Sunday, February 24, 2013


I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I think the best part about having children is that it allows you to relive your childhood, whether you start reminiscing of the things you had and played with triggered by some new, fancy toy no kid these days can live without, teach your kids the same, ancient songs, dances, poems, movies, and even TV shows you couldn't live without as a kid, and play the same games. It's amazing how riding-a-bicycle it is; just comes back to you out of nowhere. And what makes it really fun for us is that Jacob and I did a lot of little-kid stuff together, now we have our own little kid.

Chief among them: building forts. I mean, that's really what dining room chairs are for. This time, though, Zoey used the living room furniture.

 This is how it started out. She decided she wanted to build a fort and asked to have the blanket put over her. Then demanded, "Don't come find me in my fort!"

 She had some friends join her.

 Popped out long enough to ask for some Goldfish crackers.

 Coming and going.

 With Daddy's help, the fort grew to this.

 That one was actually big enough to play in.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy 2nd Blogiversary!

Two years down, who knows how many more to go!

Thank you to my 8 followers, and the 8,000+ page-views, even though most of them are searches for information on Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit. Thank you for the positive feedback (Aunt Karen, Mom), encouragement, and finding our little life slightly entertaining; that's all we mean to do here: entertain.

We're still living, loving, and growing and documenting it here, so thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dating on a Zero Budget

As you know, we're poor. While discussing the news that ATM's might start spitting out dollar bills, my coworker started making fun of people who only had $11.00 in their bank account. I pointed out that $11.00 is a lot of money to some people, then promptly won a dollar bet that bumped me up to $12.00. I'm just kidding. We're lucky if we have that much!

I read an article about how to save money each month of the year, and while a lot of it didn't apply to us (we don't have huge credit card debt or a mortgage), I did come across a few good tips, one of which being - drum roll, please - *big booming voice* The Month of No Spending. The article suggested doing this in February because it was the shortest month - i.e. less painful; we decided to do it in February because the sooner the better. It's hard not to think of it as some sort of punishment, but we're just doing it to know exactly where we sit and what is important. Because when it all comes down to it, inexplicably-sized bags of potato chips from the gas station every other day isn't life or death.

So - yeah - a weekend where Jacob's parents volunteered to take Zoey, followed by Valentine's Day, probably wasn't the best month to vow zero discretionary spending. But we managed to pull it off and have a great time.

 After Jacob's dad scooped up Zoey on Friday evening, the fur-babies took full advantage. In the beginning, they always seem a bit weirded out, like we gave Zoey away and they know they're next, or something.

 These were actually taken when my mom was visiting a couple of weeks ago. We left her and the Zo to hang while we took a mini-road trip with the dogs in hopes of getting them some exercise. Look at Durbin shoving his face out the window! (We have to lock the windows because they'll stand on the switch and either open it all the way - Louis has been known to jump out of moving vehicles - or decapitate themselves). Durbin has always loved going in the car, mainly because he just wants to be included. It took Louis, however, to show him how to have fun in the car.


Yup, been a little dry this winter....

 On Saturday we "slept in" until 7:30ish, then had breakfast at "our" spot - The Alpine (thanks to my mom's charitable donation to our cause of getting from one paycheck to the next, we were able to still have a little monetary fun without breaking our No Spending rule).

We spent most of Saturday doing what most kid-less parents do: sleep, watch inappropriate-for-children television and movies, play loud music, and drank liquor in the middle of the day. We generally don't have hard and fast plans - or soft and slow - when Zoey isn't with us, but I did want to take Jacob to Two Moon Park in Billings. It's a chunk of wilderness smack in the middle of the city that my friend, Mer, and I have taken our dogs to.

Nope, they're not the slightest bit ready/excited.

 Walking one of the paths. Unfortunately, we didn't make it very deep into the park. 

The dogs took off into the trees. We heard them crashing about, called them back, and assumed what we heard was them making their way back to us when all of a sudden a good-sized deer ran across our path, of course, immediately followed by Louis, then by Durbin. We waited on the path and continued to yell their names but Durbin was the only one to make it back. He started running from wherever Louis was and back to us on the path about 3 times before we decided we'd better follow him; Louis wasn't coming any time soon. Jacob was a good ways ahead of me and came upon the scene before I did. "Oh, baby...." Me, expecting the absolute worst, that Louis impaled himself on a tree and was lying somewhere bleeding to death. Of course, I knew better. "What?!?" "Louis killed that deer...." I didn't see it with my own eyes, but Jacob got a front-row view to the deer bleeding out and Louis dragging it around within this circle of brush. I did get to hear it moaning, lucky me.

We tried our damnest to get Louis away but he refused to leave. After about 10 minutes, we walked back to the car with Durbin, and me near-tears; I always knew it would happen one day - going home without Louis. As we got closer to the car, though, Louis decided he was better off with us and came running out of the woods. We knew they still needed some exercise so we went to the safe, confined, dog park.

 Deers, tennis balls, there all the same to Louis.

 No trees around here!

 Just wide open spaces specifically for dogs to run wild and free (just not too wild and/or free).

 The next morning, Deer Killer had some trouble getting out of bed...

Like us, the dogs take advantage of the baby-free weekends; get to have the entire floor to themselves! They know it's all about Zo so when she's not here, it really is all about them.

Having zero money really comes in handy when you have dogs (except when said dogs cost you hundreds of dollars in a killing-the-neighbor's-cat-in-front-of-their-children debacle). Finding things to do without spending any money takes thought and creativity, something we seriously lack when Zoey isn't around. Ok, anytime, really. So by Sunday morning, I was still all about getting the dogs good and exercised so I took them to meet up with Mer at Zimmerman Park.

 It was no Boston, but at least it was something to wake up to Sunday morning.

 Old pals, these 4 spend a lot of time together.

 Photographic evidence of Louis lifting his leg! He was snipped at 2-months and never spent a lot of time around other dogs, so he's always squatted. Enter Durbin. While Louis taught him the art of sniffing out the car window, Durbin taught Louis how to Ninja-pee.

 One of the times I'm sure Durbin is actually smiling.

 Mer's fur-babies, Boone (the Golden) and Kona.

 With the "big sky," it really does feel like you're on the edge of the world.

 Louis is over there...somewhere... (not killing anything, God willing!)

Mer  with the dogs, and - I'm sorry to admit this - Durbin assuming his humping position.

I got back from the park late afternoon, then we got ready and went to pick up Zoey.

 Certain days - certainly more often than not - the mountains look huge.

Cooney Dam.

Zoey - as always - had a great time with her grandparents, Aunt, Uncle and Cousins (side bar: Miss Libby is walking!). And - as always - she was excited to see us. Unfortunately, she's reached an age where the excitement subsides rather quickly and she flips the whining switch. But I know this is just her way of letting us know she missed us.