Just The Beginning

Thanksgiving 2015 was a “messy” one for much of the state of Kansas.  Rain, turned sleet, turned ice.

Ice EditedWe were fortunate to be able to travel for one of our Thanksgiving feasts before the weather turned bad.  But, by Friday morning… It. Was. Nasty!!!!

Freezing rain, icy roads and cold animals that needed fed.  Ranchers and farmers don’t get bad weather days.  That’s when they’re needed the most.  The animals rely on us to take care of them when Mother Nature gets ugly.

The weather kept unloading through the weekend.  By Saturday, cabin fever had set in our house. I was going to lose my mind if the kids and I didn’t bust out.

We all bundled up and climbed in the feed truck to help Daddy feed the cows.

Ice 2

Some of us were still a little sour because it was too slick to be able to get out of the truck.

Ice 3

While we’re not normally feeding hay this early in the winter months, when the ice sets on like this the cows need the hay since they can’t feed on the ice covered grass.  These girls eat a LOT of hay.  This bale would be gone by morning.

Ice 1  They were so happy to see us.

Ice 4

Ice 10

Ice Cow

Ice 13

Happy, happy girls.

Hopefully, storms like this are seldom this winter.  But…. on the chance that we ARE blasted again, our girls will be well taken care of!!!



Peace, love and ICE cream!!!!



I’m no stranger to country critters.  Raccoons.  Possums.  Coyotes.  Hoot Owls.  Buzzards.  Snakes.  Spiders.  Mice.  You name it, I’ve encountered it.  (…probably.)  Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve necessarily ENJOYED my encounters.

If you know me well at all you know that among all of the above listed creatures, mice rank at the top of my list for giving me the heebie-jeebies.  That’s a very technical term… heebie-jeebies, you know.  It’s that feeling you get when something creeps you out to the Nth degree. It’s become a comical thing in our household… me and my heebie-jeebies.  There’s even a dance that goes along with a heebie-jeebie attack.  It’s quite comical, as well.

After moving further south I have a NEW “top of the list”.

Friends, meet the Kansas rattlesnake.


Insert screams, shudders, tingling sensations in the spine, any sort of heebie-jeebie type dance movement that your body may involuntarily convulse in.  These dudes are BAD to the bone.  …and they like to lurk in all the wrong places.

This guy was happily minding his own business in the tall grass next to the hay barn at our house.  Grady happened to be weed eating on this particular day and “got him”.  This is just a little too close for comfort.

As I said before, I’m no stranger to rattlesnakes.  They frequented the yard I grew up in as a child on our family ranch not far from where we are now.  But… that was a REALLY long time ago, back when dirt was being invented, as my kids like to say.  So, it had, OBVIOUSLY, been “a while” since I ran into one.


This was the very first one we came across since the move.

**Sorry for the gore, but I don’t like to take pictures until they’re good and DEAD.  …and “chopping” them is the only effective form of extermination.**

This guy was under that big rock in a pasture where we have a set of pens for shipping out cattle.  Tucker actually found him, which frightens the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of us.  He had been playing out there while he wasn’t needed.  After we were done loading cattle and sent the cattle pots (rancher’s term for a semi hauling cattle) on their way he told Grady that he “thought” there was a rattlesnake under a rock, but wasn’t sure.  Lo and behold he was right!  Mr. Rattles was just chillin’ out under that rock.  We made sure to educate Tucker on what they look like and sound like.

Throughout the summer Grady has come across many more.  It’s routine for him to carry his pistol in the truck for easier extermination.  He tries to bring home the rattles for Tucker, who is fascinated with them.


I’m really hoping that this collection stays small!!!!


Peace, love and NASTY rattles.

Turning It Around

Oh, I had a Monday.

I started the morning running a little behind.  I discovered I had a low tire and took the time to air it up.  I thought to myself as I was airing it up that I’d have Grady fix it that evening.  No worries.

I was three blocks from the office on the busy main street in town stopped at a red light.  As I pulled out I heard an odd noise, but thought it was coming from the semi beside me.  I proceeded to the next light where I turn for the last two blocks to work.  Again, the noise, and this time I could FEEL that I was riding on a pancake-flat tire.  My heart sank and I knew I had to get pulled over as soon as possible.  I parked illegally on the side street.  Ran around to check and sure enough, flat, flat, flat.  I growled under my breath, grabbed my purse, lunch bag and started hoofing it to the office.  I was thankful that I was close, but worried that my car would get ticketed or towed.

This was NOT how I wanted to start my Monday, let alone my week.  As I made it in, I knew I needed to find someone to help me change the tire.  That’s when I started to get nervous about whether or not I even had a jack and tire iron.  I wasn’t sure that Grady had checked for all the necessities in this vehicle since we got it in May.


After forty-five minutes of fretting over the possibilities I called upon one of the guys in the office to help.  Graciously, he dropped everything and came to my aid.  We located an air bubble and aired up the bum tire.  I raced (okay I just drove quickly) four blocks to a new (to me) auto shop who gladly took care of my tire.

Problem solved.


Why is it that when your day starts out wonky it seems to throw EVERYTHING in a tailspin?  My whole day was off.  I couldn’t get my head wrapped around anything and I felt like my work showed it.  I just needed my day to be over.

Tuck and I had a meeting that evening and on our way home we were blessed with this.

DSC_0155 copy2

Sheer BEAUTY!  I couldn’t resist stopping and shooting.

I was quickly reminded of all the beautiful blessings in my life.  Although my day started out roughly, I was blessed with co-workers who cared enough to go above and beyond to lend a helping hand.  I was blessed to find a nearby mechanic with a warm smile and honest heart.  I was blessed to NOT get a ticket for my illegally parked, “out of commission” vehicle.  I was BLESSED that the flat tire happened so close to the office and not on the busy highway I travel every day.

The bottom line…. I was blessed that day.  My misfortune showed me reminded me of the MANY beautiful blessings in my life EVERY SINGLE DAY.



Peace, love and fortunate misfortunes!!!!

Digging Out and Digging In

Yesterday was another day spent at home.

Snowed in.

It snowed ALL day Tuesday.

The wind BLEW all day Tuesday.

In general, it was a miserable day.  …in my opinion.

I shoveled the deck and a path to the house from the driveway for Grady late that afternoon.  By 9:00 that night you would have never known a shovel had been NEAR that snow.

It all ended in the middle of the night and we woke to this.

DSC_0015 copyThe drifts were at least nine inches deep in some places, if not more.

The gentle waves of snow were so peaceful yesterday morning.  I wanted so badly to load the kids up, drive around and take pictures.

But… I stepped out for about three minutes to snap the one above and the -15° windchill was more than I could handle.  My fingers were frozen!

Shoveling and picture snapping would have to wait until later.

Nap time came I bundled up to dig us out.  Again.


DSC_0071 COPYThe sandbox toys looked so sad.

DSC_0057 COPYThese two were a riot in the snow.

DSC_0075 COPYBandit would dig, roll and then bury his face in the snow.  He LOVED it.

DSC_0067 COPYAnd then there was Macy.  She was eating random things on top of the snow…  Weirdo.

I ended up caving in on my baking ban.

I DIDN’T make cookies though.

DSC_0031 COPYI opted for banana nut bread.  Two GIANT loaves!


The house smelled SO good and I had a very happy husband when he came home from work.

I’ll share the recipe with you tomorrow.

The insane weather wasn’t the only downfall to our time at home.  Miss Monkey woke up Tuesday morning with an uncontrollable cough and by late morning was running a low-grade fever.  By that evening she looked like H-E-double hockey sticks.  Yesterday was more of the same.  Rosie cheeks, coughing and zero energy.

So, I am home once again today even though the kids are back at school.  We’ll be making a trip to the doctor to check out her cough to be on the safe side.

I am READY for SPRING with its warmth, budding life and restored health.

Peace, love and snow craze!!!!

P.S. Tell me if you can find the photo with the BIG typo!!!  LOL!

24 Hours

DSC_0368 copyYesterday morning broke with a most beautiful sunrise. 

All was calm.

It was the perfect beginning to a Monday morning.

The sun shone brightly on what remained of the sleet that had blanketed the ground a few days before.

The skies were clear all day.  It was glorious.

But… the weatherman had been warning of us of “impending doom”.  Most of our part of Kansas was supposed to get DUMPED on.

Six to nine inches was the projected forecast.

NINE inches!


This is what we were blessed with this morning.

DSC_0004 copyDSC_0007 copyDSC_0003 copyThis was around 8:30 this morning and it’s not even close to being over.

I’ve shoveled a path on the deck for the weenie dog at least three times already.

I even had to brush off the satellite dish for the internet.

Hey!  That’s a priority.  Right?

Am I the only person out there who kind of digs shoveling snow?

It’s peaceful.

Not to mention, it’s an awesome workout.

…and it gets me OUT of the house.

The only downer to this weather is that the kids get bored and stir crazy.  We’ve already busted out the art tub, magazines for cutting up and word search pages. 

We’re only halfway through the day.

It makes it hard on a momma who grounded her son from his ipod for two weeks.  I may have to break and let him have it.

Please don’t judge me.

The worst part….  I’m trying VERY hard to resist making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve been so good and this weather makes me want to BAKE things.  I’m trying to be strong.



Peace, love and snow days!!!

Rock Crawlers

This has been the most draining five days.

Saturday: Monkey versus the stomach bug

Sunday: Birthday party preparation and celebration

Monday: Tucker versus the stomach bug, a violent match

Tuesday: Tucker recovers from the stomach bug and Monkey comes home from daycare with fever chills, a cough and nasty digestive issues.

Tuesday night: Monkey wakes up twice with more fever and a yucky tummy

Wednesday: Mommy and Monkey stay home

She woke up fever free this morning, but still with the yuck tummy.  I have no idea what the day will bring.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she continues to get better as the hours tick by.

My poor kids have never been this sick, especially not all at once with TWO different illnesses.  I’ve been knee-deep in vomit, bleach cleaning spray and hand soap.  I’m really praying that Grady and I can stay healthy and no one else ends up with the flu.  Do they make sanitizing bombs?  I think my house needs one.

In the midst of all this sickness insanity, on the ONE day we were ALL healthy, we had a fun little adventure in Papa Mike’s (Grady’s father) pasture.  Living in the middle of the Flint HIlls of Kansas means that the grasslands are lying on top of a HUGE bed of flint rock.  Rocks EVERYWHERE.  My FIL’s pasture has some interesting rock formations that attract this really crazy group of people we call the Rock Crawlers.

These guys don’t crawl on rocks the way you may think they do.

They like to crawl on rocks like this….

DSC_0192 copy VEHICULAR Rock Crawlers, my friends.

These guys are nuts.  I think they’re nuts for shelling out the insane amount of dough for the tires alone.  You’ll see what I mean.

Tucker got a big treat!!  Our local UPS man is one of the Crawlers and I think he has one of the better trucks.  This boy got the ride of a lifetime.

DSC_0194 copyDSC_0198 copyTuck’s shy smile says it all.  He’s NERVOUS and SO excited all at the same time.

DSC_0201 copy DSC_0203 copyHere they go.  That truck is going to drive UP and over that rock ledge.

For real.

DSC_0205 copyDSC_0209 copyYes, my heart skipped a few beats.  My BABY is in there!!!!

DSC_0212 copyDSC_0214 copyThese guys don’t just rev their engines and barrel up the rocks.  This whole process is very slow and methodical, hence the name “Crawlers”.

DSC_0215 copyJust like Monster Trucks the front and rear axles turn independently of each other.

DSC_0218 copyDSC_0225 copyTo me he looks… stuck.

DSC_0228 copyOf course not.  He made it.

DSC_0240 copy..and he made this little boy’s DAY!!!

Thanks, Brian!

DSC_0242 copyThis guy was trying a different spot.

He was having a really hard time getting the job done.

He finally gave up and Tucker’s new friend came in and showed him how to get it done.

DSC_0251 copyDSC_0253 copyDSC_0257 copyDSC_0260 copy…and that’s how you do it.

(Blows my mind.)

There were some really interesting looking trucks.

DSC_0276 copyThis dune buggy ran on propane rather than gas.

DSC_0281 copyDSC_0184 copyDSC_0185 copyDSC_0266 copyI was only there for about 45 minutes.  This went on and on and on and on for the whole afternoon.  Grady and the boys stayed for THREE more hours.  I actually had to call to tell them to come home and help get ready for the party.  Talk about a testosterone rush.  I’m just glad there is NO room in our budget for a hobby like this.

Peace, love and cool crawlers.

Hello 2014!

DSC_0052 copyGood morning January 1, 2014.

Good morning to a brand new year.

Good morning to new opportunities.

Good morning to endless possibilities.

Good-bye 2013.

Good-bye to last year’s troubles.

Good-bye to doubt.

My dream for the new year is like this picture.  Last year I felt like these old barns, drab, rusty, worn down and pretty much useless.  Then the light of a new day shines bright upon them and suddenly they’re something completely different.  They’re warm, safe and welcoming.  They’re a comforting sight on a cold day.

I vow to let the light of the new year shine through me and lead me in directions I never thought imaginable.

I vow to let last year’s trials and tribulations mold and sculpt me into a better person.

I vow to look at all new opportunities with wide eyes and see the possibilities in all of them.

I vow to be the best version of me I can.

I vow to be the best wife, mother, and friend that I can be.

I vow to thank God for all his gifts and blessings each day.

I vow to make 2014 the best year yet.

Happy New Year’s my friends!  May your year be blessed with goodness, renewed light, the love of friends and family and endless laughter!

Peace, love and new beginnings!!!