catch up: 4th of july

you remember that far back don't you?  

the boys worked all day
the girls cooked up some burger, macaroni salad, and cupcake goodness
yummy eating commenced around 7:30pm
a little old school (as in circa 2000) "charlie's angels" watching
fireworks at the lake at dusk

it was a good day 
the end.


thursday thanks

i am so very thankful for this boy.


- i have one little brother - who isn't so little anymore
- i always have someone to celebrate my birthday with - we share the same birthday!
- i never need to deal with leftovers when he is near 
- he isn't a picky eater - the only thing i found he doesn't like this summer is coleslaw and pasta w/a vinaigrette
- for his sense of humor
- sweet smile - when he wants it to be
- he likes to fix things
- he always has my back 
- for the travel opportunities he gets to have this summer
- i can be so proud of the man he is becoming


road trip: minnesota bound

awhile back -- ok - really awhile back -- jon and i climbed (literally) into the semi and set off for minnesota to pick up a load of bee boxes from a supplier.  we left late for our 8.5 hour trip - to the tune of about four o'clock in the afternoon - but were in good spirits - road tripping in the semi can't be beat.

a little ways down the road we stopped for some fuel, both the truck and the human kind.  armed with a ridiculous amount of snacks we traveled the straight and level path across north dakota - thats right - the entire state - just about as flat as a pancake without a turn in sight.  they do have the best rest areas though.  

this trip was on the tail end of the june floods and gave us some interesting sights as the water level was quite high in many areas... p.s. the top left picture below is of a train going across tracks that are almost covered by water..

and road construction through a lot of minnesota - it is funny, as soon as you get close to minnesota it's like the insect population triples and lands on your windshield.  serious.  i also saw one of the biggest insects ever.  i still don't know what it is -- but it was attacking jon and i's heads (or trying to) so we smashed it.  it looked like a monster bee-fly...

we spent the night at a truck stop in fargo, north dakota - where we had a midnight mcdonalds snack and early morning breakfast (healthy healthy -- have you tried their hotcakes?  yummers -- for fast food quality of course).  after driving the rest of our way and loading up, it was afternoon.  now turn around and go back.  this time with a rest stop in fargo again for food and fun at scheels sporting goods  (that's where the ferris wheel was - i don't know if they have them in other stores - the fargo store is the very best).  we arrived in montana about 3am - a 22 hour day for us - and thankful for not getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere on a really super-soft stretch of a road construction dirt road while fully loaded at 2:30am on the way back.  

bed looked and felt lovely and lulu was quite happy to see us.  home-sweet-trailer.


stormy weather

on friday a huge storm system went across eastern montana (a line that stretched almost completely across the state from north to south) - i wish i had taken a picture of the radar screen.  we were on tornado watch all afternoon and evening.  i have come to terms --and almost enjoyment-- of these summer storms... but i draw that line at tornados.  someday (i'm thinking sooner rather than later) - when i have my storm cellar - i will greet them with open arms and camera in hand -- until then -- i still prefer for the tornados to stay away.  
tornados aside. there is something absolutely amazing and beautiful about a storm.  

i took these pictures when i went to town friday afternoon.  i pulled over and just sat for a few minutes watching the storm roll in.  watching the intensity build, the clouds cover the sky and darken the day.  feeling the hot, humid summer air.  the scent of the storm and the rain it brings.  the cold wind clashing with the hot of the day. the thunder boom and the flash of light.  it brought rain.  it brought hail (i love hail).  it reigned in the dust.  it brought a lot of weather alerts on my radio (good to know it works well)  it brought a tornado -- luckily not to us, but a county away.  

my mom encourages me to embrace the storm - to turn my recent fear back to the love i had for them when i was younger.  when i told her we were on tornado watch on friday she replied with "what a great time to watch "twister" and eat cookies and ice cream"(instead of worrying about it) -- she's the best mom.  always knows just the right thing to say to me.  so here i am.  embracing the storm (but not the tornados -- yet).

"it is not in the serene times we grow but rather in our storms."


motion of mercy

I was poor I was weak
I was the definition of the spiritually 
Bankrupt condition
So in need of help
I was unsatisfied
Hungry and thirsty
When you rushed to my side
So unworthy
Still You gave yourself away... 

That's the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That's the motion of mercy
Movin' my heart

Now I'm filled by a love
 That calls me to action
I was empty before now I'm drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

Living for the lost
Loving 'til it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like you loved me first
That's the motion of mercy
God give me the strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that's coming soon

Song: "Motion of Mercy"



it's always sad when you don't think you have your camera but then realize the next day that you really did.  good thing that these nifty cell phones have cameras so you can still take an impromptu photo.  

the sky was absolutely marvelous yesterday.  just beautiful.  the kind of sky that you just want to sit outside and look at forever and ever.  it was a day-after-the-big-storm kind of sky.  ---and i took a few pictures with my phone.  ones that looked great on my phone, but as i looked at them this morning i realized that i forgot to roll down my window and so they are not as lovely as i would like...however, i feel that it is a little mean to withhold pictures, even though they don't do it justice:

these pictures were taken on our way to church - i had a lovely 50 minutes of staring out the window at the pretty blue sky.  we stayed for potluck and were able to get to know many of the church members.  country churches might be the best.  i know that we have been greatly impacted by the absolute, friendly welcome we have been given.  it is a reminder and a challenge to us to always be warm, friendly and welcoming at our home church, even though there are quite a few more members.  

which brings us to our evening: which was fairly uneventful - we consumed a ridiculous amount of ice cream and watched Cupcake Wars and Master Chef on hulu.  that's it.  perfect day.


thursday thanks - quick quick

- rubber gloves
- dish soap
- strawberries
- chocolate chip cookies
- chocolate chip cookies with strawberries (and maybe some ice cream too)
- online recipes - i use them all the time
- hair bands - my hair is constantly up during the summer
- trash cans
- flip flops

--- rushing to get dinner for the hungry troops---
happy thursday!


a barrel (or two) of fun...

a few weeks ago:

it is amazing how just a couple weeks ago we were flooded (literally) with rain.  and now... just a few days later it seems...we need rain again.  that is how it works around here. prayin' for some storms to come our way.

in the meantime...  it's been blustery.  yesterday+ the night+ this morning we are enjoying lots of wind to the tune of about 40 mph gusts--- the trailer's rockin' -- because of the wind, silly--  yesterday afternoon i sat in  the parent's trailer and enjoyed the swaying -- don't you want to move out of your house and into a trailer too?

i woke up this morning and told jon that i thought i would have to watch "winnie the pooh + the blustery day"  today - i think i will while i bake some chocolate chip cookies.  sounds like a good plan - you have to enjoy what you've got!

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." 

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.


weekend: catch up

these are from a few weekends past - but not last weekend (which is still to come -- patience now...)

the weekend of the rhubarb cream pie + pancakes
no outside adventures this weekend - the weather wasn't too fabulous 
we just stayed inside and baked the day away
and played "Risk" on the xbox - can you say addiction 

the weekend of strawberry shortcake + breakfast burritos
also - the weekend we conquered the puzzle + planted the garden
i believe we also watched a lot of hulu...
it was good


they don't know:

- how much they help each other
- how much they teach each other

- how much they stick up for each other
- how much they look alike
- how much fun they have

- how thankful (someday) they will be for this time they have spent together
- how thankful i am (today) for this time we have spent together

- how much they love each other
- how much i love them



as jon and i went to sleep last night, we both said to each other "what a great day."

it was just that good.

sunny.  breezy.  an ice cream + pizza kind of day.  we played board games all evening with mike and kate.  laughing up a storm.  eating popcorn + cold cereal.  almost consuming a couple tubs of ice cream because they are our ultimate favorites.  walking at sunset.  lulu ended the day taking a snooze on the bench.  spoiled pooch.

jon and i spent most of the day driving around the north dakota countryside.  a little of it was spent waiting in road construction.  but it was good waiting.  the kind where you talk to the motorcyclist behind you and enjoy the windmills and great views beside you.  

it all started because we decided to drive to church -- it takes about an hour.  we felt like the pioneers.  except our truck is just a little faster and less dusty than a wagon.  we arrived at our little country church to a sweet congregation of about 25 people.  we were more than warmly welcomed, introduced to almost all of the church members, and invited for lunch.  the pastor is the same pastor i had at my academy church during sophomore year.  i walked into the church and told jon "i know him" - true that.  such a small world sometimes...  isn't it great.  he (the pastor) and his wife have five of the most beautiful + polite boys i have ever seen.  we are excited to have found a "summer" church family and are looking forward to getting to know new people in our community.

the rest of the day was spent taking the long way back home.  looking out the window at the canola fields and rolling hills.  spotting ranches that we loved + passing through some of the smallest towns (blink and you'll miss it).  no storms.  no weather warnings.  just sunshine.  

oh happy day!

hope yours was just as lovely.


f is for ...

-friday! (of course)
-fanciful fruit pizza - well at least that is what the pillsbury website calls it --- jon's afternoon thought as to what we should make for our end of the week dessert - it was delicious - though it would be even better with my sugar cookie recipe instead of the store bought - we had blackberries, fresh pineapple and peaches.  i didn't really strive for presentation on this one - just plopped it on -- still tasty...

- four - the average number of loads of dishes i wash by hand per day - i do have a small sink+dish rack
-fresh sheets
-funnel clouds - one was 45 miles away from us today -- that is still too close for my comfort level
-flying insects - we are surrounded by them - mosquitos, flies, fruit flies.  all giant.  all obnoxious.
- flesh.  burnt flesh.  my first sunburn in a really long time.  torched shoulders and arms.  it didn't even feel hot outside (thats what the breeze will do for you) i knew better.  at least i was wearing a hat.  i am always getting after jon and the kids - so tonight, i am sure jon had a small smile while telling me to "put some sunscreen on next time"

hope your weekend is the best -- last saturday we were on a tornado watch all beautiful day.  it was a bummer.  hoping tomorrow brings lovely, warning free weather.


thursday thanks

 - wash machines -- mine is broken right now.  i am thankful to the wonderful person who invented it and i am thankful to the wonderful person who will come fix mine soon.  soon.  soon.

-gas prices are a little less right now- when we were in minnesota last week this station had it for 3.44 - i hadn't seen it that low for far too long

- taking a minute to remember the past -- this is what is left of a little bitty town out in the middle of no where that jon and i drove by yesterday.  at some point it had people who lived here.  a little school.  false fronts on the store buildings.  maybe a house or too.  

-road signs -- in front of the little bitty town that was -- it goes in all four directions, pointing you the right way towards the farm you are looking for -- yep.  that one out in the middle of no where no where -- because this sign-- the one in front of the little bitty town that was.  it's out in the middle of no where - about 30+ minutes on a gravel road to get to the back to the highway - and then it's another 20-30 minutes going 75 mph to get to the next town.  middle of no where.  great place for bees to make some honey.

- for no muddy roads as we were traveling yesterday -- the person before us wasn't as quite as lucky - you can't see them very well, but we drove in the very deep tire tracks of someone who was holding their breath, hoping they wouldn't get stuck as they drove through a very very soft dirt road.

- taking a minute to "stop and smell the clover"  - that is exactly what jon said to me yesterday as we stopped, rolled the windows down and inhaled...

so nice to stop and drink it all in.  to talk about how blessed we are even in the midst of stressful moments.  to remember the good.  to love the life we've been given
 - to be challenged:  the GOOD 30 day challenge: Waste Less  -  got us set up this morning with what will work for us and our summer situation - also trying to increase my reusable container use versus ziplocks or plastic bags - which i tend to use more of in the summer because of limited storage/fridge space.

 -to grow:  "Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, 'This is the real me,' and when you have found that attitude, follow it."

-- James Truslow Adams

- to be reminded: 3 ways to fully show up in your life
- to let myself off the hook--it doesn't have to be perfect: Supposed To



just finished:  talking with melissa! -- so proud of her - today she  successfully defended her thesis for her masters!!

just ate: grilled vegetable panini sandwiches using our new grill and a delicious bite of schwan's dark sweet cherry ice cream (our summertime favorite)

just trying: to kill the mosquito that keeps buzzing around my head -- unsuccessful so far...

just wishing:  that my wash machine was in working order (it stopped working on the 4th -- kinda funny -- i am pretty sure it is the same problem i just had last month with my wash machine at home)

just starting:

one of my favorite movies.  it's about rugby + character.  we've watched it every summer for the past four years and i love it every time plus some.

just trying: to not think a tick is on me every time -- i pulled one out of my brother on monday.  i was lightening fast.  uber impressive.  still -- gross.


two for tuesday

well - my sunday felt like monday, my monday felt like sunday, and today, tuesday, has felt like....tuesday.

1.  this was supposed to be a nice post re-capping our holiday and our past week's adventures - however, i've been completely enthralled with "so you think you can dance" -- every time i get near the computer it's like a magnet to the next episode i can watch on hulu.  utter distraction.  we'll try again tomorrow.  i only have one more episode til i'm caught up - plus, every time my brother catches me watching it he tells me how "lame" the show is -- not that i let him dictate my t.v. preferences or anything.

jon and i went down to the lake last night to watch the fireworks
it was lovely