email to s.

I have email accounts for both girls that we use to send pictures, funny stories, quotes, or just a quick note to them. Someday we will share the emails with them and hopefully they will have a full email account with emails loaded with memories and stories as they grow. Today was no exception and I had to share what I just emailed to my dear S.

Dear S.,
Today I was thoroughly loving my morning yoga class at the gym. We were right into the flow of some harder poses when I saw the daycare employee step into the dark, quiet room. I think every Mom cringes when they see the employees step into a class; wondering who they are there for and hoping it’s not them because it means that their child has a diaper situation that needs to be addressed. We made eye contact and she nodded so I quietly made my way out of the yoga studio to grab my tennis shoes and make my way to the daycare where I leaned the gravity of the situation.
Apparently today you had a MASSIVE blow out poopy diaper, went down the slide followed by a few other kids and created a ginormous mess. Oh boy. I wasn’t quite sure what to do – apologize, help clean the slide, help clean other kids, or run out in embarrassment.
It was all over your legs, outside of your diaper, back of your dress and who knows where else. We went to the car to change your diaper and all I could do was laugh at the situation and laugh that of course I had no extra clothes to put you in. Quickly realizing that our gym time was coming to an end we headed inside so I could quietly sneak into yoga and reclaim my unused yoga mat and water. I mouthed thank you to my teacher who smiled and bowed her head and in turn mouthed “namaste.” Not entirely sure I was leaving in the state of peace and relaxation that I normally am but I had to smile and make the best of our morning. Since we were leaving the gym early this meant more time to run errands at Target and pick up a new dress for you to wear home. Always gotta look for that silver lining.

Namaste, S. ūüôā

I love you (but am excited for the day you are potty trained).

Mommy

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twins.

Don’t worry, I’m not having twins! But one of our heifers had twins yesterday morning and we took the girls down to see the twins and all the other little babies that have been born recently.

A smokey sky was our backdrop on our ride down to the field. Praying and hoping these fires are soon contained and we can go back to our normal blue skies. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for those living where the fires are burning.¬†

The sad thing about cows and twins is that sometimes the mama will ignore one of the twins and leave it to fend for itself while raising only one. I don’t really know why and I’m not sure I asked hubby last night. ¬†I’ve seen it happen multiple times in my few years of being around calving season; we’ve tried to bottle feed a few, have sold a few, or been lucky to pass one off to another mama who’d lost her calf. Every time it makes me sad for the little baby calf and trying to understand how a mama could leave her baby all alone.

And that’s what we saw last night: ¬†Mama and one of her twins much farther away from the other little baby who was laying all alone in the field.

So, we knew we had to make some decisions on what to do with the twin. Hubby doubted she’d eaten all day and we knew we either had to bottle feed her, find someone else that would, or nature would determine her fate. So we loaded her into the Ranger at the girls’ feet and headed for home. I wasn’t super thrilled about bottle feeding again, I’ll be honest. The smell of the milk¬†replacement¬†makes me want to gag and I don’t do so well with cow poo…but I was trying to be the country girl my husband needed me to be.

Fate intervened on our short drive back down the road home as our neighbor was out playing with her dogs.  When she saw the little calf,  already had all the supplies and had bottled fed one of our calves last year, little Mini Moo Too (as she was later named) found a new home before she could even ask her husband.  After the calf was safely moved to their horse trailer we waved good bye as her husband was walking out to see what all the commotion was about.

Very glad little Mini Moo Too found a good home and secretly very glad I don’t have to do all the bottles.

preschool.

Let the cliches begin, “I can’t believe how fast it’s gone by.” “Where did the time go?” ” Seems like just yesterday she was a baby.” And on and on. But, dang it, they are all so true. And next year (or the year after, we haven’t decided yet) I know I’ll be saying these all over again when she starts Kindergarten.

I really can’t ¬†believe how fast it has gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was holding this tiny, little dark eyed girl who I was so in love with from the minute they placed her in my arms. ¬†She taught me about what it meant to be a Mom and how you could love someone so much from the second you met them. I had images of my Mom holding me as an infant and just like that, I.Got.It.

Where the heck did the time go? I mean if she’s almost four that means I am (gulp) four years older than when I had her, putting me almost over the big 3-0. Plus, I honestly don’t feel that much older. Yes, I have found my first few gray hairs (I blame our second child for those) and am shopping more and more for the anti-aging lotions but I don’t want to admit I look older yet. Is this how it will always be?

And, it really does seem like just yesterday she was a baby.¬†I can remember so clearly our days at home when she was and infant and I was on maternity leave; we’d sit on the couch and she’d sleep in my arms as I read or enjoyed the guilty pleasures I had recorded on my DVR. ¬†I can remember finding out I was pregnant again when she was only 10 months old and totally and¬†completely¬†freaking out and then feeling ¬†guilty that she’d have to share our attention with a sibling. I remember her coming to meet her little sister and being so overwhelmed with love and fear that I didn’t know what to do. ¬†And then there was just yesterday; shopping and lunch, just N. and me, ¬†I sat and looked across the table at her and realized how big she has gotten and how ready she is for this next step and I couldn’t have been more proud. If I do anything right in my life it will be to raise two girls who are ready to take on this big world and do it with grace, confidence¬†and respect.

So here we are: August 13, 2012 and she is starting preschool. Probably because we’ve watched Finding Nemo one to many times but as she raced down the hallway yelling, “First day of school! First day of School! First day of School!” I felt like Marlin, Nemo’s overprotective Dad, and wanted to hold onto her a little big longer. After breakfast and ¬†plenty of pictures inside and outside in her special new first day of school outfit we were headed to school.

As we got to her little yellow school she walked to the door with such confidence, that I hope never leaves her, and opened it up without any hesitation. Since we had already found her cubby she took off her backpack (loaded with only a single folder – it was more an accessory than anything) and put it inside. Before I knew it she had already disappeared off to the dress-up/play kitchen section and she was fully engaged while I chatted with her teacher and got ready to make my departure. ¬†After a big hug and kiss I was on my way out the door, as I was walking out her teacher said, “Good job, Mom. She’s ready; you did your job.”

Tears. Smiles. Happy. Proud.

So my dear N., I am so proud of you today and so excited for your new school adventure. I hope you are always this excited for school and that you will always have the same curiosity. Keep asking the many, many questions about what things are and how they work, be a friend and helpful to others, and leave things just a little better than the way you found them. You will move mountains!

rite of passage.

Today was a big day to me. We had new bedroom furniture delivered and just like that we moved the last two hand-me-down-newly-married-leftover-from-college dressers that we had. As I looked around our house I saw the kitchen table that was our first married purchase together, then the couch and chair that replaced my Grandma’s old couches, then the t.v. stand and bookshelves that replaced the awful old t.v. stand, and so on. I know it’s all just stuff and stuff isn’t what matters, ¬†but all this “stuff” has been the start of our life together and holds such memories. ¬†There’s our table where we have all of our meals as a family, growing from a family of two to four. There’s our couches where we have cuddled and watched movies, napped with sleeping infants, and occasionally slept the night on. And there’s our t.v. stand that has been filled with books and pictures of our travels and family. ¬†All of ¬†this “stuff” holds memories for me, furniture or not.

Today was  big day to me; I sorta feel even more like a grown up (not quite, but sorta).

chocolate chip zucchini muffins.

We have more zucchini then we know what to do with and we are all getting tired of cooking it on the BBQ; so I  searched Pinterest for a few paleo friendly zucchini bread options.  We tried one Sunday morning and it came out way too soggy (probably because there were like 6 eggs in it!) So this morning we tried another recipe and modified it a bit by adding less banana and adding in chocolate chips (gluten free and dairy free of course). And success!! We came up with the yummiest chocolate chip zucchini muffins!

My two little helpers stood and helped while we made these – from putting the muffin liners in the pan to dumping in whatever measuring cup I handed them they stood at the counter and were involved in the whole process. I love that. I love that they love helping me cook and I love that they love food and will eat almost anything I put in front of them. And these muffins are chock full of good stuff for them so while it feels like a treat they are getting good vitamins and minerals from the zucchini, good fat from the coconut oil and almond butter, and just the right amount of sweet from the chocolate chips. Heck, its a perfect snack for me too!

Helping Mom cook in heels & a tutu…isn’t that what everybody does?

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Recipe adapted from: Hip2Save

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 C shredded zucchini
  • 1 banana, smashed
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 C almond butter
  • 1/2 C coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. chocolate chips (gluten & dairy free – We used Chocolate Dream found at Raleys)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line/grease your muffin pan.

2. Mix the first 7 ingredients together.

3. In another bowl mix the remaining ingredients together.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients then stir in chocolate chips.

5. Mix together and spoon into muffin pan.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Checking with a toothpick that they are done.

7. Enjoy!

What a way to start our Tuesday morning! Up next to try with our zucchini are Zucchini Fritters and Stuffed Sausage Boats both from Wellness Mama. What’s your favorite way to cook zucchini?

road trip.

I just got back from a little road trip with my two favorite girls. ¬†It’s become tradition at least once a year to make the trek down to Morro Bay to visit my younger brother and the girls’ ¬†fun Uncle Jason. We broke the trip up by staying a night in San Jose with an old college roommate and playing around at the San Jose Discovery Museum (fun!!) on our way down and then came home staying a night at my brother and sister in laws. This allowed for 3-4 hour chunks in the car at max and kept us all from going a little stir crazy. While this plan was still not fool proof and my dear S. had a few tough moments when her precious blanket would fall where Mom couldn’t reach it and could not understand why I wouldn’t pull over¬†immediately¬†to get her blanket. This was so frustrating for Mom & S. but somehow we survived!

It was so great catching up with an old friend and letting the girls explore the museum in San Jose. We still can’t believe we’ve been out of college almost 10 years! How did that happen?

Our time in Morro Bay was relaxing and filled with as much beach time as I could squeeze in. Since my brother had to work during the day we’d do our own thing and explore on our own and then meet up with him late afternoon for dinner.

The first full day we spend the morning walking in Cambria and then playing on the beach in Cayucos.  Then we headed to the Mid State Fair in Paso Robles when he got off work and had our fill of crazy huge corn-dogs, cold Coors Light, and enjoyed people watching and taking the girls on a few rides.

Jason was able to take a half day Thursday and we picked up him from work in San Luis Obispo, had lunch at the airport and the girls loved watching all the airplanes and helicopters taking off and landing, then spent the rest of the afternoon at Avila Beach. Sun, sand, and more sand….what else could you want from a picture perfect afternoon at the beach?

While it was great to leave it was so great to get home and see my hubby. The girls couldn’t get out of the car fast enough and have been cuddled up with him non-stop since we’ve been home.

Good to leave but great to come home. ūüôā

operation deer fence.

While some people might sleep in on Saturday mornings those days are rare in our house. For one reason it’s because my hubby gets up early while it’s cool enough to work outside and get caught up and for the other reason it’s because our kids hardly sleep past 7am. Today was no exception. I woke up and Luke was already gone and off getting ready for our deer fence that he was starting. ¬†Girls and I packed up snacks, water, and sunscreen and headed down to meet my father in law who hooked the trailer to the Ranger for us and we met him at the orchard.

My job this morning was loading the massive fence posts (not your average fence posts these are 10 ft. tall!) in the trailer than driving ahead of him and laying them every 3 (there was a brief argument discussion about it being 3 or 4  posts but thankfully figured it out) fence posts. He was behind us with his truck and the rented pneumatic (air driven, in case you were curious) post pounder putting in the posts that we had laid out. After my job in the Ranger was done the girls and I moved to his pickup where we drove next to him to each post while he put it in.

I like seeing these! Grow, babies, grow!

As it got heavier and heavier (I still don’t know how he managed to lift that thing up so many times) we were grateful that my father in law came down to help for the last 20 posts. As they were putting the posts in I heard my father in law tell Luke, “You’ve got a calf down there in the Peck Place.” (that’s the name of the field our heifers are in). ¬†Life of a farmer/rancher never ends as we now are entering calving season and our first calf was born. Geeze.

They finished up, both equally happy to be done I’m sure, and hubby headed into town to return the post pounder and take our Callie to the vet as we thought something was going on with her and couldn’t figure out what. ¬†The girls and I on the Ranger (with the trailer mind you, it’s important for the story) headed home with promises of swimming, lunch, and ice cold water. We took the back way to avoid any closed gates through the property and I was feeling pretty good driving the Ranger with the trailer. There might have been an incident with the trailer and ¬†two trees and a fence post on the way home that has now done slight damage to the fenders on either side. Ugh. I am not cut out for this country Ranger driving life sometimes. But this is why I love my husband: as he walked in the door (after finally returning from the vet where Callie will be staying a few days because she got into some¬†poison¬†somewhere and was very sick. ūüė¶ ) and I burst into tears he¬†calmly¬†just said, ” Stuff happens. It’s ok. You don’t think I’ve ever wrecked anything?” I am still feeling very stupid, mad at myself, and terrified to tell my in-laws but his calm reaction made me feel a little better. It is just stuff and stuff can be fixed. Plus, I was trying and I’m thankful he gave me credit for that. **Update: as I was typing this I could hear Luke call his Dad and seriously could hear his Dad laugh and ask “How’d she get both sides?” So, while it’s still¬†embarrassing¬†at least it’s now a funny story. **

On a good note, the girls came home and enjoyed swimming in their kiddie pool and playing with frozen water balloons. Before I knotted the balloon I dropped in a small plastic toy (most were from our Polly Pocket collection) so when I cut the balloons off there was a toy frozen in the ice that they used spoons and the heat to get them out. Fun. They sat quite entertained by these for awhile and when the toy got out they added the ice to their pool.

Swimming for kiddos, iced coffee and Kindle for me (Beneath a Marble Sky if you’re interested).

So here’s to a quick recovery to our Callie, a quick recovery to that stupid trailer, and getting that deer fence finished to keep the deer out!

paleo heaven & my new job description.

This was dinner last night and it was seriously delicious. My Instagram photo just does not do it justice nor do the amazing flavors justice but you’ve gotta believe me. This recipe came from Everyday Paleo and we will make this again I am sure. You can find the recipe here. (I used ground turkey instead of the ground pork and no complaints there). I would also highly suggest making artichokes with it so you can enjoy the homemade garlic basil¬†mayonnaise¬†with them. Yum! We ate outside with a glass of wine and it was unusually quiet as everyone chowed down; love when that happens.

Somehow the conversation drifted towards my evaluation as a ranch/orchard employee and it was less than steller.( Although in my defense I am doing an amazing job on the kiddos if I do say so myself.) Apparantly I am not upholding my duties so I asked for a more specific job description which included:

1. Drive through the cows once a day to make sure they have water and that none are laying off by themselves. (And if they are I get the tag number of said cow.)

2. Drive through the orchard once a day and run off every last f**ing deer off that are causing so much havoc!

So, that’s it. ¬†I don’t believe hubby thinks I will do this and believe he said it more out of joking than anything (we have a pretty darn good routine going in the evenings between dinner, kids, cows & orchard)– but he better watch out because it is on! I will now be doing this every day and will be sending him daily updates of my findings, including pictures which I am positive he will appreciate.

We also took a walk through the front orchard and he gave me a lesson on the terminal bud on the trees and why/how our front orchard is struggling so poorly. Between the deer eating the trees and the squirrels eating the irrigation piping we are more than frustrated with the wildlife and their love of our orchard.

By July 1st our trees were supposed to be as tall as the post next to them – most of the trees in front of our house aren’t even a third of the way there and quite a few will not get there and will have to be replanted next year (ouch). This is because the lovely deer have decided that they are a¬†delicious¬†snack and have repeatedly eaten them back and back and destroying the terminal bud that is crucial to the trees growth and development.

We walked by tree after tree and he showed me where the terminal bud had been eaten so the tree sent out another and that was eaten and it sent out a third. Sad. He told me not to post any pictures because he was so disgusted/frustrated/embarrassed that the front orchard looks like it does. On the flip side the orchard that is planted farther from our house is probably 90% better and is growing leaps and bounds so that is much more positive. I loved listening to him talk about the trees and tried remember as much as I could that he explained.  We helped him tie the ones that had gotten a little taller to the pole (did you know they are tied to the poles so all their energy can go towards growing up rather than blowing and fighting the wind?).

Plan for the orchard: continue spraying them with liquid fence (smells NASTY but is somewhat helping keep the deer away) and he is going to be putting up somewhat of a deer fence to combat the deer….hopefully that will help.

ranger ride, playing in the pond, & bath-time.

After dinner last night we loaded up the girls in the Ranger to take them to a little pond and let them throw rocks and get a little more energy out before bedtime. Originally, the plan was to make it to the orchard to work with Hubby but  it got too late too fast and baths were a necessity so we headed in early and let him finish his work in peace and quiet.

Here’s a few pictures from our cooler than normal summer night.

Loaded up and ready to go!
Sitting right next to Hubby with Callie at our feet…love it!
From throwing rocks to playing in the water he’s like a big kid with them.
Since Callie played in the mud at the creek she got to “race” us back home.
A quick peek of our orchard.
Bath-time with light ropes and in the dark!

For just $1 you can find those little light ropes at the Dollar Store or even Michaels — if you haven’t done light ropes in the bath with your kids – try it! ¬†N. & S. love it and have so much fun every time we do it. Last night they were even making their “whale faces” from swim lessons and putting their faces under water to grab them – yeah for getting some practice in too!

just a thursday morning at home.

Most mornings we are up around 7 and within an hour have had breakfast, done a quick pickup of the house, and then head off to the gym.¬†Some days¬†I feel like a bad Mommy for rushing them out the door just so I can make a spinning class by 8:30 but for the most part they love going and playing at the gym as much as I do. ¬†After the gym a few errands or a playdate with friends, and we are back home in perfect time for lunch and naps. I love our mornings and some days it’s the only way I can survive to nap time.

But, I also just love long mornings at home with no schedule, no plans, and pj’s as long as we want. Is every full day at home like this? Heck no. But I love when everything just falls in and we are all happy at home. Here’s about 8am -1 p.m. in our house today:

Pulled weeds and picked tomatoes and zucchini from the garden:

Walk to the end of the driveway to bring the garbage can back to our house (garbage day was Tuesday….yes, we are those neighbors that leave our can out) and found a very cool feather that N. added to her treasure jar when we got back inside.

Girls played while I put together Chalk Paint. (Found it here.) Then headed outside with swimsuits on and painted up a storm!

Homemade strawberry popsicles as a snack before lunch! Is Mom crazy? Little do they know it’s just frozen mashed strawberries…

Little swimming and hose time before heading in for lunch.

Making peach crisp with fresh local peaches: one for Mommy to take for her college girls weekend (yeah!) and one small one for us to eat after naps. (And no, I didn’t stick to Paleo on this – but I did leave out the white sugar and replaced it with honey and used almond meal instead of white flour – hey, I was trying.)

And finally cartoons, books, cuddles and off for naps. (Extra points if you can guess the movie…)

I love days like this.

**Not pictured: ¬†Two timeouts, a crying meltdown when S. couldn’t bring her blankie outside, ¬†a massive mess in our living room of duplo blocks and wooden blocks, and a blow out poopy diaper. **