agree with me that the time is never right to crack open a Bud.

I did decide that once we officialy start trying for another baby, I will stop drinking. There is no reason for me to think that the beers I drank before finding out I was pregnant had anything to do with the miscarriage, but why take the chance? If it takes awhile, I may change my mind and I reserve that right.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wiconi Pictures

I've uploaded some pictures of Wiconi to Facebook.

Maggie and Otis have adapted quickly to another dog in the house. I think Otis was a little disappointed that Wiconi did not start playing right away. He looked at her like she was familiar, but kept sniffing her as if to determine that this was NOT Nala. Wiconi bears a striking resemblance to Nala, except with a black, white and grey coat. Wiconi even has a lot of Nala's mannerisms, probably similar to any senior Malamute.

I found Wiconi last Monday on I was curious to see if there were any Malamutes in the area. After the fence was put in, we talked about a 2nd dog. Various discussions led us to realize that we really wanted another Malamute. So, that eliminated trying to get an English Shepherd that had been rescued (an ongoing saga here in Billings about a dog hoarder). We briefly discussed rescuing a Siberian Husky from another hoarder in Montana, this time in Kalispell (about an 8 hour drive), or driving to the nearest Malamute rescue in Pocatello Idaho (6 hour drive). Realizing that either of those trips would be extremely costily: gas, food, overnight accomodations, we decided we should look to see if we could find a breeder. Unfortunately, Malamute breeders are hard to find in Montana -- seriously, who would think it would be hard to find a sled dog in Montana?? Thus my search on Petfinder.

I sent Wiconi's picture to Rocky who immediately asked me to call. I did, and Tuesday evening we took a drive to Round Up MT to meet Wiconi. Maggie and Otis came along. Otis was rather nonplussed by all the dogs there, though was very happy to be going home with us! Maggie cried and cried on the way home because she wanted "a little black puppy." It didn't take us long to decide we wanted Waconi and by Friday, she was ready to come home!

Rocky brought Wiconi home around 4 p.m. She didn't want to get out of the car, so in an effort to entice her, he opened the garage door and both car doors. And she took off. With Otis not far behind. Fortunately, Otis actually listened to Rocky and ran back home. I locked Otis in the house as Rocky took off after Wiconi with a leash. Maggie waited impatiently for them to return. It had taken us a few days to convince Maggie that Wiconi was the dog coming home and not one of the other 13 dogs that was at the Rimrock Humane Society. But seeing Waconi (or "the black and white dog" as Maggie sometimes calls her) in our yard, Maggie seemed to easily fall in love with her. And fortunately, Waconi seems like to kids as she easily puts up with Maggie's love.

We are trying out both Wiconi and Winnie for names for her, though Wiconi seems to be working out okay. We are pronouncing it Wi-CONE-ee.

Wiconi wasn't quite sure what to think last night. She spent a lot of time looking out the front window, perhaps waiting for her old friend Samantha (who is still available for adoption) to come by. She did jump into bed with us for a while, but much like Otis, didn't stay for the night. She also spent most of her first night sleeping on the floor in our room.

Early Saturday morning, Rocky took Otis and Wiconi for a walk on the doubler. He said they both did very well so future walks should not be a problem. We spent time playing outside and Rocky got Wiconi to play with Otis, which seemed to thrill Otis to no end. I think he was a little disappointed Wiconi wouldn't play Friday night, as he had pawed at her a few times, to no reaction.

Currently, Otis and Wiconi are enjoying a shady part of the yard taking a well deserved senior nap. Welcome home Wiconi.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Newest Member of our Family

This beautiful Malamute will be joining our family this afternoon. Her current name is Wiconi Waste (WICK-OWN-AY WASH-TAY) a Lakota name meaning "Good Life". We will most likely call her Winnie.

You can watch her play with her foster brother here. I will add more pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A New Favorite Wine

I really do enjoy all kinds of wine. I learned a few years ago to never say I don't like a particular grape simply because as soon as I do, I discover a bottle of that very grape that I enjoy. Take Chardonnay for example. For years I would say I don't like Chardonnay because the grape was too dry for my tastes. Then I discovered a Chardonnay (Barefoot, actually) that I really like. I found that I DO like Chardonnays that are not aged in oak, but in other ways, like steel.

I have, however, always enjoyed a good "deck" or "picnic" wine. Typically they are on the sweet side, but more fruity than sugary; light; and go with just about anything you want to eat. While in Viriginia, I discovered Chateau Morrisette Winery and their deck wine "Our Dog Blue" (or as we called it "Blue Dog"). It was the wine I told Rocky we had to have available after Maggie was born for my first wine in 9 months. It was the one wine I would choose over and over again, and would choose if I could only have one wine for the rest of my life. When I miss Virginia, it is one of the things I miss the most -- we cannot get it here as it simply costs more to ship the wine than it is actually worth.

Now, having said all of that, I do believe I have found a new favorite: Grooner. On my first trip to City Vineyard, I asked for a "deck" wine and it was the first recommendation. It is similar to a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. It's from Gruner Veltliner (Groo-ner Velt-leener) and the #1 white wine grape in Austria. It's fruity (almost a mix of grapefruit and apple) and crisp. Slightly dry, but easy to drink. And a twist top, for convenience! I really have found my new "must" have wine and will try to always have a bottle on hand.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's a girl thing

Maggie's favorite color is pink. Because pink is for girls. And she is a little girl, therefore she likes pink. She was upset in Wisconsin when she discovered our rental car was not pink (it was red). She was upset when we returned home and discovered our actual car is not pink. She told us several times that she needs a pink car. Fortunately, Walgreens had this model on sale and her father was generous enough to purchase it for her. I do not think he will be as generous 12 years from now if she wants a larger sized version.

Maggie is obviously very happy to be a girl. She is very much into telling us "this is for girls and this is for boys." She does not want much to do with things that are for boys right now. When we were potty training, we purchased some boys underpants because she wanted Lightning McQueen panties and they simply do not make girl underpants with Lightning McQueen. The other day, however, suddenly these became "boy underpants" and she was no longer "allowed" to wear them. She was also not "allowed" to wear her Minnesota Vikings shirt because that "is for boys." I tried to explain that girls like football too, but she would hear nothing of it. Funnily enough, the very next day, both were okay to wear. And the Vikings shirt went very very well with her pink gingham pants!

She also informed us last night that she wants a baby sister, but "not a baby brudder." When pressed as to why she did not want a baby "brudder", she relented and said "Okay, I have 2 choices, I want a baby sister AND a baby brudder." (Currently neither is on the way, in case you were wondering.)

This morning, Maggie finished being a fairy princess and is now a "girl princess" which includes wearing: purple crown, purple skirt, play heels, and nothing else. She looks lovely.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wild meets mild

This morning, after letting Otis out for his morning constitution, Rocky called me to come downstairs quick. Just outside our fence, a white tailed doe was nervously eyeing Otis. Otis didn't seem to notice her. She took a step closer and Otis started jogging back to the house. As he hadn't finished his morning constitution, Rocky yelled at him to go. Otis ran back to the fence, near the doe. She took a few more steps near him, as if daring him to bark. He finally noticed her and looked back at us with a "Now what?" look. The 2 animals looked at each other briefly and then Otis decided it was time to return to the safety of the house. The doe casually walked away.

Just one of the many reasons I enjoy living in Montana and on the edge of town.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig (now with a link to pictures)

What's a vacation without a few snags? Our trip got off to a rocky start (see the post on "The Layover") and ended a little rocky as well -- we got to our car in long term parking only to discover a dead car battery! We also had a bit of a problem once we got to Chula Vista resort actually finding the family: driving instructions which included drive behind the water park and "go forward" would have been great in the daylight, but not so great at midnight. But once we all got up Saturday morning, we had a great time!

About 30 members of Rocky's family were there. 6 of the 7 children, most of the grandkids and 2 of the great-grandkids of Mike and Bonnie all hung out with little to no drama the entire time. The drama usually involved Grandma Bonnie, Aunt Tammy or Aunt Shelly looking for some of the younger girls who would wander off to go down waterslides alone.

Aunt Shelly was the great organizer and even managed to come up with menus for all of our meals which were eaten in one of the 3 condos we rented. Each condo was 3 bedrooms/baths with an almost fully stocked kitchen. Shelly made up room assignments and with all the bedrooms and pull out sofas and a couple of cots, I'm pretty sure no one had to sleep on the floor.
The waterpark was a blast! Shelly rented a cabana for the family for the main 2 days we were there and it was really nice to have a central location to head to when we needed a break or a snack (as we snuck in snacks!) I do still think it was a bit odd to have TVs in the cabana (the cabana next to ours had the Cartoon Network on), but I guess to each their own. Plus, I do realize if we had been there during football season, ours probably would have been on as well.

Maggie LOVED the park and even went down a few slides by herself. The first trip down, Rocky got "in trouble" as he went down with her, but it only took that one trip for her to want to go by herself. Aunt Shelly helped catch Maggie. Maggie told me "Aunt Shelly is a good catcher. And you are a good stepper." We also got "in trouble" for Maggie wearing her water shoes and Rocky wearing his sandles -- though he was allowed to hold them on the way down the slide. Because, yeah, that's safer.

Sunday afternoon, Rocky and I had some time to ourselves while Maggie napped and we enjoyed a few trips down the slides both indoor and outdoor until a storm blew through and they closed the outdoor park. Of course at that point the indoor park was teeming with people and we just don't have the patience to deal with the long lines for a 15 second ride and we headed back to the condo. After the storm passed, several people headed back to the park as there were no lines outside.

Maggie had a great time with her cousins and playing "Grandpa Mike games." It was nice to hang out with the family and just enjoy each others company. Maggie was very sad to leave Monday afternoon and told us "I just want to play with my cousins." It took very little to set her off at that point and she became upset that our rental car was red as she wanted a pink car as "pink is for girls". She traveled very well the trip home, slept on the flight to Denver and we read "Horton Hears a Who" a couple of times on the flight home to Billings. We didn't have any troubles with our flights home and arrived in Billings on time. We were all tired and Maggie really wanted to see Otis and our pink car. Once again, she was upset that our car is not pink -- even though it is Daddy's car.

We think Maggie has a bit of the traveling bug now, though it may be a while before we take another trip like that. Rocky brought along his good camera and is working on pictures today. I'll add a link to pictures once he's done.

And I did try a new wine on this trip. Saturday afternoon, Rocky and I went out to get some wine and some better beer. He found a local Wisconsin beer (which we all agreed tasted like Miller Lite with a different label), he also picked up a 12 pack of Leinenkugels. I picked up a bottle of Wollersheim Winery Blushing Rose. It was a sweet rose and nice to have with supper. I also purchased a bottle of Yellowtale Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. I like the Yellowtale wines as they are predictable and affordable. I always know I will enjoy a bottle of Yellowtale.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

US Traveler Maggie

Maggie has always been a pretty good car traveler. This trip is her very first airline trip. We have talked it up for quite some time, so she was very very excited. We were worried she would get scared, but she was just an old pro. She was definite that she wanted to sit by me on the "airplane ride." With Slush in hand and her butterfly backpack stuffed with snacks, she was well prepared.

The first ride from Billings went very smoothly. You never would have guessed it was Maggie's first airplane ride. She watched her movies some, but really really liked unbuckling her seatbelt and watching the clouds. She also spent some time "reading" the safety guide and pointed out the water and letters on the guide.

We had plenty of colors, movies, books to keep her entertained, but the 5 hour + layover in Chicago pressed the limits. Maggie did so good! We walked around O'Hara. She LOVED the people movers and the "skeleton dinosaur." She fought off sleep as long as she possibly could. She fell asleep soon after take off to Madison, watching "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Layover

We are stuck in Chicago. Our flight from Billings was delayed for 2 hours due to a crew delay -- they arrived in Billings late yesterday and weren't allowed to fly until 2 hours past our original departure time. We arrived in Chicago in time to try to stand by on 2 other flights, but here we are about 3 1/2 hours later, hanging out at another gate. Rocky spent the $7 to get on to wireless. We have run down the batteries on Maggie's player and have run them almost down on Rocky's mp3 player. Mine is left and we need something for the flight to Madison and the drive to the Wisconsin Dells. The flight should be short and the drive about an hour long. So, it's just a matter of getting on the flight. We are confirmed, but checked in too early this morning to get seat assignments. I am patiently (impatiently) waiting for the gate agent so we can get our seat assignments as I do not want to inadvertently end up playing that fun seat assignment waiting game (which I used to do A LOT when I worked for United).

We are on our way to the Dailey Family Reunion. About 30 members of Rocky's family will be there. His sister Shelly is the organizer and got a couple of 3 bedroom condos for the crew. The site has a water park so we should have plenty of fun through the weekend. Rocky was volunteered to bring his good camera and take lots of pictures, so when the weekend is over, we will upload and share lots.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My first Wine Blog post

So, I wanted to blog about a new wine tonight: Notro Torrontes 2007 an Argentina white. According to the label, it offers an intensely perfumes nose of exotic tropical fruit, with light floral notes. It is light, lively and crisp on the palate. Excellent on its own, it also pairs well with salads, light fish dishes or spicy Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese cuisine. I know I enjoyed it, however, after 1.5 glasses (and emptying the bottle) I switched over to Tilia Malbec, an Argentinean red and can no longer remember the exact taste of the Argentinean white.

When I picked up the Tilia Malbec 2008, I thought it was a picnic wine by the same lable, but it turned out to be red. I guess I should have read the lable (because in capital letters it states RED WINE). I like this wine, but think I should have started with it as it would have paired well with the steak Rocky purchased for dinner.

Interestingly, the Tilia is a screwtop and the Notro is a rubber cork top. I don't really notice a difference between the two and the screwtop is much more convenient!

Both wines were purchased at City Vineyard for $9.95 each. I love getting a nice wine for under $10. (If I didn't, I wouldn't drink Barefoot Wine!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Change in plans

Yesterday, after spending the morning running errands, our last stop was my new favorite wine store (City Vineyard). As we drove home, I started thinking that I need to start blogging about my favorite wines, if only to help me remember which ones I like and which ones I don't. I was just finishing up with a load of laundry when my cell phone rang. Which surprised me because no one but Rocky (and work) ever call me on my cell phone and Rocky was home and obviously, the office is closed on Saturdays. But it was my manager. Carey Jo called to let me know my friend and co-worker Michelle's son had been killed in a car accident. Michael was 22 and was on his way back to Dillon Montana where he was going to get ready for University of Montana Western's football season.

Suddenly, the priorities for my day changed. Things that had seemed so important just minutes earlier, no longer were. I didn't know what to do then and I still don't. This is the 2nd senseless death of a child I knew in less than 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago, one of Maggie's preschool classmates was killed in a motorcycle/car accident. We haven't really talked to Maggie about it as he wasn't in her classroom and I'm not sure she's aware of what happened. We will talk about it if/when she asks though.

It's senseless and tragic. No parent should have to go through this. I know that I've stopped worrying about quality time with Maggie and have started enjoying the quantity time with her -- you know, that time spent watching TV or just being in the same room.

If you pray, please pray for comfort and strength for these two families who are saying goodbye much too soon to their boys.