Wednesday, December 29, 2010

EndInG 2o1o

WOW....  I guess it is time to say goodbye to 2010.  This year has marked some major changes in our life, and as I watched a video about Lot's wife this morning, I realized I need to look back less, and await what is in store for me in the future.  I mean, I don't want to turn into a pillar of salt! 
So, here is to looking back one last time, before we focus in on the future:

Mike: What can I say about this man.  He took a chance and some good council, and opened his heart to an opportunity that we might not have ever considered.  His faith and positive attitude is what kept us going through some hard months, and the end result was what are family needed.  He now has a job he enjoys, it challenges him, he wakes up every day with an "I love my job attitude".  He has helped us to already make some great friends and has shown us as a family what "togetherness" truly means.  He also took me on a business trip to New Mexico, which scored big in my eyes.

Me: The beginning of this year found me enjoying time with great friends, starting my first semester back to college in over 10 years, becoming a certified group fitness trainer, and in a great job.  As the summer approached I was trying to be a willing party in our changing life, but on the inside I was literally kicking and screaming every step of the way.  Through my tantrums and pity parties, I have overcome one little step at a time and life's quality is improving.  I have renewed my love for being out on the ranch working with my ever patient husband.  I have re-broke in my roping arm, improved my tractor skills, learned to bale hay, and learned a new respect/fear of wildlife.  Most of all, I have learned to appreciate my kids even more, and though there are days I still need a break, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't be here for them on a regular basis.

KwinLee:  Her loving spirit that is always trying to please others, has made her into a special young woman.  Her talent on the piano is growing, her love of music is prominent in her life.  By the end of the 4th grade she had made wonderful friends and loved everything about school.  She has taken this move in stride and has loved being out on the ranch.  She learned to bale hay, pick lots of rocks, cook more, and has become an even better "cowgirl".  This move has not been easy, and making friends is a slow process, yet she continues to be the happy girl that she is and one that we can be proud of.

Spencer:  Not only is he maturing, but physically he is growing like a weed.  His dry sense of humor and wit can surprise you at the craziest times.  He is a hard worker and this year has proven his love even more for ranch life and being outdoors.  He is a great help to Mike and can handle a horse quite well.  He finished up 3rd grade with great reviews and charged into our new life with a positive attitude.  He has adjusted well and made some great friends.  He had his first baseball season ever, and improved so much as the time went on.  We were proud of his sportsmanship and hard work.  He loves to shoot his gun and found a new love of shooting a bow.  He is all about hunting and killing things. 
Hyrum: The character.  He finished up Kindergarten, which he absolutely loved, and headed into the summer with excitement.  He had a few break downs over leaving his best friend, sense pretty much birth, but is adjusting.  He loves school, playing with very simple things, and teasing.  This year has found him quite toothless as he is losing a lot of teeth.  He likes being outside and working with Mike, yet enjoys hanging with me as well.  He can entertain himself for hours, and is just a happy-go-lucky kind of kid.  He is great to play with his younger brother, and this summer became quite close to him.  He too is loving the new life and the new school.  He adjusted quite well to the 1 room atmosphere, and is like a sponge when it comes to learning.

Reed: The baby of the family, may be a touch spoiled (by Mike).  This year he finished up pre-school, which he loved.  He has learned his letters and numbers, once we associated them with cowboy "stuff" and learned to write and read a little as well.  His passion for the ranch life has only intensified.  He spent hours horseback, in the tractor, and any other work he could get in.  His life is about work, roping, cow punching, anything to do with cowboys.  He struggled with the move, and still has his moments, but he is beginning to understand the new life and what it means for him.  He misses those we left in Helena, but is getting to know that life here means a lot of fun "work" for him. 

So, this is the Briggs Family party of 6, wrapping up the end of an eventful year.  We can't wait to see what 2011 has to offer, and we hope that it brings all our friends and family some kind of excitement and a lot of happiness.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SomE FirSts

We had to go to Missoula on Friday for Mike's 6 month review, go over the three year projections for the ranch and the current budget, and to get his computer working better.  We also had the Boone and Crockett Employee Christmas Party at "The Keep" that night, while the kids stayed at one of the employee's houses with a baby sitter.  We loved the dinner and conversation, and the kids loved the pizza, movies, paper projects, and being away from mom and dad.

We missed out on any kind of family vacation this year, no promised trips to Lagoon, no trip to see family and stay in a motel with a swimming pool (swimming doesn't happen much for our kids), and not a lot of time getting to do much outside of moving and the ranch.  So we splurged (not unreasonably I might add) and had a great time staying at the Wyngate with 2 water slides.  Our 2 younger kids had never been on one, and our older ones were 4 and 3 when we went once in Billings and tried to seriously drown Spencer.  It was a night mare experience for a mom who could see it all happening but couldn't do anything about it (good thing for a life guard who heard my screams from way up above!)  Anyway, so this go around we had two experienced, older swimmers and two in life jackets.  It was a blast and we tried to wear the slides out.
A style all her own!

Mike getting ready to shoot out like a rocket!

Kwin and Reed Loves
  Another first, a Bloomin' Onion from Outback.  When Mike and I were poor college students/ new parents, we snuck away once or twice and ate at the Outback, and loved their Bloomin's.  Well, we ate lunch/dinner combined there with the kids and let them try.  They all seemed to really like it, but it made me sick.  I just don't have an iron stomach this last year, which is probably a good thing.
We then let them do their shopping for each other and Mike and I, then called it a day.  The roads home were not so good, but we didn't let it ruin our trip.  That is the beauty of Red Box and a mom with foresight.  All in all, it was a great 2 days.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It'S aLmosT HerE

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that Christmas is just ten days away.  Time has just been flying with all the wind that blows.  We missed going to Utah for Thanksgiving, which was a big let down, due to real bad weather and roads.  We made the most of it by having friends over and combining efforts for a fun day.  The next week found Mike and I on a plane headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mike enjoying being out of meetings!

Our rental car and Me

Our Hotel/ Home for 4 nights.
We have not been on a trip for two (for more than a 22 hour stint) since we had KwinLee.  So, it was a little over due, even if it was work related.
When we got home, we were happy to be home with our family.  We celebrated Hyrum's 7th Birthday, had an excursion to find Christmas Trees and sledding.  We took a trip to Helena, decked the halls (or house), and I finished my semester of college.  So, bring on the Jolly ol' fat man, Christmas programs, parties, and the special time to celebrate the birth of our Savior!
We have so much fun Sledding

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today has been anticipated since we moved here, maybe even before then.  Everywhere we lived before we moved to the Helena Valley, my kids had a sledding hill within a 100 yards from the house.  When we lived in the flat valley by Lake Helena, they were extremely disappointed.  Even sliding off the loose haystacks wasn't good enough.  So, when we moved here and they saw the potential sledding options, they were ecstatic.  That is exactly how I would describe them the second they got in the car at school this snowy day.  I knew that the second we pulled up to the house they would be off like rockets, getting their snow gear, and heading the 100 yards out the front door to their new sledding hill.  They loved it!  It will probably take a few good days to pack down a good trail, but look out when they do.  I think KwinLee and Spencer could be professional sledders.

 I love the energy sledding burns.  What comes down, must hike their little tails up!

Monday, November 1, 2010

HalLoWeEN 2010

Major League Spencer

Amelia Earhart

Sheriff Woody

Calvin and Hobbes
Morning after Halloween!

Simple costumes, but patient kids who were willing to work with what we had!  The boys had a great time, and KwinLee did get out for a little while, due to the stomach flu, she was down and out for most of it.  We had a great time.  Sunday night we met up with 9 other kids and their parents, and we went trick-or-treating around Dupuyer.  It was a blast, and many of the community members were expecting us, and treated the kids well.  Spencer commented on how we got more here in Dupuyer, then we ever did in Helena.  Not sure if I am excited about all the candy, but we will figure something out!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

BuRs, SpurS, and BeaR ScaT

  It has been a crazy few weeks, but we are starting to calm down, I hope.  Between 3 birthdays, college, ranch life, kids school stuff, and beginning to get involved with our new life.... I have to say I am a touch busy.  That is how I seem to roll.  Here are the kids school pictures ( a few of them anyway).  They take several at the school, cause they can when there is only 10 kids.  Oh, and when I am the photographer!  But wouldn't you know it is your kids that give the fake smiles out of the whole group.

 And here is the whole school, all ten of them.  They are a great group of kids.
 What can I say about the last few weeks?  Well, I have spent a lot of time horse back with my boots and spurs (or Mike's spurs anyway) on, gathering cows.  Oh, and this is what it has looked like while out and about while on the back of a good horse.  Tough to take, I know.
We have been gathering the cows, getting them ready for shipping day.  Reed has loved getting to be out there with us.  The other day I left him and Gunner by a gate to turn cows and rode away with the lead.  I was almost a mile away for about half an hour and he did his job perfectly.  How many 4 year olds can ride their own horse, work cows, and stay by themselves on an important job with no one else in sight (in bear country).  Anxiety for a mom though.....  Heart skips a beat just thinking about it again.
We have been dealing with weed sprayers, weed pullers, and ditch diggers (in a sense).  The gosh awful hounds tongue is trying to take over here, so we deal with burs everywhere.  Our cows, horses, dogs, and even myself have been plagued with those irritating burs.  We did have 4500 gallons of weed spray go out, and 3 full days of weed pullers declaring war, trying to make a dent in our "problem".
Recently, I have found out that when the phone rings, it could be the fish and game calling to let you know that a collared bear is hanging out around your house.  Little bit scary knowing she is there, but you don't ever see her.  We have seen her "bear scat" a few hundred yards from the house, taunting us.  Just as long as she doesn't want to see what a Reed steak tastes like, I'm good.
Also, we are finally adjusting to the fact the grocery store is 50 mins. away, you have to keep your tank half full if you don't want to run out of gas, and it is so worth an hour and 40 min. round trip with the kids for a night out.  What can I say, life is good.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

He'S In tHe DouBle DigiTs

Sept. 7, 2010~  Spencer Turns 10!

Spencer Boyd
Just a fun KID!
It is hard to believe that he is 10, and yet all that he can do, shows just what a young man he is becoming.  He has a fun personality, an infectious laugh, he loves animals, is quite the cowboy, enjoys shooting guns, and his new love is shooting a bow.  He down right enjoys eating, especially good food and he isn't very picky, so there is a lot of selections for him.  He enjoys being with other kids, but also enjoys working alongside his dad (he was his dad's first side kick!).  He likes school, enjoys playing sports (especially baseball), and if the truth be known, he is a touch of a momma's boy, and that is OK by me. 
Spencer, who was named after one of my hero's, my Grandpa, and one of Mike's hero's, his dad, is such a gift in our life and we absolutely love having this kid!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

WhEre DiD it GO?

I can't tell you how many people I have heard ask, "where did this summer go?"  It has gone by so fast, and it seemed like it was incredibly short due to the weather.  I was wishing for just a few more weeks with my kids home, a few more warm days to go to the lake, a few more days to do something as a family.  But, alas, here we are back into a routine and living with the time we have ahead.

We sent the three older kids off to school in Dupuyer.  They are there at 8:20, and not only do they have a really nice lunch program (perks of only 10 kids), but they eat breakfast together at 9 and then have a healthy snack provided to them as well.  The cook, who is the grandma of 3 of the kids in the school, bakes cakes and treats for the kids who have birthdays as well.  The kids are loving the teacher, making friends, and the fact they are the "Grizzlies". 
Back To School and oh so COOL
So, we are back to just having Reed with us during the day.  He is missing his Helena life a little and the last few days he has let us know that.  But, with time, we hope he adjusts.  Well, and maybe some more horse back adventures!  Here he is with his faithful buddy Poppy!
We have had a few rough days here recently.  Not only did we have to send our kids back to school, a little to soon for our liking, but we have had a run of events that have left us hoping for a good start to next week.  Mike tried to burn the bailer down out in the hay field, so we had to take it into the John Deere dealership.  Well, that day led to bolts breaking on the wheel that holds it to the bracket of the bailer and at 60 miles per hour on a very narrow 2 lane road with a good amount of traffic, lets just say not only was it amazing that we didn't hit the oncoming car, but Mike keping it on the road and away from the steep embankment which was a miracle to say the least (or someone watching over us).  We were stuck in the middle of the road for over an hour, me holding the brake for all I was worth and Mike and a good Samaritan jacking the heavy piece of farm equipment up (with vehicles flying around us) and bending the wheel back in enough so we could limp it to a pull off area.  We left at 10 that morning to go 50 miles and he finally delivered it at 8 that night.  So, now he is down a bailer, but lucky for good neighbors, he has someone out their bailing hay with their equipment, which truly is a blessing!
As if that wasn't enough high adventure, he went to take salt out to his cows and found 2 dead ones on the forest lease.  His cows were really "boogered" and had obviously not been to water for fear of what lurked in great beyond.  So today he is up with the government trapper and bear specialist to see if it truly was a "grizzly" attack, and to see if they can get reimbursement for the lost cows.  I know what you are all thinking, that is what ranch life is all about.  It is, but some days it seems like you get a little more then you bargained for.  So, here is to next week and great things!!! and to show just how positive we can be, look at this face that says it all!
That dimple is the best!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GriZzLy DaYs

We were able to celebrate the 20th annual Grizzly Days in Dupuyer. Our kids rode their horses in the parade. They shut down the main street, which is also the main Highway up to Glacier. So needless to say, we had more spectators, whether they liked it or not.

Hyrum on Gunner and KwinLee on Cisco
Reed on Bean Dip and Spencer on Pistol Packing Pete
Our family joke is, we put the biggest kid on the littlest horse, and the littlest kid on the biggest horse.  You should have heard the crowd.  They loved seeing that tiny 35 lb. boy on that giant horse.
The kids loved the bounce house, giggled at the Chicken Bingo (you bought a spot on the board and waited to see if the chicken would poop on it), they helped gathered the rubber ducks as they crossed the finish line in Dupuyer Creek, and joined right in the Greased Pig Contest (they oiled pigs up and then the kid to catch one, won). 

Hutterite giving the kids pointers on how to catch the pig!
Hyrum in the chase
Spencer going in for the dive!

None of our kids won, but they helped in slowing the pig down for the other kids to get it.  We then headed to the creek where the kids washed of the oiled pig smell, swimming.  What a fun day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We are adapting to our new lifestyle. We have been swimming in the creek, hiking in the hills (out in the wide open bearless hills), visited a few parks, and now tote library cards to two of the libraries in different communities. The kids have spent a lot of time playing outside, a plus because we have no t.v. channels and so nothing to draw them in! Mike brought this great stock tank over and we filled it up. This has been a great thing!!

The kids have also been taking turns going to work with their dad. And sometimes we all go with him. This was Hyrum and Reed's turn to go out and do something???

And this one here is for BUZZ and SHARON ( I hope it makes you smile!) Hyrum inherited the hat from Buzzy.

We were able to sneak back to Helena yesterday and get in some much needed shopping. We had a good day up until it was time to leave. My Reed declared that he didn't want to live on the new ranch and he wanted to live in Helena. Then he cried himself to sleep in the truck declaring he wanted to go back to Buzzy. It was a little rough for me, and then when we got him home he wouldn't get out of the truck. His dad had to pick him up and take him in, which to was a little rough because he began crying all over again for his Buzzy. But, after a good nights sleep, he woke up and headed out to spend a few hours with his dad and is doing much better. So, I won't be packing his bags quite yet!

About Me

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Ranch born and raised, we love the lifestyle that ranching offers. We also enjoy the oppurtunity of passing on the tradition to our four children.