Monday, November 16, 2015

45/52: The All-in-One

I'm late in posting this.  Darn it.  And, it's a bit different than the others because, well, I'm lazy and didn't take many photos of the kids last week.  And, as you can see here, I'm also babysitting them with a little movie!  Ha!  Popcorn all around.  Here are the kiddos in one of their last photos as a group of four!

Carter // 5
Sophie // 1
Peter // 4
John Paul // 2

Friday, November 13, 2015

Letting Go

I took this shot at a session last month, testing the light as the sun went down.  Sometimes it takes going back through my camera roll to appreciate the beauty all around me.  This is just down the way from our home, a place where the kids like to wander about, sometimes happening upon a sticker patch (which is a nightmare!) and other times just pretending to be on a great adventure.  The big sticks they find are always the highlight!

I think I will always be one who struggles with letting go.  Especially around the holidays or big life events, or even the busier times on the ranch, I get stressed.  Sometimes I cannot even put my finger on why, but most of it has to do with having things in order.  I don't like it when the beds aren't made.  I don't like to have laundry pile up.  I'm not a fan of the messes, and I can barely stand to have a dish in the sink overnight.  If I'm honest with myself, those feelings keep me from doing better things.  I've found this Fall, especially, as we're testing the homeschooling waters, that too much of that necessity for order at all times (with four teeny ones running around) keeps me from doing the things that need to be done...loving on my kids, actually teaching them things, and really, getting through the tiny amount of homeschooling that one in pre-k requires.  Add to that getting ready for a new baby, and I'm not the most fun person to be around.  I yell at the kids too much.  I get too frustrated when a toy I just put away is back on the floor, and I expect too much out of everyone, myself mainly.

So, I have to learn to let go.  And, not just pretend to let go in hopes that I can stay up late enough to get things how I like them since I've neglected them during the day.  I have to learn to just not put so much value on things that matter much less than being a good mom to my kids.  Because, you know what?  For too long I've attached these things to being a good mom (or wife, or person for that matter), and none of it really matters.  

In the midst of this cyclical realization (it's always the same things that come back to haunt me time and time again), I saw this article on someone's facebook page.  It has reminded me to take into account the daily things we do, and how we do them, and the affect they have on the life we live.  It's these constant tiny actions that make for a much bigger picture.  I don't have to change the world.  I just have to change my days, my decisions, my priorities in the little moments.  

My friends put together an Advent Study.  And, even though holidays can be some of the busiest times, I am going to try this year to celebrate the small things.  I. Need. To. Slow. Down.  Period. That's it.  If that's the only thing I do differently this Advent, it will be a huge step in the right direction.  I want to remember what it's like to be a child this time of year.  And, I want to savor every single moment with these little ones.  Same for you?  Maybe you can get a copy of this study, too, and we'll be in it together!

And, as I strive for this daily change...I will be listening to this!  

Let's let go!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


This week we've spent a lot of time with Daddy, checking the cattle and running errands for work. We also made some soul cakes for All Souls Day (recipe in a post to come).  We've gotten our hospital bags packed, our Christmas shopping started, and we're ready for our newest addition.

Carter // 5 - taking a little break from feeding the horse to have a peanut.

Peter // 4 - helping me mix the dry ingredients for the soul cakes.

John Paul // 2 - mixing the eggs to add to the soul cakes.

Sophie // 1 - helping check our cows right before sunset.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Look at the Cattle Work as of Late

It's Fall.  And Fall means weaning on the ranch.  So, the guys (and my mom!) have been doing a lot of it lately.  I've talked about it before, but it basically entails brining all of our cows and calves into the pens (on varying days), pre-vaccinating them a few weeks before they are weaned, then gathering them back a few weeks later and separating them.  Some calves are immediately shipped to buyers, and others stay on the ranch...those are ones we've decided to keep to use as cows/bulls eventually.  

Luckily, we have a set of pens right outside our back door, so when things are a bit slower, we can go out and watch/help.

Once the calves are separated from their moms, we go through a six week period of watching them very closely...gathering them daily, giving them meds when they get sick, making sure they're eating, basically getting them through the stress of this change.
Some are heifers we purchase from local people that need to be branded (the quick way)...

And, initially we feed them in the pens and slowly train them to come to the truck in the pasture so they can eventually just be turned out on pasture for good.

This particular day, I found the boys gathering up all of the "cake" and taking it to the water tank.  A bit appalled, I asked them what they were doing.  Oh, you know, just making some cereal for the cows.

We've almost reached the end of this busy season...and we'll soon move into one in which we're feeding the cattle every other day with supplemental feed (as the grass will have died in the Winter months).  

It's a time I always look forward in which we have the opportunity to go out and do some of the work as a family when the stars align.  Because I know three little boys...and a girl...who love being with their Daddy!

(side note - I used to get yelled at for climbing on gates...oh the difference in a kid and a grandkid...nothing was said here)

Ahh, another season is in the books.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Anyone Want to Guess?

I've heard it all.  I've heard it's a boy because I'm "carrying high."  I've heard it's a girl because I'm "carrying high."

My pregnancy this time around has been most like Sophie's.  I got sicker, but the sickness ended earlier on.  I've gained more weight.  However, I don't know if the last two are so similar because this one is a little girl OR if it's because as I age and have more babies, my pregnancies are simply changing.

Here's a look at me at around 35/36 weeks with John Paul (a bit hard to see where the bump ends)...
Here I am at 36ish weeks with Sophie...

And, with baby number 5...
So, tell me, what's your guess?  Is it a boy or a girl?

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Little Costume Re-Cap

In the past, I've had a few crying kids on hand at Halloween.  Fun for everyone, right?  Well, this year I decided to try to avoid that and let them pick out their own costumes.  All the boys wanted to be Captain Hook after Peter said that's what he wanted to be.  So, they then asked if Sophie could be Tinkerbell.

If you've read this blog very long, you know I don't sew.  I would love to know how, but I've never taken the time to do it.  And, even if I did know how, knowing myself, I'd probably still order my kids' costumes.  My mom, on the other hand, made the best costumes for us growing up.  We were the three bears once.  Tweety Bird and Sylverster one year.  I even had years when I asked to be something really outlandish and she pulled it off (A can of coke??  A crayon.  Weird, I know).

So, we found some costumes, and for the first time ever, everyone was thrilled to go trick-or-treating. Peter was in character.

Sophie was a little disgusted with them at times, ha!
And, she wanted to do everything by herself...crying as we left every house.
We actually started the festivities for the week at a Church festival.  It was all fun and games until John Paul saw the scary "wolf costumer" (wolf costume).  Needless to say some screaming ensued.

Saturday, we decided to join with a family and make the most of Bigfoot for the community trick-or-treating!

After each home visit, I think the kids tried to consume every piece of candy in their buckets before we knocked on the next door.  To say it was a bit loud/crazy is an understatement!  They kept us laughing for sure.

Our friends' kids were a family from the fifties, and they nailed it!  The boys were trying to crawl over the fence to see if the bush could hold them up.
John Paul was trying to "sword" something.
And, we let them run off a bit of energy everywhere we went, after they asked for home tours almost everywhere (or if the people handed out drinks as well as candy).  Curious kids.
I didn't end up getting a group photo, but these kiddos had the best time being together!  So did the parents!

We ended with an All Saints Day celebration the next day (and as you can probably tell, one little guy did not want to be in this costume).

 I'd have to say it was our best Halloween weekend yet! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

43/52: The Saints

We had a busy week of doctor appointments, fall festivals, trick-or-treating and an All-Saints Day Mass.  For Halloween, we had three Captain Hooks and a Tinkerbell.  For All Saints Day, we had two Saint Francis boys and one Saint Padre Pio (in his younger years).

Here's a look...

Carter // 5 - Saint Francis of Assisi

Peter // 4 - Saint Francis of Assisi who doesn't like dressing up.

John Paul // 2 - Padre Pio showing you his stigmata.

Sophie // 1 - She didn't get to be a saint this year - just had one costume for her...Tinkerbell!