Friday, May 29, 2015


Carter // 4 - He was on a mission to catch a butterfly.  It didn't happen.
Peter // 3 - Waiting on everyone to catch up in order to go feed the dogs.

John Paul // 2 - He was trying to help Carter spot a butterfly, but I think he might have been too loud.

Sophie // 11 months - Well, she's found her new favorite food.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


This little face.  Sometimes I think the kids notice when I'm not on top of my game and secretly plan to test me more.  I have at least one who does, but I'm beginning to think all four do.

Life has been crazy.  I've made it that way.  It's a busy season on the ranch, but I've also been busy with photography (and trying to learn more programs to get better at photography), keeping kids alive, waiting for my sister to have her baby (she did!), and looking at a summer filled with "stuff" while trying not to have a panic attack.

And...well, this little one inside is sucking the life out of me.  In a good, good way.

I haven't been blogging.  I've barely been gramming.  And, I'm lucky if I get a weekly photo taken of the kids these days.

My meal planning has gone out the window.  I have a call-back list a mile long (yet I cannot seem to find an extra five minutes to even pick up the phone - and honestly, when I do have an extra five, I can't imagine picking up the phone).  And, I've lost every ounce of patience that had slowly built up inside.

Life is good.  Yet, I'm in a slump.  90% of me thinks this will get better once I cross over into the glorious 2nd trimester.  But that 10% is afraid it won't.

I don't do it all by any means, but sometimes I just have those moments/days/weeks where it seems like I just barely get by.

I feel like the blog hasn't been well planned or very thought-provoking.  I haven't kept up with any of the blogs/friends I typically do.  I feel like we've lived on sandwiches and pizza for weeks.  And, my kids might tell you that I've "lost it" more than I care to admit.

I know things will get better.  I know that I naturally put too much pressure on myself...even for the tiniest of things.

But there you have it :)  Why I haven't been blogging...why it may continue this way for a bit.  I'm not sad.  I'm not even crying out for help.  Just letting you in on the crazy and looking forward to regaining composure.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Our Beautiful Spring

It's been raining so much here lately!  It's truly been the best Spring (in terms of moisture) that I've ever seen.   There were moments a few years ago that I never thought we would see the day.  I mean, really, you always know/hope it will turn around, but the scary part of it all is not knowing exactly when.  Will it be before or after you've sold everything?  I don't know if you remember this post I wrote awhile back - things looked grim.

A few evenings ago, the boys came running in to say I needed a picture of the Rabbit Ear mountains. Here is what they saw...
It was the cloud passing over the mountain that intrigued them.  What I saw was the green pasture.

God has truly blessed us...with moisture and so much else.  We've had to postpone brandings because it's been too wet, and that never happens.

And, it's lifted the spirits of the community...and our little family.

When we were out there, Carter wanted me to take a few shots of him running.

And, a close-up of John Paul just reminded me I didn't wipe his face after dinner.

(Peter was changing out of wet clothes, so he missed the photos).

We're on track for a great year ahead for the land and the animals...and ultimately for those whose livelihood depends upon both.  Thank you, God.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Carter // 4 - We had some "learning" time this week, and I set out different things for each child. Carter did really well with writing his "As" - we just need to work on holding the pen.
Peter // 3 - Peter got to use the scissors, and he's trying to learn to follow the black line.  However, I think it's more fun to just cut the paper into a million shreds.
John Paul // 2 - He was supposed to color.  Instead he just pouted that he didn't get the scissors.
Sophie // 11 months - She really just wanted to snack.   

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sleep: How It Works Here

A lot of people ask me "how we do it" in terms of parenting soon-to-be five children ages five and under.  Many people do it.  And, most do it well!  I'm sure it is a combination of things that varies from person to person. 

I've often said that I am blessed to be able to stay home with the kids, and there are days that I don't have to leave our home, and for me, that makes things easier.

I also have the most supportive and helpful husband you can imagine.  He helps in all areas, so that kind of teamwork also adds to the big picture of raising these little ones with out losing our minds or one of them.

I have great support from my nearby family as well.  

All of that said, I think one of the biggest factors in being able to do this (at least for me!) is sleep.  

I know it's a controversial subject these days in parenting circles.  But, honestly, what isn't?  With that said, if you co-sleep, wear your baby, rock them to sleep, etc, that's fine.  It just isn't the way we've chosen to do things, and I can only talk to what has worked for us, so here goes.

We are huge proponents of Babywise and Healthly Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  We have used the methods on all of our children, and all of them have given us a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep at night from the beginning and have reached a 12 hour stretch by 3-4 months.  With this kind of sleep, they've been very happy babies...thus we've been very happy parents!  Seriously, knowing that our children are getting ample rest, and allowing us to refuel as well has made a huge difference in our physical and emotional health as a family.

The premise of the method is that the children learn to self-sooth with a basic schedule of wake, eat, play and sleep on repeat throughout the day.  I don't rock or nurse my babies to sleep.  I swaddle them and give them a pacifier if they need it.  I don't feed my babies on demand.  They are on a schedule (but sometimes that schedule changes!).  And, yes, it allows us the opportunity to be flexible when necessary.  But, it also adds one more element of routine in our lives, and they've all thrived on it.  

Do they occasionally wake up at night?  Sure.  Do they sometimes cry (as babies) for a couple of minutes when I put them down?  Of course!  But, I can tell when they're tired and have confidence in knowing at particular times, they're only fussy because they need more rest.

And, I still get ample opportunity to cuddle them and love them throughout the day!

It's worked for us...and it allows my husband and I time to ourselves and the energy to keep up with these little ones.  Plus, we have well-rested, happy kiddos, and that's worth it all.

How do you make life work with young kids?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

19/52: Last Possible Minute

I'm getting this post up at the last possible minute for the week.  Surprise, surprise.

Carter // 4 - He was looking for pretty rocks outside at sunset.
Peter // 3 - His clothes had gotten wet, so they were immediately taken off. 
John Paul // 2 - trying to catch a butterfly.  Hasn't happened yet.  

 Sophie // 11 months - getting ready for Mass with some sore little gums.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Thanks, Aunt Sarah

If you come to our house in the near future (who am I kidding, it will probably look like this for months), you might be a bit turned off by the sidewalk art turned paint-the-house art.  Last week it was chalk.  This week, it was paint from Aunt Sarah.  No washes off.  BUT, I haven't tried to wash it off yet.  Not because it's extremely beautiful, but because I'm lazy.  

And, more than likely, it will happen again as soon as it gets washed.
It's one of those things I could easily put a stop to.  More often than not, I find myself cringing at the messes made, but I've decided that since it does wash off, they can paint their hearts out, as long as they are outside!  Because...they love it!

And, if some unapproving guest pops by, then, well, they'll just have to not approve.
I'll clean it up later :)  I've already tackled all the knobs they turned with paint-filled hands as they were looking for me inside.  Oops!
Honestly, they're just ready for summer and days spent outside in the water.
Until then, you can find them decorating the house in their undies!

Monday, May 11, 2015

It's Branding Season...Again

It's time for the annual branding post.  If you pay attention to nothing else, take a look at the difference in the land in just a year.  I wrote about last year's branding here, and it's quite the contrast.  Thank you, Jesus, for the rain!

The boys got up bright and early and finished their breakfast quickly in order to be ready when the "workers" came back with the cattle.  Carter couldn't stop looking out the back door hoping to see them.  
John Paul was on his fence perch hoping to be the first to catch a glimpse.

Here they came...

And, all of the cows and calves were pinned and ready to be sorted.

The boys helped Elley get all of the medicine prepped.

And, the cows watched from the other side of the fence as the festivities began.

Peter told Papa, "Good luck!"

And, John Paul decided to try what was in an old syringe.  That didn't go over well.
Uncle Chase was first up on the horse, with the job of "dragging" the baby calves to the crew who would brand, vaccinate, ear mark and cut them (if said calf was a bull and we didn't want to keep him a bull).

The men flanked the calves while Jeremy ear marked and cut them.

Then Elley finished up with the brand.  There isn't anyone who brands as well as she does!

Giving his horse a rest.
Meanwhile, the boys took a little break to go play in the water tank.

And, Papa took the lead in dragging.

The boys remained on the back of the pick-up watching all of the action.
 And, Sophie made it out for the last half.

Toward the end, Carter asked if he could try to brand one, so Elley showed him how.

He was one proud little boy.

He even asked if I would help him with one more, so I did.
And, a final look at exactly how she does it...

As any momma does, they were watching their babies intently.

But, all was well, and they're now ready to finish growing until they're weaned this fall!

Then it was time for some fresh cookies back at the house after the hard work was done  - maybe the boys' favorite part!