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.


Hauling Cows with Two Kids

Hauling with two kids in tow is similar to hauling with one kid in tow.  Except now there are two little people complaining that they are hungry.  Two little people are tired and in need of a nap.  Two little people not wanting to be buckled in their carseats.

I have discovered the real purpose of carseats.  Carseat manufacturers may say that the purpose of a carseat is to keep your child safe while traveling in a car.  This is certainly one benefit, but the true purpose is to keep your child in one place while driving!  To keep them from crawling all over the seats, the controls, the steering wheel, and your lap during your road trip.  All it takes is a couple minutes of hauling in the semi for me to realize just how much I love my kids’ careseats and their restraining mechanisms.

Amid the crying and whining, though, there are sweet moments like this.

I love the sleeper-area of our semi where the girls can play while the cows or hay or whatever is being loaded.  The bed is the perfect place to take a nap, snuggle, change a diaper, feed a baby, read a story, feed a pre-schooler, or play with your little or big sister.

Hauling Hay with One Kid

One of the few jobs I could help with, while pregnant and mothering a vivacious two-and-a-half-year-old was hauling hay out of the field and up to the hay shed.  Hay hauling is pretty low impact so long as you keep a sharp eye out for holes or ditches in which you could sink a tire or two of the semi.  The semi-seats are air ride which makes for fairly smooth work for the driver.  The only thing wrong with the semi is that it is equipped with far too many buttons, knobs, and gadgets that a certain little child simply can’t keep her hands off.

Inevitably, though, hay hauling leads to napping in the sleeper of the semi.  It’s a hot and long job and Miss Henley always succumbs to a nap on the pile of sleeping bags in the back.

I just wish our dog Bo hadn’t also taken a nap on those very same sleeping bags.

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.

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.

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…

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).