Thursday, August 25, 2016

Feeding the Cows

Just about every night, BB and I go outside and see the cows.   They come right over to the fence and he talks to them and points at them and it's about my favorite part of the day.

Now that he's walking so darn well, we've strapped some shoes on him and let him go to check his cows without the stroller.  For the past couple of nights, his dad took him out into the pasture and showed him how to scatter cake (small cubes of feed for you non-cattle folk) for the cows.

BB eats it up.  Watching every move his dad makes and seemingly in awe of the cows.

Well, last night The Boy from Texas had to work late, so BB and I were on our own for chores.  I got his shoes on and we headed to the garage to get the cake.  

As soon as he saw me pour it into the bucket, he grabbed a cube for each hand and took off running out the garage towards the pasture...


He walked himself all the way to the pasture (stopping several times to inspect rocks, dirt, and a frog along the way)...


When we got to the gate, he mixed the cake around in the bucket to be sure the cows were paying attention...


And then, just like his dad taught him, he threw the cake right to the cows...


And I could not have been one dang bit prouder of my husband or my kid.  A couple days worth of lessons and he's already got feeding cows down.  We're working hard to raise a stockman over here, and based on what I saw last night, I'd say we're succeeding.

Well, almost succeeding.  After we threw all the cubes to the cows, I turned around find this.  He had hidden a few cubes to taste for himself.  

I suppose there are still lessons to learn.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Truth from the Trenches: It's Just a Phase

Before I had BB, I always heard parents talk about how things were just a phase.  "My kid having a fit in the middle of Target?  Just a phase."  "My kid eating only french fries?  Just a phase."  And at the time, I remember thinking, "yea right....what a joke!"  But then along came BB and I learned I was wrong about that, just like everything else.

Good or bad, it does seem like everything is just a phase.

Let's take eating for example.  BB has been a champion eater since Day 1.   Green beans?  Loved 'em.  The pureed peas that smell like death?  Can't get enough. Grainy squash mash?  I'll have more please.  And when table food was introduced and mashed potatoes were an option?  He could out eat his mom at any restaurant.  I bragged on this, when I probably should have kept my big mouth shut.

Because now, that phase has ended and a new one has entered.  For the last few days, any vegetable we try to feed him gets promptly chewed twice and then spit out.  Now cheese, meat, carbs, ice cream bars....all cool.  But try and sneak a carrot in there and things go south.  It's a phase.

And much to my dismay, he wants nothing to do with anything mashed or pureed.  Give us real food only, please.  Those mashed potatoes he used to eat by the bowl full?  Spits 'em out and glares at me like I'm trying to pull some sort of fast one on him.  Give him a french fry?  Downs it like a champ.

And sleep.  Oh, sleep.  We've been through the phases on this one.  For the first 6 weeks of his life, he would not sleep unless someone held him.  I know, I know.  We should have sleep trained. I read all the books and that was my plan.  But at some point I was just so damn tired, I did whatever I had to for some zzzz.  And then we got him on formula (praise the LORD for formula...another blog for another day), and a switch flipped and he slept like an absolute champ in his bassinet.  The transition to the crib went quite smoothly and there was a multi-month period there where he slept from 9:30 pm to 7:00 am on the dot without making a sound.  Sigh.  That too, apparently, was a phase.

The new phase is where he goes down relatively easy at 9:30, but when wakes up tossing and turning at 2 in the morning.  Some nights a couple of minutes of patting or walking or rocking get him right back down.  But some nights, after fighting it for an hour, I put him in our bed and we just deal with his kicks to the head for the next few hours.  Here's hoping that's a phase too.

So that's my message for today.   It's all a phase.  We've just got to hang in there.  The good will come to an end and the hard will appear.  But that hard won't last forever and the good will come back.  So for those of you in the throws of it (especially those of you with brand new babies....that's the worst in my opinion!), hang in there.  It gets better.  And then worse.  And then better again.

And something tells me that in a few  years, I am going to miss these phases.  All of them.  The good ones, the bad ones, even the ones that have me up pacing the house at 2 in the morning.

So, for now, I'm going to just try and breathe.  Savor.  Enjoy.  And know that one day, this will all just be a memory.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

BB 11 Months

Eleven months.  It really doesn't seem possible that we've only got one of these little neckties left in our stash for photos.

At this point in time, BB is into everything.  

He's full fledged walking (usually running) everywhere.

He loves all of his toys, but his tractors are his favorite.  Which may be why the word "tractor" has been used before the word "mama."  

He enjoys pulling pots and pans out of every kitchen cabinet while I'm trying to make dinner.  

He likes eating.

He attended (and really enjoyed) his first concert.  Then he grabbed the singer's teeth.  Yea, that's still what he does to everyone he meets.

My Favorite Shots

Photo by our super talented friend D. Felger Photography

Monthly Check In

Based on my calculations at home (read: this is probably not super accurate):  21 pounds, 28.5 inches long.

Likes:  Ice cream, walking, talking to the cows, tractors, his new car seat.

Dislikes:  Running out of ice cream, being told no.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I'm Talking Politics...

I may have to delete Facebook between now and November 9.  This political season is just too much for me.  About 50% of my Facebook friends are very conservative.  The other 50% are very liberal.  And 100% are convinced their side has to be right.  It's all black and white.  No gray.  And people are just mean and hateful and nasty to each other.

And, call me a rebel here, I disagree.  In my mind, there's lots of gray...because we're voting between two imperfect candidates, just like we always have.  I agree with some stances of each side.  I strongly dislike some things about each of the candidates.  I don't know that I see much black and white in this whole mess.

But I will tell you that I try my hardest to keep in mind my Christian beliefs when thinking about casting a ballot.  And if you ask me one thing I do know, it's that there is not a Christian party.  Jesus isn't running. Neither party aligns completely with what I believe.  And the next person who tells me that a person has to vote one way or the other in order to be a "good Christian," may get sucker punched.  (Though that's probably not something Jesus would approve of; but he was known to flip over a table or two in his day, so maybe...)

We have the right to go into that ballot box and vote the way we want.  Not the way our parents want. Not the way some evangelical pastor on tv wants.  Not the way the national parties want.  Our ancestors fought and died to ensure we have this right.  And that's something that matters to me.

Because of this, I don't have any time for people bullying others about how to vote.  Threatening me (or anyone else) with the line of crap that if we don't vote for a certain candidate we are a bad person or a bad Christian or a bad mother is just not acceptable.  It's not what American blood was spilled for.  It's not the dream upon which this country was founded.  This country is made up of those with different viewpoints and beliefs and priorities and I've always thought that is what makes us so strong.

So come November, I'll vote the way I see fit.  And I'll pray for the future of our country, regardless of who lives in the White House.  And, most importantly, I'll go home and love my husband and my kids and my neighbors and do my best to raise the next generation to be better than our own.  Because if we're honest, that's where we can really make a difference anyway.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Family Farm Friday #99: Raising Livestock

Raising livestock is in my blood.  The Boy from Texas' too.  For generations, our families have raised cattle, sheep, and horses.  So when BB came along, there was really no doubt that he would be raised along with the livestock.

Already, we talk a walk every night so that BB can talk to his cows.  He now says "cow" despite still refusing to utter the word "Mama."  As he grows up, he will learn to bottle feed lambs.  He'll be in charge of watering the cows.  We'll teach him about sire selection and how to know when a lamb needs pulled and what medications to use when one of them is acting sick.  He'll know the different breeds of cattle and how to tell the grade of a staple of wool and how to tell a snaffle bit from a hackamore.  My guess is that he's always going to be as excited as we were as kids about branding and jumping in the wool sacks during sheering and his life will eventually revolve around stock shows.  He'll probably ride past the house standing up in the saddle and has already developed a sincere love for green tractors (yet another word he's mastered before Mama...)

I don't know what BB will be when he grows up. If I had to guess, based on the way he always wants to touch everyone's teeth, maybe a dentist.  Or maybe he will be a train conductor as he runs to see them every time he hears the horn. Or maybe he will work in the oil and gas industry like his Dad and Granddad or be a lawyer like his mom.  

But even if he doesn't go into agriculture, he will take the lessons he learns here with him.  He'll leave here with a strong work ethic.  He'll understand responsibility and sacrifice and how to balance a checkbook.  He'll understand the circle of life.  He'll have memories of good times with his grandparents and parents and sister, many of which will happen in a barn.  He'll learn to be a fierce competitor, a gracious loser, and a humble winner.  He'll be able to identify different types of grasses, understand why the percent protein matters in a ration, and I'm sure he'll be able to tell a good steak based on the amount of marbling it has.  He'll understand that life isn't always fair.  He'll know where his food comes from and why America needs her farmers and ranchers so desperately.

And my bet is that these things will make him a better dentist or train conductor or [whatever he chooses to be] A better husband.  A better father.  A better man.

That's the point of these cows and the sheep.  Sure, we are raising meat to help feed the world.  We are hoping to make a slim profit at some point.  But more important than that, we are giving our kids a legacy and a way of life.

They say that we are raising livestock.  But maybe it's the livestock raising us.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Few Me Things

I'm Last week, I decided I needed to do a couple of "me" things.  Maybe it's because it's just so blasted hot, or maybe it's because I'm starting to feel (and look) real pregnant, or maybe it's the estrogen in my poor body from LL, but I've just been in a funk and decided it was time to improve my attitude.  Some of these were splurges, some are more common, but regardless, it was a fun week pampering myself!  Here's a rundown...

1.  Exercise classes.

I had been doing really well maintaining my running scheduled throughout the pregnancy.  I had dropped back to 1 mile per run, but was still able to go several times a week.  But about the 6 month mark, I had to throw in the towel when my hips absolutely killed me after every run.  But, when exercise is sort of your therapy, you have to be creative about things.  Enter kickboxing class.  You might remember I used to do this several years back and enjoyed it.  Well I don't know why I ever quit because being back in the groove has been really fantastic!  I'm going two days a week, doing all of the modifications to make things low impact (read: no jumping about so as to disturb LL) and it's great.

2.  A fancy new bag.

This one is probably surprising if you know me.  I've never been a fancy purse kind of girl.  Or, really, a fancy anything kind of girl.  But the purse I had was a tad bit small for all the crap I think I need to carry, so when Super Mom was selling this beautiful never used Kate Spade, I decided I needed it in my life.  And I love it.

3.  Pretty orange toes.

I'm not much of one for pedicures, they're not my favorite thing.  I probably get two a year.  But when Super Mom was in town and offered to meet me for a little toe pampering, I jumped at the chance and enjoyed every minute.  We got to spend a good 45 minutes visiting with each other, drinking cokes from Sonic, and I left with bright orange toes.  Since I'm basically living in sandals, this was a needed splurge!

4.  Nightly walks with BB and the cows.

Because it's been so miserable hot, we had started to slack off on our nightly strolls around the place.  But we're back on track now and I think all of us, BB, the cows, me, and the dogs when I take them (they're a bit much on the poor pregnant lady pushing the stroller) seem to enjoy it.  BB gets so excited when he sees them, points, says "cah" and then proceeds to tell them something in a language that maybe they understand, but I sure don't.  I don't know if it's the exercise or the fresh air or what, but taking our mile stroll every night makes me a different person.

5.  A haircut and eyebrow shape up.

Nothing fancy or exciting here, but I always feel like a whole new person with all the dead ends off my hair and my eyebrows in check!

6.  Reading time.

Since BB was born, I've been terrible about making time for me to read.  I'm not one of those people like College Roomie who can sit and read for hours--I get distracted or bored or think of something else I need to get done.  But I've been setting aside just maybe 10 or 15 minutes a night to read and I'm really enjoying it.  I finished Love That Boy and will have a book review on that soon---it was fantastic.  Or order it now.  I'm currently working on our book club read that I was supposed to finish in June (sorry girls!) called The Orphan Train and I'm really liking that as well.

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