Morning Cuddles

My girls love their morning cuddles.  Henley now pushes me aside to be the first one into Becca’s room in the morning.  She scrambles over the crib-side and snuggles in right next to Becca.  I have a nest built out of rolled up flannel blankets that keep Miss Becca cozy and secure during the night, Henley decided that this nest is not acceptable while she is trying to spend time with her sister.  Every morning she throws out the rolled blankets, unwraps Becca from her swaddle, and places her arm tenderly over Becca’s chest.

“Good morning, Becca.  How are you today? Did you have good dreams?  I’m so excited to see you this morning.  What are you telling me?  Is it hard to wake up?”

I don’t have any pictures (or video) of the girls in the crib, just these of them in my bed.  I love, love, love that they love each other.  I love listening to Henley talk to Becca and seeing Becca watch her sister’s every move.  I’m convinced these two are going to be best friends some day.

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Halloween 2017

Halloween was super fun this year.  We got loads of candy, had fun dressing up as pumpkins, and had ourselves quite the scare by a headless horseman at one of our stops.

Henley had a hard time settling down after seeing the headless horseman…he’s been instructed to dress up as Hey-hey or Olaf next year.

As usual (at least usual for last year and this year) Ty wasn’t home to go trick-or-treating with us.  Last year he was hunting, this year he was picking up a load of seed in Utah.

We took all these pictures to flood his phone so he wouldn’t feel left out.

I sure do love these little pumpkins of mine.

Becca especially liked our stop at Nannie and Papa’s house.  She talked with Nannie and smiled at her and Papa the whole night.

She and Papa have a special connection.  Papa cried for the first year of his life and Becca cried for the first three months of hers.  Now she is a smiley and very happy baby and I think Papa is much happier too!

 

Life at My House

Look what I found in my bed.

Two pajama-clad bundles of cuteness!  They love snuggling in mine or Henley’s bed for the first few minutes of every day.

Below, this is not where I left my baby.  And Henley was with me so I know she didn’t move her.  I’d also like to note that this picture was taken several weeks ago (as are all of these photos) and she can now scoot and wiggle even farther away from where she is placed by an adult.  We have a mover on our hands and we’re not sure if we’re prepared for that yet.

We bought new couches a while ago, Becca christened them by taking a sweet power nap,  totally unexpectedly while Henley and I were reading right next to her.  I’ve been much more structured with Becca’s sleep schedule than Henley’s (perhaps that is why Henley is such a horrid sleeper? I realize now that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing when Henley was a baby!) and she really doesn’t do power or sporadic naps like this.  Everyone needs a good nap on the couch every once in a while I guess!

As shocked as I was by Becca’s impromptu nap, I was even more aghast at this!

I’m happy to report that the thumb-sucking was short-lived and she is back to preferring her binky to her fingers.  I realize the binky habit is hard to break to, but at least the binky can be cut or thrown away (obviously unlike her thumb) if we get desperate.

Along with our new couches, Henley got some new clothes including this Elsa nightgown.  Need I say that she loves it?  Also, she loves the live action Beauty and the Beast.  As do I.  We may or may not have watched it every day for seven days straight and also listened to the soundtrack in the car for those same seven days…Henley has taken to singing “Madame Gaston, can’t you just see it?  Madame Gaston, his little wife. UGH!” with a towel on her head that she whips off just like Belle.

 

Finally, this girl still loves her baths.  She and Henley get one every, single night regardless of how late we may get home from a party.  Henley will go to bed fine without a bath but Becca will not.  I tried just putting her to bed one night when we got home late from a church meeting and she woke up an hour later completely distraught.  I finally put her in the tub and she settle right down for a nice splash then went peacefully back to sleep in a clean diaper and jammies like she hadn’t just screamed for 45 minutes straight.

I don’t know if all children are this way, but mine are opinionated and obstinate and have wills of iron.

That’s funny…I think I’ve said the same thing about their father…

Days with Daddy

Ty is a wonderful father.  Last week Henley and I were having a rough, rough, rough day with each other.  She was mad at me, I was mad at her and we were both sleep deprived basket cases.  I finally got her settled for a nap and decided to take on myself.  Ty came home just as we were both waking up and heard all about our disaster of a morning.  He offered to take Henley with him.  I think we both said “Yes, please!” before he’d even finished making the offer.

He whisked Henley away to the Weiser River place where the two of them drove this monstrous articulating dump truck, filled with rock to a wash out along the river.  The snow and flooding earlier this year washed out a portion of a road on our place and Keith, the manager of the hunting-side of the Weiser River place is working to fix the road.  Ty offered to drive the dump truck and Henley got to ride along.  It wasn’t too long before Ty called saying Henley was sick and tired of driving the truck back and forth and could I please come pick her up.

The rest of the week, Henley accompanied Ty to work almost every day.  She had so much fun working with Ty and actually worked all day with him without getting crabby or complaining.

This convoy you see below is what it took to move our grain drill to a very secluded field near Paddock Resevoir, about 30 miles outside of Weiser.  It took five vehicles to move the drill, the tractors, and the seed to the new location.  I actually got to tag along on this expedition and even got to drive our brand new tractor by myself for the first time this year.  All that tractor lacks is a heated seat.

 

See how much she loves being outside? Or being with her dad? Or helping on the farm?

This is Samantha.  She’s a weaned bottle-baby who is still very tame and willing to let little cowgirls pet her.

Days with Daddy are the best days.

Beautiful Becca

Hello there!  I have so many pictures and stories to share, and so little free time to blog.  Add a temperamental laptop to that mixture and it takes forever to actually post anything!

I took these pictures of Miss Becca about a month ago and just love every single one of them.

She’s been spending most of her waking moments on her tummy lately, thanks to her little head developing a flat spot.  We’ve been to a cranial specialist and he thinks her head will round out on its own, with our help in positioning her off the flatness.  We’re so thankful Becca does not need a helmet, at least as of now.

Extra bonus: she is getting very strong.  She can scoot forwards, backwards, roll-over from tummy to back, almost roll-over back to tummy, and turn in a full circle.  This week she has really started to push herself up onto her hands…she’ll probably be crawling by Christmas!

She loves, loves, loves this afghan for tummy time.  The yarn is soft and there are lots of holes and popcorn puff stitches that make it a textile dream for little fingers.

Her little face just kills me.  It’s all just right there around her pointy, little nose.  She looks just like her daddy.

And her furrowed brow.

And her little tongue.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Obviously, I’m a bit obsessed with her cuteness.  My favorite new development is that Becca laughs whenever Henley tickles her or “scares” her.  It is the cutest thing in the world to see Henley working so hard to get her baby sister to laugh and also to hear the baby giggles coming from Becca.

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks dealing with various sicknesses.  Becca had a double ear infection which meant waking every 45 to 90 minutes all day and night long…which nearly killed her mother.  Once we beat that–thanks to antibiotics–we were dealing with reflux and upset tummy issues since all the awesome probiotics we had worked so hard to get into Becca early on were killed during the antibiotic treatment.  We had just started working the probiotics again when we caught a nasty stomach bug.  Henley was taken down first and was up all Tuesday night throwing up every hour or so.  I got it next and was up all Wednesday night and most of Thursday morning puking my guts out.  Becca started throwing up–much more than normal baby spit up–around noon Thursday.  Ty never got it, lucky guy.  We’ve been healthy all this week, minus some mildly runny noses, and are so very grateful.

I am finally getting more sleep, thanks to Becca sleeping better.  Henley also went through a rough patch sleep-wise.  I think her imagination is really taking off and her upset stomach didn’t help matters either.  She was waking up super early and having trouble going to bed thanks to nightmares.  Hopefully we get at least a few weeks of night time peace so we can all get caught up on sleep.

And hopefully no more puking.  It’s so awful and smells nasty and creates literal mountains of laundry.  Plus, we have too much going on to be sick!  Thanksgiving is next week and Henley’s birthday is the week after.  We’re praying to stay healthy and being grateful that we are healthy most of the time.  I feel so sorry for those who deal with chronic illness.  It truly is the most awful thing to be sick.

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.

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.

Bath Time

Becca loves her baths.  She will sit in the water for a full twenty minutes without one squawk of protest.   

I think these pictures really show how chubby she is getting.

You can see her double chin, neck roll, the start of her shoulder roll, and the bicep roll she’s just starting to get.  If we had pulled the towel up you could also see the three almost four rolls cascading down her chunky thighs.

We barely made it through one box of newborn diapers and I don’t think we’ll make it through the two boxes of size 1 diapers we bought.  She fits into her 0-3 month clothes, but just barely.  I’m going to have to go shopping for clothes and bigger diapers for this chunky monkey of mine.

True to his ranching profession and the county-fair-time of year, Mr. Rancher tells me daily that we should enter me in a dairy competition for quantity and fat-quality of milk.  You can’t possibly imagine what a treat pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation are when one is married to a rancher (or I suppose a dairy farmer).

Becca Lynne Hawkins

I am so excited to introduce the newest member of my perfect little family to you all, welcoming Miss Becca Lynne Hawkins!

Becca was born on July 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM.  That’s right, her birthday is 7/17/17.  Same backwards and forwards.  I had an OB appointment scheduled for that day at 10:40 AM too, she’s a prompt little girl.

After going through a C-section with Henley, I was in no hurry to repeat the process, if there was no medical reason for it, and am happy to report that Becca was born via a very smooth and uncomplicated VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  Labor started around midnight Sunday night.  We stayed home until 3:30 or so, waiting to see if it was indeed real labor.  Having never felt labor or even a contraction with Henley, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was labor or just incredible pain due to something else.  Part of my confusion stemmed from the fact that every contraction was focused in my back rather than across my bulging belly.  When we made it to the hospital we found out that Becca was facing up which was causing back labor (which is way more painful and intense than regular labor…three nurses and various other moms agree with me on this point!).  Once we were in the car I realized that no matter what sound I made or how loud I was, the contractions were going to hurt, I went completely silent.  Ty had the audacity to ask me if labor had stopped and if we should head for home.  I told him to stop asking stupid questions and to drive faster.

My water broke on the way to the hospital and the contractions continued to be fairly regular and intense.  I couldn’t believe we had to determine whether or not I was really in labor before I could be admitted to the hospital.  Obviously I was in labor!  As soon as the nurse gave her stamp of approval I was admitted and an anesthesiologist called to give me an epidural.  Having an epidural placed, which requires complete immobility by the patient, was excruciating but the pain-relief was so wonderful once the medication started to flow.  We spent the next couple hours with my leg hoisted over an exercise ball in an attempt to get Becca to flip around.  At 9:30 I was fully dilated and we started pushing.  She did turn and my epidural did work so we had a relatively easy hour of pushing every couple minutes and then our baby girl made her way into the world, screaming her little lungs out.

While my recovery from her birth has been monumentally easier than my recovery from Henley’s, the transition to having two children rather than one has kicked my butt.  Hence, we’re almost a month into this adventure and I’m just now finding time and energy to write about it.

Henley has been the best helper.  She loves Becca and is very protective of her.  She doesn’t like other people to hold her baby and is quick to find a binky for Becca if she starts to cry.

Overall, Becca has been a great baby.  She does, of course, wake up every couple hours at night to nurse, but she’s pretty consistent with her bedtime, wake times, and nap times which makes life so much easier for me.  Thankfully she has slowed down on her eating, for the first two weeks we were nursing almost every hour for about 30 min.  That’s right, nurse for 30 min. off for 30 min. and repeat.

I feel like this picture really sums up how hard it is to accommodate a new person into the family…

She loves tummy time.  And she can roll over.  At two weeks she showed us that she can roll from her tummy to her back.  As much as I’d like to say this makes me happy and proud, it really doesn’t.  I wouldn’t mind having at least one child who is lower-energy or lower-mobility, but I seem doomed to have high-energy, early-developing little people.

Becca’s four-week check-up was on Monday.  She weighs 11 lbs. 2 oz. and is 22 in. long.  In case you aren’t a new mom and don’t have a good grasp of babies weight gains, she has gained a ton of weight since birth!  She dropped to 7 lbs. 14 oz. several days after birth but since then, she has been gaining a pound a week or about 2.3 oz. a day.  That’s a lot.  She is a great eater!

We love both our girls!  Henley loves being a big sister.  Becca really loves her mama, though she is starting to like big sister and daddy more too.  We’re adjusting to being a family of four and slowly coming back into a sense of normalcy around our house.

Summer Happenings

Summer has always been a busy time for the Hawkins family, but this summer has been especially hectic and full.  Obviously an active two-year-old, cows, a dog (who is temporarily crippled, more on that in another post), and a very pregnant wife/mother adds up to a busy household and lots of responsibilities, but that’s not all we’ve had going on.  You see, this year we have had the truly wonderful and incredible opportunity to increase our farming operation big time.  Like quadrupled, maybe quintupled the amount of acreage we farm.  In one year.  That means a quintupled amount of work for Mr. Rancher.  More ground working, more planting, more irrigating, more hauling, more marketing, more invoicing, more bill paying, more bank meeting, more away-from-home-and-family being, and more not-sleeping.  Henley and I have been on our own for most of the summer, and if we did want to see Ty we hauled lunch or dinner to the fields and drove the tractor while he ate.  So while we are all thrilled to have more ground and this chance to really grow our business, it has been a hard summer.

Ty being gone so much has really been tricky with the Little Miss.  We’ve had to get creative about family time and I’ve been solely responsible for caring for her.  Poor kid has been stuck with a largely pregnant mother all summer!  Even so, we have carved out a little time to have fun and make more memories this year than just working around the clock.

Here Henley is in her favorite dress, all ready to go to church.  She felt so fancy in her new shoes, poofy dress, and pigtails.

The Budweiser Clydesdale horses stopped over for a break in my hometown this summer and we got to see them!  They are huge horses and very friendly.  Henley wasn’t too sure about petting this guy at first.  I think something about his monstrous size put her off.

Okay…bragging moment right here.  Here I am 37 weeks pregnant and surfing on the Fourth of July.  If I’m being honest, I only managed to stay up for a few seconds but I did get up!

Mr. Rancher actually made it to the boating party–yay!–and totally rocked surfing.  And don’t even ask about the hat.  He has a weird compulsion that makes him wear it, all the stinkin’ time.

Miss Henley had a blast with her cousins, grandparents, and aunts and uncles.  Her she is chumming with my big sister Ruth.  I love this picture.

We have a very trendy (it’s funny to me that stock tank swimming pools are a trendy thing) swimming pool made from a leaky stock tank that we have patched up and added a filter to that we spend every afternoon in.  It’s been a life saver for me and Henley loves to play in the water.  If I could only keep the dirty cowdogs from jumping in every time they walk by it might stay clean a bit longer.

Muffins!  We’ve made so many batches of muffins and thrown basically all of them in the freezer for when Baby gets here.  Henley is a champ at using this old-fashioned egg beater to mix all the ingredients.  She is my helper–and she has gained enough coordination and focus that she really is helpful around the house.  From making muffins to sorting laundry, she helps me get everything done around here.

Another freezer item: homemade burritos.  Henley’s contribution to this project was eating half the grated cheese while I filled and rolled the burritos.  She’s a cheese monster too.

I sent this picture to Mr. Rancher partially to make him hurry home for dinner and partially to brag on my cooking skills.  Trust me, dinner does not always look or taste this yummy.

Thanks to all the snow and rain this year, the mosquitoes are horrible.  Wretched.  Awful.  They don’t care if you have insect repellent on every inch of your exposed skin.  They will bite through clothes and spray.  Since we have animals and plants and just the basic need to be outside every day, we improvised mosquito-wear from loose button-down shirts–thank you Mr. Rancher–and long pants.  Thankfully, our landlord came and fogged our yard last night and it seems to have cut the numbers down, at least for a little while.

Finally, I bought a paddle board!  I have wanted one for years and found a great deal on Craigslist so I went for it.  I am super proud to report that I can do it, even pregnant, and am actually kind of good at it.  Mr. Rancher prefers rafting.  He doesn’t do so well with balancing…but don’t tell him I said that!  Henley is great about riding with me, though she is still mad about the one time I fell off and left her alone on the board.  Even Bo has ridden on the board with me, though he really gets nervous the further we paddled from the shore.

All in all our summer has been a busy but beautiful one.  We’re all working hard to keep things going at home and on the farm/ranch.  Now if I could just have this baby, that’d be great.  I’m tired of not being able to reach my toes and being a human heater.  Henley is excited to meet her baby sister and has been practicing her baby-care for weeks now.  Ty is so over having a pregnant wife who is cranky a lot of the time (hey, it’s hot, okay? Cut me a break!) and the six pillows it takes me to be any sort of comfortable at night.

Hope you all are having a good summer!