Road trip

Me and Scott are returning from our Summer vacation and he sent me this flirty text and pwhile sitting right next to me.

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He still catches me off guard and makes my face turn red. And yes. I go out of my way to wear stuff he thinks is cute. I fish for compliments from him that way. It obviously worked this time,

We hope everyone is having a fun summer. We’ll have some more pics of the house build up soon.

 

 

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Butte Saint Patricks Day parade and Pampered Chef roll out

The city of Butte, Montana–a little over an hour from here houses the only Serbian Orthodox Church in the state. But guess why else its a city after the very heart of the Klajic family? It has the highest per-capita Irish population of any city in the US–even higher than Boston.  Scott writes about it a lot, but its worth mentioning again–he didn’t just marry an Irish girl, but his mom’s side, in particular the Leach strain are from fine Irish stock. Those little rust red hairs in his beard are the dead giveaway.

A cute Irishman waits for the parade to start

So, when they roll out their Saint Patrick’s Day parade, they really do it right. We packed all seven of us (me, Scott, the kids and my mom) into the Expedition and made the trip. A beautiful ride through the Elk Horn mountains, still covered in snow and a quick stop before the parade for lunch,.

Occasaionally a picture of me  turns out and I like it.

Mongolian BBQ on Saint Patrick’s day. It was the restaurant with the shortest wait.

Then it was off to the parade route to watch the floats.

The bagpipes make my Irish heart stir. I can hardly contain myself when they march by.

We got home and I was in heaven. Scott has done a lot of research into epigenetics and he tells me it explains why this is so powerful for me. He says he gets the same feeling when he hears this. He says it also explains why our boys already talk like Sean Connery. Whateverit is, I love it. (I am aware Connery is Scottish, but we have a lot of that on our genetic mapping as well).

Later I made Guinness stew, a creation I have borrowed and perfected over time. My grandma learned to make corned beef and cabbage for my grandpa, and I always thought that was a sweet gesture. I have learned to make several of Scott’s favorite Serbian dishes and the whole family likes the Guinness stew. Enter, my new venture in the world of Pampered Chef. I have started selling these products, and I made a video (actually two) demonstrating how to use their quick pressure cooker to make the stew.

I have a facebook page also, if you are on it.

Mychael’s Pampered Chef

Here’s the staged photo of the finished product.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Saint Patrick’s day. And don’t forget, he was a real Saint, who has earned his place among the others. It’s not just a day to have an excuse for being drunk.

He is venerated in the Orthodox tradition. Here is a link to a description of the history of the Church in Ireland, from the Serbian perspective.

A brief history of Orthodoxy in Ireland.

 

I can’t believe I married this man

We are under total blizzard white out conditions as of last night, and it doesn’t look like it will stop until Friday. It is so deep that none of our vehicles can pass. We are probably snowed in for a couple of days. Here are some pictures of Scott walking out to feed the horses with three flakes of alfalfa and a bucket of grain. I watched him stumble and have to get back up as he fell through to his hips a couple of times. (Its about 200 yards)

Watching this man exert this kind of strength causes me to get what I call “twitterpated.” Phew.

And not to get too political, but this is the man who provides his children with “privilege” by his hard work and never quit attitude.

Do you like hanging out with him?

Today the weather was too bad to make it all the way to either Bozeman or Butte, where the two closest Orthodox churches are. So it was a lazy, grey Sunday with Scott and the kids.

And I sometimes wonder, do other wives actually like hanging out with their husbands? I mean, I really enjoy it. The snow is blowing hard and Scott has had to plow the road several times today, just to keep it open for tomorrow. But we did head out to pick up a few things we need and even when we just go into the store for five minutes, I always kind of hope he asks me to come with him just so I can hold his hand.

When we got home. he asked if I wanted to come with him to feed the animals. A ride in the plow/4 wheeler with my husband! Yes! He snapped this one of us when were done.

After that, we came in and the baby needed some love. Scott calls this a “sock feeties” afternoon.

And then, I sat down to do some studying on my laptop and asked him to sit next to me. I draped my leg over his, and he put is hand on my thigh.

I love this, because it reminds me of when we started dating. The previous several days were pretty hectic with all of us going this way and that, so when we have the chance, we like to “reconnect.”

Ladies–what were the things you liked to do with your husband when you were dating? Can you remember them? Does remembering them make you think the same thoughts and have the same feelings you did then? Let your mind wander. I bet your husband will appreciate it.

Christmas drawing near

Scott has wanted to cut down a Christmas tree on his own property for pretty much his whole adult life, and this year, he finally got to do it.

And I am pretty sure this is going to be a family tradition that he will never let go. We have thousands of trees on the ranch.

As things cool down, we are starting to feel like we actually live in a place that has seasons.

And we are having to stay stocked up on wood, in case we have an unscheduled power outage.

We’ve sort of settled in on what is going to be our religious routine. There is an OCA (Orthodox Church in America) parish in Bozeman, and they are a thriving community with a lot of children across a very wide age range. We also have several friends who worship there. But we are not willing to give up on our Serbian culture, and the ancient ethnic manifestation of our faith in Christ, which is celebrated in full at the Butte Serbian congregation. The OCA is on the Gregorian calendar (which means they celebrate Christmas and so forth on the same days as everyone in the west) and the Serbs are on the Julian calendar. This is actually going to make it convenient, because we will celebrate one Christmas with our Bozeman friends, and then celebrate “Serbian Christmas” two weeks later, with all the cultural aspects represented. Here is our oldest posing for a picture with Fr. David of Saint Anthony’s in Bozeman. The picture is for her online Orthodox religious class.

The grocery store here is great. They even let you suggest things that aren’t normally carried, and they will order it for you. We got sweet soy sauce that way.

Scott has been growing out his beard and wonders if it is time to trim it yet.

My new favorite thing is playing with it an burying my face in it. I think it should go a little longer. It has red from his Irish side and a little grey which drives me crazy.

And finally, we got a much needed “date night” which meant going to our friends house for dinner and coffee.

We love it here. We have not fully decorated the barn and the tree, but as soon as we do, we will put it up. Take care.

Silly man

Sometimes, you just have to be silly in order to get through some of the stress of things. My husband excels at this skill, and with all the stuff that has gone right, wrong and everything in between for these last two months, now is a good time to share a little.

The strange noises that have been emanating from the goat stalls downstairs would make any sane person think there was a fight or a “Friday the Thirteenth” style horror scene going on down there. Turns out our billy “Shamus” is the one causing all the ruckus. So, of course, Scott went down to film it (and make fun of him).

Scott says the title of the video is “When she’s just not that into you, man.”

He took the three biggest ones on a nature hike around our property, and downloaded an app called “iNaturalist” to help identify some of the bushes and trees we have. Scott fancies himself much like the Tom Skeritt character from “A River Runs Through It” who goes on walked with his boys in the Montana woods and explains the world to them.

iNaturalist turned out to be pretty user-unfriendly because you have take a million clear, “professional” quality pictures of the specimen in order for it to come back with an idetification. Scott already knows we have Ponderosa, Douglas Fir, Lodgepole, and several species of Junipers here. So after a few minutes of fiddling with the thing, he just explained it to them. All the boys wanted to do was play superheros and save their sister from the bad guys in the woods. In the front of the group is David, with daddy’s hatchet in his right hand, keeping everyone safe.

The baby stayed home with me.

With the tractor still being down, (several hundred dollars of hay sitting in the rain that we can’t move), some strange things going on with our circuit breakers, and a bunch of other stressors, he still finds time to pose for me for in a picture. He says he was going for “grumpy old army veteran who wants to be left alone on his ranch.”

I’d say he nailed it.

More non-stop crazy in the final push

Over the last couple of weeks, it seems more has happened to move us toward our goal than in the previous five years combined. And all the while, regular life events and memories keep piling up. Our youngest, Kathryn Milica was baptized last Sunday after church:

I stayed up very late the night before sewing both my daughters dresses for the occasion. Scott snapped a photo to prove it!

I got mine at the PX on post and it was very inexpensive. Scott loved it and wanted to show it for this post.  I was going for long, flattering and summer(y).

Even though it was very hot, it was a beautiful day with friends and relatives. We will be very sad to leave our church family. The Serbs have adopted me as one of their own and it will break my heart if this is the last we see of them. Of course, mine and the kids Kum (godfather–the man with his wife pictured holding baby at the top) will be bringing his family (our Kumove) to see the place once it is built. Many others have said they want to see it.

Scott had his last day in the army as an active duty officer. His retirement officially begins in September because of saved up or “terminal” leave, but his duties are no more and he has taken the OCP uniform off for the very last time. He got a video of his last salute from an enlisted gate guard. Its pretty anti-climactic, but if you look closely, you can see it got to him as he snaps out the last one.

Meanwhile, I had some pretty painful dental work done a few days ago, but my sweet husband made it feel better while we waited for my prescription.

And finally, the barndomnium is almost complete. The builder sent us a bunch of work-in-progress pics this week.

So close now. Have a great day, and stay cool in this summer heat!

 

Montana move enters the 90 day countdown

Well, we are now locked in. No turning back. Scott’s retirement date is set for September 10th, 2018. With his saved up leave, that puts him effectively out of the army and “back on the block” on July 21st. He has had a fine and honorable career spanning almost two decades.

Ljubomir Texas will be packed up and moved to Montana, sometime in the last two weeks of August. For the first year or so, we will move into a “barndominium” that is being built, as I write this. The first batch of pictures came from the builder today:

That is the top floor. It is being finished out and the horses will live in the bottom. The top is the most labor intensive so they do it first. Remember, the barn will be this exact color scheme and style:

The main difference is the center piece on top will be a full four feet wider for maximum living space.  We are also having a sleeping loft installed above the main bedroom and a balcony on the living room end. It has four horse stalls, a tack/storage room and a wash room. The builder is RIverside Cabins in Vaughn, Montana. The general contractor and place we actually bought it from is Montana Shed Center out of Great Falls. They work together to get whatever you need built, exactly the way you want it.

By the end of July, this thing will be sitting on our property, hooked up to water, power and septic. We will be taking a trip up there to have a look at it,  buy and install the appliances, build some fences, get the internet turned on and all that. We will turn around, come back here, have Scott’s retirement party and then haul everything up there for the move. That’s three horses, one donkey, six goats, and a handful of chickens and ducks.

During this phase of the project, we will also fence in about three acres for the horses, another acre or so for the goats, and build some out buildings and a bird coop/shelter area. We want to have a propane backup generator installed before winter sets in.

In the spring, the build on the main home should start. With all of us living in such tight quarters, we will probably have grown tired of each other and be ready to get some space. (With my luck all that time in super close proximity will mean I get pregnant again).

We will put up a bunch more posts as things start to really pick up. The next few months will be crazy, exciting and stressful. But without all that craziness, there would be no Montana in the cards for us. I am grateful to be married to this man. Take care, and we will have more up soon!

What is beautiful to my husband is sublime to God

Being married to a man with a eye for the aesthetic as distinct from “stylish” or “attractive” is beginning to have an effect on me.

Scott has been dreaming his whole life about a day when he is sitting in a great room, with a roaring fire in a huge rock fireplace, animal mounts on the wall, snow all around outside surrounded by everyone he loves for Christmas. He perceives this moment in the future as a done deal–one that is going to happen someday–and one that sort of floats above the earth in a suspended aesthetic perfection. It transcends time and space so its only a matter of time until we catch up in the temporal world and are present for it. 

He’s the more sophisticated and less goofy version of Clark Griswold. He fantasizes about these moments of perfection and then goes out and creates them.

Today, he and our son David assisted Fr Drago with serving the divine liturgy, and it is becoming easier and easier for me to see things the way he does.

Waiting for the start of liturgy.

 

The pre-consecrated host waiting to be brought out during the grand entrance.

The little entrance with man and his boy.

David hands Fr Drago the bread for blessing.

And here’s something else interesting about Scott. There is a movement in the “smells and bells” part of Orthodoxy–the folks who think that the liturgy is “cool” for re-establishing the time honored tradition (and truthfully, its a commandment) of women wearing head coverings that discusses all of the wonderful aesthetics of wearing them except the most important part–obedience.

Scott takes pictures like this:

And notices something I don’t. He says what he believes is beautiful about this photo is the obedience is shows. You see, he told me a couple of years ago he wanted me to start covering my head in church as the fathers command, and I resisted a little. They are actually kind of a pain. The baby grabs at it. It feels awkward. But I finally started making it a habit every Sunday, and to him, it is beautiful. Not because it is a pretty head covering, but because he wants me to wear it, and I do. Every tiny bit of less stress he has, and that I can provide makes our home more livable.

And today, we got home and as we all relaxed on the couch after another wonderful day with our church family, he snapped this one:

Me and my two daughters as seen through the eyes of my husband.

And I must say. If you have a man in your life, his sense of the sublime is probably closer to Gods than you realize. Just let him express it and you may be surprised what you uncover.