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When we first moved into our house, our sweet realtor graciously brought us 3 large pots of flowers. There couldn’t have been a more perfect gift! Whenever I think of Kalispell in the summer, I picture bright pots of flowers. They have adorned our porch all summer, and the color has made me so happy!

The cool, frosty mornings have now begun to take effect, and my flowers are starting to feel fall as well. Look at the geranium leaves — they are resembling maple leaves in October!

This past week has been quite a doozy. School was especially tough. I talked with a friend who had a similar week, and she put it this way: It was like we had a spring break that lasted half a year and now suddenly the kids are suppose to be back at school! Honestly, I didn’t expect the transition to be quite so difficult. In addition, I had tough family news. It was like a fog hanging over us — and, quite literally, we have had thick, smoky air from all the wildfires in neighboring states.

I sat on the porch yesterday just staring at my flowers. The bright colors contrasted with the smoky air really lifted my spirit as I began to have a change of heart — praising God for his glorious provision, his faithfulness, and his nearness to those broken in spirit. He lifted me out of the mire.

School has gone much better this week. We are finding our groove, as well as extending grace. The air remains smoky, but crisp and cool with the smell of sweet pine rather than smoke! Dear California friends arrive tomorrow. It’s the ebb and flow of life — the hills and valleys. God is good on the mountain top with the beautiful view — but he is also good in the valley, where the air is not as clear, but his presence is heavy!


Feeling Fall

I know the picture is dark… mornings are getting darker and darker! But, I had to stop on my morning run and take a picture of the beautiful fall tree. Isn’t it lovely?

Not only are the mornings getting darker, they’re getting colder! This morning I drove all 5 kids to school. (More on that in a minute!) It was a fresh, crisp 28 degrees outside. Malachi walked out the door and whooped! “I’ve never felt air this cold in my life — I LOVE it!” And, he stayed in his shorts…

You would think dropping all 5 kids off for a full day would have been a huge sigh of relief. But, I spent the first few minutes wandering from one project to the next, feeling tension and anxiety grow. It was weird. I sat down with my Bible and read and prayed. I thought back to Sunday’s sermon and the alliteration I thought was so powerful: “Demolish fear with faith, panic with prayer, and worry with worship.” I turned on the worship music, began my next project while praising the Lord, and felt His peace the rest of the day! It was glorious!

Kids came home ecstatic. All 5 of them thought it was the best day. Can I just tell you how happy that made me feel? Not that it was super fun or super easy — it is probably the most challenging program we have ever been a part of! But, that they enjoyed the learning and the connection with people.

Now it’s time for me to study what they need to do and go to sleep!

First Day of School!

Some of these pictures I took last night as I was setting up the classroom, nervous that the kids would tear into their back-to-school goodies before I could take a picture. Some I took this morning as we entered into our first official day of school for the 2020-2021 school year. It was one of the best “First Day of School” days we’ve ever had! Why?!

Not because the classroom was all put together. Our chairs won’t arrive for another 2 days. I want to paint numbers on the lockers, hang our swinging chairs, and finish our kitchenette — it definitely has a long way to go. (But, it has come a long way since 5 days ago when it was covered in a box fort the boys made!)

Not because everyone got along and didn’t argue. (Can you imagine?) Ha! I’ve been homeschooling long enough to know that that only happens once in a blue moon when you least expect it! There was a fair share of arguing today!

Not because the kids didn’t complain about their work. They didn’t. But, they usually never do on the first day. (Day 2 is often a different story). That helped, though!

Not because I felt “ready.” No matter how much I prepare, it is hard for me to feel 100% “ready” to dive into another school year. It’s like the beginning of a long race — it feels daunting and the finish line seems so far off. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not a race at all. It’s a journey and the beauty is in the process, not the finish line!

So, here’s why today was so incredible; (Don’t laugh!) The cool fall weather made it feel like the start of a new season. It was time to move into our new rhythm. Morning time reading with my second cup of coffee felt cozy Diving into a new book about Christian martyrs and the persecuted church around the world was a wake up call.

We really are living in a new season, both as a family as well as simply being people living in this world! We’re in a new house – a new state- starting a new hybrid school tomorrow with new teachers, new friends = living in a new world with new “values” and COVID-conscious laws. So much is new!

Thankfully, our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! In fact, that verse from Psalm was in our morning devotion for school today! (Just realized that now.) How appropriate! He never changes. Now, more than ever, he is our Rock — our firm foundation! And, with Him all things are possible; including another year of homeschooling!

Turkey Crossing

I pulled into my street the other day and had to wait for 18 turkeys to cross the road. I’ve since seen these same turkeys as well as several others all over the place! Combine that with the fact that trees are changing color and tomorrow’s high is 57, and it sure does feel like fall! (I may have also bought all the ingredients to make my fall mix, pumpkin plates, a cozy fall blanket, and a fall candle!) After our first day of school tomorrow, I think we’ll have to decorate for fall! (Yes, we’re starting school on Labor Day… it’s time!!)

New Friends!

Moving out of state during a pandemic makes it a little more difficult to navigate meeting new people. Thankfully, a church we were interested in visiting opened its doors soon after we moved here. Shortly after that, we came across a homeschool group that did beach days every week. Though it was a cold day and my kids had no intention of jumping in the water, we made the effort to go. It definitely takes effort and prayer and intention to meet new people, but it is so worth it! I am so glad we did! We met a lot of really awesome families, and ended up joining their hybrid classical homeschool academy.

While at the beach day, we met another homeschool family who happen to live close to us and who were also originally from California. Yesterday they invited us over for an afternoon of cookies and iced tea. Within minutes of getting out of the car, they had Natalie and Sierra up on horses, Xavi on a tire swing, and Malachi swinging from a hayloft. I knew it was going to be a great afternoon…

The girls knew this family had horses, but I didn’t want to presume they would be riding them, so I told them to assume they wouldn’t be riding. Oh, the joy and shock when they were offered a ride right of the bat! And, not just in the arena… Soon, they were let out to the grass and were galloping around the pond. It was amazing to watch! (Until Natalie’s horse got stung by a bee, stopped abruptly, and Natalie flew off… but she stood up smiling, said she was fine, and got right back on!)

All the kids were so sweet with Xavi. I think he was ready to move in!

Look who else got to ride! The boy who came prepared in jeans and cowboy boots…

We didn’t know there was a pond to swim in, but they kindly offered us some swimsuits so the kids could swim and catch fish. Malachi was all about getting in. Everyone else opted for petting the kitties!

Have you ever seen a more incredible backyard? Me, neither!

Bo has quite the dog life…

Xavi finished our day off by swinging on the rope swing “one last time…” “just one more time…” “last, last time…” “last, last, last time!” (No wonder we didn’t eat dinner until 8pm!)

Thank you to our wonderful new friends for opening their home and hearts to us!

Big Sky Country

September 1. Back in California, I used to blast the a/c in September, curl up with a blanket and cup of coffee, and pretend it was fall. (Nevermind that the forecast for this weekend at our old home jumps up to 111!) But, there is no pretending here. Yesterday we had a high of 59 degrees, and I was COLD!

Daniel took Natalie and her friend horseback riding in Glacier, while he and Sierra walked around the lake and sent me these beautiful pictures. I worked on straightening up the house from company, throwing loads of sheets and towels in the laundry in between cups of coffee, and began organizing our school room.

The house is once again quiet. (As quiet as it normally is with 5 kids, at least!!) We tried out the fireplace. Yes, it is warm and cozy! Looking out over the gorgeous sunset, I realized the fields that were once green when we moved in were now all golden brown. The fresh, crisp air and the moisture drizzled on the wheat gave such a fragrance! The season is changing, and it is so exciting!

If You Move to Montana…

… they will come! At least, that’s what we have been told, as well as what we have experienced. And, how blessed we feel. This past week we have had both the Lopez family as well as Natalie’s friend visiting us. We have had quite the full house; 9 kids and 4 adults!

We played games galore!

Campfires and cow visits are a must when you come! So is going to the cabin on Flathead Lake…

It may have been the end of the season, but since the Flathead cherry stand was still open, I stopped for a big bag and WOW! Still incredible. It was gone before I could get more than one. 🙂

We didn’t let the kids have all the fun…

A day at the cabin is always so much fun. We ended the day in the hot tub warming up from the cool lake!



Teenagers are so fun.

Day 3 we picked Daniel up from the airport, had lunch at our favorite spot: Mudman in Columbia Falls, then walked around downtown Whitefish. While there, my little guy lost his second tooth of the day! (I didn’t even know he had loose teeth, but the grown up teeth are already part way in!) He was so adorable — walked up to everyone he saw and showed them his tooth. One lady even gave him a mint.

The grown ups ended each night with a walk while the kids watched a movie. Best way to end the day!

We finally got smart… Every time we finish our Herron Park hike we are hot and pass by Foys Lake swimming area without our swimsuits. This time we brought them!

Sunday we went to church then out to lunch and shopping around town. It also happened to be Ray’s birthday, so that night we had all the kids make themselves homemade pizza while we went out to sushi. It’s been a while, so boy did it taste good!

Having friends visit is really the best… so much time to bond, play, relax, catch-up, and have fun! It fills my heart. We have more friends coming in September, then October, then November! Woohoo!

And now the countdown begins… one week until school starts!

Montana Musings and Mishaps

Boy, have we had our share of “excitement” since moving to Montana… I have shared a lot of it here already, so I am sorry to bore you by repeating myself, but I thought I would give a little bullet list of all the things we have experienced here that we never had back in California. Let me start by saying, while in Montana we have…

  • made lake trips a common occurence
  • seen more family than we ever did in So Cal
  • walked on a slack line
  • seen a bear and countless deer
  • been shot in the leg with a firework (Mom)
  • been shot in the arm with a hunting arrow and had stitches (Natalie)
  • had our cat attacked by a great horned owl (Midnight)
  • had our neighbor rescue same cat from 25 feet up a pine tree
  • found 2 kittens in the bushes (Allison and Natalie)
  • caught a fish (Malachi)
  • seen bald eagles, golden eagles, red tail hawks, osprey, and scores of other beautiful birds
  • fallen down a mountain (Mom and Xavi)
  • crashed on his bike (Malachi)
  • had our dog kicked by a deer

…And those are just a few of the more exciting highlights!

The Random Picture Post

I always love these posts… a bunch of single pictures that have no other home…

The girls decided to do a workout on the deck. Don’t blame them!! (Should have joined them!)

Found a nut hatch perched on my bike tire in the garage. Turns out another bird came in the garage later, and Malachi was able to capture it and set it free!

Before leaving, Daniel used cardboard to construct a temporary wall in the “scary room” so it wouldn’t feel so scary. Malachi and his buddies have spent hours drawing on the wall. This is just a small sample!

This cat finally got his last shots and was cleared to go outside. He immediately caught something and brought it to our back door. Not sure if he hunted it, or found the trophy of one of our other cats?!?!? Anyway, isn’t he adorable? I am smitten!

My kids have been taking random pictures with my phone and making them my phone wall paper. This is my current wall paper! (Don’t tell them I love it!)

This guy loves to tease the dog. Poor dog will never catch it!

Found this beautiful patch of wild daisies on my walk. I suppose there are benefits to walking rather than jogging, such as taking pretty pictures!

We went to the lake last week and he caught 2 fish in 10 minutes. He was pretty proud! That has to be a record for us and Flathead Lake!

We had a ginormous black bear in our cul-de-sac last week. I would have taken a perfect picture, but I was busy texting the neighbor to tell her to tell the boys to go inside as it was headed straight for their house. Turns out the boys had already seen it and were already inside. Bummer I didn’t get the picture. Instead, you get more of this sasquatch-type photo! (Last night the bear got into our garbage can… my husband from out of town thought that was pretty cool! The kids, who cleaned it up, did not!)

And, those are the random happenings of the Yehs!

On the Road Again…

I didn’t use a filter on a single picture — the sky really is that blue here! And, boy did I miss these views for a week while I rested my knee from my fall. But, the last few days I have been able to walk with the girls again, and oh how wonderfully refreshing it has been! My poor dog still cries for her run every morning, but she’ll have to wait a little longer for that! I am praising God as the swelling is gone, and the pain is decreasing significantly!

Did you spy the golden eagle in the first picture? (Allison is getting really good at mimicking their calls!) And, our house… I had to get a picture as I walked down the driveway with the sky in the background so blue! Then there’s the picture with Allison leaning on the mailbox. We pass by it most walks, but one day it occurred to me — the address is her birthday!