Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm on the other side...

...according to this song by K's Choice. Remember this song from 1995?

I have spent the past two days on the phone with loved ones trying to pull one of my most-loved ones out of this stupid, ugly world. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Satan hates happy families. And he'll use insidious means and go to the most ridiculous lengths to ruin them. But, like Crowded House sang: "Hey, now, hey now/ don't dream, it's over/ Hey now, hey now/ when the world comes in/ they come, they come to build a wall between us/ we know that they won't win--don't let them win."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

But WAIT, There's MORE...

I had a bunch of blood work done last weekend and Dr. Reid called me with a diagnosis and prescription today, as she is leaving for Pakistan this week and won't be back until Labor Day. She said even though I don't have many of the symptoms, my blood work shows that I have PCOS . If you check that link, you will see that I only have 4 or 5 of the symptoms (weight gain, insulin resistance, male-pattern baldness, skin tags--my girl parts are still running just fine), but she says my pituitary gland has pretty much gone crazy the past few years and the hormone panel shows PCOS. She sounds excited about prescribing me Metformin because it's really going to help, especially with the weight loss I have been working on for 3 months and GAINING (I haven't whined about it here, but my average caloric intake is around 1800-2000 calories, I walk about 12 miles a week at a brisk pace, in addition to my regular demanding schedule, and I have gained 27 pounds since my does NOT add up!).

So I am off to pick up some meds and see how it all goes down. There are still some test results we are awaiting to be sure I haven't developed other auto immune problems, too, so, ya know, whatever.

My sis Laura just brought my nephews Cody & Tyler to my house and I really missed them! I think we are going to have a fun few days before I have to send them back to Phoenix.

Feeding the missionaries homemade pizza tonight, then going to a baptism at the church. We just had a fun afternoon of jewelry-and-barrette-making for Crafters my girlz! More soon...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bye, Kids...

Yesterday our new Bishop released the whole Young Women's and Primary Presidencies, so I am no longer the Primary President. The upside is--well, don't get me started--but the new President is super-awesome! We spent the evening together last night passing the torch, so to speak, and I am so excited about her and her presidency. And I am so thankful for the flash of insight/revelation that came last Tuesday & allowed me to write the Primary Program in pretty much one sitting. At first I thought, "Well, shoot, that was a waste," but when I showed the new Prez what I'd done, she was overjoyed. So, YAY that.
The downside is that I am sad to leave the kids, of course, and I hate to leave before I feel like I ever got a handle on things. But I do come away no longer saying "I am not a kid person" because I am, and I now know that the most complex, difficult calling a woman can hold in a ward (and maybe in the universe) is Primary President. I only did about 2/3 of my calling, and most of that was done at less-than-stellar levels, so I really do stand is awe of those Presidents who are able to put the whole program into action and inspire not just their teachers, but the scouts and the Faith in God programs, and the families of the children, too.
Here's the song we learned to sing and sign this month with the kids:
"I feel my Savior's love in all the world around me
His Spirit warms my soul through everything I see
He knows I will follow Him, Give all my life to Him
I feel my Savior's love, the love he freely gives me.
I'll share my Savior's love by serving others freely
In serving I am blessed; In giving I receive.
He knows I will follow Him, Give all my life to Him
I feel my Savior's love, the love he freely gives me."

Swim Lessons

The kids just started their second week of swim lessons at our ancient city pool. We are so lucky that cutie Jessica Holm is teaching lessons while she is home from BYU-I (James is in her class).James, Jessi, Addie and Heidi
Jessi said the hard thing about teaching James to swim is that he thinks he already can. I said his sisters were the same way--no fear! (which is scary for mom)

Addie helping Heidi back float
Jessi teaching James to kick
Heidi kicking with her class

Addie (far right) fixin' to dive, with her class in the deep end

James jumping with Jess

After lessons (this is what's in front of the pool house, but we wouldn't want to swim in all the goose poo!)
Addie & James takin' in the Lagoon Rich took this photo on Friday night in Bozeman (at a wedding)...just a little more Montana beauty for ya! ;)

Melin Reunion

My in-laws hosted a Melin Family Reunion out on the ranch this weekend. It was really nice--mom and dad Melin did most of the preparation by themselves and they were great hosts. I learned A LOT from reading the giant family tree (hung over the garden fence) and chattin' with the old folks!One side of the family history display with photos and documents from the lives of the Olef and Mathilda Melin Family.
(It was super-interesting)

James & Addie had fun coloring with Christina
Heidi had fun catching tadpoles at the beach (hence the wet skirt) and playing cowboys-n-pirates in the treehouse with all the other wild children.

Rich & Mike grilled burgers, dogs, and chicken...

...and there was quite the potluck sperad, much of it coming straight from the ranch garden!Lots of Melins eating dinner on the banks of the Yellowstone River.
There were tours out to the cemetery and the old Melin ranch...
Here is the family marker at Shorthill cemetery.
Touring the cemetery
Heidi at her Great-Grandpa's headstone
Tom (my Dad-in-law) celebrated his 62nd birthday last Tuesday. When we took him his birthday card & he told the kids, "I am 62 today! I'm an old man....(sigh) My dad only lived to be 26, so I am really old!" That made me sad. Dying young seems to have been a Melin Man tradition (ranch life was pretty wild).

Great Uncle Ole!
After dinner, Jim Melin and his daughters entertained us with some Cowboy Worship songs.
"The Other Jamie Melin" is there on the left with the guitar, with Laura, Jim, Rachel and Sarah.

Closer-up, Sarah and Eliza Melin (with Lelia behind Sarah).
They are a really great (and huge) family--their littlest brother is names James Thomas Melin.
This is Tori Wright and me chatting as I got ready to go home at about 8:30pm. I met Tori when I married Rich because her whole family lives in Tooele, Utah. She's super cool and she's a pilot! I was trying to convince her to come home and use my master bathroom because poor thing had been three days at the Pine Creek KOA! It was great to see her and her parents and 2 cute sons again.
Our official reunion group photo...delightful.
And for our parting shot, LITTLE EDEN. Look how much the garden has grown this month!
[Ally and Belle, this is the potato patch we weeded that one day--can you believe how big the plants are now?!] I am so excited for apples!
Anyway, I just couldn't be more proud or more grateful to be a Melin. My in-laws are two of the finest people I have ever met. If I've ever complained, it's because I can't keep up, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. Thanks for the fun reunion, and thanks for all the work you do at the ranch (and everywhere else) to insure the best possible future for your posterity!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Busy Week!

So, its been yet another crazy week at our house. Last Monday we had a little downtime, then had Grandma and Grandpa Melin over for dinner (chili & cornbread) and FHE (Addie taught a lesson about how one person can strengthen a whole family). Early Tuesday morning we drove to Billings to pick up my bro Sam, Kristen & Baby Owen from the airport. It was pretty cold and overcast in Billings, which was probably a surprise for people arriving from Phoenix!
We came home and had a nice quiet night together, and a fun day at the ranch and down the valley on Wednesday. On Thursday, they took our hybrid and drove to Helena to visit with our bro Matt's family and sister Laura's family. We were busy here doing our lemonade stand and cleaning house. The girls raised a total of $40 for Relay for Life, and $30 of it was in 90 minutes over lunch hour on Friday in front of daddy's office!!! We will do it a few more times to earn money for piano lessons! On Saturday night, Sam and Kris came back and we went on a double date to the Rib & Chop House and strolled around Summerfest along the river. Sunday we went to Sacrament Meeting, then took a long (7-hour) Sunday drive through Yellowstone Park. Matt & Amie and their kids met us here at our house at 8pm and we had a yummy taco dinner, let the cousins play, and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (in preparation to go see the newest film).
Amie made a wonderful breakfast this morning, I took my kids to swimming lessons for 45 minutes, and now we are heading out to float the Yellowstone River to the ranch beach and play this afternoon. SOUNDS FUN, HUH!?!?! I have tons of pix to post, which I will do tomorrow or so after I take Sam and Kris to the airport and end our marathon of fun. But here are some pix to tide you over... Jamie, James, and Addie looking over Tower Falls in Yellowstone park.
Kristen with Owen and Me with James waiting for Old Faithful to errupt.

Heidi, Jacob, James, Sammy, and Addie in my bed watching a kid show last night.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Weekend Adventure

Friday at 4pm, we drove to Laurel (just west of Billings) where we would park our camper for the night (a la Cousin Eddie) and leave our kids to be babysat with our friends, The Egelands, while we attended the temple. That's how the temple looked when we left at 9:30pm.
After the temple, Rich needed to buy a razor, so we stopped at Walgreen's. Now, if you live in a town with a Walgreen's, you're thinking "Big Whoop," but if you haven't set foot in a drug store for 10 years, you're dizzy with retail overstimulation like us. We spent almost an hour in Walgreen's, completely fascinated by the sheer variety of merchandise, especially stuff we hadn't seen any where else. Besides, I have always had a "thing" for drugestores, but Walmart and Target have made them kind of obsolete. I remember when a big Osco opened in Tucson (8th grade was it?) and me-n-Sooz just went to town in there with our babysitting wages, buying gallon jugs of Sea Breeze and cotton balls, and Noxema, and Aqua Net, and...well, you get the picture. I really went down memory lane, and I am so glad I have an equally-nerdy husband who also gets excited at drug stores and sundry shoppes! ;)
Anyway, we went back to the Egelands and saved them from our children, then spent a cozy night in our tent in front of their home. Mike Egeland is a mechanic and James was fascinated by his garage. Mike even let him "drive" this Hudson he's working on. James was so excited to see "Doc Hudson" (from Cars). Then we headed down to the Billings depot to see Thomas.

This dude marks the downtown Billings skatepark.

James was SO EXCITED!

He even got a Thomas tattoo on his arm!

Heidi and Addie were excited, too!

We waited in line for a piture with Thomas...

...beaming with excitement!

When it was our turn, Heidi was pouting, so just Addie & James went and posed with Thomas.
Shot of the Day: James with Thomas!!

We also saw Sir Topham Hat, superintendant of the railways (and Rich's next halloween costume, methinks).

The girls loved the jumping castle, but James wouldn't go in.

James like playing with the train sets inside the depot.

All over the Isle of Sodor!

James made a conductor friend and got to explore the train.

After Thomas (9am-11am), we took the kids to HuHot Mongolian Grill for lunch.
They made their own plates of noodles with meat and veggies...
Even James gobbled up the good food!
Then Daddy bought us s'mores for dessert!

oops! Heidi's marshmallow is on fire!
After HuHot, we went to The Reef indoor waterpark (at the Wyndam Hotel) from about 12:30pm-5pm. It's $16 per person, but we had 2-for-1 coupons, so the whole fam went for $32, and it was worth every penny!!!!

Two big slides for people over 48"

Addie just coming off the purple slide
The kids play area (with 4 slides for people under 48") had this fun giant bucket that continually filled and spilled.
Here are my girls waiting for the big splash! (I love this photo!)
We could not keep James out of the wave pool/beach...he loved it!

He also loved these little play canals

Great action shot of Heidi

Heidi plugging the sprinklers
Addie under a water fall

A Beached Whale's got my baby...oh, wait, that's me and James playing on the beach (w/o worrying about sunburns this time!)
Heidi is such a water baby! Even though she is only 47" tall and one lifeguard wouldn't let her on the slide, she went right back up and talked the other lifeguard into letting her slide and she went on all the slides about a million times. Alone!

Addie was determined to get across these lilypads!

Here she is trying it with Heidi

You go, girl...

James tried, too.

Here are Heidi and Addie coming out of the purple slide on a double raft...


Best waterpark I have ever been to! Clean, fun, safe, affordable...2 thumbs up!
After the waterpark, we had dinner at the Subway inside Walmart and did our shopping there (because the Laurel Walmart ROCKS!). We picked up our trailer at the Egelands and headed home, arriving about 9pm, exhausted! Time for some more downtime...
(I say that half-jokingly...really, my cough is still way-bad after 8 weeks & another round of antibiotics, so I'm going to have to chill a bit and find out what's really wrong...shucks!)
We get to hang out with our favorite Laytons this week! My bro, Sam, lovely SIL Kristen, and wee prince Owen are flying up for a visit from AZ. We simply cannot wait!
What are you doing this week?


Dear Loved Ones,               The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for us…and now we are 8! We got a new German daughter, Kristin...