Cabin Fever

Anyone else suffering from cabin fever???  We’ve got a bad case of it over here.  The depressing thing is that thus far this winter we have had gorgeous weather.  We’re just coming out of a week with 50-60* temperatures!  And now the wind is blowing.  Like really blowing.  Try thinking of things to keep a three-year-old entertained after a week of playing outside all day long.  Nothing we could do inside would even compare to the theme park our yard has morphed into.  When the wind finally stops blowing I’ll take some pictures for ya.

The other day we were reading stories in the brief period after naps but before normal playing has resumed, and I thought “there are basically no pictures of me and my girls, I should take a selfie with them.”  And this is what happened.




Henley takes a bit longer to wake up and rejoin the world of lively, happy creatures than Becca does.

Miss Becca, always the Bo-lover, has learned a new trick.


The little stinker would belly-flop and “cheese” as soon as she spied me trying to get a picture of her awesome planks.

“Just chillin’, mom.”

“Oh, me?! Yes, I am the cutest baby ever!”

“Nope, I wasn’t just talking to my dog.”

“Listen, tiny human.  You must engage the core muscles.  Yes, engage the core muscles then push your tail bone to the sky.  Again!”

We went swimming at Zim’s hotsprings and had the BEST TIME EVER!  We love swimming in the middle of winter and playing basketball while in the pool.

And planking again.

Can you see her blurry curly-Q?  Henley simply can’t resist tugging on her hair every time she walks by.

Henley has taken to watching whatever hunting or cowboy-cooking show Ty is watching as a mechanism of avoiding bedtime for another ten or twenty minutes.  I think it’s the Daddy-snuggles she likes the best.

Here are the three 2017 babies.  Mercifully, there isn’t quite such a size disparity anymore.  Cousin Sarah is catching up in weight and Cousin Embree is catching up in height.  Obviously Becca is still the biggest, but she no longer looks like a giant-baby compared to her cousins.

I laugh whenever people tell me these two look “just alike.”  Baby Henley and Baby Becca may look pretty similar, but the three-year-old Henley and Baby Becca not so much.


And to wrap it all up, look at these curls!

I just stumbled upon the “Curly Girl Method” and am happy to report our success and relief at finding this info.  Seriously, if you have curly or wavy hair or a child that does, check it out.  It will blow your mind and totally change the way you think of curly hair.

Happy Valentine’s week, try not to get blown away in the gale-force winds!


December and January…

Ahhhhhh the sweetness of the holidays.  They’re full of family, driving, delicious food, and short on sleeping, cleaning, rest, and boredom.  Then January rolls in and the daily grind picks back up even more intensely than before.  In my household this is due to the resuming of graduate work, tax preparation, budgeting, and meetings with bankers, landlords, and accountants.

Here’s a look inside the window of our life.

Bo is the best dog.  The best dog ever.  Both Henley and Becca pull on him, squeal high-pitched squeals which certainly can’t feel good to his ears, and generally make themselves a nuisance to him.  But he bears it all with unfailing good humor and love.  Becca followed Bo all around the room, tugging on him anywhere she could reach.  He eventually just laid down and placed his head onto her belly.  I think he was hoping to keep her in one place and was resigned to his fate of being used as pull-squish-chew-kick-slap-squeal-ride-toy.

Here he is again, playing the pillow for Miss Henley.  Working on Daddy’s schedule must be hard for a cow-dog as well as a cowgirl.

Here is Henley modeling some of her birthday and Christmas presents.  Uncle Tanner got the hat and stick horse for her and Aunt Lexcie got her the cow jammies.  She loves this horse.  And she loves her rocking horses.  And she loves her stuffed horses.  And she loves her real horses.  Horses of all kinds!

And little sister has to have a go with the stick horse.  Becca thinks her ears and mane are the best thing to chew on and run through her fingers.

Somehow I missed sharing this picture months ago, but this is how much of our days were spent during the October and November months.  Becca’s head was developing a flat spot from always sleeping in the same position.  The cranial specialist told us that her flattening would repair itself with more time spent off the back of her head.  So I became the tummy-time drill sergeant.  Henley was my happy helper.  I am amazed each day at how much Henley has fallen in love with her baby sister.  Not once in the busyness and stress of adding another member to our family has she disliked or complained about having her sister.  She may fight against me, or whine to Ty, but she doesn’t place any blame on her baby.  I’m so very grateful for her bond and attachment to Becca.  And for Becca’s attachment to her.

Along with her sister-ing skills, Henley has discovered a new talent…

Don’t ask me how she does it, I’ve tried and can’t do it.  She’s got a special talent!

I’ve made time to make homemade bread several times this last month, and that means making time to grind cups and cups of whole wheat flour.  Henley usually helps me with this job but she was helping feed cows so Becca had to step up.  The ear muffs are for muting the high-pitched whine of our wheat mill.  She didn’t mind them for about fifteen minutes, then she was done, done, done.

Oh these dresses!  My mom bought these as Christmas gifts for my girls and they are adorable!  I can’t tell you the number of people who commented on how cute they were for three Sundays in a row.

This misshapen doll was a project my mom and Henley undertook together.  I do believe I cut out the pattern when I was nine or ten.  My cutting skills obviously needed some improvement.

Here’s Miss Becca in her jammies from Aunt Lexcie.  The jams remind me of the long red underwear worn by the characters in old Western films.  Straight outta Mama’s saloon, drunk on milk!

Oh boy.  When big sister is away, little sister will play!  Henley bought this princess castle off of Craigslist with some of her Christmas money.  She is pretty good about sharing with Becca, but doesn’t usually let her have free reign with the entire castle like this.

We had a fun day of sorting, counting, and more sorting of our calves a couple weeks ago.  Becca and I stood outside the pens counting everything as it ran through the chute.

Henley used her sorting stick to help push the calves through the chute.  She had her first experience of being yelled at by the boss (aka her daddy) and the hired hand (aka her uncle Trayce).  Both times she was left in a puddle of tears because she “knows what she’s doing!” and she “did it like that last time!”  I had to reassure her that Daddy does really want her help while also teaching the lesson that when it comes to working cows, Dad’s instructions are the law and are to be obeyed when he says and how he says.  She pulled herself together and rejoined the work with a little more respect for what Ty instructed her to do.

Here we see the daily phenomenon of “Disneyland Dad” making his way into the house after a long day of work.  I spend all day, every day with my girls and make every effort to create enjoyable, educational, loving, and secure lives for them.  But the second Mr. Rancher walks through that door, it’s as if I don’t exist.  He strolls in, throws the baby around for a few minutes, lets the pre-schooler ride on his leg around the living room, and in less that ten minutes he’s like Santa Claus.  Moms just can’t compete with the roughhousing fun dads so naturally bring to the household.

Literally can’t compete, my 19 pound baby is hard to throw around very much.  I use up all my strength just toting her around the house and dancing “my sillies out” with the three year old.  Thank goodness for Daddies.

We’ve been practicing letters and rudimentary spelling for several months now, and just bought a magnet board to make use of our fun magnetic letters and numbers.  Becca even joined the fun, she made quick work of scraping all the letters from the board and onto the floor.  Babies are just so tidy and neat, aren’t they?

Henley was aghast at first, then she plopped herself down and proceeded with “this is A, this is H, this is Q, this is W…” as she replaced the letters.

*Ahem* there is a serious aversion to pants plaguing our house.  It’s been going on for about a year now.  I’m not sure what to do about it.  For now, I’m content to keep it contained to my house so long as it doesn’t spread to public places.

And look what we have here!  Another mischievous baby rolled and scooted right over to her dog.  Bo knows he’s been caught playing with the baby again.

As always, we’re a very blessed bunch.  We hope the same for all of you!

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.

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…


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.


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).