Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's been far too long.

This week has been a long week. I made a post on Tuesday and everything after that was just a blur until today. I started getting a little cold/allergy "thing" about that time so we'll blame my lack of post on that! :)

Helen is learning her body parts and is able to point to some of them now! She definately knows her eyes, nose, hair, ears, and belly button (which we refer to as a "boley holey.") I know it's a normal developmental process of a child to eventually learn body parts, but to see it in action makes me glad God knows what he's doing and allows little me to be a part of it.

She's also learned how to climb just about everything in our house. This week, I think it was Thursday, I got Helen up and got her ready so we could go to work. I put her down so she could go play in the living room while I was fixing her breakfast and getting our bags ready. Next thing I know, there's no noise in the house, except the noise I was making.......UH OH. Never a good sign. I come around the corner in the living room, and don't see Helen. (Ok...) I checked my bedroom, and she's not in there. Well, I come back into the living room foyer and what do I see....

Yep, a second attempt at the octopus painting. I put it up on top of the table in the dining room where she "couldn't reach or see it...." Well, we live and learn. I knew it wouldn't be long until she started getting up there. It was so cute seeing her standing up there just working all by herself. Just a big (little) girl. I hated to make her leave it, but we had to go to work.

I have decided that climbing and exploring are her two favorite things. She doesn't care for TV, she doesn't make a fuss for any toys, she likes to flip through books and look at all the pictures, but other than that, she'd rather be outside. I saw this in a One Step Ahead catalog this week and I'm hoping we can get one. I don't know if we'll really get it because it's a little pricey, but I really like it. It's for 1-3 year-olds. And two can be on it at the same time. She can climb and swing and I don't have to worry about her falling to her death. What do yall think?

Friday we came home and about the time I got home and was about to put dinner on, we got a call from Korey and Amanda asking us out to dinner!!! YEA!! It was a welcomed escape from the blah dinner I had planned. We went out to Sonia's Mexican Restaurant here in Winder and YUMMY! It hit the spot! I love that place. We came home, put Helen to bed, and then I went to bed. I know, in bed that early shouldn't be allowed, but I was beat.

Saturday Brian and I got to babysit Nathan our nephew. Here he is all vogue with his beautiful parents...

We decided to take he and Helen to Conyers to the 27th Cherry Blossom Festival. We had heard on the news that it was going to rain in the afternoon and be a little cool. So we dressed accordingly. (Stupid weather) It was warm and sunny and we didn't bring a drop of sunscreen! We started shedding clothes long before the first hour was passed. We had the kids in the strollers and they had a blast. Unfortuately I didn't bring my camera, I know, very stupid. I completely forgot it. But I got a few pics on my phone, so I hope I can get them off of it and post them for everyone to see a few shots.

They had a whole section set up just for kids. They had 10 BIG moon-walk jumping things. They were all in different shapes and sizes, some were slides and some were obstacle courses and some were just to jump. I thought Nathan would be all about those, but Helen liked them so much more. He only wanted to do one of them, and the rest of the time he just wanted to ride the little train. We couldn't stay very long because unless you are a bigger kid, jumping and sliding gets old after about the second or third one. And if you are a parent that goes in with the little kid, you get tired after the first! (I'm so getting old. I can't believe I just admitted to that)

The festival was mostly for grown ups, but the coordinators of the Cherry Blossom Festival really worked hard making it suitable for kids. Most of the stuff was just booths set up for shopping and food and knick-knacks. I could have bought up the entire place of funnel cakes, but I restrained. I didn't even eat one.

Lastly, before I close this post, I wanted to share with you a gross and yet, hilarous picture of my nutty daughter eating a slice of bread. She was enjoying it so much (or maybe just starving) that she started shoving huge pieces in her mouth. She didn't choke or anything, but she was hilarous. Kind of like Noah and his muffins, Jenny. Anyway, here you go. It's not very lady-like, but seeing the stuff in between her teeth is just funny....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Photo opp-OUT for Noah

Since we visited Prattville this weekend, I was hoping to get a cute picture of Helen with Noah, Jenny's youngest son. He and Helen are only about 5 weeks apart in age and Jenny got him the cutest little outfit for Easter. It just so happens that Helen's dress coordinated with Noah's duds.

After services were over, I walked over to Brandon and asked if I could get Noah's picture and he hesitated for maybe half a second and said "SURE!" Well, I have hesitated that way before. A parent hesitates that way when he/she wants to say yes, when they know (out of intuition or just plain common sense) that it's never gonna happen with "this kid." Then, you agree to the request, but before your brain can process all of this, there forms that hesitation. If you are a parent, I hope you know what I'm saying. It means no disrespect to Brandon, it just made me chuckle because I felt his angst.

Brandon gave Noah to Jenny and we stood side by side with the kids. Helen did "ok" but she was her wiggly self, not to mention tired. Noah, was really tired too, and maybe it was because the Easter Bunny got him up early that morning, so he didn't want to put on a smile for us. He may have even been a little bashful. But honestly, what two toddlers do you know that can actually hold still at the same time to get a photo. It's rare.

First shot.....not so good....

Second'll have to do. LOL! No more shots for Noah. It's time for a nappy. (Isn't that a cute little outfit)

Thanks for trying Jenny, Noah, and Brandon...maybe we'll get a better one next time. Maybe BEFORE we all sit through services. Parents fighting their kids to be still and kids fighting their parents to do what they want to do...that'll make anyone tired.

For Leslie...a little bathtime fun pics

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Weekend 2008

We went to Prattville this weekend to visit PawPaw and DeeDee Pendley, Brian's mother's parents. The easter bunny came to visit Helen while we were there, but it was very anti-climactic. She really just didn't care who the stuff came from and hardly cared that she had a present.

Helen got to visit with Mimi and PawPaw (Brian's Parents) when we went to Montgomery for dinner on Saturday night. Helen was so excited to see Mimi and to visit with her. She just loved on her and played with her. It was just dinner, but I know Helen had fun.

Sunday they came to Prattville to church with us. Again, Helen enjoyed Mimi. She can't say the word Mimi yet, but she knows who Mimi is and smiles with glee when she sees her or hears her name.

I believe she's even becoming very attached to Mimi's mom who we call DeeDee. We stayed with them this weekend and on multiple occasions when she would look at DeeDee she would smile, wave, and say "HEY." Helen also discovered a new favorite thing while visiting with Deedee...a swing. Here's a picture of she and DeeDee on the swing. She doesn't swing long, but she loves it.

She's trying to get on it without help. She might have made it up on her own, but I didn't let her try it just yet. (BTW, she's 15 months old today)

Sunday came and Helen got to wear her new dress. She stole the heart of her Daddy...again. They did a little self-photography while I was getting ready. Then, of course, she and I had to have a photo too...

Helen's uncle Eric (youth minister for the Prattville church) and aunt Haley (his fabulous wife) came home several hours early from the Lads to Leaders convention to see Helen this morning. They woke up earlier than normal humans should on Sunday morning to drive back to Prattville from Atlanta. That meant to much to me. They didn't get to spend much quality time with her between church, lunch, and nap time, but I had to put a shout out for them on here because it was such a wonderful thing for them to think of her and make such an effort to spend time with her. Thanks Ricket.

Helen learned how to do two new things this weekend too. Well, I noticed them for the first time this weekend anyway...

-----She learned to whistle. She didn't mean to do it, but when she did it we made a big deal out of it so she knows it was something cool that she did. She only does one sound, she's no Andy Griffeth or anything, but she's totally got that one noise down. If I had had my camera, you'd be looking at a picture. I'll get it....don't fret.

-----She learned to say "Bible." It wasn't prompted, she just pointed to a bible a lady was holding and said Buy-Bouw. To me, that it such a sweet word to come from the mouth of such a young child. Those are the kinds of words I hope she learns first. Way to go Essie Mae! (Her regular Bible class teacher)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Go Paint

The Easter Bunny came to visit Helen a little early this year (via UPS). We got this in the mail yeseterday afternoon. It's a really cool invention by Elmer's brand called Go Paint. It's a lot like those Aquadoodle things.

Helen had a fun time playing with the paint brushes; she didn't really undestand the whole painting thing, especially when it took a few seconds to show up.

She really liked to put the paint brushes in her mouth and it took several loud stern "NO"s before she understood that I meant it!

Yes, Helen, I really did say no....

By this point, she'd taken all the tops off the brushes, painted with most of them, threw them all over the place and was finished. If she had had the words, this would have been where she would have said "I'm spent..."

The finished octopus painting, by Helen Gray.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

After napping, photo shoot

Helen woke from her nap this afternoon and she was playing peek-a-boo in between the smallest slats of her crib and rested her little lip on the ledge. I thought it was THE cutest little pose. This was actually the second time she did it....I had to make her do it again because I didn't have the camera the first time....

This one just made me laugh out loud when I saw it. It's as if I had just told her she was about to get chocolate for lunch....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Daddy and Helen

Today was a pretty decent day. I don't think I "stressed" at all today. That in itself makes for a fabulous day. After work, I went to the store and then shopping for a secret sister gift before returning home for the evening. Brian came home and went straight to the yard to begin mowing our extreeeeeeemely tall and weed-infested backyard (formerly a cow pasture). It's practically the first time he's had to mow in months. Well, after all the rain we've had and the tornado-like weather yesterday, it was time for a trim. Helen was so glad to see him when he arrived but nearly had a conniption when he went outside without her (even though she'd played outside for at least 30 minutes before he got home). Being the sweet daddy that he is, he took her outside and mowed the grass with her in his lap. It was the cutest and sweetest thing to see her looking at him and pointing for him to look at what she was seeing. It probably took him 30 minutes longer to mow because he had to go slower with her on his lap, but he didn't seem to mind. I think the daddy/daughter mowing time made his heart happy. I hope they'll have the same fun tomorrow night; that is set aside for the front yard. (FYI, we have a two acre lot and it cannot be mowed in one evening before dark...) Here's a picture of the two of them. Brian was trying to get her to look at me, but she just wanted to watch him wave at me. Isn't that the sweetest and purest little expression....

Friday, March 14, 2008


Didn't Teale do a great job you guys? Oh my....kudos to TEALE! YAAAAY!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Teale and her creative genius

My blog is about to get some botox. Teale has designed a new blog layout for me and it is PERFECT! All I did was pick a couple of colors and she made it work better than I could have imagined. It should be up and going within the next few days and I cannot wait! Come back soon and check it out! If you want to spice up your blog to suit your unique personality, take a look at what she's got.

Also, please keep me in your prayers the next few days. I think I've gotten a stomach bug...hopefully not the flu.


Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm going to be an AUNT!

This is my beautiful sister, Stephanie, and she is now with child!!! YAAAY! I couldn't be more happy! She has yet to visit the doctor, but has taken more than two home preggie tests so it's pretty much official. She thinks the baby is at about 9 weeks so maybe at her appointment next week she will have a sonagram and verify a true date. They hope it's a girl and name her Loren Elizabeth after her materal grandfather and grandmother! How pretty is that name!!!?

Please keep Stephanie, James (the hubby), and little nugget in your prayers.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

We're Home...finally

We made it back to the house around 2:00AM Friday morning after a long, long day of travel. We only had one connecting flight,but we lost two hours coming home through time zones. Luckily I had my trusty iPod and sudoku book handy.

Our first flight from Missoula to Minneapolis went on without a hitch, no turbulence, no delays, no annoying children screaming and kicking seats (like on the way to MT)...

Our second flight from Minneapolis into Atlanta was a lot different. Actually, nothing was the same except the part about the children.

Things not so wonderful:

1. The check-in people in Missoula told us that we would all be sitting in the back of the plane on the way from Minneapolis to Atlanta, but she said that the flight wasn't full so we could probably get some better seats once we got to the gate in Minneapolis. The first thing we do straight from the arrival gate was go to our departure gate. This is what we got, " I'm sorry but the flight is booked, they must have filled the flight before you arrived." Ok, there must be a lot of people in Minnesota that need to get to atlanta to fill a flight in 2 hours. Needless to say, we sat in the very last row. For those of you out there that have never flown, try to get seats as close to the front as possible. The noise coming from the engines in the rear of the plane is TREMENDOUS. I had never been in the back before this trip, but it was so loud that even with my iPod volume all the way up I had a hard time hearing the music. OH, and forget about understanding what the flight attendants say over the speaker...ha. I think it would be wise to purchase some of those Bose sound cancelling headphones. I understand those things are "the" thing to have when you fly....anyone know?

2. They began boarding the flight 30 minutes before departure time and it's a good thing because it probably took 35-45 to get everyone seated. When I say the plane was full, there were NO seats available, not even a flight attendant's seat. Some of the people who had carry on luggage had to put their stuff in the overhead bins two or three rows back from their seats.

3. Once everyone was on board, they closed the hatch and off we went...yep about 50 feet from the gate and stopped. Who knows what's one tells us. We sit there for another 20 minutes or more after the mandated safty procedure review was finished. Whatever was wrong was fixed or completed and off to the runway.

4. What a take off! It was so loud (again with the engine noise, I know that's redundant, but I'm still so shocked) that I thought the plane was about to explode and my life was over. It was jiggling and popping and rumbling and noise. Again, no more back seats.

5. We must have had some good tailwinds because we landed in Atlanta only 20 minutes or so late. I was thrilled that we were making such good time. I remember thinking that we would make it back home by midnight if the shuttle was there...

We taxied to the gate as the captain comes over the speaker and gives his customary lines about the time and temperature, ending with, "...and welcome to Atanta." I'm so glad we're about to get off this plane, I don't care where we are. And then we stop. Dead HALT. What's going on? Again...who knows, no one tells us, but 10 minutes after we stop the main jets turn off that means no more AC. (my thought: WHAT?! TURN IT BACK ON! TURN IT BACK ON! ARE YOU CRAZY! WE'RE DRESSED FOR MONTANA NOT ATLANTA! I'M BURNING UP.) After a few minutes of stuffy, hot, non-circulated air they turned the generator on, or something, and there it comes. (Ahhh...Thank you!)

6. After the drama of no AC, we sit another few minutes and the captain comes over the speaker and he says that, apparently, two Northwest flights came in at the same time and since the late hour, the airline is short staffed for two planes at once. Therefore, no one can bring the jetway over for another few minutes. He's says he's sorry for the delay and ends his spill of not so great news with, "Thank you for your patience; Welcome to Atlanta." Um....why the tagline? Just curious...didn't he already say that? I'm sure he's as aggrevated as we are, but is that something has MUST say, like "Roger...over and out?" :)

7. They bring the jetway, we wait until everyone exits to get off the plane (obviously because we are in the back row) and walk on into the airport. We go to the restroom and then to baggage claim. We find our carousel and wait. And wait. And wait. By midnight we get our luggage and hightail it out to the shuttle parking. He walked around the corner to the crosswalk right in front of our shuttle pulling out of the parking area. He was nice enough to wait and let us board, but he didn't have to do that. It's actually not allowed, but I suppose he did it because there wasn't as much traffic as regular hours. (Whew...!) We would have been able to catch the next one, but who knows how long we would have had to wait for it.

We got to the park and ride place by 12:15AM, said our goodbyes to Brian's parents and hit the road. We got home in record time because it was so early in the morning. I told Brian when we got in the car that I wasn't unpacking until the next day, but I did anyway. It only took about 15 mintes to unload it all and sort all the laundry. I know I could have waited, but it was one less thing to do Friday night when I could be playing with Helen instead!

Speaking of Helen, she grew and got cuter in a week. I was at work on Friday, so Moma, Tom, and Brian brought her over to see me. I couldn't wait until the evening to see her. When she saw me, she walked into my arms and held me and rested her sweet little head on my shoulder. Without her saying a word, I knew she loved me and remembered me. I didn't cry but I really really enjoyed that hug. They took me to lunch and then took me back to work. Brian told me later that as they were pulling away from the office, Helen cried. I'm glad I didn't know that.

She was clingy all night, especially at bedtime. I put her to bed as I usually do, but she cried and cried for me to come back in to get her. She normally goes right down without a problem, but I think it was because she missed me and didn't want me to leave again. I assured her I wasn't leaving....but that didn't work. I was there when she woke this morning and got the biggest smile. :D

We may have had a long and rocky trip home, but the welcome was great. I missed Helen more than I thought I did and I'm glad to be home. I'm glad to be in MY home, with MY pillow, and MY bed, and MY dog to keep me warm as I sleep. Thank the Lord for allowing us to arrive safely, despite the inconvenience. Thank you all for sending up prayers on our behalf.

I'll be catching up on my blog reading this week. I will get around to reading your blogs soon. I enjoy them all so much!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Montana...Day five

From the land of big skies and small snowmen:

This is the snowman pic I promised...kinda puny, but isn't he cute?  The snow was a little too powdery for a big guy.

I suppose I've gotten caught up with my blogs now. It's the end of the fifth day here in Montana and that means tomorrow is our last full day here. The seventh day, like the first, will be mostly a travel day. Don't you just hate it when the vacation ends? I can breathe a sigh of relief on days one through five because I don't have to think that I'm leaving soon, but on day six I realize that "tomorrow" is our last day and that makes me sad. I will admit that I will be glad to be home to see my little girl and to have things back to normal (even though I was glad to get away). Vacation is great, but only for so long. I think all of you can relate to that.


Today was a lazy day for me. We got up early and went over to Papa's and ate a great breakfast: homemade french toast from homemade potato bread, pure maple syrup, and bacon! Yummy! Unfortunately for me, however, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I suppose I had bad dreams, or maybe it was all the snoring coming from my congested husband. I couldn't even think straight because I was so tired. So, instead of going on another trek across Montana, this time to the west, I opted to stay in the condo and rest. Boy was it well needed!! I didn't realize how tired I was until I slept for nearly 4 additional hours! I woke up about an hour and a half before the crew came back. (Perfect timing)

What the rest of the rest of them did:

First of all, circling back to day one, we rented a car when we arrived. We asked for a car that could seat eight but when the men got there to rent the car, the biggest one they had was a Jeep Commander. There was plenty of room for eight if three of us were smaller than 90 pounds. The very back row of seats must have been planned for children. The seats were comfortable, but the floor was so close to the bottoms of the seats that our knees, when seated, were level with our shoulders. That meant that the short folks got to sit in the back most of the time. (Which was fine unless we had eight) Most of the time there were only six (two in front, three in middle, two in back) But when Papa and Deedee were in the car, we'd be very cramped and it wouldn't be ideal for a trek...

SOOOOO, all that to say, today we got a new car. It was a Ford Expedition. Now this sucker is HUGE. It fit eight full grown adults with much comfort! If any of you out there are looking for a nice vehicle with plenty of space....there you go. When the back row was set up for seating, there was only a little room in the rear for storage, but it was OK because we just needed traveling space. 
After they got the new car, they took me back to the condo and headed west. They took a route towards the Continental Divide. They made it practically all the way there, but there came a huge snow storm so they thought it wise to retreat before it became too much to safely get back to the valley. The picture below is of a hotel they saw on the other side of the mountains...I thought it was pretty clever.

After everyone had a chance to get changed up and rested for about an hour or so, we went to Norma Weeks' home.  It was beautiful and had it not been too dark, I would have made some photos of her house.  Norma invited the group for dinner tonight when we came to services on Sunday morning.  When we arrived she had nearly everything ready to eat so we basically said hello and sat down to eat.  She had some of the best food I've ever eaten, but what was the most fun was her company.  She is just a sweet lady.  She lost her husband about a year ago and we were one of the few people whom she had opened her home up to since his death.  That made Papa and Deedee feel very special that she had invited her family.   I think it made us all feel honored to be there.  The picture below is of Mrs. Norma and of Deedee Gray.  Doesn't Norma have just a beautiful smile...

This is a picture that was hanging in Norma's hallway.  She had several more pictures, but I had to make a picture of the next photograph because something in her face made me smile.  I had to take this memory back with me.  This is her senior picture...isn't she gorgeous!?

Another thing in her home was a small bear that was stuffed.  I am sure this will be the closest I will get to a real or dead.  I think this was purchased, not killed, by her family at some point.  

This was in an enormous family room with many other formerly living animals.  There were birds, an owl, an elk head, a fox, a squirrel, and a lynx.  These were all part of a outdoorsy theme going on in the room.  There were guns upon guns upon guns displayed on the walls, hunting and fishing paraphernalia, framed prints with beautiful Montana landscapes, it was great!  Oh, and don't forget the pool table.  (The ping-pong table was in a another room, for those ping-pong lovers out there)  I mean, this house was enormous!  While we were eating dinner, there were even several deer creeping up to the house to see what was going on in there. Apparently, Mrs. Norma feeds them.  :)  

This is Norma's cat, Samantha. She was so cuddly and sweet.  I couldn't get enough of her.  I love cats, but Brian is VERY allergic.  He merely touched Samantha for a few seconds and his eyes started watering and getting itchy.  Maybe one day he'll get rid of that allergy, until then we are a dog-only household.

I sit tonight thinking about what we are going to do tomorrow.  It's late, but I'm up blogging anyway.  I had some regular coffee at Norma's tonight so I'm not tired just yet. I think we are going to go try to find the Moose.  We are all interested in seeing one, except for Carol.  She doesn't seem to care if se sees one at all.  She says she'd feel safer seeing one in pictures! LOL! As for my list, it is still incomplete, but I'm quickly checking it off.  We aren't able to go to Yellowstone because of the distance, nor Glacier Park because of the season, so that portion of my list will not be completed this vacation.  Maybe when we come back... (crossing fingers)

I hope you all are well and happy.  Please keep us in your prayers as we travel home on Thursday.  We'll arrive back home around midnight, Friday morning.  

Love from "The Big Sky"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Montana...Days three and four

Here's a slideshow for you all!  Hope you enjoy until I get to the next post.  

I took way more pictures that this slideshow includes, but I posted some of the best shots. Most of the pictures we have are mostly of landscapes. 

Sunday we went to services at the Hamilton church.  There are about 50 members and it sure was a great group of Christians.  One of my favorite people was the former preacher's wife (he passed away last year), Sarah Bagley.  She is a gem of a woman.  I am going to try to get a picture of her on Wednesday night.  (tomorrow)  We had services at 10:00 and 11:00 then we had a FABULOUS pot luck, then had a singing service at 2:00.  After services we went to the Ravalli County Museum in Hamilton.  There is a wealth of history there about everything from Lewis and Clark to the local indian tribes to the random farming tools used...etc.  After that we hung out at Papa and Deedee's home.

Monday, yesterday, we had a FULL breakfast at Papa's and then went to Darby, a small city outside of Hamilton.  This is where we did a little antique shopping and sight seeing.  Most of the sight-seeing we did was outside of Darby.  It was where we saw all the animals in the slideshow.  I loved those horses, they came right up to us.  (I wish I would have had an apple or something to give them...) 

We at lunch at a little cafe there and I ate a BUFFALO burger. (I didn't tell the big buffalo that, though) It was sooooooo good.  I am certain that it is my favorite form of ground meat now.  I had it with mushrooms and onions also, so it made it even more succulent.  YUMMY.   I would recommend Buffalo meat to anyone who visits.  It is NOT gamey tasting.  It's very close to beef, but has a less fatty taste.  Plus, it was prepared well!  After lunch we went back to town and did a little more shop-seeing until everything closed.  For dinner we went back to Deedee's and had some tasty vittles and then played Chicken Foot dominoes until after 10:00.  

All in all it's been a fun trip, I'm already sad to see the week fly by.  I've yet to make a snow angel, but I did make a snowman (miniature version) yesterday.  Uncle Mike has it on his camera so I'll have to get it on here next time.

Much love you you all.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Montana...Days one and two

Greetings from Hamilton, Montana!


We made it!!! We finally made it into Missoula (miz-ZOO-lah) Montana at 1:15 local time (3:15PM eastern). Compared to most airports, especially Hartsfield-Jackson in ATL, the Missoula airport is teeeeeeny tiny. It has one, count 'em, one landing strip and it is heated 24/7 to insure that all planes can come in and out throughout all seasons. People who have lived in Montana say that there are only two seasons here---Winter and July. (LOL) Papa and Deedee were at the airport when we landed and took us all (the four of us from the plane and the two of them) in their Cadillac, and all of our luggage, site-seeing. Can you imagine how cramped the car was? I'm sure we were low-riding.

I didn't find out until we were at least 45 minutes down the road that we weren't going straight to the condo, but were going on a mini-trek thru the Lolo Pass. It wasn't that I didn't want to go, it was that I was exhausted from the flights and being up since 3:00 that morning. I didn't want to be in one more place with tight seating arrangements. Anyway, after Lolo, we went back to the airport to pick up Brian's Aunt Cathy and Uncle Mike who flew in at 4:30. They got the rental car and then we went to dinner. THEN we went back to the condo and crashed. We all were out like lights.


This morning we got up early for our skiing excursion. It was fantastic! We went to the Lost Trail Skiing Area. It was interesting to find out that 1/3 of the slopes at the resort were in Idaho and the rest were in Montana. So technically I skied in TWO states today! I actually did ski on both sides of the mountain. On the trail guide you'll see that on the left side of the mountain (on the green pathways) is "Drifter" and "Meadow Trail." And on the center of the mountain is "North Bowl" and "Lower Oreo." These are where I skied. The picture below is from the lodge looking up the second highest peak at the resort (7200 feet).

In all honesty, I actually I did happen to accidentally make my way onto the "Hideout" passage.(It's on the map a little left of center) If you'll notice it's a blue pathway. Um....that is for the people who actually know what they are doing. ( Kristy was supposed to stay on green, but somehow, she missed the green signs and went straight to onto a blue one when she was coming down from the lift.) I was lucky that I made it down because I ran into some way more serious slopes and "jumps" than I wanted. OH, and I went AROUND the jumps. At one very steep point of that trail, I actually got off the main drag and got stuck in the snow. So after trying for several minutes (unsuccessfully) to stand, I decided to take off my skis, pick them up, and walk down the mountain. It wasn't far. No more than a few hundred feet, but it was far enough to where I could get past some bad spots. I put my skis back on and went on my way. LOL! I laughed at myself the whole way down the mountain. I finally made it back onto the green slopes after I made it through Hideout. But it wasn't easy...

I am certain I will be sore tomorrow. I am also certain the Brian and his dad will be sore tomorrow. But was it fun, you ask? YOU BET IT WAS. Even though I had to give myself pep talks every few hundred feet and ate more snow than one human should and fell down over 25 times and was out-skied by 5-year-olds---It was fun! If you have never skied on a slope outside of the southeast, you must. It's unlike any snow you'll find in NC, GA, TN, or maybe even KY. It's God's country up here. There's no manufactured snow on these mountains. It's just perfect!

In Hamilton, it's not quite the same as up in the mountains. We are in a valley surrounded by mountains, but it's not as snowy and not as white as up above 5000 feet. So as we were driving up the mountain, we gradually start seeing the snow and the beautiful scenery. About halfway up we saw this beautiful stream that flows into the Bitterroot River. So we stopped and took some pictures. It was lovely... That old dead tree on the right is SO gorgeous, but the picture does it no justice. While this may look like just another muddy ole stream, when do you get it with blue skies, snowy banks, and a mountain range in the background? Wow...

There are more pictures to see, of course, but these three will have to do you until tomorrow or Monday. I hope you all are doing well and that the Lord has blessed you this weekend. We are attending the Hamilton church of Christ tomorrow for services where Brian will be speaking. The church is small here, but has much potential. If any of you happen to come to Missoula or Hamilton, please stop by and visit. Until then, please keep the church and Brian's family in your prayers as they do some mission work here.