Upside down

My world is a little upside down and I am loving it.

I moved from my Dad’s house in Central California to Northwest Montana almost 14 years ago. I was “in love” and I had always hated my hometown so when I was asked to move to Montana by my then boyfriend I jumped at the chance. I grew up in the same town as almost all of my family and I was pretty close with most of them. We had holiday traditions and parties and someone to pick you up when you needed a ride; all that stuff that makes family so important and special. This same closeness can seem suffocating sometimes too. I was 20 years old and living on my own sounded good.

I loved Montana. I made a life there. I had some really great friends and knew all the good stores. I loved the mountains and trees. I loved looking at the snow, but I really hated being out in it. I knew how to drive in the snow like it was no big thing. When people asked me if I’d ever move back I told them that I’d never move back to California. Montana had cold winters but the summers are pretty darn nice. California is too hot. California has smog and graffiti. Montana has clean skies and walls (mostly).


A cute alley that was part of our almost nightly walk.


A street on our walking route.

After Lily was born I had moments of sadness that she wasn’t going to grow up knowing her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins like I had but still didn’t want to go back to Cali for all the reasons I just listed and many more.

Then on May 1, 2010 we got some news from a family member that made us think long and hard about life. I believe the conversation went sort of like this**:

Waldo:  So this stuff is happening.

Me: Well, that’s something.  It’s at times like this that I hate being so far away.


M: !!!



A few days later

W: So…

M: Well I guess we’re moving back.

During the few days that it took for us to vocalize our decision we made a couple of pro/con lists and it was just about all that we talked about.  The only pro/con list that got written down was made that first day.  At the top of the pro side was FAMILY.  The pro side also had things like going to the zoo on it.  The con side was pretty short and lost out no  matter what because “family” was hard to beet now that we had Lily.

We had already been planning to drive to Cali for a vacation in mid June so we already had the money for the move put away.  Our lease was to renew in June so I was able to put in almost a full 30 day notice.  We both work for the same company and really didn’t look forward to getting new jobs.  We figured Waldo would be able to find something in the web development field just about anywhere as long as people were hiring.  But we doubted we’d be able to find me something comparable; I work a couple of hours a day from home for a good hourly wage on my own schedule, you can’t beat it. Since we both work at computers all day Waldo asked our boss if we could keep our jobs, we didn’t expect them to say yes but we figured it couldn’t hurt to ask. When Waldo’s text came through that they were going to let us keep our jobs I’m pretty sure I had to physically lift my jaw off the floor and then did a few happy-excited screams. Everything fell into place so easily it was like the move was meant to be (if you believe in that kind of stuff, and I do).

On May 24th our friends helped us load the U-haul with the last of our belongings and we left Montana.

All of our stuff

All of our stuff.

We took 4 days to drive and it wasn’t too bad. Lily hates being in the car or her seat or not being held or all of it. We bought Lily a few new toys, I made her some snacks and we had some videos for her, this was our strategy for the drive. She played with the toys a little, ate some of the snacks, watched a few minutes of video (she doesn’t really watch tv and we packed the cord so we couldn’t recharge the netbook oops), but all she really wanted was to be held and nurse. Obviously we didn’t taker her out of her seat but her seat was facing the back so it was pretty easy for me to nurse her so we did that a lot. Luckily we didn’t get a tick for me not wearing a seatbelt and I’m pretty sure I didn’t flash anyone. We had all three of our cats in carriers (well one was in a cardboard box but that’s not important) in the car which we were towing. Thankfully we couldn’t hear them because two of the three hate being in cars and yell the whole time. We had to find motels that allowed pets and that was a little pain but doable. We were very glad to get to Waldo’s parents house.

Outside of Dillon MT

At a reststop outside Dillon MT

On the road to CA

Do you see the little foot?

To be continued…

**I guess I have blocked out that first conversation because I have no earthly idea who brought up moving back or how the whole thing really went. This was my best guess.

A snippet

Here’s a snippet of our daily life.

Waldo was hanging out with Lily when I went to do the dishes. I walked into the living room to ask a question and found the two of them in front of Waldo’s computer getting ready to watch Yo Gabba Gabba. Waldo wanted to see what Lil would think of the bright colors and what not. Apparently the real person host was singing a bubble song and blowing bubbles. Waldo asked me to grab the bubble solution from the other room. As the host blew bubbles so did I. It was interactive tv to the max.

Thanksgiving 2009

This was Lily first Thanksgiving and it was so nice and low key. We don’t live near any family and most of our friends had family things to do so it was just Waldo, Lily, our friend Jack and myself. Because there were so few of us and it saved money we decided to make chicken parmesan instead of turkey. When we were planning our menu we had decided that my chicken parm is so rich and cheesy that it didn’t need sides, while I was making dinner though Waldo decided it needed something. He made a boxed noodle dish, I didn’t need the noodles the chicken parm was enough for me.

I made a coconut cream pie because it’s Waldo’s favorite. I use a tweaked recipe I got off of and Waldo loves it.  I’m not a huge fan of coconut flakes so I take his word for it. I made the same pie last year but it never set up so I let the custard boil a little longer this year and that made all the difference in the world.

I also made some Chocolate Cover Snow Peaks.  Mine didn’t get perfectly dried out but we all thought they were great and I liked that it was nice to have something different from our traditional desserts.  Oh and in an effort to keep things real my snow peaks didn’t turn out anywhere as nicely formed as Tyler Florence’s.  I’ve really got to work on my pipping skills.  While I was googling other meringue recipes I got some inspiration for Lily’s first birthday party.  I’m thinking meringue snowmen with chocolate piped eyes and meringue buttons with a chocolate 1 on them.

I was so busy cooking and having fun that I didn’t take any pictures.  I have plenty of leftovers but now I’m to tired take pictures of food.

We did take a few pictures of Lily before Jack got here and I started cooking.

Thanksgiving 2009

Lily on Daddy's lap

Lily playing in her toy box

I am so thankful for my loving husband and our beautiful healthy daughter. I’ve very thankful to Waldo for working so hard so that I’m able to stay home with Lil, money may be tight but it is so worth it. I’m thankful for so much more too but I’ve got a kitchen to clean.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

Lily’s first Halloween

Lily looked so cute in her little Dalmatian outfit. She wasn’t too sure of it at first but got more comfortable with it over time.

Since Lily is so little and we don’t need the candy we only took her to our next door neighbors house so we could get some pictures, then it was home so we could give away a little candy.

Lily's first Halloween

Lily's first Halloween

I took a bunch of pictures (of course) while we waited for the trick or treaters.

Lily's first Halloween

Lily's first Halloween

Lily's first Halloween

She really had fun playing with the candy but she didn’t get to eat any.

Lily's first Halloween

Lily's first Halloween

We only ended up with a couple of trick or treaters, this picture was taken right after the first ones left.

Right after we answered the door for the first trick or treaters

Our Halloween self portrait

Halloween self portriat

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