Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big Sky Bronze


After what feels like a million years worth of planning we are finally ready to announce the opening of our new business: Big Sky Bronze!

I've been finalizing brochures and letterhead and contracts all day so my brain is mush --- but I couldn't wait one more second to tell ya'll about this.

The website is positively horrendous at the moment but check it out anyway --- Check it often as it will begin to blossom into a beautiful page over the next couple of weeks. Ha!

I don't have a whole lot more to say just yet -- because I have dinner to cook, a house to clean, and a bed calling my name. But follow us on Facebook & wish us luck in this new venture!

G'nite all!

Prime Rib & Lip Goop

My Facebook friends have watched me make several posts regarding prime rib over the last few weeks. First, requesting recipes, next the happy Christmas post, & finally last night's "I finally mastered the recipe" post. Everyone was really happy with the way it turned out & a few of you have asked for the recipe. So here it is. (My only regret is I never took a picture of the meat!)

Out of all the Prime Rib I've ever eaten, Friar's Prime @ Old Piney Dell is my favorite. So I worked really hard to copy cat that recipe. It didn't turn out anything like his ... but it turned out pretty dang good, so here goes:

For our 15 pound, no bone Prime Rib:

Gather the following fresh herbs:

Rosemary (2 cups chopped)
Thyme (1 cup chopped)
Sage (half cup chopped)
Basil (2 cups chopped)
Parsley (2 cups flaked)

(** I used kitchen shears to cut them into little pieces. But a food proccessor would probably work better if you have one. I dont --- so I cut by hand. The shears are SO much faster than a knife!)

After all the herbs were chopped I added olive oil. I don't know how much I added. I just poured until the consistency of the herbal glop was like a sloppy paste. Keep in mind you want it to stick to the outside of the prime rib.

** I had dried rosemary, basil, and parsley that I added later when I needed to quickly make more herbal glop. Haha. ***

I bought a jar of minced garlic. I used several heaping tablespoons to it. We LOVE garlic --- so I used a ton.

Mix it in with the glop.

Add cracked black pepper --- again, we LOVE pepper so I used LOTS.
I also added Lawry's seasoning salt to taste.
Finally, I added the juice from one half of a lemon.

To give the flavors plenty of time to mix together, I made the glop 48 hours before applying it to the prime rib. Don't use a metal bowl or tinfoil --- it will change the flavor of the glop. I use a plastic bowl & plastic wrap.

Its important that the meat is at room temperature when you put it in the oven. Take the meat out at least 24 hours before you cook it. 

I prepared the roasting pan with the juice from the other half of the lemon, a bottle of Sam's IPA (but any beer would probably be just fine!), and one stick of butter (cut into chunks & spread throughout the pan).

I pre heated the oven to 475 degrees. I put the meat in for 30 minutes. (This crisps up the herbal glop & it is delicious!)

The first time I then I turned the oven down to 325 & cooked for another hour. The meat was medium well. Thats way overdone for anyone in this house.

Last night when I tried it again,  I turn the oven down to 325 degrees but I only cooked it for it for 40  minutes. It was a perfect medium rare .... heavier on the rare side.

If any of you try this, I'd love to hear how it turns out & any modifications you make! Happy Prime Rib-ing.


I feel there is another recipe worth sharing. I came across it last week and it has literally changed my life.

Winter is brutal on my skin --- something tells me that I'm not alone on that one. Dry skin, broken nails, chapped lips. Ugh --- chapped lips. Not only are they ugly, but they HURT! I'm super, ultra, extra sexy when I have chapped lips because its not just my lips ... the redness spreads all the way around my mouth and I end up looking like a clown with a bad make up job.

This was the case on the morning of December 16. I woke up in the most God-awful pain I've ever experienced. This coming from someone who has been shot, experienced child birth, AND sat through several local "singers" performing the National Anthem at our home town rodeo. None of those things compare to the pain I felt by this particular bout of chapped lips.  By December 20th it was so bad that I couldn't speak, smile, or eat. When you take food away from this girl, things get seriously dangerous for everyone in her path. So, clearly, I needed a remedy.

Here are the things that DIDN'T work:

* Chapstick brand chapstick
* Burts Beeswax
* coconut oil
* glycerin

But my dear friend, Google, led me to a page with this simple recipe on it:

Spread honey on your lips & chapped area.
Coat with a thin layer of vaseline.
Let soak for 10 minutes & take off with warm water and a Q tip.

So I tried it. And, like everything else in my life, modified it a little. My first modification failed. I hated the way the vaseline tasted so I just used honey. That made my lips feel worse though, so I added the vaseline back to the mix.

Also, I never wiped it off. I let it stay on until it soaked in/went away on its own.

The pain was gone with the first treatment. I put this on my lips whenever I noticed that the previous application had disapeared. 48 hours later I had healthy, moisturized lips again.

I'm so impressed with the results that I thought I would pass it on to anyone who would listen!

Hope your Thursday is fabulous - xo -nic

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The next week is going to be insanely busy -- so I'm making my New Year Resolution post now --- while I have a minute to breathe. :)

2010 has been good to us. We spent the year surrounded by amazing people & stumbling into remarkable circumstances. Before I tell you all about the goals I have for 2011 it seems appropriate to make note of all the things I am thankful for in 2010.

Before I begin, I'd like to note: The "thankful list" is something I saw posted on a friend's Facebook page. Annie Campbell is both thorough and elequent in her list & I have stolen it (with permission from her!) to share with all of you. Many of the items on the list I left exactly as I found them .... they were perfect just as they were! & I modified some of it to fit my life & I encourage each of you to do the same!

1. My my savior, Jesus Christ. And for the faith I feel in my heart every single day.

2. I feel so fortunate to be in love with my best friend. I couldn't ask for a better partner than the one I have in Josh.  He is the one person I can trust wholeheartedly ... in any situation ... without any doubt. I know he loves me unconditionally & makes every decision with the best interest of our little family at heart. We've come a long way over the last 5 years & somehow I still wake up every morning to find myself more in love with him than I was the day before. That's an amazing feeling.

3. I am grateful to have had another year our sweet boy, Isaac.  He's a tender hearted little boy with a nack for finding mischief. It's a totally endearing combination. His smile melts my heart & his laugh is music to my ears. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to raise him as my son.

4.  For my freedom, and along with that, for our military.

5. For love! God's greatest command, I am thankful for being loved and for sharing that with others! There is always more love to share. Love multiplies!

6. For my health, as well as my husband's and my child(ren)'s.

7. For family. Be that extended family, or friends who have become family, I am so very thankful!

8. For this beautiful vast earth, complete with air to breath, water to drink, & food for our nourishment. This is one that goes unnoticed when we take for granted the basic human needs. Sometimes don't we focus so much on what we WANT that we forget the fact that He provides everything we NEED?!?

9. For a roof over our head and a warm home.

10. For a mind capable of thinking, for a body capable of doing. Let us never take for granted the ability to reason and the ability to walk, run, jump...some will not ever experience these things & I do not take them for granted!

11. For the struggles I've endured. Yep, unfortunately, they've made me...Me. And I wouldn't know what I HAVE unless I was aware of what I DON'T have.

12. For our animals. Frankie, Jezzabelle, the late Leo Dog, and our new friend, Oliver. They make every day so much sweeter just by being our furry little children.

13. And lastly...but not ABSOLUTELY NOT LEAST, for awareness. Life is short, this we all know. Someday I'll have all the opportunity in the world to sleep, to do "my own thing", to come and go as I please, and I'll be heart broken because my babies are grown! I cherish every single moment, every single request to "Rock-a-bye me, momma!" , every single slurpy kiss, every wink, every moment with a sleeping child in my arms. God is so good! Never will I waste a minute waiting for these babies to grow up so that I can "matter" and so that I can do "something important" or to be significant to others. I've got a purpose, found my passion, and ultimately, love the life He has given me!
(Annie, thank you for being such a positive force & outright inspiration to all of us who are lucky enough to know you. <3  )

Moving forward to 2011 ...

It's hard to imagine being blessed any more than we are already. However, if our baby girl is a foreshadowing of  what the year has in store, then I know that 2011 will bring great things for the residents of 130 Lower Luther Road. As the future unfolds for us, here are some things I have made a priority for myself in the upcoming year:

1. Make peace with the people who are missing from our lives.  Whether they are missing because of a falling out or simply missing because life has gotten busy for one (or both!) of us. There are a handful of faces who I dearly miss from our regular cast of characters in this sit-com called My Life. One person at a time, I'm going to bring them back into our world.

2. Project 52: Write one snail mail letter every week. Text messages, email, IM, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, blogs, message boards. They are the way of the world today & I love what technology has to offer. However, there is something beautiful about the way you feel when you get a hand written letter in the mail. I want to give that feeling away 52 times this year.

3. Build my children a corn box.  Not a sand box. A corn box. I saw one at The Corn Maize this year & fell in love with it. So did Isaac. We played in it for an hour. I'd give anything for another hour like that one. So build it, I will! :)

4. Learn to sew.  Blankies and baby clothes and sundresses. I want to make them all!

5. Grow a vegetable garden. I always start one ... and lose interest by the 4th of July. This year I WILL HARVEST A CROP!

6. Read at least one "for fun" book each month. Because, why not?

7. I will find 100 things that make me silly with joy. (Like playing with my kids in a corn box!)

8.  I will learn 365 things about other people.  Getting to know people is one of the greatest things about life. Whether its continuing to get to know my family or meeting new people ... every night when I go to bed I want to have at least one new piece of getting-to-know-you type information about someone in my world.

Maybe I'll come up with more. Maybe I won't. Either way, I'm totally excited for 2011 to get here.

Happy Wednesday, ya'll.

xo -nic

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas Indeed

It was a Merry Christmas indeed.

We spent Christmas Eve at Michael & Dawn's house. As usual, Dawn made Clam Chowder & homemade pizza. And, as usual, it was delicious.

We let Isaac open his presents from Michael and Dawn & from Austin.

A remote control helicopter from M & D.
The most hysterically awesome bats from Austin. I don't really know how to explain them except to say they are big foam bats that you "sword fight" with.
Aus & Isaac spent most of the night beating the crap out of eachother while the rest of us sat back & watched. (With tears of laughter rolling down our cheeks, I might add)

We came home & let Isaac open a gift.
He chose one that his Papa Jack had picked out for him:
Army Gear!
(That he refused to take off for 24 full hours. The next day whenever anyone asked him where he got his stuff he'd proudly say, "From my papa.")

Josh & Ike made it to bed around 11.
I never did make it to bed. I just kept finding projects that needed to be done.

Pam & Jessica showed up around 6 a.m. to help me get set up for the day.
Poor girls.
Pam wanted to break into the wine as soon as they showed up --- but she showed great restraint and waited until noon. ;]

I made them get to my house at the crack of dawn because they housed one of Isaac's gifts.
Oliver The Christmas Dog.
And I wanted him there before Isaac woke up.

Isaac & Josh rolled our of bed around 8.
Watching the opening of presents was awesome.
It's safe to say that Isaac got spoiled this year --- but every single thing he received made him hoop & holler with excitement.
It was SO worth it.

He told me later in the day"
"Mom, I had such a nice Christmas. I love all my presents ... but, if I could only keep ONE gift - it'd be my dog. Thank you."

Sometimes he's sweet to the point of making me cry. :)

(Isaac beaming from the top of the bunk beds Josh & Papa Mike made for Isaac for Christmas!)

Jessie's husband, Gary, made his way over to the house in time to watch the opening of the presents.
I think he was secretly hoping the dog was really a gift for him. :)
I don't blame him though - everyone fell in love with Oliver. He's pretty sweet.

We had a string of visitors on Xmas morning ...

Michael & Dawn.
Jimmy, Kathy & Baby Evan.

And our special guest, Ben.

Ben's mama is a nurse & spent Xmas day working. So Ben spent the day with us. He & Isaac had a great time together.

I made my first prime rib for Christmas Dinner. The rub was delicious but I over cooked the meat a little. So much for following directions. Next time I'll nail it though. :)

Last night we were able to spend some time with Sue & Jack. We exchanged gifts & had a supper.

Tonight we will finally get to celebrate Christmas with Bo, Bekah & Jameson. <3

All in all, Christmas was fantastic.
We all feel so blessed to have so many people in our lives that we get to share holidays with.
We simply could not ask for anything more.

I hope all of you felt as much Christmas love as we did here @ 130 Lower Luther Road.

xo - nic

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet dreams, dear pug. We miss you already.

DISCLAIMER: If it was in fact possible to die of a broken heart not a single human in this house would have woken up this morning. If you're an animal person, this entry is for you. If you're not --- you'll probably spend the entire time rolling your eyes.

Also, please be forgiving as you read this. I'm typing through blurry, tear filled eyes & there are bound to be countless typos.

Let's begin ...

There is a significant difference between being a pet owner & being an animal lover.

I was raised to be the latter of the two.

Sure, my animals are pets by definitition. We feed them & walk them & cuss when we have to pay a vet bill. But at the end of each day I'm still wrapped around the tiny little paws of our furry, four legged family members.

Leo is no different.

I bought Leo from a breeder in December of 2005. He was the most adorable puppy you've ever seen.

He slept in silly places ( like the back of a dump truck, for instance), was happiest when he was snuggled into the niche of your neck (or behind the bend of your knee), and could melt even the most hardened criminal with that gorgeously pathetic face of his.

Even our kitten, Franklin, had a soft spot for him. They'd wrestle & play all day & into the night.

Describing him as 'friendly' would be an understatement. He acted as though every visitor we had was his long time friend. He was never very good at posing for pictures because he was too excited to turn around and lick the faces of whoever he was posing with.

The first 7 months of our life with Leo were happy & we grew to love him tremendously in that short time. However, in retrospect, buying him was a terrible idea from the beginning. This was before Josh had come into our lives. I was a single mom. I lived on the third floor of an apartment building in the city & I worked full time. As much as we loved our little dog --- I simply could not provide him with a home that gave him the attention (and room to play) that a puppy needed.

So, with my teary eyed toddler, I walked into a pet store and put him up for adoption. Isaac couldn't understand what we were doing ... I came up with a "mommy lie". I told him Leo missed his mother & was going home to live with her.

Six hours later, in the middle of a seriously self-inflicted guilt trip/melt down, I called to buy him back. He had already been adopted. That was probably a good thing. The lady told me a family wth children had adopted him & I told myself it was for the best.

Fast forward a few months & in enters Josh into our world. By January 2007 Isaac and I were living in Luther & felt settled into our new home. Isaac had asked several times over the years if he could "go visit Leo & his mother". (See? Even "mommy lies" will come back to bite you in the arse!)

Since his birthday was just around the corner, Josh & I decided it would be a good time for him to get a new puppy.  We finally had the space for a dog & the time to devote to being responsible pet owners. (Ugh - there's that term!)

We found a few different pugs for sale in the area --- but we were having a hard time picking one.

And then - there it was - in the Billings Gazette.

"Adult male pug for sale. Black in color."

We are pug lovers --- we don't care about them being registered or having papers. We just enjoy their personalities and want to have one around. The price on this pug led us to believe he probably wasn't papered & we were fine with that. I made the call. The family lived in Laurel. They warned me he wasn't very friendly, didn't like other animals, & wasn't great with kids.

Not very promising.

But they mentioned they had been using the dog as a stud  & had pug puppies for sale. So Isaac & I  drove down to look at their babies. While we were there, I asked to see the stud dog who had been advertised.

I've never met a more loveable dog. He jumped into my lap & licked my face. He even loved on Isaac a bit.

The owners were amazed by the change in disposition. Long story short - we ended up bring "Onyx" home with us.

My assumption about him bot being papered was completely inaccurate. The break in price had nothing to do with lack of papers & everything to do with the fact that he wasn't a puppy anymore. Papers - he had them.

A few days later, when I went to register him --- something incredible happened  --- we were re-united with our sweet Leo.

It should be mentioned that the father of the family who used Onyx/Leo as a stud dog, was also a garbage man for Allied Waste. He's OUR garbage man. Every Thursday he comes to Luther & every Thursday out little dog greeted him and happily played for a few minutes. Such a beautiful twist.

He instantly loved ranch life & made our home his domain. He even remembered Frankling & learned to love our other kitty, Jezzabelle.

 Leo was The Man as far as dog's go. He picked Isaac up from the bus for as long as he's been in school. He thought of himself as a cow dog when my father in law went to feed. He loved to sit on my lap and hang his head out the window when I'd drive through town. Leo single handedly changed Josh from the guy who could take animals or leave them  into a full fledged animal lover & pug enthusiast. He was a terrible gaurd dog and the world's best listener.

Before I dive into the sad part of this story, I'd like to share some of my favorite Leo Moments with you, if you don't mind. It was hard to catch Leo in an action shot --- he was too spastic. But he could often be caught smiling for the camera. :) So here's a few shots of my pig-pug the poser dog:

I stopped working this past summer in order to go back to school full time. This semester I had all my classes online which gave me lots of time at home. I often joked that instead of "the crazy cat lady" I had become "the crazy dog lady".  I have no problem admitting that I had several conversations with Leo every single day & I will miss that goofy stare as he tried desperately to understand what I was saying. Dog, in general, may be "man's best friend". But that pug was MY best friend.

The last month of our sweet dog's life was rough on him. He spent two weeks in November fighting off a broncial infection. Once we got past the painful coughing, I actually got a kick out of babying him. I loved when he allowed me to tuck him in.

Last week he broke his leg. It was an awful experience. He slipped on the ice and busted his elbow in his front left leg. I thought I had felt the worst pet mommy guilt on the planet when I heard that little bugger cry.

He's a stud though & figured the whole cast thing out. He was able to get around pretty well for the most part. It left him with some balance issues ... sometimes he'd fall & he'd just be stuck there until someone helped him up.

I spent the last week of his life carrying him everywhere with me. I made special little puggy beds, fed him his pills hidden in pastrami, massaged him so he wouldn't be sore from hauling that cast around .... and just loved on him every chance I got.

Something changed in him when he got hurt. He went from this vivacious, spunky little dog to a clingy mama's boy. He just sat and stared at me with that goofy grin & silently begged me to rub his belly or scratch his ears. Which, of course, I did happily. Though I was his main caretaker, even Josh & Isaac spent extra time with him. Josh took great care making sure his medications were given at the right times and catered to every comfort he thought a pug could want. Isaac spent extra time talking to him, telling him about his day, and playing the little bit his cast would allow.

I had second thoughts when I left the house yesterday. Leo hadn't been left alone since his accident. But,l I had just given him a pain pill & knew he had 2-3 hours of restful sleep ahead of him. When I left the house he was sawing logs on a cozy, warm couch.

I had a doctor's appointment at ten o clock & I pulled back into the driveway at 11:15. I stopped at the end of the driveway to get the mail. In hindsight, I remember hearing Leo bark when I got out to get the mail --- but at the time I didn't pay any attention to it. I had left my dog safe & sound in the house --- so I didn't even bother looking for him.

I pulled up to my house but I didnt get out of the car right away. We had received three Christmas cards in the mail   so I took the time to read them first. When I got out of my truck I heard it.

The saddest, faintest, most pained panting I have ever heard. Suddenly the mommy guilt I felt from the night he broke his leg was nothing --- behind me, in my tire tracks, was my dog. Laying on his side, heaving, cast and and all.

My purse and the mail hit the ground and I ran as fast as I could to get him. I knew when I looked at him that it was over, but I couldnt bring myself to own it. There was some damage to his head that left one eye out of the socket and his chest was caved in. Without thinking, I scooped him up and laid him on the front seat of my car.

On my way to town I called the vet to tell her we were on our way.

"I think I just killed my dog." Those were my exact words, though I'm sure she couldn't understand them as I screamed them through my sobs.

I knew I wouldn't be able to pick him back up when I got there. So I called Josh. "Please meet me at the clinic." Of course he agreed.

Those were the longest 15 minutes of my life. I will never forget the way his limp little body layed there. The way I could see him struggling to breathe. The way it felt to know he wanted to cry out but couldn't because his lungs had collapsed. I'll never forget the look in his eyes before they glazed over. That scared-frantic look that seemed to be beging me to help him. I'll never forget the sweet, sweaty smell that filled my car the second he finally gave way to death.

I have been going over it again & again in my head. I don't know how he got outside. I don't know how I didn't see him. The best we can figure is that someone probably stopped at our house & let him out to go to the bathroom. In the past, this has always been a welcomed favor that many of our friends & relatives have offered when we're not home. Whoever it was, they were doing it out of kindness & likely had no idea that our casted dog wasn't allowed outside alone. He likely slipped on the ice, trying to drink from the mud puddle where I found him. Unable to get up on his own he couldn't escape my truck. And I, obviously, feel like the worst person on earth for somehow not having seen him.

The whole thing is awful. Its been a traumatic experience for all of us. Isaac spend the night being awakened by nightmares. I spent the night rocking him back to sleep & trying to escape the pictures in my head. Josh spend the night trying to comfort us both, while trying to keep a stiff upper lip.

I couldn't bring myself to tell Isaac what really happened. We told him that we found Leo in the driveway & that we really don't know what happened. We did tell him that the vet checked him out & promised us that Leo felt no pain --- that he went quickly. Which isn't true, but I feel like its the least I can do for a little boy who loved that dog so much.

Having said that ... A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the girls at Grizzly Peak Vet Clinic. They have taken remarkable care of our little guy his whole life & the last month was no exception. A very special thank you to Becky - who stayed until 10:30 pm the night Leo broke his leg - just to make sure he'd be ok. Those girls are fantastic. We highly, HIGHLY reccomend them.

Today, our home feels empty without his buggy eyes & peg leg clomping on the wood floor.  His stocking is hanging on the mantel with Franklin & Jezzabelle's ... it hurts my heart to see his name spelled out in silver glitter. I already have the items that "Santa" was bringing him ... I don't know wha makes me more sad --- filling his stocking anyway or leaving it empty.

Losing a pet isn't easy no matter how it happens. But I am having an especially hard time with this because I know it's my fault. I shouldn't have left him home alone & I should have been extra careful when I drove into the driveway. It just replays in my head like a horrible movie.

Leo was/is a treasured member of our famly & we will miss him immensly as we make our way through the upcoming holiday season. (And always.)

Our little trio of trouble makers ....

... has suddenly become two.

To our little friend, Leo:
Thank you for being such an important part of our family.
Thank you for making us laugh with your silly ways,
being there to love us when we were feeling blue,
and for being the most loyal companion a gal & her fellas
could ask for.
We love you.
N, J, & I

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coffee Clutch

So ... I'm @ Starbucks on 24th.

When I think Starbucks I think of computer geeks sipping latte's and teenagers with headphones on.

I do NOT think of a group of 65+ year old men sipping coffee and making sex jokes.

Yea ... no kidding.

I wish I could type out the things they're saying.  But I can't keep up with their conversation. Here are a few random highlights:

"Yea, come sleep with MY wife for 6 months & you'll understand why I have my own room!"

"Is that what they call a woodpecker?!"

"Sure, he's only 25 years old. I still liked seeing my wife naked at that age too!"

They have tears rolling down their cheeks and one man is on the verge of an asthma attack.

I can't take it anymore. I'm going home. Haha.


"Mom, we need to talk."

It seemed like a pretty profound (not to mention SCARY!) sentence to come out of our 7 year old's mouth.

"I'm not a baby anymore. I'm going to be a big brother, ya know."

Ummm. Yea. I know. Or, at least, I thought I did. Maybe I don't have as firm a grip on the situation as I thought I did.

This happened yesterday after school. I struggled with it for a few hours ... & then it got worse.

I love tucking my little guy in almost as much as I love waking him up. Those are the two times of day when he is still " my little bug'. He snuggles, lets me kiss on him, reads with me, & tells me whats going on inside that gorgeous head of his.

But last night when I went to tuck him in I hadn't even made it two steps into his room when he said, "Yea ... mom. I don't want you to snuggle me tonight."

WHAT?! THIS from a kid who throws down "I love you" like its nothing and hugs Josh & I every chance he gets. THIS from a kid who remins me every night, "Mama, don't forget to snuggle me again before you go to sleep."

I tried to swallow my hurt feelings but he must have been able to see it on my face.

"Maybe we can snuggle tomorrow night, mama. But I am getting older ya' know."

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't cry my eyes out when I told Josh what happened. So he let me snuglle him instead. WHich, don't get me wrong - is always a favorite past time of mine.... but its not quite the same. :P

Anyhow, I guess I need to buy a book or talk to some friends or something ... anything to help me figure out how to function now that my "little bug" isn't so little anymore.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy News

I'm one of those women who are at high risk for pre-term labor so we are seeing our doctor more often now that I've passed the 24 week mark. We are also getting routine ultrasounds. Since today's ultrasound showed a healthy baby & a healthy mama, I feel like its ok to be over-the-moon happy about the extra time we get to spend with our little lady on the TV.

Today's appointment gave us no reason to believe that Isaac's little sister will be as impatient about making her grand entrance as he was 8 years ago. We're happy about that!

Here are some pictures of Baby O @ 24 weeks 6 days:

After the appointment I ran into a woman from Red Lodge in the waiting room. We sat there talking for a bit & something she said struck a cord with me. Right then and there in the Billings Clinic hallway, I decided what I would like to name her. I haven't ran this idea by Josh yet, but I have a funny feeling he's going to be on board.

If he IS, then maybe I'll share it with you in the next entry. But then again, maybe I won't. People can be funny when you start discussing baby names. And by 'funny' I mean 'rude'. Haha. Even the people you love. ;]

Anyhow, I was too excited to wait another minute to post these. So, I'm sitting in The Brew Pub typing away while my lunch grows cold. People are looking at me funny -- I am teary eyed and gawking at my computer screen. So, I suppose I'll wrap it up and head home.

Happy Wednesday, ya'll.

<3 - N

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sibling Stuff

Christmas stroll weekend came & went. Josh and I spent most of the weekend in bed with the flu. Isaac spent the weekend being spoiled by Grammie Pam. Lucky bugger.

She called this morning to fill me in on the weekend stories. I always love her re-caps of their time together --- they have a funny little bond that is like nothing else I've ever seen. It's good stuff.

(Although, even Pam has been noticing Isaac is growing up. Last time he slept over, she asked him if he was ready for bed --- they've always slept together at her house. He said, "Yea, gramma, I am. But I think it's time for you to learn to let go. I'm sleeping on the couch." Hysterical.)

Apparently this weekend, the hot topic of conversation was the baby. Isaac has begged me for a sibling since he was old enough to talk. I have never heard him utter a single bad word about the baby's upcoming arrival. I've often wondered how he would handle it but he has never shown us anything but excitement.

Grandma got to hear the real story this weekend.

"All I ever hear about is this baby."
"Grandma, am I going to have to share these toys with the new baby?"
"I bet this is going to be the baby's now, right?" (In reference to a shelf he keeps his toys on.)

Pam talked to him about all of these things and assured him that he would not be the forgotten child. She asked him if he had talked to me about any of it. He thought about it for a minute & then said, "No ... I don't want to hurt my mama's feelings."

I'm overwhelmed with a mix of emotions over this. I'm touched that he would be so considerate of someone else's feelings --- mine in particular. But I am also teary eyed and heart-hurt at the thought of him feeling so blue.

I'd like to file a complaint. When I signed up to be a parent no one bothered to warn me about this. No one took the time to tell me there would be times when I can't "make it all better". No one gave me even an inkling that it would be impossible to protect their little hearts 100% of the time.


So, what's the answer? Or, at least, what are the best options for handling this? I would welcome any advice on preparing an older sibling for a new baby's arrival. Anyone? Anyone at all? :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I can't wait to meet this girl!

Here's some snapshots of Little Lady O'Shea.

At first I was tempted to post the "I'm a girl!" picture. However, I haven't been able to shake the feeling that posting it would border on child pornography.

So, here's her little head ... errr: make that: Here's her big O'Shea head, frantically waving hand, and her sweet little footprint. (It is still undecided if I will continue referring to her footprint as 'sweet'. My ribs certainly don't think her feet are very sweet.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who stinks as a blogger? Nicole does!

Just shy of 5 months has gone by since my last post. Oops.

A lot of big changes in our Life on Lower Luther Road.

The Cliff's Notes go like this:

We're having a baby girl in March. (Keep your fingers crossed for March 17!) Hooray for Team PINK!

I am finishing up the semester at Northwest College. I'll be taking next semester off to have the baby ... but next fall I'll be back to continue on with my nursing degree!

Isaac is working through the 2nd grade at Mountain View school. He's a brainy little thing but continues to get himself into mischief. (More on that on the mommy blog! Ha.) He's excited that the snow finally showed up this year. He's antsy to get on the ski mountain. With Josh's bad knee and my pregnant belly we're hoping we can talk Uncle Austin into a few days on the hill. :)

Josh is still working away at the insurance agency and basically making sure our little family has everything we need. He's pretty amazing like that. :) He makes me proud. And not just because he is the provider and rock of our household ... but also because he currently looks like the 18 year old version of himself. Going into the holiday season he is a whopping 70 lighter than he was a year ago - his high school graduation weight - he looks amazing. (I'm mostly happy about this ... only a little teeny weeny bit jealous! Haha) Love you, sugar.

Other than that, our lives are pretty simple.

On a different note ...
I don't know if it's the New Year approaching or the baby's arrival ... or something entirely different. But whatever it is driving me, I have recently found myself in a panic to organize & enrich our life here in Luther Town.  I want 2011 to be the happiest, most loving year we've seen so far. Of course I mean that in terms of the three (almost 4!) of us ... but I mean with our families and friends too.

This blog is one of the steps I've decided to take to keep in touch with the people we love the most. Some of you we see often and others we have lost touch with. But if you have found yourself on this page --- whether it be by invitation or on your own --- then you are someone who is important to us. I hope this look into our little world will be a stepping stone for us to grow our relationship with each one of you on an individual basis.

For now though, I have laundry that needs folding, letters that need writing, and dinner that needs planning. So until next time - be well. :)

With Love, Nic

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blog School Drop Out

I'm not very good at this whole blogging thing. I blame my attention span - or lack of.  I haven't posted since May 12, so here's The Cliff's Notes on life on Lower Luther Road since then:

We stayed mostly cold through May and I lost all my vegetables that I had so lovingly planted in peat cups in mid April. Sad news for a minute but luckily I got over it. :)

We celebrated my birthday at The Pollard/downtown with some of our favorite people:

Two nights later we celebrated my Aunt Pam's birthday at her house with a BBQ. Lots of old friends & even a couple we haven't seen in YEARS. Needless to say, June started off with a bang.

At the end of June we took a trip to Colorado. ISaac was able to bring his best friend, Eli Lauver. We had a great time - they were both such great little travelers. The highlight of the trip for them was going to see the Rockies play the Red Sox. The boys wore chest paint instead of shirts & each came home with a fly ball. Pretty cool! We were also lucky enough to share Matthew and Hazley's wedding day with them in Colorado Springs! Hurray! :)

The 4th of July was - as always - fabulous. We spent it in Red Lodge.  Isaac was in the parade all three days:

 We rodeo-ed, visited with friends, hung out with family and celebrated all the things we love about America. It could be argues that we celebrated them to extreme --- but thats just kind of how we roll.

This past weekend Josh headed to Wyoming for Tobin's bachelor party. Tobin - getting married - who woulda guessed it. They had a great time. While they were gone Isaac and I were able to spend one night celebrating our friend Ben's 30th birthday. It was a great night with a ton of crazy people from a million different social circles. It was really nice to see some faces I haven't laid eyes on in years.

It was a night of great tears and laughter. Lots of fun reminissing --- and lots of remembering friends who were taken too soon. I didn't know either of the 'lost friends' very well --- so, for me, it was more about sitting back and watching the power of bonds shared. It was truly touching.

This morning as I write this I can hear Isaac outside playing with his friend, Andrew. Andrew is a seven year old boy who lost his father 3 days ago in a car accident. But you'd never know it --- because he's all smiles and energy.

At first, I thought this was odd. But, looking back on my own childhood, I think that perhaps its perfectly normal.

When my folks were killed I was 11. But the first time I really broke down and FELT anything other than normal, I was 19 & a freshman in college. That's a story for another time though.

My point today is that I truly believe God protects the young. When Andrew is old enough to understand it completely he'll go through the motions. But for now, he seems to be going forward as if nothing happened. And I think it's beautiful.

Well, like I said ... I have two seven year olds here. So I'm off to pack a sack lunch and take them to the river for the day.

xo - nic

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Love this!

"People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.

Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be
shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway."

- Mother Teresa

A Prayer

There is sadness resonating through the world this week. I suppose there's always stories of tragedy out there --- but this week they hit a little close to home. In honor of those around me who are going through hell I offer this prayer. I don't remember where I found this one, but it certainly seems to fit the circumstances:

Gracious God, all around me people are suffering. When I turn away from my own problems, I feel sorrow for the problems of others. Through the news, the media, and my conversations, I am daily confronted with the pain and suffering of so many innocent people in my life and in the world. Suffering seems to eagerly eat at the edges of life until people are worn down with sadness and despair.

Even though I do not understand the reasons for suffering, I believe that you are a God of love, a God of compassion. I pray that you will be with all those this day that are in pain, who suffer silently and alone, who feel abandoned and left by the side of life’s road. Wrap your arms of grace around them, until they know they are safely held in your embrace.

And, I pray, that you will fill my heart with the same compassion, and give me eyes to see how I can lovingly be a part of their healing. I ask this for the sake of your great love.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Love You (Me too!)

I love this sweet boy.

Bloggity Blog Blog Blog

It seems like everyone is "blogging" these days. I thought I'd hop on the bandwagon. I'm not really sure what I'll end up writing about. I certainly won't be blogging my way through South America like Kadin or making national news like Melissa. (Although, Melissa is awesomely hysterical & I would highly reccomend you checking her out.) If you are looking for something wildly creative and magical you will not find it here. (But you will find it by reading up on my sweet friend, Christine's delicious blog.

What you will get here is a glimpse into my beautiful life & an introduction to a cast of characters I'm lucky enough to call my friends & family.

Thanks for stopping by.