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.

DSC_0034 copy

DSC_0087 copy

DSC_0072 copy

DSC_0017 copy

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.

Happy 4th of July!!!!

Happy 4th of July my friends!!

Do you have big plans to celebrate our country today/this weekend?  We have a small, low-key gathering tomorrow.  EXACTLY the kind of celebration I like.  No stress, nothing fancy, just good food, good company and happy kids.

Speaking of kids…. Are yours driving YOU crazy with the fireworks frenzy?  Tuck came home from his weekly cowboy adventure with his grandpa and was immediately on the fireworks bandwagon.

“Please, Mom.  Can we stop at the fireworks stand?  Please. Please. PLEASE!!!!!”

BIG. FAT. SIGH.

If it weren’t for wanting to support our local emergency services program and fireworks display I wouldn’t buy any.

Yes, I’m a bah-hum-bug when it comes to dropping money on something that lasts mere seconds.  …but the money goes to a good program AND it makes my kiddos happy for a few days.  …and Tuck really deserves a good treat.  He’s worked REALLY hard with Grandpa over the past 4 weeks and has made everyone extremely proud.  (But, that’s another story at a later date.)

What’s my favorite part of the 4th celebrations…?

Well, the FOOD of course!  What will you be taking to your gatherings?  Do you make a festive side dish or a fun dip?  Are you the grill master or the spectator/taste tester?

Here are few ideas, if you’re like me and sometimes get overwhelmed or stumped by what to bring to the party.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

DSC_0004 copyDill Pickle Dip

DSC_0005 copyThe Fastest Cake in the West (this is a HUGE hit, family FAVORITE and always requested.  …and what I’ll be bringing to our party.)

DSC_0522 copySkinny Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Cucumber Dip

Texas Caviar

These are a few of my favorite party dishes.  Most are rather easy requiring only a few ingredients.  If you’re in a slump on what to bring, I hope a few of these ideas help you out.

Blessing to all of you and to the men and women who so bravely serve our country!!!  May you all have a safe, joyous and festive 4th!!!!

 

Peace, love and fire CRACKERS!!!!

 

Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

We had a quiet day to celebrate Father’s Day. We needed it.

Grady took the boys fishing for a
while. Monkey and I stayed home. She played princesses and babies while I cleaned and prepped for supper and the upcoming week.

It was nice.

The ONLY thing I really wanted out of the day was to get a picture of Grady with the kids.

After supper was over, dishes cleared, the kitchen cleaned and everyone playing on the deck, I got my moment.

I think it turned out well.

Father's Day

…but that wasn’t the BEST one.

Of course you can’t take just one picture and it be the PERFECT shot. Oh, no. It usually requires three or four takes.

Tucker was doing some weird thing with his mouth so I said, “Give me a GOOD smile. Show me your teeth…!!!”

…and this is what I got.

Perfection from the boys.

Crazy girl

…and some serious CRAZY from Monkey! (…she DID show me her teeth…)

I could NOT stop laughing! As bad as I wanted to post that picture to my Instagram and Facebook feed last night, I knew I wanted to save it for a blog post.

I just hope I can find this picture again in 15 years when she graduates high school. She’s going to hate me… Lol!

Peace, love and crazy eyes!!!!

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.

DSC_0195 copy

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.

Waiting

Roald Dahl Quote Typed on Typewriter

Baseball is underway.  School ended last week.  The summer daycare routine has begun.  Late evenings spent in the garden and playing in the yard have resumed.  The busy-ness of summer is upon us.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering in the past few weeks as life has been whizzing by.

As Mother’s Day approached a few weeks ago my heart felt bittersweet pangs remembering Mother’s Day just one year ago.  On the Thursday before, as I sat at my desk diligently working on a project, I remembered the phone call from Grady that brought our world crashing down.  He’d been laid off from his job.  The pit of my stomach and my heart STILL remember to this day.  I don’t know that I will ever forget that feeling hearing those words and listening to him try to choke back his emotions.

I thought our world was coming to an end.  I couldn’t see anything except an out control downward spiral.  How were we going to survive?  I was a train wreck of highs and lows and every emotion in between.

A friend shared a quote today that hit extremely close to home and summed up the last year of our lives in a nutshell.

“Waiting isn’t only about putting off what you’ll receive at the end.  It’s about who you become in the process.”

Waiting.

It seemed like the first six months of the whole ordeal was spent waiting.

Waiting.

We were waiting on a job to come along.  We were waiting for money to pay our bills that seemed to be mounting.  We were waiting on answers to prayers that we thought weren’t being heard.  We were waiting on BETTER jobs to come.  We were waiting on life to stop kicking our butts.

Waiting.

At some point in time it dawned on me.  What if God is waiting on US?  What if he’s waiting on our hearts to be truthful in our search for what we REALLY want and what HE wants for us?  What if God is waiting on us to HEAR him and what he’s trying to teach us?  What if what we thought we wanted and needed isn’t what we’ve really been waiting for?

From that point on I got real with myself.  I got REAL with what I asked for from God.  I prayed from a place within myself that I never knew existed.  I prayed with a THANKFUL heart for the beauty and AWEsomeness that he gave to us.  I prayed for guidance and wisdom and an open heart and mind to HEAR him and his teachings.

When I finally let go of the control that I fault myself with having everyday, I was blown away with the answers that came before me.  I was awe struck by the beauty, kindness, generosity and love that surrounded me even in my darkest moments.

I saw that we were blessed.

We were blessed with a struggle and challenge that changed our hearts and made our marriage SOLID.

We were blessed with a struggle that made us better parents.

We were blessed with a challenge that made us more flexible.

We were blessed with a mess that opened our eyes to the world around us and opportunities we would have turned our backs on before.

We were blessed with a hardship that showed us what friendship REALLY means.

We were blessed with a misfortune that made us more faithful, prayerful and spirit filled Christians.

We. Were. Blessed.

We ARE blessed!

Living this blessing wasn’t comfortable by any means.  Living the uncertainty and unknown was a test of our faith and strength like none we’ve experienced.  Darkness crept in, but in the darkness we overcame with our faith and courage to NOT give up, to NOT take the easy road and to face our hardships head on.

Each day we are so incredibly thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.  We’ve both had opportunities laid before us that we wouldn’t have thought imaginable a year ago.  There is a happiness with simplicity within us that burns so brightly it can’t be anything other than Divine.

Waiting.

The best lesson I learned in this past year is patience.

Waiting.

When I gave up the control and WAITED for God, he led me to some of the most beautiful people, friendships and experiences I’ve ever known.

Today my heart is thankful and PEACEFUL.  My happiness is true and sincere.  My heart is full of light and hopefulness.  My soul is prayerful.

 

Peace, love and sweet reflection.

Date Night

Saturday night Grady and I FINALLY got the chance to celebrate our 10th anniversary.

We got kind of wild….

Dinner, a drink at a friend’s bar and then a trip to WAL-MART!!!!

I know.

We got CRAZY!

We ate supper at a tiny, dive Mexican restaurant that my co-workers have been telling me about.  Authentic Mexican food, dirt cheap and out of this world, they tell me.

Date Night 1Grady order the “medium” burrito.  (Note: there isn’t a “small” on the menu, just medium and large….)  The “medium” was as big as his forearm!

I ordered this thing.

Date Night 9It’s called a Sope. It’s a masa cake with beans, meat (I chose chicken), lettuce, tomato, onion and queso fresco piled on top.  I added tons of their yummy homemade salsa on top.  It was incredible!

I love the simplicity of authentic Mexican food.  Just a few basic ingredients, prepared just the right way can become the most phenomenal meals.

Date Night 2The hungry cowboy couldn’t make it through the whole burrito.  He had to stop.  Actually, he told me that he could have eaten the whole thing, but he would have been waddling out of the restaurant.

As we left, a lady at another table actually ordered the LARGE version, smothered in cheese sauce.  We giggled as we walked by and Grady gave her a hard time about his doubt in her ability to conquer her plate.  (Who NEEDS that much burrito…????)

We ventured down the street for a margarita since the dive didn’t serve alcohol.  Mexican food without a margarita on date night is just not right.  We enjoyed our drink, saw a few friends from home, had a few good laughs and decided we should continue on with our excitement.

Date Night 3Yes, we went to the WAL-MART.

We had to.  We needed a few things.  We needed a few things the kids couldn’t be present in purchasing. (ahem… Easter…. stuff…)

Grady ALWAYS finds this most ANNOYING aisle.

The clearance aisle.

This place puts my mind in a frenzy with all its chaos, but it’s his dream come true.  UGH!  When I posted this picture on Instagram a friend commented that it looked like it could swallow him.

AMEN to that!

Date Night 4This is the kind of ridiculousness that appears in the clearance aisle.  Who REALLY needs one of these things?  Obviously, not too many because there was a PILE of them on sale.

Date Night 5…and this stuff?  Would you cover YOUR salad in something that looked like Pepto Bismol?  I just don’t think I could do it, and I LOVE garlic.

Yikes!

Date Night 6I had to convince Grady that we didn’t need an entire gallon of ranch dressing.  He likes the stuff, but I’m not going to encourage his addiction by buying a gallon of the stuff.

Date Night 7These, on the other hand, really intrigued us.

Hmmmm….

Date Night 8So, we bought the little can of this version.

They’re pretty tasty.  Sweet and spicy.  Interesting.

…and that folks, is how we celebrated ten years of marriage.  Not exciting to many, but we enjoyed a few good laughs.  Some at each other’s expense, but good fun, regardless.

 

 

Peace, love and wild nights!!!

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!!!

I have wanted to talk to all of you EVERY day for the past two weeks.

I’ve wanted to share with you all of my excitement about the new job.

But… as with most new jobs, this was all I could manage to accomplish once I got home and muddled through supper and the clean up.

New Job 2My. Brain. Hurt.

I was certainly on information overload, learning a new computer system… a new method of operations… a new type of business and their philosophy.  This past Thursday was the first day I came home and didn’t feel like all I could do was crash on the couch.  I’m finally adjusting.

I will say that my first day was filled with all sorts of excitement and anticipation.

New Job 1I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect, but I knew it would be great.

I was NOT disappointed.

For the past two weeks I have been welcomed with open arms, greeted with sincere kindness and warmth, and have laughed deep belly laughs multiple times daily.  I am so excited to be working for a young company built on integrity, compassion, support, trust and TEAMWORK.

With all of this greatness comes adjustment, as well.  My hours are vastly different from both the 8-5 job I held for 7 years AND from the, more recent, the school day.  I get home later which means a new routine for Daddy and the kids.  Next week will be the first real dive into that abyss.  I’m sure there will be a few hitches in the process to begin with, but I’m holding faith that we’ll all adjust and fall into a new routine.  I’m foreseeing weekends spent making freezer meals.

With that all said, I better get cracking on this filthy house!  “Clean” has kind of taken a back seat to exhaustion and it SHOWS.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

 

Peace, love and adjustments!