adventures

Well my adventures to life on the ranch continue and after close to nine years of living here I think I’ve finally embraced and accepted what life here means and how I needed to step up and hold my own. Over the last month we’ve added a few more animals to our family (two baby dwarf goats and a kitten — but that’s another post) and I have accepted a seasonal job from my brother-in-law irrigating his 45 acre walnut orchard.
 
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Needless to say there has been a definite learning curve.

 Have you ever tried changing a sprinkler pipe while there is water shooting out of it? Or tried to cut off a portion of pipe that had been chewed by squirrels to splice together while the water is running? I hadn’t either.

And for how easy my husband and brother-in-law make it look, it’s not.  

I usually come home from his orchard soaking wet, muddy, and looking pretty ridiculous.  But I do always return with the coolest sense of confidence and accomplishment for fixing sprinklers by myself or cutting pipe and managing to splice it back together. Yes, there have been moments where I’ve screamed (more like cursed) in frustration, have even yelled out, “All right, God, I’m humbled here. A little help, please” and have even had mini victory dance parties when I’ve done something right. 

When the weather gets hotter this is going to be a dream job – driving under the shady canopy of the walnut trees, feeling the cool spray from the sprinklers as we zip down the rows looking for dry spots, broken sprinklers, or fountains of water spraying up that need to be fixed. What I love is that this is something I can do with my daughters – they love going for rides in the Ranger already, then add water and mud and they are in heaven. Plus, they are going to learn early on how to fix sprinklers and irrigate sprinklers for us — gotta start training the next generation young, right?

Last week was on the cooler side though and checking sprinklers with the lovely North wind our area is known for was not my idea of a fun Saturday night. I had decided to wear black workout capris, flip-flops, and a tee-shirt.

That was the last time I will dress like that.

I learned an important lesson about footwear that night: flip-flops tend to get stuck in the mud and break when you have to walk through a ton of mud to reach the sprinkler that has been already running for 12+ hours. My ever patient husband looked at me and said, “Now, do you know why I dress like I do when I go to the orchard?” He then proceeded to throw a pair of his wranglers at me — mind you he is 6’4 to my 5’9 and weighs probably 65 pounds more than I do.  We made the pants work with one of his belts, threw on his sweatshirt, a camo hat and my boots that I hadn’t been wanting to wear because I didn’t want them to get dirty (they are now so dirty they have to sit on the front porch so the mud can dry) and headed back out so he could give me a little tutorial.  

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And as much as I hate admitting I was wrong; I totally was.  It was so much easier in boots and I wasn’t as cold in real pants. I think a stop at Tractor Supply is on my to-do list so I can invest in some real work pants. Not nearly as exciting as a trip to Macy’s for a new pair of jeans, but the work pants will help pay for my new jeans in the fall — think that’s a pretty good way to look at it.

I have always loved our family time on the Ranger checking cows, going fishing at the creek, or driving through the orchards. I think I probably always will and will be sad when there’s a day that the girls don’t want to go with us anymore. I think my hubby paid me one of the biggest compliments he ever has when he looked at me in the orchard, dressed in his wranglers, mud everywhere, and said, “I am so proud of you for doing this.  You are showing our girls they can do anything.”

I can admit that this girl definitely shed a tear and squeezed his hand a little bit tighter that evening.

rain!

Finally in February it feels like winter has arrived.

The ground is wet.

There are puddles outside waiting to be jumped in.

The grey clouds are hovering overhead.

The fire place is crackling.

And all the lights are turned off in the house while I enjoy the dark light that only cloudy, rainy days can bring.

I love this weather. Sometimes I wonder if I could live in Seattle where most of their days are like this. And then summer arrives and I’m sipping Lime-A-Rita’s on the lake and I quickly forget that idea. What I need to say is I love living where we actually have seasons and I can appreciate the beauty in each season. Unfortunately Mother Nature has been a little mixed up with what season we are actually supposed to be in right now. I am very thankful that for this week she seems to have it figured out.

It’s like your can feel the dust, the dry ground, and all the ranchers and farmers heave a collective sigh and breathe in that beautiful fresh smell that comes with a cleansing rain. Granted, this is hardly making a dent with the current dire water situation we are in; but if anything it gives a bit of hope and sometimes that’s all you need.

The excitement last night in my husband’s voice when he went outside to get wood for the fireplace and realized it was raining was pure excitement: Christmas-morning-as-a-child-kind-of-excitement. We just stood on the back porch last night and listened to the rain gently falling and it was a beautiful thing. Maybe I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: I didn’t know how important rain was until I married a rancher and I realized what it means for our livelihood, our animals, and our life on the ranch.

So what do you do when it’s sprinkling and you have brand new rain boots, rain jackets, and umbrellas you’ve been waiting to use since Christmas? You use them!

puddles

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The rest of the day is going to be spent enjoying this beautiful day from the coziness of our warm house while the crockpot does it’s job and is cooking away one of my FAVORITE crockpot recipes ever. Garlic Beef Stew served over mashed cauliflower — comfort food in a bowl. Plus you get the added benefit of the house smelling amazing while it is cooking.

We just might have to go jump in more puddles so I can appreciate that smell walking into the house . . .

friday favorites.

Well here we are again at another Friday. I am very happy to report that our house is healthy (aside from a cough and runny nose — but isn’t that just part of having kids and the winter months?) and happy.  I thought I’d share some more of my favorites from this week; I think I might see a running trend on Fridays.

1.  These little adorable rock pets we painted earlier this week. My oldest has them in her windowsill by her bed and they are too cute.

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2.  The Frozen soundtrack. Yep, I can admit it. I get just as excited as my daughters when “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” comes on our Disney Pandora station.  I think I’ve figured out a perfect Valentine’s gift for N & S (and maybe me too).

Disney Frozen • Let it Go

3.  Super excited about attending PBR  in Sacramento tomorrow.  I mean what’s not to love: cowboys, wranglers, drinks, and did I mention cowboys? And if this isn’t the perfect excuse to wear my new cowboy boots I don’t know what is. (Maybe this isn’t a “favorite” but I have high hopes for it being a favorite date night with the hubby.)

#PBR

4.  Netflix.  We recently canceled our Dish subscription and now are relying on Hulu, Netflix, and a handful of local stations for shows and movies.  I forgot what it was like to watch a t.v. show live and without the luxury of pause, rewind, and record.  My husband laughed at me when I offered to rewind Revolution so he could catch up and I was genuinely surprised when I couldn’t.  Talk about first world problems! For now though, I am loving Netflix and loving watching entire seasons of shows from start to finish.  Orange is the New Black sucked me in first and had us both cracking up.  I have now moved on to Gossip Girl; might be a little embarrassed to admit this one but it is surprisingly good and perfect when you don’t want to have to pay attention like you do in 24, which is another amazing series. What are some of your favorite shows to watch on Netflix?

4.  Yoga.  I haven’t been to our local yoga class in about 5 years since my oldest was born.  It had been on my list of things to try again this year and I finally went last night.  I am so glad I did. It was such a nice, gentle, positive class and I absolutely love how I feel when I leave.  The quiet time at the end has always been one of my favorite parts of any yoga class; last night was no exception.  While we were laying there our instructor gave us things to think about or positive words to remind ourselves, “I am strong (inhale).  I am calm (exhale).” These words have stayed with me today and when I find myself needing a moment to not go crazy regroup I will remember them.

Breath through it and release anything that does not serve you.

5.  Superbowl commercials. These could be my favorite part of the “big game.”  Well, commercials and 7-layer-dip that is. Last years “So God Made a Farmer” commercial had me in tears and made me proud to be married to a farmer.  The preview of this years  Budweiser commercial is so sweet and make me excited to see more this year. I’ll share my favorites next week!

And just remember . . .” I am strong.  I am calm.”

being a cowgirl.

My adventures at learning to be a cowgirl continue and this weekend, sadly, wasn’t my best showing.

I had one job: Don’t let the cows back out of the field my husband was moving them into. We were to just sit by the gate in the Ranger and if a cow started to come through we were supposed to make sure they didn’t get all the way out. Seemed simply enough, right?

I’m embarrassed to say that thanks to my Instagram obsession, I failed.

In my attempt to post the following picture to my account a mama cow decided she wasn’t staying separated from her calf and slipped past our watchful eye.  I  noticed much too late, warned the girls to “hold on,” and took off trying my best to get that damn cow to go back where she was supposed to before hubby noticed.  Sadly, he noticed and like a knight on a white horse flew up on his four wheeler and expertly directed the heifer where she needed to go. I  then decided to hold off on my instagramming until we were all done and am happy to say that no other cows got by us.  In my defense, I was just trying to capture a picture of the crazy dust that was being stirred up by the four wheeler and cows running.  It looked like it should have been late summer by the amount of dust blowing around.  This drought situation is becoming much more real and scary as we are selling a large percentage of  our herd this week because we cannot afford to feed them hay through the summer.  There is rain in the forecast the next two days and although the percent is low we are hopeful that we will get some.

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friday, friday.

Hello, Friday.

Even thought this was a short week it has felt like an extra long week to me. Probably because our house is still fighting a random cold/congestion that has settled into my chest and my youngest’s chest. Not fun. Finally today we went to her doctor just to make sure it wasn’t something more than a little cold that would work itself out and thankfully it’s not.  We need the rain.  We need it for more reasons then the obvious ones. We need to it to wash all these colds and bugs and viruses away. Does it work like that? I feel like it should.

I wanted to share my top 5 favorites this week:  these are things that have gotten me through this week, made me life a little easier, a little healthier, and just a little funner. Maybe you’ll think the same.

1.  Tone It Up: I live 45 minutes from a decent gym with child-care so it’s just not something that’s practical, affordable, or even convenient at this point. That said, I really enjoy working out and feel so much better when I’m doing it consistently.  Not having easy gym access means I have to get creative with working out at home.  I use videos (Insanity, P90X, Chalean Extreme all great options), the treadmill in our garage, or just the old fashioned way running or cycling outside.   Lately I have been following the Tone It Up weekly schedule and have been loving it! They post great workouts that I am able to save to my Kindle App on my ipad and can workout while catching up on my favorite t.v. shows (talk about a win, win situation!) I love their nutrition plan and the community of women are all super supportive and positive.  If you are needing some fitness inspiration check them out. I’m proud to say I’m a “Tone it Up Girl”!

2.  Pioneer Woman Applesauce Pancakes: These saved my life this week for breakfasts. I made a batch of these on Monday since were were all home together and everybody was feeling better.  Not only were they delicious but it made a HUGE batch and I was able to store them in the fridge and have an easy, fast breakfast for the girls’ breakfasts all week.  Nothing easier than being able to heat up a few pancakes in the microwave, drizzle with honey, slice a banana and have breakfast done.

 

3.  This goes along with #2 and making life easier.  This week I prepped a bunch of quinoa and cooked a bunch of chicken for healthy lunches and even a dinner this week.  Why don’t I do this more? It made lunches so fast and simple by just throwing the quinoa, chicken and whatever veggies I had on hand (frozen corn, carrots, & kale) in a pan heating up till warm and then drizzling with a little Lucero Lime Olive Oil and Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar. So good and so good for you! It makes it much easier for me to eat healthy when I know I have food ready in the fridge and when I know it’s not going to take very long to put it together. I tend to let myself get so hungry I can eat whatever is in sight, so to have fast, healthy options are important for me.  I need to do more of this and want to make this a habit as I know life is only going to get busier as my oldest is starting Kindergarten in the fall. Do you prep meals/snacks? I would love some suggestions!

4.  I found this idea for “Ways to Play” with printables for each month on Pinterest. I love this and it’s an easy place to look for something fun to do when we are home and needing to kill some time.  Yesterday we did the snow painting with flour/salt/water on cardboard  — my oldest was really into it; my youngest not so much.  I don’t naturally come up with cool parenting ideas like this so Pinterest is a life-saver for me.

5.  And lastly, I saw this video go across Facebook today and had to watch it a few times and laughed out loud. Watch it. You won’t regret it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRqKYXcL-2U

Now, it’s time to go catch up on Parenthood and get today’s workout done! Happy Friday!

and then the other shoe dropped.

I thought we were in the clear with my youngest.  I seriously was crazy enough to think somehow she had managed not to get the flu bug my oldest had on Tuesday (see this post to catch up).  I took her to preschool yesterday with her older sister because both were healthy, symptom free and their normal happy selves.  And she was her normal happy self until midnight last night.

And then we were proved wrong. (And now I’m sure I have less friends at preschool).

S. and I were up from about midnight to 5 a.m. last night. Ouch.  I finally had to put a movie on around 5:30 a.m. because she wasn’t going to sleep and I was desperate to get a few hours.

So today there’s been a lot of the same as last week: lots of movies, lots of cuddles, lots of Pedialyte (which thankfully is staying down now), lots of laundry, and LOTS of bleach.

And lots of Pinterest.  In all of my couch time this morning I actually organized my Pinterest Boards.

Seriously.

I went through each board and deleted pins I didn’t like anymore, pins that I had tried and had totally failed, or pins where my styles had changed or kids had outgrown.  And here’s the deal: it.felt.so.good.  I felt lighter, I felt less pressure, and It just plain felt good to organize the boards, kinda along the same lines as cleaning out and organizing a drawer. (No, I don’t have any of these type A characteristics.)

In my Pinterest cleanse I learned a few things about myself:

1.  I have an unusual amount of pins involving Oreos, smores, and cupcakes.

2.  My “Sweets” board and “Fitness” board are extremely conflicting.

3.  I have an entire board dedicated to sewing and my sewing machine is still siting in the box because I don’t even know where to start with it.

4.  I have enough chore chart ideas, empowering girl book choices, and enough kids crafts to get me through the girls’ childhood.

5. I love chalkboards, free fonts, free printables, positive quotes, and most anything involving a mason jar, fabric flowers, scarves, or denim shirts.

6.  I have a whole paleo/gluten free board and haven’t been eating that way for over 6 months.  Although, in my defense most of our dinners follow a paleo guideline for the most part.

In my cleanse I found this home remedy for sore throats, coughs, and congestion; I had all the ingredients so I whipped it up since I have been fighting a sore throat since Thursday. It was warm, spicy, sweet, and the honey just coated your throat.  I will say my throat does feel better this afternoon and I will definitely use this again.  I like trying home remedies like this instead of ones loaded with things you don’t know and ingredients you can’t read.

After making that I found a jewelry cleaning recipe that I had to try with my wedding band and engagement ring and was surprised with positive results! My rings came out sparkly and shiny and it’s something that is very easy to do at home. From reading the reviews though – the foil is very important, don’t skip that step!

So now I have two napping girls, Netflix on the tv, all the curtains down and nothing else on the agenda this afternoon.

That is unless I decide to clean out my email account.

and then we got sick.

“Mommy my tummy hurts.” aren’t words you like to hear.  Usually the culprit is hunger, potty, or just pretend but Tuesday night my oldest wasn’t joking, wasn’t hungry, and didn’t need to go potty.  I don’t do well with throw up: it makes me gag and I hate cleaning it up.  That said, I’d rather clean my kids puke up than someone else’s any day.

So that was our Tuesday evening.

We had a slumber party in our living room with the garbage can and she was up a few more times.  To see this little body dry heaving when nothing else was left to come up made my heart sad.  It’s so hard seeing your children sick and uncomfortable.  Yet through it all this little girl was kind, sweet and still smiling; I have so much to learn from her.

I had forgotten what it was like to be up multiple times a night again; not sure I’m signing up for baby #3 anytime soon.

So Wednesday there was a lot of this:

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Thankful the girls love The Sound of Music as much as I do. If we had to watch another “Buddies” movie I might lose it.

And this:

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And this:

 

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You Tubing “Learn to Knit” to re-teach myself.

 And, since there was no more throwing up since the early Tuesday morning session we were slowing eating real food again.  Yay!

Today there’s been more of the same: movies, toys, books, and the below activity we did.  My oldest seems to be on the up and up and  my youngest is running around the house like a caged tiger . . . that’s always fun.   So far she seems to have escaped the yuckies but I feel like I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  How can she not get it?

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We did this last year when they were sick and N. remembered and asked to do it again. So simple but so much fun!

Today we also  ventured out to the grocery store to get ingredients to make Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Noodle Soup, including homemade noodles.  I mean, why not? I’m home all day and aside from the random sore throat I got last night, I feel fine.

  My oldest still has the sick smell: do you know that smell? I remember my Mom telling us we, “smelled sick” when we had colds and I never understood it; after having kids I get it (that could be said about so many areas of life now). I can’t describe the smell but it is so obvious now and a fast way to know they aren’t feeling well.

So, here we will stay until that sick smells is gone and big sister seems to get back to 100%.