Home Improvement

Year two of our home improvement projects is officially wrapped up. So far we’ve painted the house, garage, shed, and propane tank – which took ALL of two summers to fully complete. We fenced in roughly .5 acres, trimmed numerous bushes and trees, removed two dead trees and five stumps, installed two sets of steps, poured and cured concrete for two patios and one sidewalk, completely renovated a lean-to on the garage, installed two spotlights, installed gutters, ripped out and replaced multiple spots of rotted wood, added a trashcan storage area and compost bin, and laid asphalt millings to begin outlining the driveway and additional parking area. That covers most but not all of the projects. With me not working we’re moving at a snail’s pace, aka the speed of cash on hand to complete projects. We’ve got a list of additional work we’d like to complete on the property including eventually installing a firepit for hosting and a hot tub to bring some relief to our bodies.

Walking Missoula

Although Rost and I had just returned home from our most recent trip to the East Coast, Brian had a work conference in Missoula this week so Rost and I tagged along.

Over the course of a week Rost and I walked more than 50 miles around the city and ate Big Dipper ice cream nearly every day we were there. In my defense, it was 100 or more every day we were there. We saw lots of friends, got to check out the Missoula library, and finally swam in Becky’s pool! I was also able to squeeze in an abdominal MRI at my old place of work, Advanced Imaging, to follow up on the masses discovered on my liver and pancreas back in July. I am happy to report they appear non-cancerous and only require re-checks every 6 months for the foreseeable future. Huzzah!

Tally Lake

The air was filled with the sweet scent of pine as we arrived at the campsite, surrounded by towering trees and a babbling stream nearby. Rost had spent the first two nights camping with Grandma & Grandpa while I took my first vacay from momming in well over a year (48 bittersweet hours – a ridiculous amount of stuff was accomplished).

Brian & I joined in on the fun Friday night to enjoy a couple of days relaxing at the lake.

This unforgettable experience marked the beginning of countless adventures for my little explorer, creating cherished memories to last a lifetime.

Art on the Walls

Sometime before the 2022 holiday season kicked off my MIL, Michele took me out for a baby-free girls’ shopping day. This day is apparently a tradition amongst her and her friends. The shopping portion involves a craft fair at the Majestic Valley Arena and the Market Beautiful at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.

Over lunch, I heard about the wonderfully talented daughter-in-law of one of the ladies in our group. Her name was Sarah Bramme and she had a booth with her work at the Christmas market we were heading to after lunch. The moment I saw her work hanging amongst the backdrop of the holiday fair, I knew I had to have a piece of it.

As I stood in front of a colorful painting of a bison named Blaze Your Trail, something about it resonated with me deeply. The composition, the choice of colors, and the subject matter all came together to create a sense of familiarity and connection. It felt as though Sarah had captured an essence that I could relate to, evoking a range of emotions within me. The piece seemed to speak a silent language, inviting me to interpret its meaning based on my own experiences and perceptions. It was a quiet conversation, a moment of quiet contemplation and introspection that left me feeling moved and inspired. I knew I couldn’t afford an original oil painting of hers at that moment but I eagerly took home a beautiful black and white barn wood painting of a mountain goat – the animal I believe to be Rost’s spirit animal.

Weeks later, Sarah reached out to me with an offer on Blaze Your Trail that I could not refuse. This lovely painting now permanently resides in my living room. I do hope you’ll come to see it soon.

15 Months Old

Month by month Rost advances his life skills through wacky and wild adventures, most of which are self-made. In the steps of his cousin, Benjamin, Rost has taken a liking to dance. You can stop him in his tracks nearly every time if you play “10:35” by Tiesto. And as spring trudges along in Montana, our mantra has become there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor planning.

Blustery Winter Day

In an attempt to create a magical holiday season for Rost, I’ve cursed us.

November first struck midnight and I hung my first Christmas decoration to ring in the festive season. We awoke on November 2nd to a terrible ice storm that took our roughly 1/3 of all the tree coverage on our collective 5 acres. Thankfully not much structural damage was sustained. A broken branch sliced through a window screen on our house but miraculously did not break the window. Another two branches landed on vehicles but both came out relatively unscathed as well.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake by surface area in the western United States. The lake stretches from the city of Polson in the south to Kalispell in the north. One of the lake’s most remarkable features is its crystal-clear waters. The lake’s water clarity is attributed to its relatively low nutrient content, which limits the growth of algae and ensures that the water remains transparent.

Despite spending nearly a decade just south of these waters, up until this morning I had never spent a single day on this lake. It was a pretty spectacular introduction and I’m looking forward to many more days spent exploring the many inlets and islands of this lake in the future.

5 Months Old

Now five whole months old and in our house for a few weeks now, we’re all starting to get into the swing of things of life back in Montana.

The most significant part of month 5 is Rost visiting his first Glory Holy and starting solids – thanks to Solid Starts.

Otherwise, here are a few photos from around the homestead to tide you over until my next post.

3 Months Old

Three months have passed since your birth, and oh what you have accomplished in those short three months.

We’re still living with your Grandma & Grandpa Bennett while we wait for our house to be ready for us to move into it. I don’t think they mind much tho.

Your dada & I are enjoying the extra hands to help right now either. Especially while you continue to grow and pick up new skills almost daily.

You had your first Easter egg hunt!

Your dad & I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary, so you and I took a trip up there. This was also your first (of many) venture into a national park. You slept through it, but that’s okay, now that we live 30 minutes outside of Glacier National Park, there will be many, many more trips there.

Unable to find reliable care for Rost, I tendered my resignation. After falling into and working my ass off for a career I loved, this wasn’t an easy decision for me but knowing I get to spend my days with you makes it that much easier to walk away from all I’ve worked for. This next adventure is for the both of us.