Friday, February 29, 2008


This post is long past due. Not just this post but many. I still have to tell you about our boys, Garrett and Brody. I mean, if they ever found this blog in their older age and discovered that I had only written about their sister, I'm sure there would be dire emotional consequences, right? Emotional consequences aside, I really do find them as as precious as Ashlyn so be looking for those posts soon.

I also need to update you on our life in general. Besides the news of George, which has oh so much more detail at this point, we also had a stroke scare with my mom. Needless to say our parents' mortality has bluntly stared us straight in the eyes and we are humbled...

Now for today's post:

86%. Did you know that 86% of the elderly in nursing home care have NOBODY that comes and visits? 86% people!! For some time I've been wanting to establish a routine of befriending and visiting a senior but have dragged my feet for no good reason. Valentine's Day, however, has been a good kick-in-the-pants, and I hope to soon report that our family has stuck up a new friendship. What was it that spurned me on you ask?

On Valentine's Day Garrett's first grade class took a field trip to a local nursing home. I volunteered, at the last minute, to be a driver. While the drive to the home was something in and of itself (just imagine the youthful energy in our van packed with five 1st graders, a four-year-old, and a three-year-old), the performance the kids delivered was indeed inspiring. Along with the first grade class, the second graders joined the fun with song and dance for the residents to enjoy. All of the songs were God-focused and just about the most adorable thing you've ever seen. Country line dancing with partners of the opposite gender loses all it's corniness when it's done by your own child!

Besides the performance we did about 15 minutes of meet and greet and general visiting. While most of the kids were trepidacious because of the plethora of wheelchairs and oxygen tanks, I was in my element. I love the elderly. I love their rich heritage, the time from which they hailed, their appreciation of the simple things of life, the wrinkled skin of their hands that bears testament to years and years of experiences yet to be know by others. I love it all. And you know what I loved most? Their joy following the kids' performance!! You would have thought we'd brought a world-class Broadway show to the nursing home. These people were overwhelmed with joy, so much so that they cried. They cried and they begged. They begged us not to go. They begged us to come back and visit. They were thirsty for the simple joy that human interaction brings.

86%! This means that of the roughly 40 residents, 34 of them would have had not a single visitor on our national day of celebrating love had we not gone to the nursing home. Convicted? I am!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Life As We Know It

For my faithful blog readers, I'm still here!!

Initially I was on hiatus because my internet connection took a crash. Finally, after five days without online capabilities (can you hear me sobbing where you're at?) I was back up and running. I could have blogged that first day, really I could have, but...okay really there's no excuse.

Then a few days ago we received some very unsettling news about Zack's dad (George) having been transported to the hospital via ambulance. Long story short: Zack is now in Denver with his dad who is still in the hospital. George has a fractured vertebrae as well as anemia for which the cause is currently unknown. It seems the doctors are very concerned about why his red blood count is so low and will keep him there till a diagnosis is established. The cracked vertebrae is extremely painful and basically has Goerge bedridden at this point.

All that to say that your prayers for George are appreciated. And I promise, I won't be gone much longer, I just have to dig my way out of domestic duties before I can spend much time online! How's that song go..."I get knocked down but I get up again, you're never keep me down...".

Till we meet again (VERY soon, I promise),
Jennie the Not So Faithful Blogger

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Getting To Know You

Ho hum, it's a quiet day at home with not a whole lot of blog worthy fodder. So, ya'll get to meet the kiddos over the next few days. And for family, here's an update on the ones you're really interested in when you call to chat!
First up is our youngest, Ashlyn Grace, our bubbly, three-years-old-in-all-its-glory little girl (with a new "shortcut" I might add):

Isn't it amazing to look back on years gone by? Just over three years ago I was a sobbing mess of hormones contemplating how I would possibly mother another child with a then 2-year-old and then six-month-old at home. In fact, after finding out that the in utero baby was a girl, Zack and I took a step of faith naming her "Ashlyn" which means "vision of God". Goodness knows she wasn't our vision at the time! However, had I been on this end of things, with the priceless gift of hindsight, she WOULD have without a doubt been my vision for our family!

So who is Ashlyn? I think the question more aptly would be who isn't Ashlyn? Throw together some of the sweetest, most endearing qualities you can think of and you'll know what I mean! Amongst all that sweetness if a fair dose of spunk that probably results from having older brothers. I girl's got to defend herself, man! And no, ABSOLUTELY NOT, to you scoffers among the crowd, there is NO WAY she got that spunk from me. *Cue the angels* I am all sugar and spice gall darn it!

I love the age of three. Some of the greatest "isms" result from this age of growing independence and equally growing vocabulary. For example here are, straight from the mouth of the star of the show, some Ashlynisms:
~"Daddy, I love you all day long."
~"When I get big I'm going to die and go to heaven and be a boy."
~"Good job Bwody (Brody)."
~"Baby Mikayla (a friend's three-month-old) looks just like Lucy (Ashlyn's baby doll). They have the same wittle (little) hands and same wittle nose and same wittle hair!"
~"Finn (another friend's one-year-old) is such a cutie sweetie."
~"Mom can I please vacuum?" and "Mom, can I dust the piano?" These two are music to my ears!!

The list could go on and on, and I guarantee that the best Ashlynisms of all are escaping my memory at the moment! In short, the only little girl in our family is quite a joy and I look forward to seeing who she grows into as the years speed by me at lightning speed. Which makes me offer, if any of ya'll know the secret to slowing the passing of time please do share! I'm noticing that these precious days are simply too fleeting!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


So what's this you ask? Ho, ho well...all along you thought I was just a mom (see evidence below), right?

What is rarely displayed in my career as a Domestic Specialist is the fact that I did, in fact, graduate with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. And the cold hard truth is that you simply can't take the Biologist outta the Mom! So while working on building the patio with Zack last fall (you see I'm also a construction supervisor as well, emphasis on the supervisor portion) the kids spotted a yellow and black, hairy caterpillar struggling to make it's way through the grass, and I just knew we had to keep it.

Before long the caterpillar was munching away on a lettuce leaf in its lovely new abode, the kids bug trap. The way the thing was eating you'd think it was getting ready for winter hibernation. Well dadgum, it was! Three days later the little bugger had begun building it's chrysalis in the corner of its new home.

Fast forward to five months later. Garrett (my oldest son, and the one with his arm around me in the above photo) came into the office early one morning to find me working away. As he waited for me to finish up he gazed lovingly at the chrysalis. The next thing you know I hear a yelp of pure joy followed by, "Mom there's a hole in the chrysalis". Lo and behold, there was. After a small amount of searching we finally located the butterfly...but wait...that's no butterfly! Horror of horrors, we had housed a moth, a MOTH, in the office, ON my desk, for the past 150 days. A moth...DISGUSTING! Garrett shares my dislike of the pesky creatures that flit about your head as you stand in the glow of the porch light on a summer evening and he wasn't all that impressed, kind of freaked out as a matter of fact. After the initial freakiness wore off we decided to do some research. Online we found photos of the caterpillar we had captured late last fall and after much searching located a photo of the moth as well. We had watched the amazing metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a lovely Spotted Tussock or Tiger Moth!

I must admit I became fond of the little fellar in his short five days in our family. Yep, the above photo is of a dead moth. I think the below zero transport to Garrett's school for show-and-tell is what cut his life short. Maybe that or the fact that he really shouldn't have emerged till early spring which in Montana is still a good, oh...three months away. In any case his life wasn't wasted. For the sake of science and the joy of discovery the little guy offered his all. I will end with a eulogy for the little guy: He was indeed a moth for all seasons! Oh, and one more thing, does anyone find it at all interesting that I've referred to the moth as a "he" in conjunction with the word "disgusting"? Hmm, tis neither here nor there, I suppose!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Superbowl weekend = food, right?

So how 'bout them Giants?!?! What a fun game to watch, plus I always love it when the underdog comes out ahead! That said, I sure am glad the weekend is over. Don't get me wrong, I love the time with my hubby, Zack; the days off of school; and the time spent in my p.j.'s on a Saturday morning. This weekend, however, this weekend was a free-for-all food fest for me. Can anyone relate?

It all started with an incredible date night at Looie's Down Under, probably one of my favorite restuarants in Bozeman! The atmosphere is ecclectic with a touch of class and you can go glam or wear that pair of most comfy jeans you love so much. My 4oz. filet with balsamic reduction was INCREDIBLE and the 4oz. piece of salmon was good as well. And to top dinner off I had the most rich piece of chocolate cake I've ever had. Mmm, mmm, mmm!

Saturday was a snack day in all it's glory. We watched some friend's kids, all boys, four of 'em, all six-years-old and under. You can imagine that I didn't go to a whole lot of work to prepare food with seven kids all under the age of six under foot, but I do have to say that I made homemade tortillas for quesidillas. Again, mmm!!

Sunday some friends had us over for an incredible brunch after church, and not even an hour after leaving there we headed to another friend's house for the Superbowl. Our spread there included meatballs, Doritos, chips and guacamole, nut bites, cookies, bbq deer sandwhiches (and yep you read that right, venison), fruit, veggies, and assorted drinks. It was all great stuff, although by the end of the night my stomach was pretty much on stike!

Needless to say, I dragged my bulging stomach (and rear, and hips, and...) to the gym this morning. Is there such a thing as repenting on the treadmill? Anyway, since I wrote about nothing but food, I'd love to hear about your weekend using only as many names of food as possible!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sunrises That Make Your Heart Ache

Glory be!! If there's one redeeming quality (okay, okay so there's more than one, but...) about driving the kids to school each and every weekday it is absolutely, without a doubt, the Montana sunrises. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and see it with me, reader-folk:

It's 8:00 a.m.,
The temperature gauge in your car reads 21 degrees,
But your seat heater (or heat seater as the hooligans, aka kids, call it) is keeping you nice and toasty warm,
You pull out of the garage,
And behold something that mere words simply cannot describe,
In all directions,
Yes, North; South; East; and West,
You are surrounded by towering, snow covered peaks,
360 degrees of pure mountain majesty.
You can't even see the sun itself,
But every single mountain range is aglow with an almost ethereal pink tinge.
But that's not all,
The sky is a clear, deep blue,
And you can still see the moon making its sleepy descent toward the West,
And when you look to the highest peak in the area,
It is radiating with a direct beam from that hidden, rising sun.

I've said it once but I'll say it again - G.l.o.r.y. B.e.!!!!