Library Trips

One of our very favorite activities is attending our small town library’s storytime.  Henley and I have been going to storytime since she was 13 months old.  We’ve become one of the regular “mommy and me” couples, and have passed the bring-your-toddler-to-storytime-or-pull-your-eyelashes-out-with-needle-nose-pliers-since-it’s-basically-the-same-amount-of-torture test.  As you can see below, Henley has learned to sit nicely by her friends and actually listen to the story.

She can also check out our books all by herself.  She pushes the heavy book bag over the counter, scoots a chair over, and hangs over counter to chat with the librarian as she scans the books.  It almost makes me a little sad to see how grown up my first-born is; then I am dragged back to reality by my second-born who is now capable and oh so willing to pull every single book off the shelves and drool on each one.  Each stage is fun, and I tend towards looking forward to each new one and the progress of the child rather than bemoan the fact that they can’t stay little forever.  Sure the little stage is fun and sweet and cute and doesn’t last forever, but the getting older (hahahaha as if three years old is “older”) stages are fun too.  And they open up a whole world of possibilities.  Like passing the torch of checking out the library books.  With each passing day, Henley is taking over more and more tasks for me.  Pretty soon I’ll be able to lay in bed all day, reading and napping while she runs the household…



Not likely, but it is nice to daydream about sleeping (haha).


Family Pictures

We took family pictures right before driving over to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a very foggy morning, cold, and clammy, but I think our photos turned out very well.  I am so in love with this family of mine.

Here is my big “number three helper.”  I tell her every day that she is my number one helper and she quickly corrects me, “I’m three!  I’m your number three helper!”  She is such a joy and challenge to have in my life.

Can I take a moment and give a shout out to her amazing, curly hair!  It is so beautiful, wild, and fun, just like her whole being.

Here is our best attempt at a family picture.  Babies and cameras have a love/hate relationship.

Me and Mr. Rancher.  I love this guy.  He makes my whole life better, busy, and beautiful.

Heehee.  If this isn’t the best picture EVER to describe my two girls, then I don’t know what is.  Becca is less than impressed with the camera-toting-mama trying to get her to smile.  Henley is a little ham as always.

Ah, there it is!  The most two most beautiful girls!

On to our little squirt.  This girl has been such a fun, challenging, and sweet baby to have in our home.  I smile as I write this, thinking back to the days when she couldn’t move from the location she was placed…oh the ease of caring for a baby that can’t crawl into mischief!

Me and my girls.  I’m the luckiest wifey/mama on the planet.  Even amidst the day-to-day struggles that come from this wonderful existence here on earth, there is so much joy and beauty in my life.  Though I tend towards despair and stress over the little things, when I step back and really take a good look at my life, I realize that I am so very blessed.

I came across a very refreshing and reassuring scripture yesterday, during one of my frequent “freak-out” moments, I would like to share it with you:

“And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled.  And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.” 1 Nephi 17:3

Oh how true this rings in my life.  I often feel like this journey to building a ranch from the ground up is a “sojourn in the wilderness.”  But when I really look at the journey, I can see that the Lord has indeed nourished, strengthened, and provided means for me personally, for my marriage, for Mr. Rancher, and for my family.  I’ve made a pact with myself and my hubby to make gratitude more of a conscious effort each day.  I would encourage each of you to do the same, the benefits are so worth it!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Christmas Letter 2017

I just found this little gem in my drafts box……So here is our 2017 Christmas letter….brought to you at the timely time of March 7.  I chuckled reading through this again, some of the facts have changed already!  For example, Henley is back to taking daily naps, Becca now weighs 20 lbs, and Becca can now crawl anywhere and everywhere!

I was inspired by my older sister who posted both her Christmas card and family letter to Facebook this year, due to the craziness and busyness of the season.  I’ve never done Christmas card or letters but decided to give it a whirl on my blogging platform.  Thanks for reading!

Ty rang in the New Year with load after load of hay hauled from Weiser to Fruitland, Idaho.  Thanks to the many feet of snow we were cursed blessed with last year each time he drove into a stack yard he had to put chains on the semi to avoid getting stuck.  Putting chains on and taking them off several times a day in -14 degree weather is something he hopes to never do again.  Once Ty made it through the freezing winter weather, he acquired two new farms which brought our farming operation to nearly 1,200 acres in size.  Add to that 150 cows and a 500 acre custom operation and you can begin to glimpse just how busy Ty has been this year.  He is leasing a brand new John Deere tractor and is in love with all the features and luxuries it offers. He continues to enjoy farming, ranching, and everything that comes with it.  He is excited for 2018 and the chance to improve and expand the farm/ranch even more.  He also enjoys cooking anything over an open fire or on a wood stove and is the designated steak- master.  He loves teasing his three girls and taking us on adventures.

I started working on a Master’s degree from Arizona State University in Family and Human Development in January.  I have enjoyed and detested the program at varying times throughout the year.  Homework during the summer is a real buzz kill.  Henley and I spent the first six-and-a-half months of the year preparing for a new baby and soaking up plenty of mommy-and-me time as well.  I bought a paddle board this year and am excited for summer 2018 when I can use it without a pregnant belly.  I have tried to dedicate as much free time as possible to reading this year; some of my favorite books from my 2017 reading include: Hillbilly Elegy, Caddie Woodlawn, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Trumpet of the Swan.  I love taking a walk every Sunday morning, completely by myself and spending the rest of my week with my family.  I have tried to integrate more service into my daily routine with the girls and love seeing Henley become more aware of the needs around us.

Henley is the same as ever, full of energy!  She is quite the helper, teaser, boss-er, and question-er.  She is beginning to write her letters and string them together to form words.  She loves to read to her dollies and to listen to books I read aloud.  She absolutely adores her baby sister and tells us daily that “Becca is fabulous!”  Henley turned three on November 28 and is determined to act older now.  She no longer naps and is learning to ride her new bike with actual pedals.  She has quite the imagination and loves telling us stories with made-up characters.  She also loves to swing and would spend all day every day on our new swingset if possible.  She continues to hate wearing pants and can often be found outside in a shirt, undies, and mud boots just talking to the guys.  She loves helping me in the kitchen and is perfecting the art of cracking eggs.  We love her precocious and vivacious spirit and pray daily for the strength to parent her.

Becca was born on July 17, 2017.  She has been such a joy to have in our family.  Her birth was smooth and uncomplicated, for which we are very grateful.  We still can’t believe she just had to be born in the very middle of the summer in the very middle of our 5-times expansion of the farm, but are grateful she made it here and is happy and healthy.  She is a big girl, weighing in at nearly 17 lbs and 27 in tall.  She thinks her big sister Henley is hilarious and will smile or laugh at everything Henley does.  Becca is a water baby and demands a bath every night.  She loves her daddy and is always excited when he comes home.  She is a great sleeper…except when she is sick.  She can roll over in both directions and uses her feet to scoot herself.  She sits up in her high chair and is trying very hard to like food.  She loves to nurse and absolutely refuses to take a bottle.  She also loves to blow raspberries.  We are so grateful for the sweet and happy spirit she is in our home.

As 2017 draws to a close we are filled with gratitude for the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Throughout this difficult and demanding year, we have seen His hand in our lives and felt of His love for us.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  May you all be blessed and watched over as we have been.

Corn Maze with Friends

Sometimes we do fun things.  One of my favorite things about this blog is going back through all the pictures and stories to see that we actually do have good experiences as a family.  It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else seems to be doing, according to their Facebook or Instagram accounts, and feel like we don’t lead very exciting or fulfilling lives.  Even though I know in my head that all of these extra things do not make or break a family, sometimes I have a hard time feeling that truth in my heart.  So I like the visual record of the many fun things we do do 🙂 as a family.

The weekend before Halloween we went with our new friends, the Bergquists to a corn maze and had the funnest time.  I should say new friends to me, Henley, and Becca, Ty and Michael went to high school together and I was so excited to realize that Ty actually likes Michael who just so happens to be married to Casandra with whom I get along quite well.  Another plus, Michael and Casandra have two daughters…who just so happen to be the exact same age as our two daughters…Now when does that happen!?

We’re rebels who picked ears of corn to shell as we walked through the maze…Luckily the owners didn’t kick us out for breaking the rules.

Henley and Lucy, her new friend, had a blast running through the child-sized straw bale maze.

They held hands throughout the whole thing and went through it five times.

Two other fun attractions at the corn maze were a cow-train pulled by a tractor and a zipline.  Henley absolutely lost her marbles over riding on the cow train.  She cried the entire time.  Lucy, on the other hand, loved it and couldn’t wait for another turn.  Henley rode the zipline over and over again, even though it was high and nearly gave me a heart attack to watch her sailing, all by herself, ten feet in the air.  Lucy was all set to go down the zipline but lost her nerve at the last second and had to climb down.  At least each girl found her own favorite activity.

Who Likes a Challenge?

One of my older sisters–I have four older sisters–asked me awhile ago what I like about exercising.  You see, she and I have started our ow mini-accountability group where we cheer each other on regarding our fitness and healthy eating goals, and she actually likes to workout.  I don’t.  I don’t like “the burn.”  I don’t like how long it takes to get ready after jumping around and sweating for half an hour.  I don’t like wheezing for air when the cardio gets intense.  I don’t like waking up the next day with sore muscles.

As I explained all these reasons to my sister she was so utterly befuddled by my angst towards exercise.  “But don’t you feel so accomplished after you’ve completed a hard workout??”  Nope, I feel sweaty and gross.  “But don’t you like the feeling of getting stronger?”  Nope, I feel sore muscles.  “Well…I’m not sure what to say to help motivate you then!”  Sorry, I workout because I know it’s good for my body, not because I enjoy it.

Fast forward a few days and this same older sister and I are talking about the books we are reading.  I’m currently halfway through The Iliad and actually enjoying it.  My sister was again befuddled by me.  Yes, The Iliad is a very difficult book to read, and a bit confusing.  It’s taken me three weeks to read 150 pages.  Despite having to re-read many, many passages and my very slow progress in this book, I am loving the experience!  I feel so accomplished and like I’m really stretching my mental capabilities.

So there you have it.  I’m a certified nerd.  I get a sense of accomplishment and pride from reading classic literature not from working out and physical fitness.  But hey, at least I’m working out, right?

Outdoor Stove

My husband never stops surprising me with his ideas.  He watched a video recently of a family in Ireland that built an outdoor stove out of an old metal barrel and used it to cook pizzas.  While most people would watch a video like that and think “oh, cool” Ty thinks “I can do that, and I can do it better.”

Official photographers of this endeavor.  Please don’t look too close at my nose.  I’ve had a cold and now that it’s gone I have a cold sore.  Cold sores hurt but almost worse than that, they look awful.  You just looked at my nose, didn’t you?

Here they are digging the hole for the stove.  The idea is to place the stove into a hillside, shore up the sides with rocks, and cover with dirt.  This insulates the stove and allows it to trap enough heat to bake something like a pizza.


Here the are moving out the concrete slab which makes the base of the stove.



Getting the stove into position before covering it with rocks and dirt.IMG_0565

Brief interruption for a picture of these cute girls!  Henley loved wearing a hat just like Aunt Lexcie who she loves.  Like absolutely adores.  Like she cries whenever she has to leave Lexcie.


The final step of shoveling the dirt!  All we need now is to test it out!


Trip to Hell’s Canyon

Mr. Rancher, the Little Miss, and I took a drive up to see Brownlee, Oxbow and Hell’s Canyon dams.  The three dams are place along about 40 miles of the Snake River.  We packed a lunch, my camera, Ty’s binoculars, and Henley’s baby and drove two-ish hours to Hell’s Canyon, which is the furthest from our house.  Henley did not cooperate with our plan to have her sleep the whole way to the dam and woke up just before Brownlee with another hour to go.  She was a grumpy bear the rest of the trip.  We never got my camera or Ty’s binoculars out as we were busy wrangling a tantrum-throwing, fearless toddler away from the river.  That child has no fear!


Don’t be fooled by the cute pictures (taken with my phone rather than my nice camera I hauled up there.)  Her little arms aren’t around my neck in a hug, they are reaching for my ponytail to give it a nice yank.


Ty is so fun.  He helped Henley touch the water over and over again to keep her happy.


After an hour of exploring and eating lunch, well, Ty and I ate lunch, Henley just threw her food on the ground, we loaded back into the car and drove home.  Wouldn’t you know Henley slept the whole way home?IMG_0402

C-sections and Little Bulls

Just when I think I’ve mastered the art of being a rancher’s wife, some heifer needs a medical procedure of sorts and I have to help.

Last week, Ty noticed one of our first-calf heifers off her feed and decided to bring her in to her own pen where we could monitor her more closely.  The vet told Ty on the phone that her lack of appetite could be from any number of things including the discomfort of pregnancy.  We like our local vets, but this advice was less than helpful.  After a few days the heifer started eating again and seemed to be doing well.  Until yesterday.

Mr. Rancher and Tanner noticed she was laying down when they went to feed yesterday morning, and she didn’t get up to eat or drink.  They kept an eye on her all day but she still wouldn’t move even with the help of a cow-hip-lifter-thingy.  Ty called me to fill me in on her condition and asked for my opinion of what we should do.  I love that even though he is well aware of my pitiful knowledge of livestock, he still asks for advice concerning the ranch.  I told him to do whatever he thinks is best and that I was sorry she wasn’t doing better.  Another example of less than helpful advice.  Mr. Rancher called me back a little later to explain our two options.  Option one: we wait for her to die on her own and lose both the heifer and her calf.  Option two: we put her down ourselves, deliver the calf c-section, and possibly save the calf.  Both options were equally discouraging and frustrating.  Ty decided to give her a little more time before doing anything drastic.

When we made it out to feed today, she was still down and her eyes were starting to sink back into her head.  Ty told me we needed to put her out of her misery and try to get her calf out alive.  I had an appointment with a friend for a Mary Kay consultation (Yay!) but promised to help with the surgery when I got back.  We finished feeding, I went and played with make-up while Ty took Henley home for a snack and a nap, and we left the heifer with food and water nearby just in case, by some miracle, she picked back up.

A couple hours later, after dropping Henley off with Aunt Lexcie, we made it back to our troublesome heifer.  She still hadn’t touched her feed or water and was starting to cough faint, death-is-near coughs.  We made the tough and repulsive decision to shoot her and deliver her calf c-section.  Ty got the chains ready to pull the calf, pulled out his knife and checked to make sure it was sharp, and I walked away and covered my ears.

After the shot was fired, Ty went into super-speed to get the calf out as soon as possible.  I stood close by, ready to grab the knife or pull a leg or put the chains on.  Several eternal minutes later we had the slimy calf out of its dead mother and were shaking it, wildly and upside down trying to get it breathing.  We managed to get the chain around its hind legs hoisted onto the tractor forks which made our shaking efforts a bit easier.  Once we had the calf breathing we grabbed some towels and went to work drying it off.  The little bull calf was still struggling to really get breathing on his own so Mr. Rancher gave him mouth-to-mouth.  Watching my husband make the split-second decision to go mouth-to-mouth with a newborn calf without any amount of hesitation or disgust showed me just how committed and passionate he is about caring for our livestock.

Once little bull was dry, we loaded him in the pick-up and drove home.  We set up a cardboard box, lined with old carpet, in our mud room.  Little bull is sleeping there tonight.  He drank some colostrum Lexcie saved from her dairy cows last year and his breathing has steadied from this afternoon.  It’ll be a miracle if he survives but we are hopeful.

Mr. Bo is utterly offended and disgusted that a calf has taken over his room of the house.  Henley likes peeking over the edge of the box to look at the “moo.”  I’m tired and a little bit emotional about what I witnessed today.  Mr. Rancher is very practical about the whole thing and goes to the mud room every so often to rub little bull’s head and tell him how important it is that he lives.

Some of you reading may wonder why we didn’t just take the heifer in to the vet and have the calf surgically birthed with the mother still living.  Quite simply, she most likely would’ve died anyway.  Even with the expertise and qualifications of the wonderful vets in our area, the heifer had been sick and under stress for several days and going through such a major surgery was not likely to make her better. When you have over a hundred head of cattle, you learn to do things yourself and you learn to make tough decisions on the fly.  I can’t believe it but today I assisted in a bovine Cesarean-section!

Not on my bucket list, but definitely an experience to remember.




Mouse in the House

There’s a mouse in my house!  Lot’s of mice actually.  So far, I’ve caught two of the little nasty buggers.  It has been tricky finding places for all the traps what with the little Miss crawling and toddling all over the place.  I’m desperate to catch the creatures as they’ve found their way into my kitchen, my pantry, my towels, and I’m sure many other places yet to be discovered.  Mr. Rancher washed out our cattle trailer while I scrubbed down the pantry shelves yesterday.  Who do you think had the nastier job?

Books and Pictures

Henley loves this book!  It could be the bright colors and easy-turn pages that draw her attention, but I think it’s the noise she likes the best.  Each page has a flap to turn and when said flap is turned an animal trumpets, roars, or otherwise makes noise.  She looooooooves it!  IMG_2892

And I love taking pictures of her reading.  I am so determined to have nerdy-book-loving children and I want photographic evidence of the journey.


On an average day, we read our noisy animal book four times.  Maybe even five times.  Who’s counting?

Well, technically I am.  I love reading to my baby.  I don’t love squawking like a parrot four or five times a day.