Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mad Party Skills!

Tooting his horn!


Blowing out the candle!

Happy 2nd Birthday Benjamin!

Ben had a really fun 2nd birthday! He had his first ice cream in a cone at the River City Roots Festival in Missoula!

We made him work off that $2.50 as a cashier at the Missoula Children's Museum.

We sent him out for groceries. We made him cook us all lunch before we ventured into the museum exhibits.
He provided a little "Piananno"
concert and oscilloscope light show after the meal. Then he performed a little magic show for us!

David re-designed the "Waterworks" exhibit in order to maximize the educational experience Ben was to have for his hard-earned admission money.
Great Grandma "Griz" Eileen came with us to watch the little explorer and wish him a Happy Birthday.

GrandMum & GrandPapa came from Spokane to spend the weekend with the little squirt.

Ben perched himself in the lookout tower to practice his mime bit.

There were many nice exhibits to play at. This light table, however, was infested with frogs.

Ben went on a Dino Dig with his Daddy. Sophie is really jealous!

Ben was brave enough to "Rain" down out of the big "Cloud" after "Evaporating" all the way up there several times.

Following the long drive home and a very late nap, Ben partied some more.

Ben was really excited about opening his presents, blowing out his "#2" candle and eating "Iscweem"! As you will see in the following post, he has acquired a lot of great Birthday Party skills since last year! Happy Birthday sweet little boy! We love you so much!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service!

Yes, it is true that it is difficult to get a picture of Dylan fully clothed. Apparently, display of his manly physique has annoyed some of our blog followers. Following complaints by almost all of our male readers; I thought I'd better mitigate the situation with a fully clothed photo. It was not an easy task. I searched our albums for a long time to find the appropriate picture to combat the "Beefcake" stigma now attached to our poor, sweet, innocent, young scholar. I had to dig WAY BACK into the archives of ancient heirloom photography, in the recesses of our storage area, to find a picture to right the wrong.

What?! He's a kangaroo! Summer is over and there will be no more inadvertent anatomy lessons by Dylan. We still have his little purple dragon-joey. However, it is doubtful that he would model it for us again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The End of the Summer

We had a very busy, fun summer. We blinked our eyes and now, the snow is almost completely gone from the Bitterroot mountains, the river and streams are low, my dahlias are top-heavy with blooms and grasshoppers are flying out of the dry grass as we pass. Stores are pushing school supplies; reminding us that crayons are cheap and scribbles need to happen. But, by far, the biggest indicator of Summer's end is Dylan starting back to school this Monday! Just like the shock of the cold water on bare feet in June; Fall sort of jumps out at you with the startle of changes on the horizon. There is smoke on our horizon making beautiful fire-season sunsets. However, our firefighter is done working in the forest, for now, and is back to hitting the books. Dar Williams sings, "The End of Summer ... when we send our children to the moon". Five, Four, Three, Two, One...! We are wishing you an engaging and happy Fall Semester at the University of Idaho, Dylan! We love you and we are so proud of you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Get Well Soon Norma!

Sometimes the worst things happen to the nicest people. Our dear friend, Norma, has just undergone a long, intense brain surgery. However, she is one tough cookie and is doing well!

You are in our thoughts and in our hearts, Norma! We know it will not be easy, but we hope you feel better every minute and get well very soon! Big gentle hugs from Montana!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Wow! Thanks Grandma & Grandpa Cuddy! Wow!After a late night of assembly instructions, giggling, drinking wine and cursing, the ginormous birthday present you sent Ben is set up!Ben LOVES it!

That may be an understatement.

Ben is quite the conductor!

There is not a single train car that Ben has not approved for departure.

There is not a single track component left untested.

There is not a single accessory that has yet to be relocated.

Still, the conductor is hard at work.

The crane is being employed without any explaination of it's purpose. The helicopter is exhibiting some unorthodox landing procedures. The roundhouse if full of lamp posts and traffic signs.

There is a busy town in our livingroom!

Happy Birthday Grandpa Jon!

Boy, I had all sorts of plans to cut and paste this guy into some really funny, somewhat compromising, scenes. Photoshop was a little demon giggling on my shoulder. However, my creations were anemic; nothing was quite fitting. Nothing said "thinker, teacher, student of life, celebrator of living things, band director, father, grandfather, explorer, witty smarty pants" quite like I wanted it to. In the end, I decided that this was such a nice photo of him that, I abandon my wicked ways. We love you Jon! We hope you know that and have lots of reminders on your birthday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oyster Party 2011

It all started way back when the late, great, Jim and Lois Burkhart would visit Hope bearing gifts from the sea. The "Oyster Party" has continued as a tradition at the land-locked Idaho panhandle Burkhart estate. There has been quite a bit o' discussion about just how many Burkhart oyster parties there have been over the years. Although an actual number indicative of "The ?th Annual Oyster Party" was not arrived at, the decision was made that there have been "A Lot". Also, it was agreed, they have always been crazy great fun. This year was no exception.

Benjamin is still too small to participate in the kid games that go on, but he still had a great time. He went hiking, played ball, splashed in the fountain, dug in the sand box and shared toys with his buddy Oliver.
Ben and Oliver got a lot of lovin' from the Kiebert ladies and Heisel boys. What great kids; very high quality peeps! It is a joy to help with the kids games and see all of their great visiting friends having a good time.

Dylan is finally done for the year with his summer job fighting wildfires for the Forest Service. We got some good time with him before he needed to head back to college. The University of Idaho campus will seem pretty tame after the steep terrain he has been working on.

As if buckets of Oysters, tables lined with amazing potluck dishes, silly kid games and a full band performance wasn't enough; the group continued the party inside for more fun music around the piano.

You can almost hear "If I Were A Rich Man" looking at these animated still shots.

It is a well-attended event. There were so many great people in one location, that we didn't get as much time to chat as we would have liked. However, fun was had by all and smiles were exchanged all around.There were some stellar band solos in spite of the amount of Cougar Creek wine that had been uncorked.

We enjoyed the company of special guests, Aunt Linda and Uncle Malcom, visiting from Oklahoma! We are so glad they could make it. It is always a lot of fun to have their company!

Dylan shared his stories from the steep terrain of the Kennedy Creek Fire with his curious and supportive friends and family.

Uncle JP, Auntie M, and cousins Collin and Rylee made it down from Kalispell for the fun. Ben's cousins are very good at making him giggle infectiously.

After the clean-up, we made it to Pend Oreille lake for wading and swimming. The lake was beautiful! Dylan wrestled this driftwood log and won. Ben wrestled the waves hitting the beach, and his Mamma's overprotective hand, and lost. He was a little timid, the water was a little cold, and tossing rocks and splashing were plenty of fun for him; for now. We will practice in his kiddie pool some more this year before venturing further out.

David went out for a brief snorkel with Joe. He loved that! He is pretty sure that being that sort of stealthy underwater sleuth could improve his bass fishing techniques. I am pretty sure I know what he wants from Santa this year.

Ben is, apparently, as musically inclined as big brother Dylan and Grandma Connie! He was singing and playing piano right along with the group! At one point, he had a small piano solo that was right on cue! There were a lot of great moments crammed into one weekend. Thank you again, Jon and Connie, for another great Oyster Party! It is always the grand finale of the summer!

Wild Times

Our dear friends, the Wildmans, came to visit us from Oregon! It was a fun weekend of fishing, relaxing and giggling together! These fantastic parents brought the cutest little fairy princesses you will ever meet in your life. Pictures just don't do them justice; even stolen pictures (thanks DeAnna).
They each caught a butterfly in the web of their cuteness.

They each climbed the playground like nimble spiders.

They each posed for pictures like runway models.

They showed Ben how to get the most out of his toys... and how to share them.

Ben showed them how to get wet and dirty faster.It was sad when we had to say, "The End" for now. We miss you Annyka, Aspen, Dave and DeAnna! Thanks for making the journey. We will see you in Oregon in 2012!