This is why my kids love going to Miss Barbie's House

The Event: Messy Day
The Place: Miss Barbie's House (of course)
The Activities: body painting with chocolate pudding
                          chocolate pudding slip and slide
                          whipped topping fun
                          wet noodle fight
The result: lots of laughter, squeals, and fun

the boys are getting ready
chasing someone with a paintbrush full of pudding
the little man is covered - even his ears are full of pudding
some chocolate covered beuties
a group of chocolate covered kiddos
yummy noodles (before they were used in the noodle fight)
how about a little whipped cream with that chocolate pudding
perfect topping for dessert
giving one of the moms a taste of whipped topping
hosing off 


Giveaway Winners

Just what you have all been waiting for the announcement of the giveaway winner.  It's on video. This time I don't look so frightened or blink so much. My brain is mush and I am exhausted after start back to homeschooling this week so my formulation of thoughts is a little off but I do have a lovely assistant helping me out - a highlight of the video :o) 


Blog Anniversary

In honor of my Blog Anniversary, I have done a video post. I was feeling a little pressure from a certain bloggy friend to do a video. And so I folded. Like a chair.

My video camera is a dinosaur. Din.o.saur.  Like the 8 mm tape kind. With no cable for the computer. So my video is done on my little tiny digital camera held at arms length. 

I am nervous so I don't smile much but in general I think I am a "smiley" person or so I've been told.  I blink a lot. Nerves again? Not sure.  My eyes get wide like a deer in headlights. Not sure if that is normal for me or not.  It is a bit strange watching oneself on video. 

Before the video viewing begins, I want to thank each of you (those faithful few) who read and keep up with our family.  I want to thank all my bloggy friends for being such inspiring, motivating, challenging, encouraging, honest women. Usually pretty funny as well.  I have been blessed this past year by all of you, in so many ways.  

Disclaimer: I did not name specific names or blogs because I was fearful my 35 year old mommy brain would unintentionally forget someone and then I would feel horrible.

I am looking forward to another year on this crazy bloggy journey!


Rock Band

Last winter, our sweet friend Katie came to babysit our kids one evening and recorded a song with them using garage band on my macbook (i heart my mac).  It was so sweet and the kids thought it was very cool to have made a song.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, as I am getting out of the shower I hear Landon pounding on his drum set (mom have we thanked you recently for that drum set).  As I come over to talk to him about not beating on his drums I notice the macbook sitting by the drums.  The macbook which he had unhooked, carried up to flights of stairs, and had now set on the floor next to him. 

When he finishes playing, I ask him what he was doing. He nonchalantly tells me he is recording a song on rock band (otherwise known as garage band).  Obviously he paid close attention to Katie Wilson when she recorded their song. He knew exactly what to do in order to make a recording and adjust settings. I was amazed! Of course I was so amazed (and cracking up at how serious he was about this whole deal) that I didn't get a video or a picture.

That is until last week, when he decided to make another recording.  He has some vocal recordings that are quite hilarious that I may try to upload soon.  Making songs on the computer is one of his all time favorite activities right now.  He asks to make a song every.single. day. 

Landon on Garage Band from Kristen Cheney on Vimeo.



A few weeks ago, Jenni posted this on her blog.  Then Lynn and Jessica posted the same thing on their blogs. Since I am a copycat, I decided to try it out too.

It was much harder than I thought to pick a picture for each question. Sometimes I had two things I would have liked to pick as my answer.  So I took the quiz a few times. Okay maybe like five or six times but whose counting. You know what?  I received the same answer. Every. Single. Time. I guess according to youinverse I am a dreamer.  

Happy Monday!

Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test


Minnesota vs Idaho

Last week (I think), Lynn posted a list of things she would miss and not miss about Korea.  I thought it would be good closure to our moving story. I know I will probably think of more things later but this is off the top of my head.

What I Miss About Minnesota 
- Family and friends.... I miss my family and seeing the cousins play together and I miss hanging out with my friends
- The lakes, beaches.... We spent many summer days at the beach -oh how I miss beach days.
- My small town .... We biked to the library, the grocery store, and the park. We could leave our house unlocked and feel safe.  The librarian knew what I liked to read and would save new books for me.  When you walked down the street or biked people would greet you and make conversation. There is something to be said for small town living.
- My neighborhood..... With big yards, no fences, and many kids running around. Our yard seemed to be the place for kids to play and parents to meet and visit. It was a nightly occurrence to have a yard full of people.
- The museums, the zoos, the concerts, the plays ..... Living within an hour to a large metropolitan area had HUGE advantages. I miss having these opportunities especially for my kids.
- My basement.... There are very few houses here with basements. I miss the storage space, the place for the kids to play and make a mess that no one would see.

Things I Love About Idaho
- The weather.... The temperatures are more mild in the winter, there is no humidity and very few rainy or snowy days.  
- The mountains.... I mostly put this in for my husband as I am way more of a beach/lake/ocean girl myself.  A big draw for Lance is coming to Idaho was being able to ski on a regular basis.  Living within an hours drive of the ski resort is a huge plus for him.
- Shopping conveniences.... Within a year of our move, we had a Costco, Target, and Kohl's built within ten minutes of our house.  It saves so much time to not have to drive 30 minutes to get to a store to run errands.
- Lance's job... His days are more scheduled and we have a set on call schedule which makes the planner in me very happy. 
- Boise... What a great city!  It is small but I love the quaint feel of downtown Boise.  It is a beautiful city and so much fun.
- The Greenbelt ..... The path in Boise is amazing - wonderful for biking, running, and walking.  It is a beautiful place to spend time along the river.  We also have a little greenbelt close to our house where the kids like to bike, play, and feed the ducks.


Our Journey to Idaho- The Conclusion

As we were driving to the closing on our house in Minnesota, we received a phone call from our realtor.  The people who were buying our house had a family emergency and couldn't come to the closing. 

I felt like I had been hit in the stomach and I started to panic. My mind was racing with all the worst possible scenarios of this situation.  

When we reached the title company office, one of our realtors was there to meet us and help us come up with a plan for closing.  By this time I was a bit emotional (okay really emotional but hey it had been a very long and draining week emotionally I was due for a meltdown) but I was able to pull it together enough to help construct a plan.  

Lance and I signed all the papers on our house in Minnesota and turned over the keys, garage door openers, and all other pertinent house information.  The people buying our house would be in at 8 am Monday morning to sign the papers.  As soon as the papers were signed, the mortgage company would wire the money to Idaho. I was not one hundred percent comfortable with the decision but we really didn't have any other options. I needed to trust that everything would turn out in the end.

As we left the title company office and started our drive to Idaho, we called both our realtor in Idaho and our mortgage company to give them a heads up on what had happened with our closing.  They were both in agreement that we had made the right decision and we would come up with plan b if needed.

At this point I could feel myself starting to obsess and worry about the outcome (the planner in me), even though there was nothing I could about it.  I knew I had a choice, obsess and worry and drive my husband and brother (who was helping us with the drive to ID) crazy all weekend or turn it all over to God.  I choose to trust and be patient and know that God was in control. From that moment on, I was totally at peace with our situation.  I turned my focus on surviving enjoying our 1500 mile drive to Idaho with a dog, a cat, and two small children. 

On Monday morning at 8:15 am Minnesota time (7:15 am Idaho time), I called the title company to see if the closing had taken place.  My desire to know the outcome outweighed any patience I had remaining.  The closing was in progress and they informed me they would call me when the wire transfer occurred.  Thank you Lord for an hour time change!  We were able to close on our house that morning and the movers arrived within an hour of our closing to start moving in our boxes.  Sweet relief!

Even though there was a bit of stress at the end of our journey, I know this move was in God's plan for our family.  There weren't just doors opened for our move there were gaping holes opened. Every part of our move had God's touch on it, from our house selling in four days, to finding a house that wasn't on our original list of houses, to the moving company being able to move us in and out in perfect timing, to the selling of Lance's two business in Minnesota, to living next to neighbors who embraced us and made us feel like family from the start. It isn't easy living away from family,  and I still find myself saying things like "this isn't like back home" or "I sure miss this or this". Someday (maybe) Idaho will feel more like home (Jenni gave me hope in this post) than Minnesota.  But for now I know this is exactly where God wants our family.


Our Journey to Idaho- Part III

By Memorial Day weekend, Lance had officially accepted the job, told his business partners in MN he was leaving, and we had started to tell our family and friends about the move.  

At the beginning of June we started to get our house ready to go on the market.  All the little things we had been putting off doing in our house were finally getting done (why does it take a move to get those things done?).

We made plans to take a quick weekend trip to Idaho to look for a house. Before we left,  I spent hours on the internet (praise the Lord for the internet) looking at houses and trying to find a realtor (since we didn't know a soul in Idaho).

Our house went on the market the Friday before we left for our house hunting trip.  On Monday we had two showings and an offer on our house. By Tuesday night we had signed a purchase agreement and were ready to focus on finding a home in Idaho. 

The trip to Idaho was a complete whirlwind.  My head was spinning all weekend long.  We interviewed at Morgan's school, drove around our new community, met with Lance's employers and their families, and looked at too many houses to count.  I know we bit off more than we could chew in that weekend trip.  At the time we moved the housing market was hopping. There were so many houses for sale that our options seemed endless.  

We met our realtor on Saturday morning at 8 am to start our house hunting adventure. Around 1 pm we took a break for lunch and I was in tears. We had looked at a great deal of houses and we just hadn't found "the one".  We didn't come with expectations of finding our dream house and our list of wants were not grandiose - we didn't need granite countertops or fancy fixtures or flooring.  We just wanted a comfortable home for our family. We really wanted to buy a home in an established neighborhood but it seemed that the market was flooded with new homes and that was probably our best option.

I melted during lunch.  Our search for a home seemed hopeless. My more level headed husband had me take a step back and we sorted through the fliers on the houses we had walked through that morning while our realtor went home to check for other listings.  We had one house we really liked but the yard was so tiny that there wouldn't be much room for the kids to play. But it was the best house we had looked at all day so we decided to go back and look at the house again.  Our realtor came back with two more homes in the same neighborhood. As we were looking at one home, Landon started getting antsy (who can blame the kid - we had now been house hunting for about 8 hours) so we walked the sidewalks in the neighborhood. I came upon a house with a for sale sign but it wasn't on our list of houses to walk through.  I ran back to get Lance and our realtor and see if we could look at this house. The minute we walked in, I knew I was at home. The house just felt like a perfect fit.  We signed a purchase agreement and left Idaho excited about our new home.

I was in full move to Idaho mode when we got back. Interviewing moving companies, packing, more purging, holding a moving sale, setting up utilities, canceling things for our house in MN, and attending BBQ's and dinners to say good bye to our wonderful friends and family.  I am a planner and organizer so I had everything in order for our move - movers come Wednesday, close on MN house Friday AM, leave closing for ID, close on ID house on Monday AM, movers arrive mid morning Monday.... I thought I had everything about our move in order. Or so I thought.  I was about to be taught a HUGE lesson in patience and trust.

Part IV - the conclusion tomorrow and I know all five of you who read are sitting on pins and needles :o)


Our Journey to Idaho- Part II

Eight days and no phone call from Idaho. I was feeling confident God had closed the door and we were staying in Minnesota.  As I was expressing to Lance that I felt  we were meant to stay in Minnesota and it had been interesting to think about moving, his cell phone rang. It was the veterinarian from Idaho calling to ask if Lance would like to come and interview.  He apologized for not calling back  but he had come down with a virus and lost his voice... for eight days. 

Even though Lance had contacted the practice in Idaho about the job, the reality of the situation of possibly changing jobs and moving our family was starting to set in.  We decided that Lance needed to go and see if the job would be a good fit.  We also decided that we were not going to discuss our potential move with anyone.  We lived in a small community and knowing how news spreads like wildfire we thought it was best to not raise concern among our friends, Lance's business partners, and his clients until we had a more information about the job in Idaho.

At the end of April, Lance flew to Idaho to interview for the job.  He was amazed at the practice, encouraged by having a set schedule, and drawn to living near the mountains.  The practice was his "dream job".  A practice that worked solely with dairy cows, a practice where one of his clients had as many cows as his entire practice in Minnesota, and a practice where he could use his knowledge of the dairy industry with his clients on a daily basis.

When Lance returned from his trip, we were a little overwhelmed with the gravity of this decision.  I started making lists - pros and cons of the move.  We talked about the potential move every single day. Numerous times a day.  To the point where I really just wanted a decision made.  We were praying constantly and I was definitely filled with a sense of peace about moving. It just felt like it was what God wanted us to do, even though it was scary to think about leaving.

The practice in Idaho was interested in Lance but they had just hired a new graduate (from Minnesota) to join their practice in June.  There was potential that one of their vets was leaving to move back to Wisconsin (a whole different story but Lance knew him and had taken 6 weeks of classes with him when he was in vet school).  Even though in our minds we were ready to accept the job, we were now in a waiting game to see if there was a position available.

Part III  tomorrow.


Our Journey to Idaho - Part I

Three years ago today we left all we knew behind and started a trip toward our new home in Idaho.  Two vehicles, two kids, two pets, three adults and fifteen hundred miles loomed ahead of us as we drove away from our first home.  

We often get asked how we came to live in Idaho. On the anniversary of our move, I thought I would share how we came to live in Idaho over the next few days.

On a cold February morning as Lance was leaving for work he calls out to me "If we get any emails from Idaho don't freak out.  I am putting some feelers out for jobs."  

Don't freak out! You make an announcement like that as you walk out the door and I am not supposed to freak out.  I didn't totally freak out because I really didn't think anything would come of it. 

I knew that our lives would be changed forever that day. Even if we didn't move to Idaho, Lance was definitely thinking about looking elsewhere for a job. In my mind, once he graduated from veterinary school, accepted a job, and became a partner in a practice we were set for life.  I liked where we lived. I liked our house, our neighbors, our community, our church,  how close we lived to family, and I didn't feel any need to leave.

Lance was starting to feel that ten years down the road his job would change dramatically. He would have to drive farther to have dairy clients and work more often or change his focus to small animal type medicine.  His practice in Minnesota consisted of a mixed animal practice (mostly dairy cows and small animals) and then a small animal pet hospital in a nearby community. Lance's passion was working with the dairy cows and he didn't see a long term future in our area with the growth of surrounding communities. 

There was an opportunity in Idaho for a job that would be solely a dairy practice. His dream job.
Out of all the states with a large amount of dairies, I am not sure why he picked Idaho. (I was thinking more like Vermont -Ben and Jerry's anyone??).  There were plenty of other states with job openings but Idaho held the appeal for him.  

We prayed about Lance pursuing a job opportunity in Idaho.  We felt like God was leading us to at least make some phone calls and investigate.  Lance had some phone conversations with two of the veterinarians in Idaho and felt good about the conversations. The person he talked to told him that he would call him back in a few days to set up a time for Lance to come and interview. 

We anxiously awaited the phone call. For eight days.  I felt like it was God closing the door on this job opportunity.  I felt confident we were meant to stay in MN for a while longer. 

But God had other plans for our journey to Idaho.

Part II tomorrow.


Our vacation in Montana started with a bit of excitement.  

Excitement that I am not sure I need to experience again. Ever!

Lance and I were hiking with the kids, my brother, my sister, my brother in law and their kids. Let me preface this story by saying how anxious I am when we hike while at the ranch. I worry about seeing certain wildlife such as bears or mountain lions.  Lance has reassured me year after year that we are fine hiking these marked paths.  

It was a beautiful Sunday and we were enjoying our hike up into the mountain. Stopping to let the kids climb on rocks and throw rocks in the water.  It was very relaxed and the kids were having a great time.  As we were coming down the mountain, my brother calls my name and waves me over to where he is standing. Lo and behold what do we see a BEAR!!!  At first I wasn't particularly nervous. I ran back up the path to tell Lance, my sister, and brother in law. I was whispering to them and we were sneaking down so we could try to get pictures. I know, it was dumb but at first we were just in shock. Then the reality of the situation set in when we saw the bear had three cubs.  The mama bear realized we were there and was looking right at us. We were probably only about 75 feet from the bear and her cubs.  I was internally freaking out while trying to hold it together for my kids. Morgan was terrified. None of us really knew what to do. We picked up rocks and pounded them together to make noise. We sang. We stayed put for a bit not sure if we should hike back up or continue down the path. There were no other hikers in sight!  There came a point when the bear and her cubs were moving up and we had a chance to get down the mountain.  We moved, loudly, as fast as we could off that mountain trail.  I am all about nature and appreciating nature but that was a bit too close for comfort. Next time, we will read the signs at the trailhead about what to do when you see a bear!

If you look closely in these photos, you can see the bear and her cubs walking around.

On Monday morning, my older sister and I went on a walk, staying away from any mountain trails.  As we were coming back to the ranch we met two real life cowboys who were moving cattle. That's right, we were caught in a cattle drive. Oh brother! They had us stand next to a fence ensuring us that the cows would leave us alone. The cowboys left. The cows came. The cows stopped. The cows mooed and stared at us. The cows would not move. I had Mauryn in the backpack on my back so climbing a barbed wire fence wasn't an option.  Eventually, the cows decided to move on but I think each one stopped to stare at us. We finally made it back to the ranch where the older kids were waiting, filled with stories of watching the cowboys round up the cows we had just met on the road. 

The rest of our trip wasn't near as eventful as the first few days.  We spent time visiting a historic town near the ranch, taking a train ride, watching musical theater,  going to Yellowstone National Park, riding horses, playing in the creek, and taking in a rodeo.  Our days were busy and full but our evenings were quiet and relaxed.

We had an amazing week of vacation.  I needed this time with my family.  My kids needed this time with their aunts, uncles, and cousins. The time together went far too fast, as it always does.  I realized it doesn't get any easier to say good bye, it gets harder each time (mostly because we don't know when we will see each other again). But it definitely makes the time we have together all that much sweeter.



When you live in a world where access to internet and cell phones is a normal part of daily life you forget that there are places without cell phone signal, dsl, or wifi. Places like my husband's family ranch in Montana where I am vactioning with some of my family.

So, I am unintentionally taking a bloggy break. I was hoping to post about our adventures in Montana frequently, especially for our family that couldn't make it.

The kids are all exhausted already, after only two days of being together. There has been time spent playing in the creek, riding horses, hiking, having some too close encounters with nature (a momma bear and her three cubs and a stampede of cattle but more on that later when I can post some photos), a bonfire tonight, and time for cousins to make memories and build relationships. We have a few more "field trips" away from the ranch planned for this week but also plenty of time for just relaxing and playing.

It is time to go eat some s'mores and free up the phone line. I hope you are all having a great week! I will be getting caught up on reading and posting this weekend. Oh and maybe catching up on some sleep after our very full and busy week.