Working Cows with Pre-schooler and Baby

I can’t believe this happened with baby #2!

Henley did this as a baby…

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at right about the same age too.  Something about that playmat I guess.

Back to present day, Becca was just so tired she had to snag a nap right before we piled in the car to go help Ty give our calves their second round of vaccinations last Saturday.  Henley rode with Grandma Hawkins to help gather the cattle while Becca and I walked around.  Miss Henley decided that cutting cows was too jolt-y and joined us for our walk.  We visited the pack goats that live at our new corrals (well the new-to-us-old-corrals that are on the new place we rent along the Weiser River) and climbed over every single fence on the place.  Henley is big enough to climb over the fence all by herself, as she repeatedly told me when I offered my hand.

She also learned how to do this…

go through the gate…

push it closed…

and latch the chain!  Never forget to close the gate!  I am surprised daily at how grown up and responsible my Little Miss is becoming.  I notice her development even more now that I have the fairly helpless comparison of Miss Becca.  It is so nice that Henley can do more and more for herself without my help and she is so engaging to talk or play with.  On the other hand though, she is getting to be a little sassypants too.  That is definitely one perk of the tiny baby stage, they are generally sweet little things.

Becca hung out in our Lillebaby carrier (the best thing ever!) all day, except when she needed to eat, and loved it.  This is the only way I can convince her to snuggle with me.  Thanks to our baby-wearing success, I was able to help give the vaccinations by filling the shot guns and mixing the vaccine.  Henley was eager to help give shots as she is now “big enough” at least by her standards.

After all the calves had their shots and had been returned to the pasture, I decided to test the abilities of my Lillebaby to the max and got on a horse.  I’m happy to report that it worked beautifully and really was comfortable for me and Becca.

We are trying to find some free time in the next two weeks to go riding as a family.  I’m a little surprised at how much I liked riding, even for ten minutes, with Becca.  It is so important to me that my kids see me doing things, especially ranch things, that are maybe not the most convenient or easiest things.  I want them to remember their mom being part of the ranch and for them to be part of the ranch from a young age.  For women who grew up riding horses or working cows this may not be as much of an intentional decision as it has been with me.  Since I am still a fairly novice rider myself, and not the most comfortable around cows, it definitely takes effort and a steeled commitment to leave my comfort-zone and let my children take part in this lifestyle and join in myself.  I can honestly say that over the past four years I’ve come to love this way of life and I’ve gained a huge sense of accomplishment from Henley’s comfort and love of animals and agriculture.

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Little Cowgirls

Hello there!  I wanted to pop in and share some of my favorite pictures of my girls.  This is Henley circa 6 months old.  She loved this little rocking horse when she was tiny and still loves it now.

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This is Miss Becca at 10 weeks 1 day.  Same outfit as Henley at 6 months.  Sure, the outfit is a bit looser on Becca, but really not much!  She is ginormous!  Don’t get me wrong, I love her and am not at all concerned about her size (if I’m being honest, I am actually proud of it since I am breastfeeding her and man oh man it’s a lot of work so I appreciate seeing it pay off on the scale) I just can’t believe she is so big! Or maybe Henley was so little?  She was always in the 75th or 80th percentile during her first year…Becca is in the 95th for height and weight though.

It looks like she’s ready to jump off the horse and wrestle that steer to the ground!  She’s definitely the right body type to be a bulldogger, or steer wrestler for those of you non-ranch people.  Okay, I’m done with the fat comments.  Promise.

Size aside (hehe) I think I have pretty cute kiddos.  We have been having so much fun lately reading Little House on the Prairie, playing Candyland, having cooing conversations, walking, playing in our tent, and  having tea parties.  I’m trying to get as much uninterrupted and quality play time in the next two weeks before my classes start again.  While I am excited to keep progressing through my masters program, I am freaking out just a bit about making it fit with two kids and housework and marriage and church service and cooking and showering and exercise and friends and family time and mom-time and book-keeping and sleep and sanity.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

P. S. Did you take a close look at the horse?  He has been well loved the past three years.  His diamond is pink rather than white, his mane has been pulled, brushed, and cut, and his halter now has an attached lead-rope courtesy of Miss Henley.  He really is well-loved.

Tummy Time 2.0

My babies are pretty much polar opposites on every count.  Baby Henley loved to be held all the time.  Baby Becca likes to chill on a blanket or in her bouncer chair with you nearby, but doesn’t want to be held constantly.  Baby Henley slept through the night maybe twice before she was a year old.  Baby Becca has slept through the night a couple times and is starting to wake up only once, at about 4 AM to eat then right back to sleep (Hallelujah! And I probably just jinxed that).  Baby Henley was horrible at breastfeeding, Baby Becca has been a champ from day one.  Baby Henley was petite compared to Baby Becca, who is now close to 13.5 pounds.

But one thing these girls agree on is that tummy time is da bomb!

And doesn’t she look cute during her exercise???

The above picture is my favorite of the bunch.  I love the lighting on her face, I love her hair, I love this outfit, and I love, love, love her clenched little fists.

Here is Miss Henley taking pictures with me of her baby sister.  She loves to do what I do and loves Becca.  In fact she might love her a little too much.  We’re really working on gentle touch at our house.  I hope you all enjoy the very real and un-staged background that is my living room right now.  Henley was taking her baby dolls on a camping trip.

Baby feet! Precious =)

Still beautiful, still precious.

Still so serious.  This kid has smiled for me several times and continues to smile at her zebra and elephant daily, but for the most part she is a Serious Sam.  We talk back and forth and she has a content look on her face most of the time now that I’ve ditched chocolate (I was in denial for seven weeks that my beloved treat was causing my baby’s reflux…bad mama over here!) but she just won’t smile very easily.

And here you see how much she hates this Boppy pillow.  I bought one on the advice of a friend who swears that her baby loves this pillow for naps, play, rest, eating, the works.  Yeah, Becca hates it.  In fact, today using it for tummy time is the first time ever that she has laid on it without screaming, as you see pictured below.

Henley, on the other hand, adores this pillow.  She sleeps on it during her “camping” trips, watches movies on it, and reads books to herself on it.  Yet another way my girls are opposites.

Becca’s Blessing

We blessed Becca this past Sunday.  It was a lovely day–before the awful smoke settled in.  Becca wore the same dress and headband that Henley wore for her blessing, only we could barely button the back of her dress.  She is so much chubbier that Henley was!  I don’t know if that’s due to Henley’s heart condition which gave her a slow start or to Becca’s incessant eating.  Maybe a bit of both?  Either way I love her chub!

Side note: I do not like this headband.  But I didn’t realize just how much I hated it until we had taken all of our pre-church pictures.  I think I did the same thing with Henley, put this headband on, decided I didn’t like it, and switched it out.

Becca really didn’t like her poofy dress.  She kept grabbing the material and scrunching her fists and face.  Beauty is pain, little one!

Grandparents from both sides and most of the aunts and uncles came to church with us to be part of the blessing.  It was all fun and games with cousins during sacrament meeting until some cousins brought out a picture book that Henley was convinced belonged to her.  Then the tears and screaming started.  She tantrumed through most of the meeting and Becca proceeded to cry once the meeting was over and we were trying to take pictures.  They are very good at the tag-team crying game, especially at bedtime.

This is my grandma, holding her youngest great-granddaughter.  Any day now there will be another, even younger great-granddaughter snuggle.  We’re all excited for my brother and his wife to welcome their first baby, who is now one day late.

Would you believe that as soon as we took the pretty dress off and traded it for a softer cotton one all the crying stopped?

Little people just don’t understand the importance of smiling for pictures…