Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hallucinations and Other Fond Memories

You know what I miss?

Ally McBeal!

The show was just so hilarious, so ridiculous, that you couldn't help but watch it.

I stumbled across this video, and it brought back all of my fond Ally McBeal memories...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

You Lookin' At Me????

Total goofs, they are...these children 'o mine.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


* This post was originally published July 23, 2007 on my bebo page.

I was reminded today about the importance of having an attitude of gratitude.

It's so easy to be thankful for a list of good things in my life when my house is peaceful and my kids are being good. It's easy to sit down on Thanksgiving Day grateful for many things, then go home that night and be grouchy and miserable. What's difficult is being thankful for the blessings in life when things are not going smoothly. But I know that's what God expects of me, as His daughter. If I want others to see Jesus in me, the noticeable difference will be if I choose to be grateful during times of stress and struggle. If I choose to be joyful and thankful for the 'un'blessings in my life.

So I will praise the Lord for the tiredness I feel today, because I know there are many women with no children to keep them up at night. I will give thanks as I listen to my husband's snores at night, because there are wives whose husbands are away working, or fighting for freedom, or who have run away and left their families. I will smile and enjoy the constant commentary on 'families these days,' because I am one of the few who still has a strong, healthy, living Grandma. I will crank up the praise music over the bickering of my children in the van, because we are so blessed to have a vehicle (and one that fits our entire family, no less). I will scrub toilets and floors with a smile upon my face, for the Lord has provided us with a beautiful house that we can call home.

No more time to be wasted complaining and grumbling. Every little 'un'blessing that I might find to complain about exists only because of the abundance He has provided. Thanks be to God that my stomach is never empty, my clothes are not tattered, my house is heated, the biggest worry my children have is who's turn it is next. God is so good...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jesus Christ, Superstar!

I was amazed to see this while driving through the Montana mountains. We were flying along at 75 mph, when I gasped and pointed. though we were on a winding road with guard rails along the side, Pat gave in to my request that he pull over so I could get a non-blurry picture.

Jesus, on the mountain. Beautiful. Breath-taking.

It did take some explaining for the kids to realize that this wasn't the real Jesus, but I think they got it. Jesus is in our hearts, and we'll see Him in Heaven. This is a statue. At least I thought they got it, until we got home and Grandma asked about their trip. Shea, her little-girl voice filled with awe and excitement, says, "We saw Jesus, Grandma!"

Apparently, the old fella who owns this mountain (and the toxic mine within), decided to round up some sponsors and assemble a 200-foot tall statue of Jesus (he wanted the statue to be composed of Italian marble and lit at night, but I have no idea if this is the case). His plans included a Chapel, and a crucifix, to the tune of $40 million dollars. Again, no idea where he's at with those plans. For the whole story, click right here.

All I can say is this - thank-you, Mr. Arman!!! What a beautiful reminder of Who is watching over us, of Who created those amazing mountains.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Hate Hormones

If my girls are anything like me on hormones, look out world. I am so moody. Grouchy, teary, pathetic. Poor Pat!

Now that I've told you mine... What's your secret problem that no one but your hubby knows?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Couldn't Have Said It Better...

There have been times in my life when I've found myself confused (surprise, surprise).

We're supposed to love and serve God first, then our husbands, then our children, and so on... But what happens when those things conflict? Then what do we do? Who do we follow?

Here's a practical example for you. Early in our marriage, I was attending Church and (tepidly) following the Lord. Pat wasn't there yet - he wasn't sure about all that 'religious' stuff. I sat in on a powerful sermon about tithing, and felt called to obedience by it. But the money in our account wasn't put there by me, and we had always agreed that expenses over a certain amount needed to be unanimous. To say that Pat wasn't particularly excited about my idea of giving a significant portion of his earnings to a Church he seldom attended is an understatement.

So what was a girl to do? For weeks I obsessed over this - obey God's Word and defy my husband? Honour my husband and disobey God? I did eventually work this out...I found other ways to tithe (of my time and talents) and waited for God to work out the money thing...which he has.

Every now and then, someone asks me about a similar situation. I can look up some handy scripture references for them (Ephesians 5:22-24, I Peter 3:1-5), but it can be so difficult to explain in a way that makes sense!

So, for anyone who's ever asked that question - married or not, in a Christian marriage, unequally yoked - anyone who's ever wondered how to make sense of the confusion, here is a fantastic post that illustrates what God is calling us to (as Christian women, wives, mothers).

Read it, I assure you, this is quality advice!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Raggedy Ann *updated

* updated: 9:43pm...

On my way to bed. Thank-you for the encouragement, prayers, scripture verses, and love. Within moments of writing this post I felt more peace and patience.

I watched an old version of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" with the kids while eating popcorn for supper, I bathed them and tucked them in, then I played with the puppy and we both got some good exercise, I savoured a glass of wine, and I'm off to bed before 10.

It was a good evening. I checked my sitemeter, and saw that there were 10 hits within the first hour after I posted - your prayers totally worked and blessed me! Thank-you.

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel spent? Worn out? Just like Raggedy Ann?

That's me today. It's been a rough day. A long day. A day I'd like to forget. One that would go down in the motherhood hall of shame.

Today, I had no patience, no fun, no snuggles.

I could use prayers. If you've got some good scriptures to share about anger, patience, love, parenting - I'll take those, too. Thanks.

Soon it will be bedtime. I should probably hit the hay as soon as I'm certain the kids are asleep. As I tell my kids, my cranky attitude is saying that I'm tired and need more sleep.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You Likee My New Lookie?

This new look is courtesy of Judi at Doodlebug Designs. Isn't it amazing?!

Christie was hosting a weight loss challenge ("The Summer of Me") that I joined up for. Each week Christie was offering the awesomest of prizes. Hey, it's my blog and I'll use bad made-up words if I want to. One week, a new design was up for grabs. How my name got pulled I'll never know! But I cannot tell you how excited I was, because I have been desperate for a new look (unfortunately way too cheap to pay for it). :)

* Side note: Interested in blogging your weight loss and winning super-cool prizes? Join Christie's "Hot for the Holidays" contest.

So let me tell you about Judi. She is cute - adorable, in fact. I haven't met her, but I can tell by her picture on her profile and her voice that she's utterly adorable. Judi has the sweetest, most soothing southern accent. Let me tell y'all how much I just love them southern gals! Love 'em. You have no idea.

Last year at our women's retreat, the speaker was Shannon Ethridge. She also has one of these lovely accents. I followed her around all weekend swooning whenever she spoke. I'm in love with the southern accent like nobody's business, y'all! And apparently I've just been bitten by a bug that causes me to try to be a southern gal in writing (because unfortunately when I try it in talking I sound like a fool). Sorry, that was another side note.

Anyhooo.... The point was that talking to Judi reminded me of sweet Shannon, which made me love her even more!

Judi was such a joy to work with. She is so patient, and tried each and every one of my 'interesting' little suggestions, until I ultimately returned to what she had originally done. She never even said "I told you so." She is also fast! I mean, we talked one day, she had it done the next, tweaked it on the third, then put 'er up! Just like that. I've even got a favicon! Cool.

And this woman is a multi-tasking mom. She's got a hubby and some kiddos, an out-of-the house job, and her bloggy design job. I think, though, Judi would love to toss that out-of-the-house job...maybe we can talk her into it if you all (resisting the urge) get your beautiful bloggys designed by her, too!

Come on, I know you all want it. We all want it. The coveted designer blog. Just click here. Check it out. Reasonable rates...Professional design...Friendly AND adorable... Click here. Do it! Tell her I sent you. And while you're at it, would you mind commenting?! Seriously people - give me some love, give Judi some love, oooh and ahhh!

Thank-you, Judi! It's a masterpiece, and I love it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Newest Addition

Daisy thinks Kai is a puppy. Kai thinks Daisy is a baby. They seem to find nothing disgusting or unhygienic in sharing toys and food. Mommy has the sanitizer very handy!

The big kids are enjoying their puppy. They are all learning how to command her and teach her to stay "off" rather than running and screaming.

Gosh, all this running and playing is exhausting!

On a side note, I believe that we may have found the smartest dog - ever! She is doing GREAT with the house training. She will obey "off" and "sit" coming from any member of our family. She is even learning "come" and "go to bed" (but only for me so far - I'm the big boss, lol). And she's not even 10-weeks old yet! Feel free to leave many comments on the amazingness of our puppy...these will help me during the days when she is naughty. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Death By Melting

Have you ever imagined how the Wicked Witch of the West must have felt?

That's me. Right now. Melting.

Leave it to summer to show up just in time for school to start. Thanks a lot, Murphy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sharing the Love

Selecting blogs to pass these awards on to was more difficult than I expected!

I'm supposed to choose 5 for one award and 7 for the other. For obvious reasons I don't spend time reading too many blogs, and many I do read I'm more of a 'lurker.' So, if you receive this award from me and you're thinking, "who is this odd person?" I will understand. But you may as well write up an acceptance speech and pass it along. I mean, an award is an award, right?!

The Arte y pico award is passed on to those who inspire others with their creative energy and talents in writing, artwork, design or contributions to the blogging community. I would like to pass this award to the following bloggers:

Jenny @ The Wagner Family. She and her hubby have five beautiful kidlets, and together they are raising them to be Godly young people. She has many tips and tidbits for other parents (and 2 other blogs totally focussed on parenting), and she has personally taken her time to email me some amazing suggestions for dealing with sibling rivalry. (Hopefully she'll post those on her blog soon. *wink)

Angie @ Bring the Rain. Angie and her husband have been blessed with four darling daughters, one of whom is in Heaven. She has openly and honestly blogged throughout her difficult pregnancy and loss, faithfully drawing others to the Lord with every word. Her writing is real and sometimes raw, and her heart is poured into every post.

Jenni @ One Thing. Jenni is mother to t-w-e-l-v-e children! Uh-huh. So the ways she inspires are obvious! But Jenni is also a gifted writier with a knack for finding the humour in everything. We could all learn a lot from her. :)

Dori @ Your Word is Life to Me. I love visiting Dori's blog, because I can be assured that there are words of wisdom and encouragement posted each day. Her blog blesses me, and I hope you, too!

Fred and Ethan @ One Project Closer. Yes, I do read stuff that is not written by moms! These guys (and their wives) blog their way through home improvement. Since we live in a perpetual state of renovation, I love to learn how to do the job right from these guys. This summer they're hosting some 'Before and After' posts by guest bloggers - and with each post they are donating $25 to Habitat for Humanity. Good guys, and smart, too!

Here's what you do with it:
- Pick five blogs you consider deserving of this award, whether for creativity, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language.
- Name each nominee and link to his/her blog.
- Show the award and include the name of the person who presented you with this award. (And link to his/her blog.)
- Link to the Arte y pico blog so everyone knows the origin of this award.
- Post these rules.

I'll just mention again that I received this award from Bobbie @ 40 Shades of Pink. She's awesome! I love Mondays because I can steal all of her meal plan ideas. Bobbie is encouraging and inspiring, which is why she was the recipient of this award previously.

The Brillante Weblog Premio 2008 award is going to the following:

Mary @ Not Before 7. Mary rules. She is a great mom, she's funny, she brings us Tiny Talk Tuesday every week, and I can't go a day without checking up on her!

Judi @ Doodlebug Designs. Judi is a talented blog designer, as you can see by her completed projects (and my new, gorgeous page). If you've been dying to get your own look for your blog, she's got the skills to make it happen! I also love how willing she is to offer her talent for free for a good cause.

Kris @ Doulangel. Kris is a new doula, dedicated to natural birth and related issues. She's also a wife and mother, and a fun friend. All these parts of her are mixed up on her blog, giving a great mix of laughter and food for thought.

Kristin @ One Sock at a Time. All I can say is - she is the real deal. Homeshcooling mom and wife, aging parent, drop-dead gorgeous. Someone I could probably really resent if she weren't so darn sweet. :)

Mary @ Owlhaven. Another mother to many, she's got 10 kids - 4 by birth and 6 by love. I enjoy finding out how they balance it all and keep things going smoothly. And it's always nice to get a few laughs!

Cindy @ Still His Girl. I've enjoyed reading Cindy for some time. She has the most beautiful children you'll ever lay eyes on (next to mine, of course), with the most beautiful thing about them all is their unabashed love of Jesus.

Scott @ Honey I Fed the Kids. This is Cindy's very hilarious husband. Go ahead and try to read without laughing out loud - I dare you! Great stuff, people, really!

Here's what you do with this one:
- Put the logo on your blog.
- Link to the person you received your award from.
- Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
- Put links to those blogs on your site.
- Leave messages on the blogs you've nominated.

Another thank-you out to Christie (it's Christie, not Christine, don't mess it up like her hairdresser does) @ Baby Tea Leaves for sending me this award. If you're looking to lose some weight before the Christmas season, you definitely want to see what Christie's got goin' on...

Friday, August 15, 2008

This Is Why I Do It

When I started out writing this blog, I wasn't really sure what I was doing or why I was doing it.

There was a little resistant and rebellious part of me that didn't want to take up with this new fad. Only recently have I realized how this part of myself has been allowed to make far too many decisions on behalf of the whole me. Ultimately, I think the seeds of rebellion sprout up and take root in those of us who live under 'fear of rejection.' If we disqualify ourselves from the 'in crowd' by being opposite, they will have no opportunity to reject us, right?

Then there was the little competitive voice in my head telling me to do it, and do it better than everyone else. To be honest, this voice has always frightened me a bit, because it is the echo of 'fear of failure.' If being the best equals success, not being the best equals failure, right?

Deep with me, though, is another meaning. Something far greater than being out or fitting in, success or failure, rebellion or competition. This part of me, this deeper meaning, overrides my fears. This is the Holy Spirit within me, and He is my Counsellor. He leads me on the right path, tells me when to turn to the left or the right. For reasons I could not understand, I sensed the a nudging to go ahead and start a blog.

My mind tried to rationalize this heart nudge. Maybe God will use my blog to grow an amazing and wonderful ministry! (Whoa, back off competitive Tyler.) What if no one ever reads it? Maybe I've been getting prideful and God wants to humble me. (Ease up, insecure Tyler.)

Ultimately, my heart just told me to be me. Be real. Be open. Whether the Lord used what I wrote to bless and encourage others, or whether He used it to grow me. The end result isn't usually what matters with God. More often than not, He calls us to walk in obedience, and that's the real purpose. Not what will happen as a result, simply the fact that we are doing as He asks. So, I blogged.

Through this blogging thing, I have been blessed. No - I do not get 10,000 hits per day or 50 comments on every post. I'm not the best. The most beautiful thing about that is - I'm okay with it! A few people read what I write, they comment, I reply, and friendships are formed. I have emailed these new friends for advice on blogging, marriage, and child-raising. They have even emailed me for advice sometimes! (How crazy is that?!)

I may not be the most popular girl in the blogosphere, but a few people like me an think I'm doing an all right job. A couple of them even decided to 'award' me for my random ramblings. Really, a girl can't ask for anything better!

Here they are. I'll let you admire them for a little while before I prop them up on my mantle (kidding, I don't have a mantle). One of the special things about these awards is that they need to be passed on to other bloggers. Come back later today (after I've cleaned my bathrooms) to see who I'm passing them on to...

Here's what Bobbie quoted about the 'Arte y pico' award she sent my way: The award is given to those who inspire others with their creative energy and talents in writing, artwork, design or contributions to the blogging community. (And to the ones I am passing it onto, I would like to add.... just being generally inspiring women.) This award was created here.

And then Christie sent me the 'Brillante Weblog' award.

I know it's really just a couple girlfriends saying, "hey, I like readin' your stuff." I'm not on the Grammys or the Literary Guild Awards being honoured for my super-human blog amazingness. I think that's part of what makes it so special. It's just God's way of telling me, "see, I told you you should try it." I believe it was Andreas Cappellanus (thank-you Google) who said if out of all mankind one finds a single friend, [s]he has found something more precious than any treasure.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Children Aren't All That Different

We've been reading up on training our puppy, because we want to ensure that she is well-behaved now and as a large, adult dog. Our favourite source for information is "Dogs for Dummies" (2nd Edition) by Gina Spadafori. I'm finding that many of the tips for puppy training can just as easily be applied to the children...

#1 - Resolve that you must train your dog, and that training is not a one-shot deal, but an intrinsic and ongoing part of the promise you make to your dog when you bring her into your life.

#2 - You should always be thinking of how you're molding this little baby into the confident, obedient dog of your dreams. It takes socialization, and it takes training. And most of all, it takes time.

#3 - Never let your puppy do anything you wouldn't want a grown dog to do.

#4 - Remember that preventing bad habits is easier than fixing them later.

#5 - If you want your puppy to learn, you need to be consistent about what's acceptable behavior and what's not. Follow through with the ground rules, every time. No letting things slide because you're tired [or] because he's cute.

#6 - Loosening the rules is easier than tightening them. Once your puppy is a well-mannered dog, you can invited him up on the couch or teach him to put his paws on your shoulder and give you a big slurpy kiss. The distinction between him doing what he wants and him doing what he wants with your permission is a big one.

#7 - If your puppy has been running around for a long time and just seems bratty, he may be tired. If that's the case, put him down for a nap in his crate. Ignore his fussing. Chances are he'll be asleep in a few minutes.

Some of the best parenting advice out there, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Thanks to Mary for hosting Tiny Talk Tuesday each week, without fail.

Driving in a vehicle with five kids for eight days gets you really listening to the things they say...

Megan (5) about the brand-new portable DVD player with 2 screens - "That is OFF THE HOOK!!!" Seriously, where do they come up with this stuff?!

Shea (3), broken-hearted that the girls in the row behind her wouldn't play with her, "They not be my buddy." Aw, I would've even felt bad for her had it not been for the wailing that followed.

Abbey (6) really bonded with one of her cousins, A. She may have a slight crush, as it seems she thinks he hung the moon. All we heard her say, for the whole three days driving home, "A says this...A says that." If anyone disagreed (including parents), she would grow quite insistent. We finally just gave up. If A says it's true, then it must be so... I also noticed this phenomenon with the Kindergarten teacher. When did everyone else become the expert and I became the 'dumb mom?'

And my personal favourite...

Braeden (10) discussing driving. Braeden asks Dad if he can have a Mustang when he's old enough to drive. A teasing debate ensues about whether Mustangs really are 'just for girls' as Dad insists, or the 'coolest cars ever' in Braeden's humble opinion. When the goofiness settled down, Dad (referring to an old rusty Ford pick-up parked behind our garage) tells Braeden he can have his truck when he turns 16. Braeden responds with more excitement than we could have imagined, shrieking and 'woohoo'ing and bouncing up and down. He says, "Dad, you rock! Can I have your job, too?!" About an hour later, once Pat and I had wiped the tears from our eyes and caught our breath, he explained to Braeden that he wasn't referring to that truck (his work truck). Braeden's disappointment was palpable, "Bummer, dude."

Monday, August 11, 2008

All Better Now

The cure has been successful. I no longer have even the most fleeting desire for another baby. Not sure what did it, exactly. Could be the 4am pee time. Maybe it's the constant loud, deep "no" I need to repeat 4000 times in a 2-hour period - to both babies. Perhaps the sheer exhaustion of coordinating 8 bodies in one small house, one of who's movements are reminiscent of Tigger (you know, "bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!"). Totally cured.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Home, Some Bitter Sweet, Something New, and Other Stuff

If you've been wondering why I went AWOL, you can ask my washer and dryer - they've been taking up all my time. We're home and settling back into life. Sort of.

We received medical confirmation this week that Pat's 'procedure' back in December worked. With that news comes both sadness and excitement. I'm sad to know that my womb will not carry any more children, that I will not have another teeny-tiny baby to hold to my breast. But there's excitement in moving on to a new phase in our family. A phase where each milestone reached is the last - the last first step, the last first word, the last time I pack a diaper bag. And each of those lasts (though sad) brings us new freedom as a family. I'm excited at the prospect of visiting Disney with our kids (a few years in the future), where all family members can enjoy the time and no one is confined to a stroller. How cool will that be?! No more wondering or worrying, no more getting hopes up, no more wasted money on pregnancy tests. I can finally work on losing the weight FOR GOOD, without the dreaded thought that I'm losing it only to gain again. Bittersweet moments...

Since I will soon be baby-less (Kai is walking pretty well these days, soon he'll be going to college), we decided it was a good thing to focus on the positives. To help me stay focused on the positives, our family went out and purchased ourselves a permanent reminder of how demanding babies are. Daisy Fluffy-Wuffy Rowan is a beautiful eight-week old Golden Retriever. (I chose the first name, Abbey insisted on choosing the middle name.) Pat is sitting beside me right now reading "Dogs for Dummies" so that he can take care of the house-training. Please Lord don't let him be called away for work for the next month... Everyone thinks she's adorable, except Malakai who is very focused on how yummy her puppy food tastes.

And - I am just dying to go to Church tomorrow!!!! It's been two weeks, and I feel like I'm starving to death. I have been keeping up on my Bible study book, but it's just not the same as teaching from our pastor. I am so fed by corporate worship, scriptural teaching, and fellowship with other believers. Can. Not. Wait. Seriously!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On the Road Again *edited

* Now that I can type on a keyboard, I'll have you know that I was not swearing at you in this post. I was typing on Pat's BLACKBERRY and I was TIRED. Oh, and apparently I prefer to use the comma (couldn't find the apostrophe key).

Here I am, typing with my thumbs on Pat's B"*9'!233). We,re in Montana. I have been trying to figure out how to do this all week. Now that I,ve got it I have nothing to say. This has been the most fun ever - but man am I (-325. Cannot wait to snuggle up in my own bed. Sigh. See ya soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Big Bang?

Have you ever heard of the "Big Bang Theory?" I'm certain I won't do it justice, but my understanding is that, basically, the earth and all things on it came into existence at one moment in time. This moment was a massive, cataclysmic explosion in outer space. One moment there is nothing but empty space. The next... Crash, boom, bang - earth exists, plant life exists, animals exist, people exist.

The interesting thing about this theory (for me, at least) is that proponents of it claim that it is the only logical scientific way of explaining things. Many people (at least those I've met) who believe in the "Big Bang" are those you would consider scientists - well educated, logical, analytical.

Now, I don't want to get into an argument of intellect. I haven't done all the research and can't back my beliefs with "cold, hard evidence." But then, neither can the scientists! I may have lost a lot of my book learning in my years of mothering, but I'm certain I recall one basic principal along the lines of it takes matter to create matter. Don't quote me on that, though. You get my drift, I'm sure. The big bang doesn't seem particularly scientific.

Personally, I believe in creation. There is a God - ONE God - who is mighty and powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent. He created the earth, the creatures, the plants, and the people. He created it all for His own enjoyment. He enjoys relationship, desires relationship, and created the earth and all things on it so that they can be in relationship with Him.

I don't have scientific proof (though I have heard some good solid evidence that seems to support creation), but I do have this....

The desert. Wide open spaces filled with deep, dry heat. Winds gusting over the lands. Stark, yet beautiful.

The ocean. Water on the earth meets water on the sky. Crashing waves pummel giant cliffs, shaping them into jutting rock formations. Tides moving back and forth, changing the shoreline moment by moment.

The forest. Towering trees dance and cast their shadows on the inhabitants below. Leaves reach for the skies, roots dig to the springs hidden within the earth. Ever growing and changing.

The mountains. Giants, pressing heavenward, pushed up from the earth below. Snow-capped peaks on top, lush valleys and beaches below. Majestic. Incomparable. Unfathomable.

In my heart, in my spirit, there is no other explanation. All this indescribable beauty could only have been placed here by a Divine Creator's loving hands.

Not at all scientific, but plain, simple truth nonetheless. Big bang? I think not.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lots of Vacation Pics, part 2

Tentatively touching the starfish at the Seattle museum.

I think you know this famous bridge. Amazing architecture!

The Oregon shoreline. Their pants got all wet playing in the surf, and being the rednecks that we are, we hung them out the window while driving to get them dry. Classy, eh?

Our spacious cabin. Home sweet home.

There was lots of this while we drove. Sweetness. What a good little traveller.

Lots of Vacation Pictures, part 1

Dutch Bros Coffee. Mmmmmm. We had to take a pic of the funny spout - felt like I was drinking out of a sippy cup. There are little drive-through coffee stands all over - not quite like Tim Horton's - more personable and quaint. But Dutch Bros (mostly in Oregon and northern California) was by far the best! Now accepting investors to open a branch in Red Deer...

The beheading of Dad. In the torture chamber of the big castle in the Enchanted Forest. If you're ever near Revelstoke, BC this is a fun place to visit - it's all the fairy tale characters built right into the natural forest. The kids had a BLAST!

On our first day in Reno, Pat's brother was golfing in the Pro-Am (that's a tournament where each professional golfer does a round with a group of amateurs). Pat was the caddy, and did an awesome job (especially considering he felt like death warmed over due to a killer head cold). Their team, with pro golfer Robert Gamez, won at 18 under par!

This evacuation sign is by far the most hilarious thing I have ever seen!

All for you, my dedicated readers, all for you. :)

Admiring the Takkakaw Falls from afar. It was so great to get up close and feel the spray - beautiful!

You may have noticed the random order of these pictures. That's due to the pain I experience when trying to manipulate the mouse on this laptop. Maybe I should make a game out of guessing the correct order...with a prize...something super-cool. Whatcha think?!

More to come...