I Don’t Even Know What to Say

Truthfully….  this is exactly how I feel.  I. Don’t. Know. What. To. Say.

A part of me feels as though I need to explain away the past 10 months and why I’ve been absent.  Another part of me feels that its not important.  Life happened, is happening and that’s the long and short of it.

A part of me has greatly enjoyed this long break from my daily sharing and yet, another part has greatly missed it.

Regardless of how I’ve felt, the truth boils down to time.  I haven’t had it, not have I felt that I could squeeze it in.  I don’t want to apologize for my absence because that would be false.  I’m sure all of you can relate to the need for a change.

Change…. THAT is the reason that I’m able to come back to you at this point in time.  My, how things have changed.

Three and a half months ago we made a HUGE life decision.  We took on a new adventure that would change our lives.  We were scared.  We were nervous.  Most of all, we were EXCITED.  We uprooted out kids, left my husband’s hometown of 38 years and moved an hour away for an incredible ranch job in the heart of Kansas.  Due to the nature of the calling we felt very strongly that this was a blessing from God.  It has always been our dream to manage a ranch and raise our children the way we were raised.  After years of prayers, trials and tribulations we were given this amazing opportunity.

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Now, I’m a stay at home mom/ranch hand.

Ranch Life 7

Ranch Life 4

Ranch Life 2

Grady is learning the ropes under the current ranch manager with the title being passed on to him within a year.

Ranch Life 6

Tucker is in an amazing school district full of country kids just like him.  He goes to school four days a week, which means he gets to work alongside his parents every Friday.

Ranch Life 3

We have been blessed with AMAZING friends in such a short period of time.  Arms have been open, welcoming us to this community.

Don’t get me wrong.  There have been adjustments.  Being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) was never something I desired.  I love working.  Being at home with Monkey has proven to be a challenge for both of us at times.  I think we’ve finally fallen into a good routine.  Mornings are spent at home and afternoons are spent on the ranch working, unless, of course, we’re needed for the whole day.

The best part…. my EXTREMELY happy cowboy!  He is on cloud nine.  This has been his calling.  He was born to do this.  Seeing him (US) get to do exactly what he (WE) loves/(LOVE), day in and day out, brings great joy to me.  …and we get to work as a team.  I know… this isn’t every couple’s desire, but we do a pretty great job.

So, there you have it.  Our current life in a nutshell.  I hope to be able to keep you updated with fun stories of life on the ranch.

Peace, love and country living.

Milestones

DSC_0156 copyThis big, sorrel guy has played a HUGE part of our summer.  Not only did he, successfully, help teach Tucker his way around the pasture and cattle, he shared another “first” with his “human”.

This was Tucker’s first year in 4-H.  To keep it simple we enrolled in the horse project and leather project.  Both were things I did in my own years in the program and were projects that would be comfortable for him.  When we started this whole journey the plan was to use Daddy’s horse, Wimpy.  We had several practices with Wimpy.  Tuck was learning the ins and outs of showmanship and showing his horse at halter.  During his time with Nana and Papa he would practice with HIS trusted steed, Reggie.  The week before the fair arrived and Nana and Papa told us that they thought Tuck would be more comfortable showing Reggie than Wimpy.  It made perfect sense.  These two had been together 3 days a week for several months.  They were practically inseparable.

DSC_0157 copyShow day arrived and while I pushed hard for accuracy and as much “perfection” as I could get from a first year eight-year-old, more than anything I wanted him to have fun and do his best.

DSC_0160 copyTo merely say that I was pleased with their performance would be an understatement.  Don’t get me wrong, they both have LOTS to learn and milestones to reach before I would ever anticipate awards to be won for showmanship.  …but, I was very proud of Tucker.  He kept his calm when Reggie wasn’t cooperating in the arena.  He was confident and well poised and most important, REMEMBERED the pattern.  He was cool as a cucumber even though I know he was a ball of nerves on the inside.  He walked out of the arena with a goal reached.

Then it was time for the Aged Gelding class.  This is a class in which the judge “grades” the horses in the class and their build/muscular makeup and places them according to his/her liking.  We had no expectations.  All we wanted was for Tuck to gain a little more experience.

To our surprise and his Papa’s great delight this was the result.

DSC_0187 copyTuck and Reggie WON his class!!!!  We knew Reggie was a champ in our own hearts, but we were overjoyed when we found out the judge thought so, too.

DSC_0194 copyTo say that this boy’s heart and pride were a little swollen that evening would be an understatement.  I’m pretty certain they were bursting at the seams!

Tuck isn’t the only one who has gotten a few firsts with Mr. Reggie.

DSC_0240 copy 2Monkey got to have her very first “big girl” ride last weekend.  “Big girl/kid” riding equals riding solo in the saddle with Mommy or Daddy (or some appointed adult) in control of the reins/lead rope.  It’s the way all youngsters of this age learn to ride.

She proved, again, to be my fearless girl.

Daddy&EllaThe deep belly giggles from her were priceless.  Her daddy’s heart melted taking this first ride with her.  Her mommy’s heart bubbled over watching and taking it all in.

Without a doubt, Reggie has found his place with these kiddos.  He will be greatly loved as he greatly loves these two and carries them through many more adventures.

 

 

Peace, love and trophies!!!!!

 

Meet Reginold

Passing down our family heritages to our children is perhaps, at the very top of the “Important Things To Teach Our Kids” list for Grady and I. Ranching and the cowboy way of life aren’t skills that can simply be taught in a trade school after high school graduation. They’re teachings that are handed down from the older generations to the next. They are codes of life and work that our youth learn by watching and mimicking their mentors. Grady and I, both, deeply value and respect the way we were raised in this lifestyle and want the same for our children.

At this juncture in our life story we’re not able to provide the ranching lifestyle, but our extended family is.

A few weeks ago we visited my parents for the afternoon. My father had something up his sleeve. He’d made a few “suspect” phone calls earlier in the week requesting measurement information for Tucker. Knowing my father and his innocent “sneakiness” we gave the information and made bets on what he was up to. I was fairly certain I knew, but kept my excitement hushed.

To no surprise, during our visit, Tucker and Papa disappeared for an hour or so and Nana had her guilty grin all over her face. I KNEW I was right. Upon their return Tucker’s face was shining with excitement. I knew my boy… Papa had rebuilt the kid saddle I learned to ride in and had taken Tuck to “test drive” a new horse. My father decided it was time for Tucker to learn to ride, to learn the trade and learn to handle cattle. Upon their return there were big conversations between the two about commitment and dedication to learning. After much reassurance from Tucker, Papa made arrangements for the horse and Tucker to become permanent buddies the following week.

Meet Reginold.

Don’t laugh too hard.  He came with that name.  We find it rather amusing.

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DSC_0175 copyMiss Monkey is already laying claim to the 16 hand gentle giant.  Her day will come soon enough.

My boy spent three days with Nana and Papa getting acquainted with his new steed.  Under strict instructions, Nana documented his accomplishments.

06-05-14 8Getting on is no easy task, especially when your horse is on the HUGE scale.  But… it was always instilled in my siblings and I that if we couldn’t get on by ourselves we couldn’t ride.  It may sound cruel, but if you’re forced to get off your horse in the middle of the pasture and don’t have someone around to give you a boost it’s a REALLY long walk back to the house.  Sooo… with much coaching and encouragement he learned how to climb up the side Reginold using what he had around him.  Resourcefulness…. key lesson.

06-05-14 2I knew he was in good hands and would learn great things.

06-05-14 3 06-05-14 506-05-14 406-05-14 606-05-14 1When I picked him up he had grown up in a matter of days. He held his chest high with pride for what he’d accomplished.

06-05-14 7He was becoming a cowboy.

What he didn’t know was that he has always been a cowboy. Now he has the tools and means to live it.

This is just the beginning of his cowboy adventures this summer. He’ll spend time with Papa and Reginold every week learning, riding, laughing and… making mistakes to learn from.  No doubt, he will come home each time taller, stronger, smarter and with a confidence to carry him many miles.

The joy and pride that his journey brings to his father and I is immeasurable.  Whatever path he chooses in life, the lessons he’s being taught right now will serve him well.

 

 

Peace, love and deep roots.

Despite The Mess

Sometimes the best therapy for heartbreak, panic attacks and general life B.S. is good quality time with friends.

Last Saturday Grady got to go “drag calves” with two of our rodeo teammates.  “Dragging calves” is the term used for the process of gathering, roping, vaccinating and branding the new calves in the herd.  He lives for this stuff.  It was a great way for him to get his mind off the “sucker punch”.

As soon as they were done we all gathered at Abbey and Adrian’s for a completely impromptu afternoon of roping, riding and feasting.  The guys needed to practice, the kids needed the time together and the momma’s enjoyed the sisterhood.

This momma even had the chance to get on Grady’s horse!!!  Tucker has taken a LARGE interest in learning to ride so I warmed Wimpy up for him and helped him out a bit in the round pen.

Then it was Monkey’s turn to have few laps around the arena with Mommy.

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This is what it’s all about.  These are the moments that make my heart shine and my smile wide.  That girl LOVES to be horseback.

I will admit that my body ached in places I forgot existed for the following three days.  Proof that it’s been WAY too long.

This is the dream that Grady and I have.  This what we’d like EVERY day to look like.

We keep praying.

 

 

Peace, love and lifted spirits!!!

And….we’re back.

We’ve been back from Amarillo since Monday.  It was a FANTASTIC trip.  We had a great time.  We were with a great group of friends and family.  To say the least, we were blessed.

The guys didn’t have the rodeo that they would have hoped for, but in the end they finished in the top half, 11th out of 24.  Not bad for a new team.  I say it every year, I’m proud of what they accomplished and the fact that they MADE it to the finals.  Congratulations go out to one of our fellow Kansas Teams, Arndt and Bailey for placing second overall and to Wes Bailey for winning Top Hand.  You guys made Kansas PROUD!

I deemed the trip successful.  Everyone stayed healthy (until we got home), no one was seriously injured (Clint’s hand was a little banged up), and we had a MILLION great laughs.

Now, we’re home.  I got to go back to work for ONE day and since Wednesday I’ve been nursing a sick Miss Monkey back to health.  The stomach bug hit the Kansas clans HARD.  So far twelve travellers from Kansas have battled the bug.  NOT. FUN!  Ella’s been down with it for three days.  I “think” she’s on the mend today, but I also thought that yesterday and she woke up this morning and promptly threw up.

Back to the trip…

I was HORRIBLE about taking pictures this year.  I really had my hands full with Miss Monkey.  While the WRCA Finals are a DEFINITE family affair, taking an incredibly active (almost) two-year-old proved to be an adventure at times.  Needless to say, this momma took full advantage of the hospitality room during performances this year… and most of my pictures were from my phone.

One of the things that I always enjoy about the trip has absolutely NOTHING to do with rodeoing and everything to do with people watching.

The fashion!!  Holy moley!  Texas women can put some things together!  For those who have never travelled to this state and witnessed first hand you must know that their sense of fashion is bold, bright and complete with the motto “If you think you have enough on, add another piece.”

It all starts with the boots.  Ohhhhh…the boots.  The brighter, wilder the colors the better.

Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to own a pair of these.  Maybe a little more on the subtle side, but I wouldn’t turn a pair down if offered to me.

The key to the boots is to show them off.  You don’t just wear a cute pair of jeans over the tops of these babies.  Oh, no.  You ROLL your pant legs up several times so as the general public can admire the beauty of the boot.  Or… you wear them with a dress or skirt.  Either way, the boot tops must show.

Then there’s the hair.  Big, bold Texas hair.  I think on an average day that MY hair is big just by the curl default, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what these girls can do.

Okay, so Hillary Swank’s is a little on the drastic side, but it’s not too far off.  I’m always in awe of how much time it must take for these ladies to get ready to go out the door.  I just don’t have the patience.

So, what DO I wear when we go down for this annual trip?  Well, I do get gussied up…Kansas-style, which means subtly bold.

I don’t normally take pictures of my outfits, but at the request of my sister (to see what kind of duds I sport during this shindig) I have documentation.

Night #2.  This picture cracks me up!  Ella was having a major melt down.  This turned out to be routine each night before we had to leave.  Once we left the room all was well with her.

Night #3.  MInus the tantrum throwing two-year-old.  I’m not sure how I feel about the top I chose (a little on the sloppy side), but I loved the bold colors.

Night #4.  You can’t see them, but I’m sporting my boots with the dress and leggings.

I missed the first night because she sent me the text request as we were heading back to the hotel, kids were exhausted and I was ready for pj’s and a bed.  You didn’t miss much.  It was simple.  Black peasant top, skinny jeans, braided belt and brown mid-calf boots.

So, there you have it.  Fashion in Texas and my interpretation, Kansas-style.

I’m glad to be home, the kids are glad to be home, I missed my bed (more than you’ll ever know), I missed my regular food and I missed the ability to go to another room if I felt the need to escape (a hotel room for five days with five people is a little nerve-wracking), BUT…I’d go back tomorrow and do it all again just for the adventure and great company.

So… 2i Feeders… you better be on your game cuz Momma’s ready for Amarillo 2013!!!!

 

 

Peace, love and MAJOR statements!

Sheepish

A few weeks ago our hometown hosted the annual Bull Blowout.  Tucker got another chance to ride a sheep.  The boy lives for this.

Waiting patiently for the action to start.

Working out a strategy with Dad.

His best pal, Foxy (in the stripes), helps him get situated.

Daddy has to pull his rope.

And then he’s off.

And then, literally, off.

Make no mistake about it.  This boy has NO fear of this sport.  It was a smile 100% of the time

A high-five from the clown…

…and Dad make it all worthwhile.

Peace, love and wooly things.

In Bloom

One of my favorite things about Kansas are the sunflowers that bloom in late summer.

They’re everywhere.

In all the ditches.

Spreading their happiness.

Peace, love and pure sun!!!