Tuesday, July 24, 2012

my sorting

I love Harry Potter. I'm not a crazy fan who plays Quidditch for Muggles or anything. But I was curious about which House I'd be in - you know, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin.

So I did a google search and discovered that there were a lot of House quizzes out there. And then I discovered Pottermore (see, if i was a crazy fan, i'd already know about pottermore). And to me, this seemed like the legit way to go since J.K. Rowling was involved. When I told Terry about my House interest and my internet search, he scoffed and so I held back for a while until my curiosity just had to be quenched.

So I logged on to Pottermore and discovered that I was, of course, magical. I muddled my way through the first five chapters until I got to The Sorting. I answered the questions as honestly as I could and was horrifically shocked when they said I was a Slytherin!

I was not having that. Even though I'm not a crazy fan, I was a little upset by this result. I complained to Terry and instead of making fun of me, he sided with me. He said that the sorting hat obviously hadn't taken my wishes into account, or else I would have been in Gryffindor, since Harry also faced a similar undesirable outcome. Afterall, I was thinking "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin" in my mind the entire time I took the test.

So I deleted my entire account and started over. I was relieved to be sorted, more appropriately, into Ravenclaw. Anything but Slytherin is fine.

on the bike again

He's healed!

I had almost forgotten that Monday was three weeks since Noah got his cast off and a full two months since he broke his arm. When I remembered, you know we busted that bike back out again. Notice the knee pads? He has wrist pads as well but couldn't hardly hold the handle bars with them on.

And I thought I'd throw up one of Evie balancing on her Strider! She doesn't like to go fast. Unfortunately she had an accident on the hill by Canyon Lake's spillway a few weeks ago. She totally went over the handle bars :(

Saturday, July 21, 2012

our story

I've been meaning to write a blog post detailing how Terry and I came to be. I don't know if it's because I've been feeling nostalgic since moving home to Rapid or since we just had our eighth anniversary, but here's our story.

I don't recall the first time I met Terry, though he does. I'll let him tell that portion of the story a little later.

What I do remember is meeting Terry's sister, Shari, the first day of visiting a new church when I was a junior in high school. Strange enough, that same church is where we left to move to NE for five years, where we were called back to and where Terry is working as the youth pastor now. Crazy.

Back to Shari. She was my first friend at First E-Free. She was friendly and outgoing and welcoming and that was exactly what I needed at that point, being a bit shy myself and not having a place to belong. We hit it off right away and became friends and grew in that friendship. I remember going on a white water rafting trip that summer after my junior year with her and she recited all of Dumb and Dumber. Later we even went backpacking together! Here's Leigh (my youth pastor's wife), Shari and I on the trail in Colorado with our 40 pound backpacks on.

So at first I didn't know Terry because he was four years older than Shari (and three years older than me) and already in college at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. But I got to know all about him through Shari because she always talked about him. She so looked up to him and wanted a husband just like him someday. I distinctly remember her telling me about how he gave his favorite band's (Third Day) signed t-shirt away to his girlfriend. Sigh. That fact alone made me very interested in this nice guy. I also remember Shari sharing a photo of a girl that Terry was taking to a banquet at Moody and how I felt jealous! I didn't even know him though!

Here's Terry's remembrance of our first meeting:
- - -

Hello everyone. Well, I don't usually do much on this blog - though I love it - but Eva is pointing a dart gun at my head so I will contribute a bit.
My first remembrance of meeting Eva was at church. I seem to remember sitting on the opposite side of the sanctuary and I think she was sitting with my sister. Why I wasn't sitting with my sister is a mystery - so leave me alone. Anyway, my sister is a very welcoming, friendly person and I thought somehow she had befriended an exchange student from Norway, I mean, her name was Eva ("Ava") _ _ee_e (that's too many "e's" to be from America). So, I approached them after the service thinking, "Hey, I'm a TESOL major (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), I can totally teach this fine foreigner to speak English and some day marry this Norwegian Princess." Well, I was a bit taken back when I learned she wasn't from Norway, but that didn't mean I had to give up the rest of the plan. So, sure enough, I taught her English and married my "missing rib." Thus ends my recollection of first meeting Eva KK, now Eva KB.

- - -

Okay me again. I'm glad I got the dart gun out because I knew he'd be a heck of a lot funnier telling that story. So to continue on, I don't remember our initial meeting though I do remember sitting with his family and Shari once in church. The first time I remember actually talking to Terry was during spring break of my freshman year of college in 2002. I went out to the ranch to hang out with Shari for the day and Terry was also home for spring break. It had just snowed and Terry took Shari and I out behind the 4-wheeler in a giant sled. We had just a ton of fun. I even took a turn with Terry in the sled and talked to him about Lord of the Rings since I had just finished reading it and was crazy obsessed with it. I thought a Moody grad would know something about it. He knew hardly anything about it but I was majorly attracted to him nonetheless. Later that night Terry's friend Pat brought his snowmobiles out to the ranch and we four went gallivanting through the night on them - me with Terry and Shari with Pat. I can still remember how that felt. I ended up spending the night with Shari due to bad roads.

By the time I had to go back to school I had a meltdown because I liked Terry so much. I remember praying while I was driving back about how I didn't want to like a guy because I was trying to get past my obsessive desire for a boyfriend (I had never had one before and desperately wanted someone to love me). This desire had become something of an idol to me and I was working hard to trust God to care for my needs in His timing and in His way. I liked Terry quite a bit already but tried really hard not to think of him. After all, he was all the way in Chicago studying to be a missionary in China! There was no way it would ever, could ever, work out.

But he emailed me. He just "wanted to know" if I was planning on going to Sonshine Music Festival that coming summer with a group from the church. There I was trying to forget him but he actually seemed interested in me (that had never happened to me before). I was excited and yet trying hard to not get my hopes up.

When summer came, Terry was home from college for once. He had graduated the previous December - of 2001 - and had not gone to China straight away, not feeling ready. He worked the spring semester of 2002 in Chicago and came home to roof for his dad since he owned a roofing company. That summer we got to know each other. There was church and bible studies with his friend Adam who came back with him to live for the summer and other college age students. There were trips to McDonald's after bible study for ice cream and outings as a group with friends to other places. I was falling for him pretty fast and still not knowing if anything could ever work out or even if he did like me, all the while trying not to like him.

We did end up going to Sonshine that summer with some other college students. That was a strange trip. Terry was not quite himself and I was confused about my feelings for him. Later he told m he did like me a lot and felt like he was blowing every opportunity with me. He'd be super crazy and silly one moment and then turn around and be depressed. It was strange. So after we returned from Sonshine, I was confused for a bit but I became excited about him again very soon. He had me out to his house for a dinner with his friend Adam and his girlfriend Helena. Later Terry told me Helena made a pass at him even though she knew he was interested in me. He was so mad!

Finally, he took me on a proper date. To Culvers. We ate and talked. Afterwards we were sitting outside and he told me, "Well... I like you." And I said, "I like you too." And then we did cart wheels in the parking lot.

Still we didn't know how this thing could work - college, China, etc.. Terry talked to my dad about his serious intentions toward me (marriage) and he gave his blessing. I was initially very concerned Shari would hate me for dating her brother but she was happy for us! And so we began dating long distance since we both had to go back to school. I did my sophomore year in my undecided major at SDSU and he started grad school at Moody. We were nine hours apart. But that didn't stop us seeing one another. Terry drove to Brookings, SD to surprise me in October 2002. That's when we first said "I love you." I think I went to visit him in Chicago as well in the fall, which is a trip we did a few times. I would drive three hours to Minnesota and he'd drive six hours there to pick me up. Then we'd drive another six hours together back to Chicago. So all in all, Terry would drive 24 hours in one weekend to see me.

Here we are at Thanksgiving in Spearfish Canyon. We went with my family to find a Christmas tree. We were so silly though - we gave this photo to our families as a Christmas gift. We weren't even engaged! I guess there was no secret where we were headed!

After Christmas, things changed for me. Somehow, I started freaking out. I started over-thinking if we were right for each other. Whereas before, it was so very crystal clear to me and everyone else that we were supposed to be together, I started wondering "What if...?". I put us both through a very long, very hard ordeal. I've never been through anything harder than that time in my life. I don't know what came over me. I think it was partly my desire for perfection and control but also I think it was a lot of spiritual attacks. So from Christmas 2002 until we got married, things were complicated and very difficult.

Things never changed for Terry. He was still 100% sure about us. He flew me out to Chicago in February of 2003. Here we are at the movie Daredevil, which I didn't care for. I still liked Terry a ton - I loved him - but I was just so confused. I had never had a boyfriend and was over-thinking God's will. I made it into something very complicated where I had to jump through hoops to ensure that God would be nice to me and not bring bad things into my life if I made a mistake instead of accepting and enjoying the gift He gave me.

Whoops. I think this photo is from Fall 2002. We climbed SDSU's Campanile. We look so young and happy!

Over the Christmas holiday we spent a lot of time hanging out with one another's families. Here Terry is comforting me after a sister attack.

I even learned about branding cattle. I was a little shocked at the whole process.

We did a lot of bowling in Sturgis together.

In the Spring of 2003, we got engaged. Terry worked really hard at perfecting the day. He had received my dad's permission and organized everything perfectly. He had my friend SaraJane and her husband bring me out to the ranch on the pretense of taking photos of us (engagement photos...). After taking photos, SJ and Micah "went home"/to his grandparents house, Terry told me that he and his dad found something in the field that he wanted to show me. When he gave me a hug I noticed that his heart was beating quite fast.

I had my suspicions, but off in his Blazer we went and he parked us by this rock outcropping on his grampa's land - he and Shari had been hard at work up there the day before, as I found out later. He then instructed me to close my eyes while he dug something out of the backseat. I knew what was happening but I tried to pretend I didn't. He placed a wrapped box on my lap and when I opened it, there was a Bible with my name on it (it even had his last name with mine). Inside was a series of letters on the inside cover plus 10-15 verses marked with pieces of paper detailing sweet things about me. Next he had me close my eyes again while he did more digging around the backseat. As he was getting back in the front seat, he dropped something and I heard a very distinctive "ping!" sound. I smiled and shook my head because I knew he hadn't dropped a quarter like he said. He dropped the ring!

Terry came around to my side of the Blazer and carried me up the rocks with my eyes closed. When he stood me on my feet and I opened my eyes he was on his knee with a big rock behind him which he had inscribed "Eva will you marry me? 4/19/03" And then he asked me and I said yes and we hugged and he gave me a very beautiful solitaire diamond platinum ring. He got me exactly what I would have wanted. Then we want back to his parents house where everyone was waiting for us and then came back out to the rock where SaraJane took this photo.

So next we had to decide on the wedding. Terry wanted to do it right away and I would have also had I not been so messed up. He was so understanding and patient. We set the date for the following summer, in 2004. Poor Terry. But we both decided to move home with our parents to be closer to one another and for me to have more support. I don't know what I would have done without my parents. He did grad school by correspondence and I started nursing school in the spring of 2004.

Storybook Island fun before my brother's graduation.

Finally, we got married on June 19, 2004. I woke up on The Day at like 3am, unable to sleep anymore and anxious about everything. I got my Bible out, the one Terry had got me over a year before. I read through all of his little notes and wondered if he really still felt all of those sweet things for me. I prayed a lot. While getting ready before the wedding, my friend brought me a card from Terry. He said exactly what I needed to hear - how he still felt all those things he put in my Bible and that he would take care of me for our whole lives. I had to have my make-up re-done because I cried. My friend was like, "Can't you see how much you love him and how right this is?" He had put me at ease.

Our marriage ceremony was wonderful - very moving. I had only been to one wedding before and so had no idea how to plan a wedding. It went so wonderfully well and all of my anxieties were gone when Terry cried as I came down the aisle. Since then, all of my doubts and issues slowly went away, leaving me with overwhelming thankfulness that I did indeed marry Terry. It was and is the best decision I've ever made.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

organized play

Like I shared a little while ago, I have continual guilt concerning if my kids are busy "enough." But really, they entertain themselves just fine.

For example, here are all three playing Lego's together. Noah's quite creative with them and Samuel is just getting started with the big Lego's. Evie does whatever Noah does and he's a good example to follow. She's even looking at him. Perfect.

Noah made this stellar train track while I was reading a book last week.

Once the track was done, he moved on to organizing his cars.

This is very reminiscent of when he was just a baby, hardly over a year, when he began lining up his much smaller car collection. They were all perfectly in order then and now. Terry talked with Noah about how he might be a good engineer...

Monday, July 16, 2012

daddy slip n slide

Here is one of the reasons I fell in love with Terry: He's great with kids (I am not).

On Saturday Terry took Noah to the church and they worked on getting a basketball hoop cemented into the ground on the edge of the parking lot. When they got home we busted out the slip n slide since it was like a gazzillion degrees and let the kids go for it. After a short time of watching them he realized that they didn't know how to "slip n slide." So Terry just up and launches himself down the slide fully clothed. Then he pushed the kids down the slide and they all had a grand ol' time.

Noah is conspiring with Daddy how to do some mischief to Evie, who pretends she doesn't know what they're up to.

Samuel got up from his nap and was stripped down so he could enjoy the fun as well.

The fun ended as soon as he slipped and got wet.

He promptly came over to me for some love and I took a photo of him...

...before finding room for his wet diaper bottom on the side of my chair. He's like, "My momma."

While he'll sit with Daddy, he doesn't want him getting too close, apparently. ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the cast is off!

It's been a week and a half. I keep forgetting to post about Noah finally getting his cast off after 6 weeks. So, on July 2nd we went in and they got right to work cutting off his green cast, which had only been on for 2 weeks. But believe you me, that is plenty long enough for it to get stinky.

Next they x-rayed it a couple times before the actual doctor came in and declared him *mostly* cured. He said to take it easy for another 3 weeks - no trampoline jumping or bike riding or rough housing. The bone was mostly healed but needed to be free of the cast to finish healing.

Yay! He's free.

The day before I had taken both kids to Target to buy new suits and planned to surprise them after Noah's appointment with their first trip of the summer to the swimming pool. They were extremely excited and happy. And doesn't Noah look great in his toddler sunglasses holding his arm up like it's still broken? It took him a day or so to get used to using it again but he is very careful and I don't have to worry about him going off and breaking it again. Famous last words right? Well, we only have another week and a half before he'll be more officially healed and he can put on his bubble wrap to ride his bike again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a guilt complex

I gotta say, motherhood is hard.

Don't get me wrong, I like being a mommy. I love my kids.

But motherhood is way harder than I thought it would be. And for me, it's not because of the work and sacrifices involved. It's because of the guilt that comes along with it. I may not be speaking for everyone, but I'm certainly speaking for myself. (And FYI: I don't have any particular person in mind in my rant below. It's all in my own mind.)

I'm a sucker for guilt. I fall for it every single day even though I "know" it's a lie. My human nature tends to look around myself and compare to those around me. And I'm not the type of pride that sets myself above everyone else. I set myself below everyone else, well below.

Lately the guilt has surrounded a lack of busy-ness. I read this article last week which brought all these thoughts to the surface and I so I wanted to write about it.

We home school and so I'm home with the kids a lot. Furthermore, I'm introverted and it takes some work for me to call someone to hang out which in itself is difficult when you have to work around naps, etc.. So me and the kids end up just hanging out most days. My kids entertain themselves a lot. But every time I catch Noah day-dreaming, I feel a big surge of guilt. The kid has an active imagination and has done a lot of day-dreaming ever since he was itty bitty. I worry people will tease him and that it's proof that I don't keep him busy enough.

I "should be" keeping him busy. He "should be" involved in something more. He "shouldn't" day-dream so much. I "should be" more creative and crafty. He "shouldn't" ever be (gasp) bored, because that's like a mortal sin or something.

Can't we ever just be ourselves? It's always "should, ought, do, don't." Does everything have to be my fault? Isn't it okay and natural for Noah to be a little quirky? Is that my fault? Isn't it okay for me to be shy? Isn't it okay for Noah to day-dream and be himself? Isn't okay for us to not be busy?

But here's the thing. It's all a lie. I think it's okay to have time on our hands. I think it's okay for my kids to find ways to entertain themselves and not rely on me as if I'm the party planner. I think it's okay not to have play dates and events scheduled every day. I think it's okay not to please everyone. I like life a little slower. I like peace. Perhaps that makes me lazy. Okay. I like being lazy if that's what you must call it. I like being not busy.

I like being a mom. I love my kids a ton. I just think it would be great if there wasn't so much guilt. I sincerely hope I don't guilt other people by setting up high expectations for them. Though I probably do so, unknowingly, since I set those same unrealistic, ungraceful expectations for myself. Well, poop on that. It's all crap.

Either God loves me the way I am, or He doesn't. He either accepts me the way I am without changing a darn thing, or He doesn't. Either I'm forgiven for my sins, shortcomings and mistakes, or I'm not. He's either disappointed, or He's not. Jesus was enough, or He wasn't. It can't be both ways.

He does love me the way I am. He does accept me the way I am. He has forgiven me - even the sins I'm probably doing right now. He is not disappointed. Jesus is enough.

Darn tootin. If only the guilt complex would shut up now.


And since the author of that article said it all so much better than me, I copied and pasted it here because I think you should read it.

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”

It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; thiswas the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.

Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.

The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Not long ago I Skyped with a friend who was driven out of the city by high rent and now has an artist’s residency in a small town in the south of France. She described herself as happy and relaxed for the first time in years. She still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain. She says it feels like college — she has a big circle of friends who all go out to the cafe together every night. She has a boyfriend again. (She once ruefully summarized dating in New York: “Everyone’s too busy and everyone thinks they can do better.”) What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this, any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam or stadium trampling or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school — it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’ĂȘtre was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day. And if you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American Wing at the Met or ogle girls in Central Park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long, I will say, what time?

But just in the last few months, I’ve insidiously started, because of professional obligations, to become busy. For the first time I was able to tell people, with a straight face, that I was “too busy” to do this or that thing they wanted me to do. I could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon. Except that I hate actually being busy. Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve. It got more and more intolerable until finally I fled town to the Undisclosed Location from which I’m writing this.

Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. There is no TV. To check e-mail I have to drive to the library. I go a week at a time without seeing anyone I know. I’ve remembered about buttercups, stink bugs and the stars. I read. And I’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months. It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.

More From Anxiety

Read previous contributions to this series.

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. My old colleague Ted Rall recently wrote a column proposing that we divorce income from work and give each citizen a guaranteed paycheck, which sounds like the kind of lunatic notion that’ll be considered a basic human right in about a century, like abolition, universal suffrage and eight-hour workdays. The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.

Perhaps the world would soon slide to ruin if everyone behaved as I do. But I would suggest that an ideal human life lies somewhere between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world’s endless frenetic hustle. My role is just to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play. My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

the 4th

Sometimes we're not the best planners. Well, maybe most times.

We almost decided to go and visit my brother over the fourth of July holiday but decided against it because we didn't plan enough in advance. Yeah. So the night before the 4th we decided we'd like to go fishing. Terry's dad came along and we went to Terry's childhood lake in the hills and tried our luck.

If you'll notice, Evie is wearing no shoes. It's not because she prefers the feel of grass on her feet, it's because she forgot her shoes at home. I had enough to worry about packing without having to remember her shoes. So she went without and did pretty good, aside from us having to carry her over the hot concrete and some of the rougher gravel.

Samuel did not do so hot. He's got a temper issue. Temper tantrum? Rage? Toddlerhood? I don't know. After this day I decided that more severe and consistent discipline was in order. His tantrums began when I took some raw corn away from him and he just would not stop screaming. Doesn't he look happy? Some Coke did help... It always helps Daddy as well.

Looks so idyllic doesn't it? It was, overall, pretty enjoyable. Though next time, Samuel is not coming.

We only caught two fish. This is the first - a suckerfish of some kind.

Here's the only keeper, a Rainbow Trout. Both fish were caught with Evie's pole with worms. No one else at the lake caught anything while we were there so that made us feel better. We joked that this fish was committing suicide because he was so lonely. Or that he was a scout to see what the heck the racket was about. We actually ate this fish that night at my folks. It was delish! It was a good lesson for our kids about where food comes from - "That's the fish that was swimming in the lake?!"

After a couple hours of continued whining to go over to the beach, we caved. Grampa stayed behind to continue fishing without any luck.

Samuel's mood did get a little better when there was more to do.

The kids quite enjoyed the dirty water and beach. I, however, did not venture in. I left that to Terry.

Noah and Evie enjoyed splashing each other and running in and out of the water.

Noah is apologizing to Samuel after splashing him. The poor little guy was asleep moments after getting strapped into his car seat. He was so tired.

Spunky little girl squirrel.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

happy 8th to us

I've been meaning to make a blog post about me and Terry's story to commemorate our eight year anniversary. I haven't got to it yet so I'll just do a post of what we did for our anniversary, which technically took place on June 19th, while Terry was on the Middle School bike trip.

So, a week later, we got our stuff together and made big plans. In the past, we've always just done a dinner and maybe a movie. But since we had so many outdoor options available, we decided to go play in the hills. That, and Terry wanted to show me part of the trail they biked the week before.

So my folks watched our kiddies for a day and we drove up to Hill City. We biked up the Mick from trail marker 61 to 73 and went through two tunnels and then turned around and came back. Here we are, happy to have made it halfway through to the two tunnels.

And here we were hardening our wills to turn around and go uphill.

Once we got back up the hill we stopped for some more water at the Redfern marker and then it was downhill happiness from then on. We did about 25 miles and my butt hurt! I had never biked that far before. On Terry's trip, he did more than 30 miles every day and tent camped so I pretty much think he (and the other middle schoolers and leaders) are awesome.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast that night (Coyote Blues Village B & B) and it was great! They even upgraded us to the nicest room. We ate dinner across the highway at another bed and breakfast's bistro and then went to back to Hill City for some ice cream and a walk. We also bought some fudge and I had to suppress a giggle when the owner told us that we should come back and buy more fudge in the morning to help us on our hike because it was good energy fuel. Come on!

The following morning we had a wonderful breakfast and conversation with a couple from Ireland. We enjoyed just listening to their accents. Then we drove to Custer State Park and hiked Harney Peak (the highest peak east of the Rockies), which was about 6 miles round trip. Here's a photo of us at the lookout on the way up - we were attempting to stay ahead of a huge group of slow hikers. :)

And here's us atop the tower trying not to blow away.

Stinking pine beetles are eating all the trees! Still a beautiful view. Unfortunately it wasn't as clear as normal because of a couple wildfires that were going.

The tower. It used to be a wildfire lookout station. We ate our Subway sandwiches and hiked back down because I had a serious craving for pop. Weird.

We were almost at the bottom when we looked back and saw the tower where we had come. We are awesome. And we had a great anniversary!