Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Chirstmas Eve!!!

Merry Christmas Eve to all of our friends and family.  We wish we could be closer, but we send our love!  Here are some pictures from the past week...

Last weekend Clint and Dane went hunting with Brock, Noah, and Kailey.  I was feeling a little under the weather, and Kimber and I stayed home for a little rest.  They had a great time and got a couple ducks...  Dane was super excited cause Noah brought donuts and hot chocolate! 
Here is Noah with his daughter Kailey and Dane
 Clint, Brock, Dane and Bones... 
 Brock watchin for ducks!
 I have been doing a little baking for the Holiday.  We have our traditional Kris Krinkle cookies that we make every year.  They are my Grandma's recipe and are delicious!  I decided to let Kimber and Dane help me decorate...  well, it didn't last too long, (I never should have added food coloring...  sprinkles, yes...  color that will stain the children and everything else... no!) but we did have a great time, and after I sent them to hang out with Dad, I got some pretty cookies to give away!

Here is Kimber applying some sprinkles
 Oh my gosh!  Look at all that goodness!

 Tonight we are just hanging out, having a good time.  Daddy played soccer and other fun stuff with the kids outside while I cleaned up the house, so they were happy to settle in for some "toons" after dinner.  (Although I think we were actually watching swamp people...  Dane loves that show! )  Yes, the coffee table is upside down.  I got tired of telling Kimber to quit climbing on it and this seemed like an easy answer for the meantime!  Of course, then it became an exciting new place to play! 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Dane hamming it up!

A couple more pictures video from Dane's x-mas program.
They were super cute, the little girl in pink is Dane's friend Quincy.  She is a cutie!

 The whole group.

So, apparently when Dane is nervous in front of people, he pulls up his shirt and shows his belly.  Someone said I should have written "Merry Christmas" on it...  Well, I guess I know for next year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dane's Christmas Party

I'll have a few more pictures later, but here is Dane walking out to sing at his Chirstmas program!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Duck hunting and a visit with Santa!

Yesterday we started the day with a super fun duck hunt.  Noah and his daughter went with us and I think everyone had a great time.  Here are Dane and Kimber with one of the ducks.

Dane and Noah's daughter Kailey

Daddy's little duck hunter!

Waiting for some to come in.  Noah said he had to get a picture of me shooting with Kimber on my back.  But, she has ear protection, and it doesn't bother her...  so why not!  :)
Noah and Kailey
Then we went to the annual kids Christmas party.  Dane got to see Santa and actually sat in his lap.  Kimber just looked at Santa and that was enough for her!

Dane kept asking Santa where his reindeer were... 

Then we got to spend the evening at the adult's Christmas party.  We had a wonderful time and the kids did good with the babysitter.  I think it's time to get our Christmas tree put up... so that is the goal for today!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thanksgiving and Birthday Fun!

Over Thanksgiving, Sam, Shannon, Porter and Wyatt made the trip from Oregon to spend the Holiday with us.  It was a wonderful time.  Clint and his brother got to catch up, the kids played really well together and Shannon and I went shopping on black Friday.  It was a fantastic time!

Of course we took the kids down to feed the big trout at the hatchery.  It was SO WINDY that we didn't stay too long. 
 Uncle Sam with the boys
 There is a little park right there, so we let the kids burn off a little energy on the play equipment.

 They had the best time with this game!  Sorry the pictures are a little blurry, but I think you still can see how much fun is being had!

 The three troublemakers!
 The boys got along really well.
Last weekend we went out for the first duck hunt of the season.  I bought these balaclavas for the kids.  Dane's is just plain black and really great for keeping him warm.  Here is Kimber showing hers off before we head out duck hunting.  Okay, I will admit...  I thought it was cute.  However, Clint looks at her and says "you aren't going to make her wear that are you?"  to which I reply.  "She really does need to wear snow pants!"  :) You will notice in the duck hunting pictures, she is not wearing her balaclava... he won.  What do you think?  Doesn't she look cute?

 Here are the boys waiting patiently for some ducks.  Unfortunately the right decoys were out at the property (a point we didn't remember until we were all dressed up and ready to go) so the hunting was great...  the shooting left something to be desired.
 Kimber decided to catch up on some sleep.
 My mom's birthday was the next day, so we took her out for dinner that night.  We had a wonderful time and I LOVE Chinese food!

Here is my Mom with Kimber...  Doesn't my Mom look great.  This is less than 2 months after having open heart surgery!  She is my hero!

Then I had to get a picture of my two favorite windburned guys!

Friday, November 25, 2011

An Amazing Elk Hunt

Last Saturday, Mom and Aunt Jeanne graciously offered to watch the kids so that Clint and I could go elk hunting. I really was hoping to harvest something and had decided that if the opportunity arose, I would definitely shoot a cow elk so that at least we would have some meat. We were up and on our way super early. It had snowed for about the last 24 hours and the temperature was hovering in the single digits so we were hoping the elk would be up and moving around.
When we were about 10 miles from the trailhead on the gravel road, we came upon a gentleman who had lost his 4 wheel drive and was stuck on a hill. He asked us to pull him out of the ditch so he could turn around and park his truck. Of course we assisted him and were able to pull his truck free. He was also headed out to go elk hunting and was very disappointed that he would not be able to go. We offered for him to get in with us if he would like... he seemed like a nice guy and we were headed in that direction... He declined but asked us where we were headed. We told him, and he said we might find some elk in that area, but then told us where he had been headed. He said that his friends were finding elk in Willow Creek and that is where we should go. Thanking him for the info, we left. Chatting about our options, we decided to follow his advice and head to Willow Creek.
It was just getting light when we were pulling over the ridge into Willow Creek. Clint (my rockin' awesome hubby!) spotted two elk in a clearing and as we got closer we started seeing several other elk, including one large herd of cows. Of course, where you find elk, you find people! There were already hunters on the large herd of cows, so we headed on a little further. Stopping to talk to some other hunters, they pointed out 3 bulls that they had been watching from the road. They only had a cow permit, so they couldn't hunt them. Getting excited Clint and I pulled forward to make our plan. The bulls were about 460 yards from the road at one point. Obviously, that is too far for me to shoot, so we saw two options. I could get out of the truck and try to crawl closer, or we could go around, drop out of sight and come around them on top of the neighboring ridge. I told Clint that I thought it might work better to go around. The elk were watching us and would be able to see me get out and start crawling... perhaps they wouldn't run, but I thought it might be better to try the other route.
Of course I ended up kicking myself later... it was so cold and there was 6-8 inches of snow that was SUPER SQUEAKY! There was only a light wind, so every step was super loud. No matter how quietly we tried to walk we were announcing our location to the whole world! The 3 bulls were smart enough that they turned around and headed in the other direction.
Clint had been carefully watching another herd of cows that had come over the ridge and had formulated a "plan b" for us. (Have I mentioned my husband rocks!) They were slowly making their way towards us and if we headed up the ridge we might be in a good spot to intercept them. As we slowly peeked over a ridge we realized that they had bedded down in a perfect spot... for them! They were really spread out and all facing in our direction. Staying behind some pine trees we watched and waited to decide what we wanted to do. A little later, we spotted 2 hunters on the ridge across from us in a different direction. So, essentially the elk had hunters on both sides of them, and they were bedded in the middle. We thought perhaps the other hunters might push them towards us so we waited to see but then we decided they were probably waiting for us to do the same thing cause they weren't moving!
After about an hour or an hour and a half of standing in the cold. (it was really cold!) We decided that we needed to make a move, so we dropped back out of sight and headed up the ridge. Once we had gained a little elevation, we were stuck at about 500 yards from the elk. So, we started crawling from one dead fall to the next. Staying in the cover, we were slowly working our way towards them when I spotted one laying closer, which happened to be a bull. I pointed him out to Clint and we ranged him at 306 yards. Since that is in my range, I took the lead and crawled forward to try and get a shot. He was bedded in some brush and I couldn't get a clear shot from that angle, so I had to crawl to a different log. Staying low, I shimmied up to the log. I had to keep moving until finally Clint helped me find an angle that gave me a clear shot at his vitals. Then it took me FOREVER to make the shot. A lot can go wrong in 300 yards and I have so much respect for the animals we harvest, that I wanted to be sure I did everything I could to make it right. So, after finding a rest on the log, using my pack to help prop myself up and calming myself down, I touched off a shot.
He stood up at that point and we could see that the off shoulder was broken.  He turned around and faced the other direction and Clint told me to shoot again since he wasn't down.  I actually ended up putting 5 rounds in him before his legs started giving out and he went down.  I must say I am proud of myself.  All 5 rounds were in a decent spot, but a little higher than they should have been.  For 300 yards you have to consider the drop of the bullet and I should have held a little lower, but it all ended up just fine.  We just aren't used to such great big critters!
In this picture you can just see him laying on the other ridge.
 We were stoked!  Clint was so patient with me while I took my time to make the shot.  I don't think either of us had any idea how big he truly was!  We were just thrilled to be successful!  Here I am after he went down.
 After some "high fives" and some pictures we started gathering up my gear and hiking towards our critter.  All the sudden we hear the other hunters shoot.  At first we thought they were shooting at another elk that was in the timber or something.  But then I see one guy take off running towards my bull.  I tell Clint, "they are going towards my elk".  He replies "no, they wouldn't do that".  But then we realize that is exactly what they are doing.  So we take off running too.  There was a really sharp incline right below our elk and just as we get to the bottom of that we hear another shot.  Clint starts yelling for them to quit shooting and gets to the elk before me.  As I get there I hear the guy say "my dad just shot this elk".  Clint tells him that I shot the elk way before his dad did.  (sometimes even when an animal goes down, it can still take a little while to expire...  he wasn't going anywhere but wasn't 100 % dead, so the guy shot him in the back of the head...) This guy introduces himself to us and says, "well, lets see if there is more than one round in it.  If there is, it's your elk because obviously you did shoot it first."  I am close to tears... I am thinking that we are going to get totally skunked and not even get any meat, because some guy wanted a bull elk.  Just about then the dad walks up and doesn't seem nearly as nice as the son.  He is assuring us he "shot the elk when he was bedded down" and we are telling him, "he was bedded down because I had already shot him".  The son explains that we will look for other rounds and if we find them, then it's my elk.  If we don't then it's theirs.  When he asks if his dad thinks that is fair his dad says "well, it depends on what we find". 
Fortunately, we find two shots in the shoulder on one side, one was his, and one was mine.  (there were actually 3, but we only could pick out 2 right then.)  Then we rolled him over and there were 3 entrances on that side.  (none of my shots exited.)  Fortunately, the man looks at me at that point and says "enjoy your elk".  They then told us that he had shot 31 elk and this would have been his biggest. Apparently he had been watching this bull for hours and he tried to shoot it twice but his bolt had frozen up.  I can say in all honestly, no matter what they think, our intent was not malicious.  We waited to see what those guys were doing when we first spotted them, and when they didn't make a move, we decided we needed to before something else happened.  I am honored to have harvested such an amazing old warrior of a an elk.  He is a beautiful bull and I don't know that I will ever take another in his class.  I can also say in all honesty, I couldn't have done it without my husband.  He is the one who watched this herd while I was focused on the other 3 bulls, and I think we make one heck of a team.  His aggressive approach and my "let's wait and be patient" approach seem to balance each other and it worked out amazingly well for this trip. 

Here are some photos of the beautiful elk that we harvested. 

 Of course, then the work began.  We had him on the ground at about noon.  We had to hike out and get the meat packs, and then it took us 3 trips to get him out.  It was only about 1.5 miles one way, but that was plenty far!  Since we knew it was going to get dark, we took everything halfway out through most of the dead fall and steep terrain and then ferried it the rest of the way. 

Packing out a hindquarter
 Clint carried the head and cape for the first half...  Then when we went back to take it the rest of they way, I decided I wanted to finish the job!

I am still excited about our success that day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time to catch up!

Well, the last couple weeks have been a blur... exciting and eventful, but super busy! I will probably do a couple posts to catch up, so here is the first!

The first weekend in November I headed out to see if I could find an elk.  I got a really great permit and wanted to see if I could find something.  The first day I went by myself and hiked a lot, but only saw one herd a LONG ways away.  The next day one of Clint's coworkers went with me and we had a long cold day hiking in the snow.  We did get into some cows, but I had an either sex permit and we ended up not getting an elk that day either.  The visibility that day was kind of tough as you can see in this picture.

Clint rolled in Friday the 11th at about 10 pm. We were all so excited to see him and get him back to Great Falls! He got Saturday and Sunday off, so we decided to make the most of it. I had spoken with a gentleman who allows us to hunt his property and he had told us we could come out and hunt Saturday afternoon. Kimber stayed with a friend's daughter, and Dane, Clint and I headed out to see if we couldn't get a couple does.
Luck was in our corner and we were able to harvest 3 beautiful does. Dane was with us and got to see the whole thing. He was stoked, as you can see in this picture.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Things are good here.  We are literally counting the days until Clint gets home!  6 days left!  Woo hoo!
Here are some pictures from our past week!
Kimber looking like such a big girl!

Painting pumpkins

Our finished product

For Halloween Kimber was Snow White.  When I put her in the costume she sat down and started sobbing.  But, she is such a little ham that when I got out the camera she quit crying and looked right at the camera.  Then she started laughing.  She ended up wearing her costume all day long!  :)

At my work, our division's theme was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Here is my Supervisor.  She was Violett and did such a great job dressing up!  She had just taken a bite in this picture, but she looked so great I just had to share!

A couple others dressed up. Including one of my fellow Oompa Loompas.

Here I am in my Oompa Loompa costume with my coworker Janelle.  I made my costume myself so I was pretty darn proud. 

Dane's Halloween Party.  It seems that Spider Man was a popular costume this year!

Kimber telling me that she worked hard for that cookie, so there is no way she's giving it up!

Me and my little Spider Man!

We had a great time for Halloween!