Family Fun

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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We got the star on the tree – Aunt Elizabeth knows it was missing for a long time.  It was set (poorly, but set) last night after 9 p.m.

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But we never got the nativities sorted beyond the flash mob status.  A reflection of some of the unique characteristics of this particular season – good season but always on the go!

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Even Miss Sophie needs a bit of a nap after all the rushing around.

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Papa needs a nap because he got up early and plowed away the new fallen snow for us and the neighbors (Merry Christmas neighbors), and he went for a run – all before we were opening gifts at the crack of dawn.  Get rested up Papa we still have a movie to catch!

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The goggles and flannel shirt are new, helmet is old.  But this seems to be the chosen attire for the day – threatening to go to Unbroken wearing this later this afternoon.  We’ll see.  I bet he selects this outfit instead:small-4032

New jacket is from Grandma and Grandpa – thank you!  He’s in love and I love the idea that I’ll be able to spot him on the ice flow or the ski hill.  He’s wearing it right now (flannel shirt under, helmet and goggles still on) while listening to music by Lecrae.

All this colorful fun to celebrate the best gift in history – birth of Jesus.  Can’t forget that without that best gift we just wouldn’t be the same – not the same at all!

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Categories: Andy, Blessings, Christmas, Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, J, kids, snow, Thankful to God, Winter | 3 Comments

GRATITUDE ON THE GO

I am not a huge fan of describing myself as “busy.”  Especially not when it becomes part of the “norm” for our daily lives.  Sometimes there are just seasons, but I don’t like it.IMG_5856sm

This seems to be one of those seasons.  Here we are, being busy with little out of the ordinary to show for it. 

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So we are going to take a few days and do something special as a family.  School is out for a four-day weekend and we re-arranged the office schedule some.  Time to slow down, take a deep breath, and just be family together.  A chance to change the cadence of our lives a little.sm-3A refocusing.  As we refocus we are reminded of all the goodness God grants into our lives even during the seasons of being too busy:

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3644.  Family who lives close enough to visit for a weekend – this is new for us!

3645.  Good friend in Eva – listens when I’m babbling on and on.IMG_4828sm

3647.  Money on hand to fix the Subaru.

3648.  Support from a friend.

3649.  Family discussion over dinner – and a chance to eat dinner together

3650.  Email of affirmation.

3651.  One year of our wonderful kittens – now they aren’t “kittens” any more!IMG_0298sm

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3652.  Order from the court signed quickly.

3653.  Safe travel to and from Helena for Andy.

3654.  J signed up for ice climbing clinic

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3655.  A good school for J.

3656.  Fall colors in the treessm-45

3657.  Getting to see the lunar eclipse (or at least the tail end of it)

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3659.  New walking/running shoes at a great price – and they feel great!

3660.  Enough money to pay bills fairly comfortably.

3661.  Trees with red leaves sprinkled around town.

3662.  Miss M. allowing some help for the abuse she suffered

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3664.  Orders of Protection in place for friends who need it.

3665.  J holding steady on his grades at a place that surpasses his own expectations.

3666.  Hearing the wind whistle and howl while I am safely in the house.

3667.  Subaru fixed after two weeks, and a fair price set for the work.

3668.  Less debt now than a year ago – progress!

3669.  Great photo shoot with a high school senior.

3670.  Donna hearing some encouraging words.

3671.  The hope that comes from planning a few days off.

3672.  Good lawyering by Andy – strategic and effective advocacy!sm-25

3673.  Andy’s detailed knowledge of the law.

3674.  Being able to breathe on the days when events seem so heavy that breathing might not be possible.

3675.  Sleeping through the night – at least once in-a-while.

 

Categories: Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, gratitude, kittens, Photography, Progress, Thankful to God | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

BRINGING BACK FIVE ON FRIDAY – MY J

Been a while since I did a five on Friday so thought I’d go for it again.  And it has been a while since I’ve focused on my boy, so this time, five photos and five facts focused on my so.

ONE

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It was weird to take photos during  a worship service, but what mom could resist memorializing her son’s participation as part of the worship team.  This was actually his second service participating.  It isn’t every week that he plays his cajon, but he really looks forward to it.  He’s working towards playing the full drum set in a service, and since his drum teacher is also the worship leader for the service we attend, I think he’ll get there.

 

TWO:sm-6J is a very social guy – loves to be with his peers and loves to attend family orientated activities.  He’s got friends from our Bible Study/church group, friends from his current school, friends from his old school, and friends from karate.  Some of his friends (as above) are younger, especially at karate.  But at school many of his friends are older (he eats lunch with the Juniors).  And since he moved up to the adult class at karate, he is putting his ability to relate to adults to good use and has lots of adult friends.  Just this week he was the only under 40 invited to a birthday party for a woman turning 75, and she was very specific she wanted him there.  Socially he’s in good shape.

 

THREE

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Although he doesn’t have a girl friend, or date (or even express an interest in actual dating) he has consistently shown himself to be a gentleman with the girls his age.  Here he went back, got his shoes wet, and helped his friend from Bible Study across when she got nervous about balancing over the creek. 

I know I recently posted about how he has a friend from kindergarten – well, he’s known the girl in this picture and her sister since he was three, and we did a couple of hikes with her family this summer.

 

FOUR:

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J is playful and competitive.  These four kids are the four who went to the Karate National Championship competition together back in July, and they love to play together – and most of their play includes some sort of competition.  But we are blessed that J is generally a well-rounded competitor. 

He does not like to lose, but he is gracious when it does happen.  And he’s learned in the last year or so not to be so discouraged by a loss that he gives up.  In fact, we saw it at the National Championship tournament – he did not place in the Kata competition on Friday and was very disappointed in that, but he held it together

 

FIVE

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J will tell you that he doesn’t want to “hike” but once you get him out there he does pretty well and enjoys himself.  What he really likes are extreme sports like ice climbing, snow boarding fast, rock climbing, mountain biking and things that generally give him an adrenalin rush.  So when I take him hiking he does things like scale the cliff along the trail (see above). 

Categories: Family Fun, Five on Fridays, Hiking, Hyalite, J, Karate, kids, Montana, Outdoors, Photography | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

FRIENDS SINCE KINDERGARTEN

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Right away, lest a mistake be made, let me say these two are just friends.  They have been buddies for years and years – since kindergarten.  They are super comfortable with each other, and when one of them has a crisis in life, they call each other and talk it through – been that way for years. 

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Because they are buddies she felt comfortable asking him if he wanted to attend the “Swing Ball” the last Saturday of August.  You see, if they bought tickets together she saved quite a bit, and she knew he’s usually up for trying something like this.

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Not only was he up for it, but Andy and I joined as well – not pictured here because, well we didn’t have anyone to take our photo and frankly we were so poor at learning the dances that if someone else had a camera we would have avoided it like the plague!

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At the real deal in the evening (other photos are from the morning teaching session) it was revealed that she is really quite the swing dancer already – way ahead of him and us!sm-83

But she taught him and he caught on pretty quick.  They enjoyed it.

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This event was put on by a couple of young siblings who grew up home schooling and run a pretty tight ship on this event.  And they taught the dances too!  I think the brother is like 21 and the sister is just getting out of high school, so they really are young.

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By the way, that man in the gray vest?  That’s her father.  When she met J in Kindergarten he was in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard.  J was super impressed because she told him that her dad was there fighting the Taliban with a giant bull-whip.  J believed every word of it!  Every word!

Categories: Daily life, Dancing, Family Fun, J, kids, Photography, Swing Dance | 2 Comments

OUR DATE CONTINUED

On our way home from Reed Point (yesterday’s post) we stopped in Big Timber and a couple of places along the highway to take some photos of the beautiful Crazy Mountains and surrounding farm land.

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The Interstate follows the rail road tracks along this stretch, so when we got out in Big Timber we had to cross them to get the view I wanted (see above).  Andy got out and joined me.  Next thing I knew, along came a train:Ellie-128

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After it was gone I saw Andy fussing around on the tracks.  Then he showed me this:

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which he got by putting a quarter along the tracks before the train came – something I didn’t notice as I was busy setting up my tripod near the farmers fence well away from the dangers of the tracks.Ellie-156

Felt like a couple of kids playing along the tracks.Ellie-155

The clouds that day were fairly dramatic making big shadows across the land.Ellie-159

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Categories: Andy, Crazy Mountains, Family Fun, Montana, Montana summers, Montana weather, Outdoors, Photography, Railroad Tracks, Reed Point, Trains, Travel | Leave a comment

REED POINT MONTANA

There is a cool festival/event that is quintessential Montana in Reed Point, between here and Billings.  Andy and I took a half a day to have a date and check it out.  I love a date that is made up of me, my man and my camera. 

This festival includes a sheep run through town – something we didn’t see because it took place at the end of the day and we weren’t there anymore.  But there are also many vendors, lots of food (we didn’t eat any of it) and demonstrations of some amazing western skills and talents

The town itself is very vintage!

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The vendors had everything from antiques to cheap beads to lambs wool products – all that wonderful texture!

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I missed the sheep shearing demonstraton (darn it!) but we will be back next year, so I’ll catch it then!

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Categories: Family Fun, festivals, Montana, Montana summers, Outdoors, Photography, Reed Point, Travel | Leave a comment

JUNE AND JULY PHOTOS – SO FAR BEHIND!

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Categories: Andy, Andy's Family, Cottonwood Canyon, Daily life, Family Fun, flowers, Hiking, Hyalite, J, Karate, kids, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Summer, Tahoe, Travel, Vacation | Leave a comment

COTTONWOOD CANYON FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

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Matt and Lisa (Miki) bravely brought their girls up the trail a full mile to get to the first crossing of Cottonwood Creek in late May.  The water was rushing, but the trail just before the bridge was a fantastic spot for a little family fun.

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This fun family serves as the leadership for the CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) organization on the Montana State University campus here in Bozeman, and I met them through church.   Not only do they provide great connection with young people learning about Christ, but Matt is a talented musician who generously shares his gifts with our congregation.

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And then there are their beautiful daughters!  Oh my!  They are cuteness defined!  And so happy and easy to take on a little photography adventure.

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It was my pleasure to spend an hour or so of time getting to know them better, watching them play together and capturing it to share with the world.  Truly it was a blessed morning!

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Categories: Black and White Conversions, Cottonwood Canyon, Family Fun, Family photographer, Hiking, kids, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Spring | Leave a comment

SPRING HAS

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I know it probably seems a bit late to most people across the country to be saying “spring has sprung” but here in Montana it is right on time – at least for our little corner of Montana.  Heck, there are still areas nearby that are inaccessible for hiking because the snow is too deep, so we are happy for the green areas!

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This week school ends for J, so summer is fast approaching!  He’s got his 8th grade project to finish up, and that is about all.  So excited for him, but also in a certain amount of awe at the concept that he will be in high school.  Seems impossible, but it is true!sm-2711

We are doing a bit of planning for summer, each of us creating a “bucket list” of what we want to do.  While there was a great variety, there were also several points of cross-over, which is fun to not.  Looks like we’ll all be fishing and camping some over the next few months, and maybe, just maybe, there will be some dance lessons thrown into the mix for the Mrs. and Mr.

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The office, always a factor in our lives, is coming up on a busy time – several jury trials in July and August, which means lots of preparation.  Also have a jury trial this Wednesday if the prosecutor doesn’t come to his senses.  So that summer bucket list has some competition for our time, but that is normal, and we will find a balance!  I promise we will!

Categories: Apple blossoms, Daily life, Family Fun, flowers, J, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Spring, Summer | Leave a comment

CHECKING IN

IMG_1057_3379smThank you for praying for Emily (who is featured in the photos of this post).  The prayers have worked wonders!

Emily is home now after 2 days in ICU and 2 days in the regular hospital as well as two surgeries.  After that second surgery she just really made rapid progress!

IMG_0923_3393smThere is still much healing needed – she broke her femur, now has a rod in there, and will need to rehab that; she has a small laceration on her liver which should heal on its own; and there was a brain bleed that while it was small, it has an impact.  Her short-term memory is pretty poor right now, and may take months to come back.  And of course, she is pretty bruised up.

Also, there is an issue with not being able to do blood thinners because of the brain bleed, but being at risk for clots because of the leg injuries.  They have a filter in one of her veins, but this is an area that will need on-going prayer – probably 4 – 6 weeks before this can be a non-issue.

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Another thing to pray about is she was really excited to be going to Uganda late this summer for a number of months on a service trip.  That is in question now because it is not clear her brain will heal in time or that she will be able to work to save the money needed for this trip.

So, lots to praise God for, and still some things to humbly ask Him to keep His hand on.

The Breuner family is recovering for over a month of just a little too much on our plates – and we definitely spilled over on to the table and made a mess of some of it.  So now we are in clean up mode.  A wonderful family visit is concluded (so glad that was able to happen)and a bigger than we thought it would be court hearing is over.  The clean-up has begun.

Now we are on to new things as well – Andy is visiting with family for a few days;  I’m working on some photography goals/projects; J has his 8th grade project to keep him busy; a couple of college students who need a place to stay during a time of transition will be moving in soon; and we still have a bit of karate tournament traveling to do soon.  Add that to the regular full case load at work and the beginning of the season where we can work in the yard and whew!  It doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down anytime soon. 

Gratitude to God for a full and joyful life!

Categories: Daily life, Emily, Faith, Family Fun, Photography, Spring | Leave a comment

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