Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mom's Scissors

When it comes to grocery shopping, I will do just about anything to save a buck.  I shop sales, clip coupons, buy name it and I've done it. I'm totally cheap.

However, the same does not hold true when it comes to tools.  I firmly believe that spending extra money for good quality tools is an investment that will pay off in the long run. This is one area where we never compromise quality to save a buck.

This week, I finally bit the bullet and coughed up the money to buy myself some new sewing scissors.  Not just any scissors.....these are the Cadillac of sewing scissors and they cut through fabric like warm butter.

Aren't they dreamy?

They even come with a protective sheath.

I feel like it's a bit of a rite of passage to own a pair of scissors of this quality.  It's been a LONG time coming, and I've paid my dues.

When I was a girl, I remember my mother teaching me to never use her "good" scissors to cut paper with.  She only pulled them out of her sewing box to cut fabric or trim my hair in the back yard.  I didn't see what the big deal was.  One day, I couldn't find the junkie scissors, so I snuck into Mom's yellow sewing box and used her "good" scissors to cut a piece of poster board in half.

Boy was she mad when she caught me! She gave me a real tongue lashing.

Now that I sew and have kids of my own, I understand what all of the fuss was about.  I had a pair of the best fabric scissors that Walmart sold (mediocre at best).  On the handle, I wrote "FABRIC ONLY" in black marker.  I gave my 3 kids the lecture about cutting paper. I thought I was safe.

My 8 year old daughter decided to cut a wire twisty tie with them several months ago and I nearly cried.  Then I gave her a stern talking to and I felt like my mother. I guess my chickens came home to roost, so to speak. 

The scissors would no longer cut fabric, and my girl learned a valuable lesson when she tried to use them at her sewing class. They were worthless.

I've been dreaming of my new scissors for months now.  I saw them at the fabric store in the big city, but couldn't bring myself to spend the money.  When it comes to a big purchase, I always have to sleep on it. After all, they cost three or four times more than anything at Walmart. They finally went on sale, and with an additional store coupon, I got them for a whopping 40% off!!! WOOHOOO!!!

I've considered locking them up in a safe to protect them from any impulsive lack of judgement on the part of my children, but instead I decided to give them a solemn speech about the "Wrath of Mom" if any of them so much as puts a fingerprint on them.

I think many women have memories of their mother's "good" scissors. We all learned that it's best not to mess with Mom's tools.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Pocket Full of Sunshine

I had a great day today.  I woke up an hour before my alarm went off, and knowing that I had an extra 60 minutes to get some more beauty rest felt like winning the lottery at 5:00am.  I even got ready for church with enough time to make myself a glass of strawberry lemonade for the road.  I drove the speed limit, and still arrived ten minutes before the service started.  TEN WHOLE MINUTES!!That feels like a little miracle. 

The weather was gorgeous, the sun was warm, and there was no wind to mess up my Sunday church hair, or blow my skirt around.  My curls were bouncy, my toenails were sparkly, and I had a whole pack of gum in my purse to share with the family. There was even a fresh Boston cream doughnut with my name written all over it at Sunday School. It had the perfect ratio of dough to filling. 

This afternoon I went to buy tomato plants and there was a flat of my favorite variety just sitting there waiting for me to buy them.  The garden departments get ransacked this time of year on our mountain, and it's sometimes necessary to throw an elbow to secure a single "Early Girl" tomato plant.  Not today.  Today, the sun was shining down on me.

I spent the next 3 hours in the garden with my family working in the soil.  I tilled my garden boxes, planted tomatoes and basil, and lots of flowers. Two little birds serenaded us from above, and it sounded glorious!

As if the day wasn't already going amazing, I hit a home-run with dinner tonight.  I tried a new recipe for Baja Fish Tacos that was better than anything I've ever had at a restaurant! My husband called them "Company Worthy".  He only reserves this title for the "Best of the Best".  I enjoyed my tacos with a side of black beans and a glass of cold iced tea.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

I'm savoring each little blessing from the day, and storing it in the treasure box of my mind so I can pull it out on days when I'm running behind, the laundry consumes me, the wind blows me away, and the dinner is left over from the night before.  Yes, the Lord's blessings are abundant today, and I want to count each and every one of them. 

Enjoying my pocket full of sunshine,


Saturday, May 21, 2011

7 Things about my Week

1. We've had snow, hail, rain, and wind most of this week.  Not fun. I'm so thankful for the precipitation though because we desperately needed it.  Fire season is always intense around our mountain, and we're always praying for moisture this time of year, but we must be more specific about what type of precipitation we pray for.  Snow is kind of a bummer in the latter part of May, but completely normal for this time of year.  Thankfully, I haven't planted my garden yet, so I didn't have to cover anything. Everything seems to be budding out late. That's life in high elevations.

2. My kids played baseball in the snow this week.  Who plays baseball while it's snowing?!?! Evidently our mountain kids are made from tough stock.  The pitcher on the other team kept putting his hand under his shirt in his armpit to keep it warm between plays. Poor little guy.  I kept the score book while wearing my gloves, stocking hat, heavy jacket, and fleece blanket.  I was a Popsicle for 3 days.  Brrrrrrrr.

3. I decided to round up the left over chocolate bunnies from Easter.

We always eat the See's Bunnies right away, but some of the other bunnies were still lingering around the kitchen, so I chopped them up and made Chunky Chocolate Easter Bunny Cookies.  YUM.

Did you know that looking at pictures of chopped up chocolate bunnies is pleasurable without consuming any calories?

Just chop up 2 cups of chocolate, and add it to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Chocolate bunnies make superb cookies.  What a treat!

4. In an effort to make my wooden floors shinier, I put orange Pledge on them and now the kitchen is as slippery as a bowling alley lane.  Not my brightest idea.

5. I may or may not have driven over one of our low voltage pathway lights with the truck.  I'm not admitting or denying anything at this time, I just want you to know that it still lights up at night even though its shattered into a thousand pieces and smashed into the dirt.  It's a real miracle.

6. I bought Scrabble for my iPhone, and now my life feels more complete.

7. Now that the irrigation ditch is buried, we have devised a new way of watering the cows.  It involves using the generator to run a pump from the head gate to the 720 gallon stock tanks.  We can fill a stock tank in 12 minutes this way. (I know you're impressed right now with these details.) Exciting stuff. Really.

Here's the pump and hose in a bucket with holes drilled into it to keep the rocks from getting sucked up into the pump. (Who takes pictures of water pumps? Me. That's who.)

Here's my boy filling up a stock 12 minutes.  The water will clear up shortly after it settles.

Hope your week was lovely,


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Growing Pains

Moms always want the very best for their children.  We have this burning desire to see our kids succeed in everything they do, and we would do just about anything to keep them from pain, heartache, and disappointment. Unfortunately,  these unpleasant emotions are all part of the growing up process.  If we could keep our little ones from scraping their knees, getting teased,  or striking out, it would feel wonderful, but probably wouldn't help them in the long run.  They've got to learn to deal with some of these little trials on their own.  Those rough patches are filled with the life lessons that only experience can teach. Watching our children work through them is perhaps the toughest part of motherhood. 

 I remember my mom praying diligently at every one of my brother's baseball games the entire time he was on the pitcher's mound.  She could hardly enjoy the game because she was so nervous for him.  If she could have willed him to pitch strikes, he would have pitched a perfect game. I always laughed and said, "Mom, why are you praying about a silly game? What if there's a mom on the other team that is praying for her son too? Who's prayer will God answer?" I didn't see what the big deal was.

And then I had kids of my own.

Now I get it.

I am a 33 year old mother with a 5 foot tall 3rd grader who already fits into my boots.  I can't believe it. He's long and slender with giant feet. This weekend when I watched him play club baseball, he had about as much elegance as a giraffe with cleats on.  He ran awkwardly around the bases, willing his long legs and big feet to cooperate with the rest of his body. If he ever grows into his limbs, he'll be a force to be reckoned with. Until that day arrives, I have to sit back and watch him fumble his way around the ball field. It crushed me when he got tagged out while sliding home during his last game.  If he was just a few seconds faster, he would have been safe, but alas, those long legs just couldn't run quick enough. It nearly broke this momma's heart.

At this weekend's tournament, my son's team played against two of the top ranked teams going to the USSSA World Series, and our little mountain team was intimidated, to say the least.  My boy was so nervous that he nearly lost his head.  Our family was there to watch him play and I found myself praying, the same way my mom did, for my baby boy to get a good hit.  I wanted so badly for him to succeed.  There was so much pressure to perform well with everyone watching him. Then I chuckled and thought, "it's just a game", yet I went on praying again...just in case it mattered to God.  Whenever I'm nervous, I talk to Jesus.  It's second nature for me to offer prayers up for my kids.  I can't swing the bat for my son but I can certainly say a little prayer for him the way my mother prayed for my brother and me.

Maybe the apple didn't fall too far from the tree.  I guess a girl never quite understands the heart of her mother until she becomes one herself. 

In the end, my boy smacked that ball and got a hit! I wanted to do the happy dance and yell out, "Thank you Jesus!"  I started to cheer, and my boy was grinning from ear to ear. I think God heard the prayers of this momma, and I think He was cheering right along with me.

God is so gracious to help us navigate these little growing pains in life.  My son is growing into his feet, and I am growing in my role as a mother. Sometimes we both look clumsy, but the Lord is there to see us through the tough stuff.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Puppy Love

Meet my dad's new baby, "Dozer".  He's the sweetest, most precious pup in the whole world, and I got to kiss on him all weekend. 

He's a 6 week old black Lab puppy with the most precious little puppy nose and puppy breath.  He's got giant puppy paws to grow in to, and he was the largest of his litter. His name definitely fits his size.

I can't get enough sniffs of his shiny raven puppy head.

Would you look at those sad little puppy dog eyes?!?!

Just like a new born, Dozer has his days and nights mixed up.  He wants to play all night long! He yips, and whines and trys to jump out of his box while my dad is sleeping.  During daylight hours, he's practically in a coma....dozing off every chance he gets, giving new meaning to the name "Dozer".

You may want to say a short prayer for my dad.  He's going to have his hands full for a while with a ton of puppy training in his future. There may be a whole lot of chewed up shoes and sleepless nights in the process.

It will all be worth it though, because Dozer is going to be a great side-kick for my dad, full of kisses and happy tail wagging to greet him at the door when he comes home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ready for their "Close-up"

I had the morning irrigation shift, and the cows came to greet me.  They're starting to slick off and shed their winter coats, and their fur was so shiny that I had to do a photo shoot with my iPhone camera. They were picture pretty and ready for their close-up.  (I left my Nikon at home for fear it would take a swim in the ditch.)

Without further delay, here are the glamour shots:

"Your raven hide is fabulous, darling.  Who's your stylist?"

Playing in the water as usual.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Working Cattle

Yesterday was a chilly spring morning.  The sky was overcast, and the wind had a definite bite to it. I woke up with a case of the butterflies because I knew that our new corral would be taking it's maiden voyage.  The heifers needed to be worked, and yesterday was the big day.

We fixed up the old squeeze chute that we acquired a few months ago and made our working area out of old telephone posts, cattle panels and lumber.  Because we lease this particular pasture, we didn't want to invest the money to make a permanent pipe corral.  What we built can be taken down and moved in a few years, if necessary, but it's built tough enough to last a very long time.

As with any new working facility, there are always a few kinks in the design that must be smoothed out. I've seen enough bad wrecks happen in the squeeze chute to know that caution must be used when working cattle in a new environment.  Like an E.R. nurse who sees the worst case scenario on a regular basis, I've experienced enough trouble to spot the potential for a wreck a mile away. 

After checking and re-checking every detail, it was finally time to see if our design, calculations, and construction would work.  And to my delight, it all went rather smoothly.  The cattle loaded nicely without any major complications, and no-one bawlked in the lead-up.  I was pleased as pie.

The old squeeze chute has it quirks, but I'm so thankful to finally have one on this pasture, that it is well worth the minor annoyances of using an antique dinosaur.  Not having to go through a rodeo every time something needs doctoring or an ear tag is a huge relief.  Our options used to be:
A. A rodeo in the pasture..things always get a little "Western" this way.
B. Load the cow in the trailer and take it to our other hour away.

Now things will be so easy, I won't know what to do with all of the extra time I'll have on my hands.  All of the excitement is gone now.  Ha Ha! Just kidding.  Things never get dull with cattle around.  They are the big variable in the whole operation.  You just never know what they'll do next.

My father-in-law, me and my husband working on a heifer in the chute.

The "gals" are all perky eared and curious as to what the ruckus is all about.  They have no idea what's in store for them.

Our son is getting a lesson in branding.

It looks like I'm waiting for orders.

After everyone was worked through the chute, we loaded them all up and moved them to another pasture. Things are so dry in our part of the world that the fire danger is extreme, and nothing is greening up. We're desperate for rain. We feel incredibly thankful that we have prime irrigated pasture to put our cows out on.  Without it, we would be at the mercy of the weather.  With the help of irrigation, the cows are finally able to taste their first sprigs of green grass for the season.

When we let them out of the trailer, they frolicked through the green grass, and then immediately got busy grazing their prime real estate.  I sighed with contentment after a long days work was finally through.

Monday, May 9, 2011

101 Random Things about Me

1. I love my Savior, Jesus.

2. I've been married to my "Lover" for over a decade.

3. We have 3 kids that make our life complete.

4. I have a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science that seems like a waste of money because I'm a stay-at-home mom.

5. I homeschool my kids and they are certifiably "socialized" and usually not nerdy.

6. I prefer to work outside.

7. My hands are chapped, leathery and look like they belong to an 85 year old cowboy.

8. My toenails are always painted pretty.

9. I like big hair.

10. I wear silver hoop earrings nearly every day.

11. I am addicted to iced tea.

12. I love the smell of Hoppes gun cleaner.

13. I'm obsessed with vacuuming the carpet and mowing the lawn.

14. I love beans.

15. I've seen George Strait in concert 8 times.

16. I own a Mandolin and the only song I've ever learned to play on it is "Turkey in the Straw"

17. I am an AMAZING and passionate singer in my truck when the music is cranked up so loud that I can't really hear myself sing.

18. I don't have regular television, but I do like to watch a good movie when the weather is rotten.

19. I really love "Lonesome Dove" and "Anne of Green Gables".

20. I'd rather read a good book than watch a movie any day of the week.

21. I can sew a dress or make a quilt, but I'm not a professional at either sewing or quilting....yet.

22. I bake bread from scratch nearly every day of the week.

23. Peppermints and peppermint gum make me sneeze, but I love them anyway.

24. I wear a ribbon with my ponytail.

25. I always carry a pocket knife.

26. I am a pretty good shot with a gun.

27. I'm in love with cast iron pots and pans.

28. I cook delicious grub with a camp fire and my dutch ovens.

29. I show people that I love them by cooking for them. Food is my love language.

30. The Proverbs 31 woman is my hero.

31. The deep sea really creeps me out.

32. I have no desire to ever go to Europe.

33. I want to be a better roper.

34. I use green mint chapstick every day.

35. I don't like raw onions on my hamburgers.

36. I love a cold Dr. Pepper on the rocks when I'm eating salt and pepper flavored sunflower seeds.

37. I don't really like Neal Diamond's singing.  At all.

38. I will eat a sandwich while standing in a barn full of manure, but must use hand sanitizer after pushing a cart at Walmart.

39. I have a little brother who is bigger and cooler than me.

40. In high school, I was a varsity cheerleader, and my brother was a star football player.

41. I drove my dad's old green 1968 Mustang when I was 16.

42. I permed my mom's hair every 3 months from the time I was 12 until she passed away this winter.

43. I love white shirts. I own at least 15 of them.

44. I simultaneously worked on a dairy, raised yearling bulls, and worked for a feed company to get through college.

45. In high school, My dad told me that if I didn't become a lawyer or a writer, I was missing my calling. I should have listened to him.

46. I am whole-hearted and loyal.

47. I hate doing laundry.

48. I would rather run 10 miles than deprive myself of a good meal to lose weight.

49. I know too much about parasites, and I occasionally share my knowledge with people traveling abroad even though they don't really want to know about the life cycle of tape worms.

50. My brother and I used to play "Dukes of Hazzard" when we were kids.

51. I'm awesome at fixing barbed wire fences, and I've got a mean hammer splice.

52. I occasionally say things that I regret.

53. I can find all typos except my own.

54. I use too many commas and write run-on sentences.

55. I don't really like cats, but I'm in love with mine.

56. My brother and I had a baby javelina for a short while.  Its name was Arnie.

57. I'm still amazed at the miracle of a new born calf standing and nursing for the very first time even though I've witnessed it happen thousands of times.

58. I'm an early morning person.

59. My grandpa on my dad's side is Hawaiian, and my grandpa on my mom's side is formerly Amish.

60. I sound like my mom but think like my dad.

61. I am competitive to a fault.  I have a deep need to win at everything.

62. I love sunflowers.

63. I use my dictionary and thesaurus nearly every day.

64. I like flannel sheets.

65. I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy.

66. I am prompt.

67. Some day, I want to host a Cowboy Christmas Ball in an old beautiful barn.

68. My husband turns on the radio and twirls me around the kitchen floor on a regular basis.

69. I cheer too loud at my childrens' sporting events and embarrass my husband.

70. When I'm passionate about something, I talk with my hands.

71. When I'm mad about something, the occasional cuss word  has slipped from my lips and I hate it when it happens.

72. I love to read a good Amish book even though my love for mascara and curled hair would make me a terrible Amish woman.

73. I love taking pictures even though I'm a mediocre photographer.

74. My cowhide/ rhinestone bling belt makes me feel fancy in my otherwise plain life.

75. I wear my Sorrel snow boots if there is anything greater than a 2% chance of snow in the forecast.

76. I worry about dumb stuff.

77. I create different voices for each character when reading stories to my children.

78. I find beauty in simple things.

79. I love to be in the sunshine, and will eventually pay for it with wrinkles.

80. My favorite hymn is "Be Thou My Vision"

81.  I believe that a good dog is worth it's weight in gold.  I have one of the best!

82. I am passionate about politics but never write about them in my blog.

83. We are a "Ford" truck family.

84. When I sniff tiny baby heads, I want to have another one of my own.

85. I love to burn candles in my home for no special reason.

86. I make my husband go to the sale barn without me when we're selling our calves because I still get attached to them after all of these years.

87. I'm married to a left handed natural gas pipe welder. His job scares me.

88. I have the potential to be a good golfer, but I don't have enough time or money to improve.

89. I love to study my Bible.

90. I can back a stock trailer up better than any boy.

91. I believe that butter makes everything taste better.

92. I LOVE happy endings.

93. I hate tears, but after having my children, I seem to cry about everything.

94. I have driven back home to make the sure the stove was off on countless occasions.

95. I love the smell of rolls in the oven, fresh cut grass, and summer rain in the mountains.

96. My garden brings me immense pleasure.

97. I'm more of a Martha than a Mary when it comes to hospitality.

98. I'm terrible at tennis, Frisbee golf, and video games.

99. I'm far too loud, but I truly want to have a "meek and quiet spirit".

100. My brain is a very busy place.

101. I'm Nell.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Snapshots of my Mother

Dearest Mom,
 I miss you like crazy.  Happy Mother's Day to the most precious woman I know.  God blessed me beyond measure when he gave me to you. I love ya bunches!

-Your Nellie Belle

Friday, May 6, 2011

The "Post Hole" Post

I'm pleased to report to you that I spent 6 hours building a corral with my family today out in the fresh air and sunshine! I AM A HAPPY WOMAN.

Here's some of my handy-work:

You're impressed....I can tell.

 I dug a whole lot of holes today....with a shovel.

Here's the totally lame auger that died every time we asked it to dig a hole.

It couldn't handle the pressure.

It's laying there with a smirk on its twisted auger face getting a sun tan while the rest of us picked up shovels.

I took that picture to show that, in the end, it's the manual labor that gets the job done.

Here's what I think about the situation:

Digging post holes = Not having to do laundry = Pure Bliss!

(Remember, I'd rather dig a hole than do the laundry any day of the week.)

This pasture is nearly an hour from home so we ate our lunch in a shady spot in the corral.  I snapped a photo, and then couldn't stop laughing!  Here's why:

Exhibit A:

Kickin' back to eat a sandwich.

Upon closer examination, I came to the conclusion that my daughter is thoroughly, totally, and completely a cowgirl to the core.

Examine Exhibit B:
Notice the giant petrified cow chip that is touching the edge of the sandwich wrapper.

My baby didn't even notice it.  She just happily ate her sandwich without giving it a second thought.  Her motto is "Live and let live."  Ha Ha! Just kidding.

When I couldn't stop laughing, she said, "Mama, what are you cracking up for?"

I said, "You are eating lunch next to a giant cow poop!"

Here was her response:
Then she went right back to eating.  I had to move it out of her way.  She didn't even care.

All day long, we were serenaded by this gorgeous Western Meadowlark that sat on the pipe gate.

It has the most beautiful sound.

If you've never heard one, click on the link below, and then scroll down and click on the "sound" icon to listen to the Western Meadowlark sing.

Its melody was the icing on top of a beautiful day.  I'm so blessed to live in the mountains, and to work along side my husband...doing what we love most.  Raising kids and cattle.

Soaking up the sunshine,


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Homeschool Meltdown

"Just one more week, just one more week, just one more week." 

This is the mantra that this homeschooling mama has been repeating all day long.  There is just something about the first week in May that makes us all start to twitch.  The 78 degree days, sunshine, and green grass tease us endlessly.  The outdoors beckon us.  The birds sing sweet melodies as they bask in the sunshine, and the occasional fly buzzes at the window, signaling the beginning of warmer weather. It also signals the beginning of an unexplained phenomenon in my house called "homeschool meltdown".

These days the forces of spring are so powerful that it takes super-human strength for my children to stay in their seats during school hours.  The warm weather puts my children into a state of frenzy.  They wake up and run around the yard in their pajamas until breakfast.  We start school at 8a.m. on the dot, and their bottom lips begin to pout.  They stare longingly out the window as they do their seatwork, and it's hard for them to concentrate.  It's nearly torture for me to teach them on beautiful days like this.  It's criminal.

One of my best friends bought me this antique sign at a swanky local boutique.  I cracked up when she presented it to me because its meanings are vast.  It speaks volumes about the way I feel today.  It was definitely a S-L-O-W school zone at our house today.  And I do mean, SLOW.   The day crawled by, and my kids were a little "slow on the up-take" with all of the distractions outside.  New material should never be introduced during the first week in May.  It should be outlawed. My kids' minds are in a spring induced delirium.

For this gal who will forever prefer to be working outside, it takes divine help to get through the last two weeks of teaching school.  During the first week in May, I start every morning prayer with a petition to Jesus for strength to get through the school day.  Please don't misunderstand me....I LOVE to teach my kids.  Just not in May.  I would rather be fixing fence, gardening, pulling weeds....anything that involves fresh air and sunshine.

By the first week in May:

-The homeschooling cabinet is a disorganized mess.
-The books are shoved in  haphazardly.
-Every pencil in the house is either missing an eraser or is 2 inches long.
-Not one child can find a "red" crayon in their pencil box.
-The pencil sharpener is coming out of the wall. (But I'm happy to report that it is still working!)
-The glue sticks are dried out.
-The dry erase markers are used up.
-Every tray in the watercolor palette is now some varying shade of brown.
-The scissors are scattered around the yard.
-The zippers to every backpack are broken.

These are the symptoms that the school year must end quickly. As far as I'm concerned, summer break can't come soon enough! When the last lesson is taught, and the last test is graded, and the last paper is turned in....then, and ONLY then... my heart will sing, "Free at last, free at last!"

Longing to feel sunshine,


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

7 Random Things

1. After church on Sunday, on the spur of the moment, our whole family made the LONG trip down to Phoenix to watch our Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs.  It was cold and windy at home but it was 82 and sunny at the ballpark, and they had the roof open for the game.  It was absolutely gorgeous out! We were so blessed to spend time with good friends, eat hot dogs and ice cream, and enjoy the weather.  We got home late that night, but the experience was well worth the 7 hours we spent on the road! Good times, Good times.
2. The craziest thing happened while we were at the stadium. Between one of the innings at each game, the camera zooms in on couples until they kiss each other. My husband and I were picked by the "kiss cam" and my Lover gave me a kiss that was seen on the huge Jumbo-Tron screen in front of everyone!!!  HaHaHa!!! I love that man! Remember, I married him so I could kiss him any time I want to. I just never imagined we'd  be kissing in public. =)

3. My baby had her very first Tee Ball game yesterday.  Her uniform is huge but she was sooo excited to wear it.  She asked me to stop at the store and buy her some "Big League Chew" bubble gum for her first game. 

4.  She was absolutely devastated to learn that her game wasn't going to be played on a real "dirt" field.

She cried, "But Mama, how am I supposed to slide home if there's no dirt??"

What was I supposed to tell her?  It broke my heart but the Tee- ballers are at the bottom of the priority list and baseball fields are at a premium around these parts.

She got to play pitcher during the first half of the game though, and it made her happy again.  She got most of the balls hit straight to her.  Pitching position is where all of the action is on the Tee-ball field!!

5. Here she is sprinting to third base! Notice her complete and total concentration as proven by the fact that she has her tongue in "serious" mode. Go speed racer!

6. For the last 33 years, my grandpa has been affectionately known as "Quak" (pronounced KWOK) by all of his grand kids.  I am the oldest, and when I was a toddler I couldn't pronounce the word "Grandpa".  Instead, it came out as Qua Qua.  It got shortened to Quak, and the name stuck. 

  Now that we've established how he got his name, I have to tell you that my Quak totally rocks! He found this nifty generator at a yard sale and bought it for my family.  It's brand new! He's quite the bargain hunter, and he doesn't even use coupons.

He's also savvy with a computer and reads my blog from time to time!  How many grandpas do you know that can surf the web? Not many.  I can say that with certainty.  (Hi Quak!...if you're reading this...Thanks for the generator! We love ya bunches!)

My husband loaded up our new gift in the truck and we talked about all the ways we could use it on the way back up the mountain.  This is when I established that the minds of men and women are worlds apart. And I do mean WORLDS APART.

My husband thought that the generator would be great to have for running a water pump to fill the stock tanks from the ditch.  He also thought that it would be useful around camp during hunting season, and great for running power tools in the middle of nowhere, etc. etc.

My first thought was to praise Jesus that I would never have to hand-crank my wheat grinder if there was ever a large scale electrical emergency.  It takes 15 minutes of pure sweat and muscle to hand-grind enough wheat for one measly loaf of bread.  The thought of this makes me shudder with fear. The good news is that I can now keep the wheat grinder motorized in a black out, and it will be business as usual for baking bread.

My second thought was that I could still use my curling in a power outage.  However, I did not voice this epiphany to my husband for fear that he would die laughing.  He just doesn't understand things like this.

Like I said, our thought processes are worlds apart.

7.  There was a giant ruckus going on in the hallway this evening with all kinds of cheering and hollering.  When I went to investigate, I found my three children using my baby's stick horse and a stop watch to have horse races down the hallway, around the living room and back.  They were yelling, "Go Secretariat! Come on Big Red!" as they each took a turn loping at full speed on the stick horse. It seems as though they were so moved by their recent viewing of the "Secretariat" movie that they wanted to reenact the racing scenes.  My children have LARGE imaginations, and they love the story of the greatest race horse that ever lived.

This concludes this week's edition of 7 random things. Thanks for tuning in!


Monday, May 2, 2011


I'm back! Did you miss me?  This is one of the busiest times of the year for us, and right smack dab in the middle of our craziness, my husband let me take off for a few days with some of the gals from church to attend a "Ladies Retreat".  It was really fun but I couldn't help but think about all of the things that still needed to be done back home.

- Building the new set of corrals
- Ear tagging the heifers
- Deworming the cows
- Fly tags for the cows
- Fixing the Sprinklers
- Tilling the garden
Etc. get the point.

Despite my growing list of chores, I was whisked away in a church van and taken to a camp that could have doubled for the one in the movie "The Parent Trap". It was tucked in at the base of a small canyon and a little stream ran right through the middle of camp.

(Sorry about the low budget pictures, I took them all with my iPhone.)

I stayed in the little cabin below with 9 other ladies, and it felt like we were all 14 again as we rolled out our sleeping bags on the vinyl mattresses of the bunk beds.

Here are a few of my best friends while we were waiting for dinner to be served.  We ate Chicken Cordon Bleu, stuffed turkey breast, Asparagus with sauce, salad, rice pilaf, and rolls.  For dessert we had cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.  Yummy. It was definitely more gourmet than the camp meals I remember eating as a child, and the best part was that I didn't have to cook it!

 Meanwhile, back at home my husband was slapping together barbecued pulled pork sandwiches with chips in between the kids' baseball games.  I think the kids ate junk from the Little League snack Bbar for dessert.

Our retreat was based on a Bible study by Beth Moore called, "Loving Well". The main text we studied was found in 1 John 4:7-21.  In between video sessions, we played games and looked ridiculous.

This particular game involved pantyhose and a tennis ball. The object was to wrap the tennis balls together with a partner, and try to pull the hose off of the other person's head without using your hands.  It was sort of a weird tug of war with pantyhose, but we were laughing so hard that we could hardly play the game!

While all of this nonsense was taking place, I was missing my son's baseball game back home!  He hit two doubles and a triple, knocked in 5 runs, and struck out 3 of the last 4 batters to end the inning, and win the game.  I nearly cried with excitement when I got the text message! I was so sad that I missed it!

It was nearly 11:00pm before we got back to our cabins that night, and we were told to bring a flashlight with us so we could see where we were going.  At home, we normally use headlamps.  When you are irrigating, pulling calves, or looking for something in the dark, it's nice to have your hands free, even though you look slightly ridiculous with a head band on.  However, it's a little tough to talk to people in the dark with a headlamp on because you can see the other person clearly, but the lights completely blind them and they feel like they are being interrogated.  My husband had the headlamps with him in the truck, and I didn't want to look like a nerd, so I splurged and bought myself a new flashlight for the occasion.

I'm in LOVE with this little MAG- LITE.  It's small, light weight, and takes only 3 AAA batteries, but it packs a mighty bright punch! It has a whopping 104 lumens!! That's blindingly bright!  Plus, it's an LED light so the batteries will last twice as long, and it fits in my pocket.  It was expensive, but I returned a faulty garden hose to the local Home Depot in exchange for it. It outshines every flashlight in the house, with the exception of our spotlight that we affectionately call the "Cyclops". 

Anyway, I digress.  On Saturday, we woke up and had another full day of Bible Studies, food, skits, and hiking.  I would stop and pray often for my poor husband who was alone with our three busy kids. They all had little league pictures that day, which meant that their hair had to be done nicely, and their uniforms had to be cleaned from the game the night before.

My husband does not do hair very well...especially little girl hair.

I was nervous.

I didn't want my pretty little girls to look like boys with their hair pulled back into a ponytail with a ball cap on, but my husband doesn't know the first thing about curls or alternate hairstyles.  He barely knows how to do the pony tail.

I prayed hard.

I get the feeling that things were a bit rough.  My husband kept saying that it was REALLY windy, and my girls said that Daddy did their hair weird, and my husband's coaching buddies were giving him "tips" on doing girl hair.  That doesn't sound very promising.  The proof will be in the pictures, and I won't have them back for another month.  I hope they look better than everyone makes them out to be.

My poor, poor husband... abandoned by his wife during his time of need.

I got home on Saturday evening, and I could tell that he was glad to have me back.  Sometimes moms are just better at juggling things when it comes to the kids...especially when the kids have to look "ready for their close- up". Ha Ha!   It feels nice to be needed. I had a relaxing retreat, and enjoyed fellowship with many of my dear friends, but I missed my family a ton! It felt good to be home again.  I have such a sweet husband, and I'm thankful that he told me to go and have a good time while he took care of things at home.

Now that I'm back, it's time to start crossing some of those chores off of my list.

Hope you have a great Monday!