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.  


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.


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:


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?

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%.



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!

farming cows. raising walnuts. growing kids.

Here’s our journey raising N., age 3 and S., age 2 and figuring it out as we go.  I want to raise confident, happy, healthy, kind and loving daughters with strong values, healthy eating habits, and a strong sense of family – not always the easiest thing to do in today’s world but we are trying!

I love these girls. I love my husband and the life we’ve built. But sometimes I struggle with being so afraid I’m screwing them up that I know I need to take a step back and realize that just as much as I’m raising them – they are raising me to be the parent I’m meant to be.