Family · Home · On The Ranch · pregnancy · Wacey

Lately

Last week I had my 36 week ultrasound, after which my doctor informed me that there’s very little chance I’ll make it to my due date, and even though I never though I would, it sort of set off a freak-out in my brain. Combine that with an unplanned day of working cows, and the blog took, like, tenth priority. Totally not fair, but all is sort of fair in love and impending childbirth, right?

So here’s the haps. We’re still calving! It’s still going well, we haven’t had any more twins, and there are about sixty cows left!new-calf

The weather’s been gorgeous, but we did get snow last week and have some more coming this week–it’s actually good since it’s been so dry. Our morning stroller trips to the calving barn are one of the best parts of the day!
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Aaaaand speaking of strollers…we found ours!! YAY! I’m SO excited. Like, unreasonably excited. We even came in under budget! #momlife
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And speaking of #momlife, our pregnant mare (on the left) is fat fat. I mean, all the horses are currently fat fat, but she’s taking pregnancy to a whole new level. Get it, girl.
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Last week, our favorite vet came down with some students in hopes that we’d have some things for them to look at as a practical lesson. Lo and behold, the day before they arrived, we had a calf break a femur! Not good, of course, but the good doctor and his students set the bone and put on a fancy splint in hopes that the calf (now named Forrest Gump, don’t judge) will make a recovery. It’s hard to fix broken limbs in calves, especially when they’re high up like this one, but we’re hopeful!
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Here’s Forrest with his fancy cast–it’s made of rebar and gauze and bandages and Frozen (yes, Frozen) duct tape, and it’s pretty amazing. Also he’s still a little sedated in this picture, hence the cloudy eyes. Bert brought his mom in so he gets plenty to eat and we’re hoping for 4-6 weeks with the cast on. So far, he seems to be doing okay!
broken-legThe vet and the students treated some sick calves, set another (less severe) broken leg, fixed a cow who wouldn’t clean (she calved but not all the afterbirth would come out), and pulled a calf. So, lots of “fun” vet stuff!

Our surprise cow working day on Friday was PAP testing heifers, which is one of my favorite things because I just love the vet that does it (the same vet that fixed up Forrest), and it’s so interesting! This vet PAP-ed our bulls in Montana so we’ve known him for years, and it’s so fun when he comes around. Plus, we do love our barn days! Bert’s in between AI groups on cows, so he took Wacey for the afternoon. It was so weird and yet exciting (and relaxing?) to be able to just work and not get snacks/milk/toys/etc.
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My outfit was on fleek, too. Belly shirts (crop tops?) are in, right? Also, apparently I have the lovely pregnancy skin pigmentation that I didn’t know about until…just now.
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Our local elk herd (on the hill in the middle of the picture) paid us a visit, too.
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There’s a rule that you can’t sit down while you’re working cows, but I violated it pretty flagrantly. Ah, well.
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THIS would be why. OH MY GOSH this is completely ridiculous. Like, what?!? I have SO MUCH ENERGY but I have to sit down because this is what happens if I don’t. By far my least favorite pregnancy symptom to date.

(I posted this picture on Insta and got some concerned texts from friends and family, thank you for worrying about me! My doctor’s seen the monster ankles, and since my blood pressure is low, and I don’t have any other high blood pressure symptoms, she’s not worried. And I have an appointment tomorrow. The good Lord just wants me to wear my new mocs a lot!)
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Also very much on the agenda: baby survival meal prep. Yesterday was breading chicken parm and chicken cutlets, making lots of sauces and marinades and packets of fajita seasoning, and thawing a billion pounds of beef and sausage. Today or tomorrow, some of that seasoning and all of that meat will be made into meatballs and fajitas, and sliced up for beef and snow peas. If Bub stays put (the theme of our lives right now), I’ll write a more detailed post later this week!

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Last week’s ultrasound was so hilarious! We didn’t get a ton of good pictures because he accidentally hit himself in the face and made himself mad, but it was so neat to watch him move and feel it at the same time. Also, totally got the bison swaddle set and I’m in love. I do like the Aden + Anais swaddles, but man alive these ones are delicious. They’re Little Unicorn brand, and are bigger and softer and thicker than the A+As, and the three-packs are a great deal! Girl mamas: their floral swaddles are so beautiful. I
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So there it is. Bert’s calving, I’m trying to get everything done for the baby’s arrival and finish up projects at work, Wacey’s being adorable and also two, and we’re all waiting on Baby Brother. It’s weird to be in the final “any time now” weeks because I want another two months to do everything, and I also want the baby to be born tomorrow. Give me a few more days to finish meal prepping and clean our bathrooms, though, and I’ll be firmly entrenched in the latter camp. Bert thinks March 9 will be the day, I think it will be the following weekend because it’s a full moon, and I had Wace on a full moon weekend. Wace still thinks a “brother” is a belly button, so I don’t think he gets to put in his vote quite yet!

Happy Monday, happy almost March (can you believe it’s almost March?!?) and thanks for bearing with me. I want so badly to be a regular blogger, and I’m truly working on it, but it’s hard to suppress my slightly obsessive have-to-get-everything-done-before-the-baby-comes tendencies that have been surfacing for the past six weeks!

Family · Friday Favorites · Home · pregnancy

Ranch Baby Gear

As we’re preparing for Little Brother’s (increasingly) imminent arrival I’ve been looking at baby gear because I can’t help myself, and because there always seems to be something new and snazzy. I have a lot of tried-and-true things that would be staples no matter where we lived, but that’s not the case for everything. I keep finding that so many of the new “cool” things are not quite for us, either because it’s not our style, or more often because there’s no way it’s going to hold up or be very functional where we live.

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To wear:
Like every other mom ever, I’m all about Sleep N Play footies (especially for the first month or two–that’s all Wace wore–with zippers preferably, snaps are hard while sleep-deprived!), and Carter’s onesies. I like Carter’s stuff for babes because it fits well, and holds up to a thousand washes,and you can find solid colors without something stupid on the front.

Another essential? Muslin swaddles. We have a bunch of Aden + Anais ones, but I would still love some more that fit our style just a little better, like this horse swaddle, or the bison one I can’t stop thinking about! They’re great as a light blanket, a nursing cover, or as a carseat/stroller cover when, say, you’re at a rodeo in the day and the sun is blinding. Again, they also wash well!

Since ranch babies can’t always stay inside even when the weather sucks, it’s so important to me to find things to keep our boys warm if we all need to be at the barn. I love the sack version of the Carhartt coveralls, and this George hat is great–so soft, and fits a little baby head perfectly.

For bigger babies on up, it’s all button-downs and jeans over here, and I love that most brands have matching shirts in both toddler and infant sizes. Jeans are essential even before the kids walk because sweatpants stain and get holes in them much too easily around here! I like button-downs because you can layer them over a t-shirt to deal with changing temperatures (and they’re adorable), although I don’t dress my babies in collared shirts much before they’re a little bigger, because bibs+collared shirts result in weird situations! For jeans, we like Oshkosh the best so far, and we’ve also had good success with Wrangler.

The bull wubbanub is our fave. Wacey’s had two (maybe three?) and we’ve never lost one! They’ve just become casualties of puppies and rough treatment, haha.

For Feeding:
Feeding our kiddos needs to be portable. With Wacey, I didn’t make nearly enough milk and he was all formula-fed by four months. I’ll try nursing again this time (I got a Medela Pump In Style since I hated my Ameda pump), but if it doesn’t work, we’ve got the formula system down! The formula dispenser keeps pre-measured amounts of powdered formula in a no-spill, easy-to-dispense canister, and this water bottle keeps water hot for like, days. We bring a bottle of hot water, and a bottle of cold, and mix it to the right temperature. Toting water is necessary because often our drive is long, or wherever we’re headed (like a rodeo) may not have easily accessible, drinkable, or warm water, so we bring our own!

For the nursery:
We keep the nursery stuff simple, but there’s a couple of things I have come to love. A sound machine is clutch, and comes in handy every day, and when traveling. I love One & Done wipes because they’re literally a miracle–they don’t dissolve when scrubbing hineys or faces, and something in them is like, the best on-the-go stain remover.

Since we’re outside so much, I slather everyone in sunscreen (don’t worry, I wait until the baby is old enough), and I like this one for the littles (the bigs sometimes use it, too!). I like that it doesn’t have a ton of junk in it, and goes on a little white so I can make sure I applied it everywhere. I actually preferred Honest Company’s, but with the debacle a couple of years ago with people discovering that their kids were getting burned while wearing it, I don’t use it anymore. I’m sure they’ve fixed the problem, but it’s lame that it happened and we live at a higher altitude, so I don’t take chances.

I’m sure you’ve heard me wax poetic about Tubby Todd–their All-Over Ointment is the only lotion that works for Wacey, and I just stocked up on shampoo and lotion for Little Brother. This baby fresh spray, though not as used as our other TT stuff, is so great for tiny babies and I still have a bottle from when I used it with Wacey. To me, newborns smell delicious, but their clothes smell like sour milk, I smell like sour milk, the carseat, blankets, etc., smell like sour milk, and after awhile I feel like we all just stink, especially if we’ve had a full day in the sun and are all packed into the truck for a long ride home. Enter this spray, which *doesn’t* smell like sour milk. It smells like heaven, and makes us all seem a little fresher.

For Mama: 
This isn’t exclusive of ranching families, but I find it to be especially true in their (our) situation: you need to carry the baby, but have both of your hands free. Whether this is because you’re at the barn, or a branding, or a bull sale, or because you’re fixing dinner for the crew, or because you have a wild toddler about to fall in a huge pile of cow poop, carrying babies hands-free is necessary. For this, as you know, I am a devotee of the Solly Wrap and the Ergo 360. Both are easy to use, wash up well, and work amazingly. I’ve considered the Ergo Performance with the mesh inserts since the 360 can get hot, but we’ll see how into being worn Bub is.

Again, also not exclusive of ranching families, but definitely something to consider, especially with more than one baby: a huge diaper bag. Whenever we go anywhere, I don’t always have the option of easily running back to the car for a change of clothes/more diapers/snacks, so I bring everything with. This can be a mess, and can be a pain. Enter the Lily Jade Meggan bag. It’s the biggest one, and converts to backpack carry which is so, so necessary. Better yet, it’s beautiful and durable (cloth diaper bags do not hold up well around here–I have a beautiful Vera Bradley but I don’t want to destroy it further so I keep it in the car), and fits and organizes so many things.

Strollers. Why is it so hard to find the right one?! This is where the “cool things that don’t apply to us” happens the most, because I see all these beautiful strollers that convert from a bassinet to a seat, or have the option of adding another seat, or have leather handle grips, etc–and they all have teeny tiny wheels or fussy fabric. So, my solution is that we basically only use a jogging stroller, plus I need one since I walk so much. With Wacey, I use a Jeep single that I love, but as soon as you get into the realm of doubles, everything changes. I have my heart set on a (used) double Bob (Revolution Flex) because: lots of reasons. Big tires. Made for rugged situations like dirt roads, rodeos, barnyards, and maneuvering at the mall at Christmas. Independent canopies that extend extra far, so that each kid can choose how much sun they get, or none at all. Swivel/lock front wheel, because the ones that don’t swivel are a nightmare unless you’re an actual long-distance runner (I am not) and only use your stroller for that. Attachments for everything, including carseat adapters, snack trays, and extra drink holders for up top. In addition, there’s the one-hand maneuvering, an adjustable handlebar, huge underneath storage, and durable material. Plus it fits through doorways.

Basically my stroller unicorn, especially if I find one under my $300 budget. We’re going used because I can’t stomach spending two car payments on a stroller, and there seems to be a decent availability on Craigslist. When and if I find this unicorn I will shout it from the rooftops!

Other things we love: big minky blankets because they’re soft and warm, and thick enough that you can spread them on grass and not get poked. An angel friend of ours made one for Wace, and sent one for Bub and one for me a couple weeks ago and of course I cried when I opened the box. A cute ranchy option here! We use an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper as our bassinet (another great thing to Craigslist), partially because it’s portable, and I’ve already posted the bibs I bought for Bub. We also have a Boon Lawn that we love, and with Wacey we used Dr. Brown’s bottles.

Whether you’re in town or not, though, there are so many options these days to fit both your style and be functional for babies. I am so grateful that we have more options than primary colors and things covered in bunnies for my babes, especially when I can integrate my own style into the things we use most. It honestly makes me feel more like a human when I’m not surrounded by not-too-baby-looking baby things, although we have our fair share of those things, too. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a few pretty things, especially as a boy mama.

Happy Friday! My littlest bub is kicking the snot out of my side and my biggest bub is hollering at me from his crib, so that’s my cue!

 

 

On The Ranch · Wacey

Baby Calves

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Yesterday after we got back from the office, Wace and I took the stroller down to the barn to soak up all 65 degrees of the gorgeous afternoon and, of course, to go see daddy. We came home and stopped at the pivot behind the house to check out our baby calves! These mamas are a little protective, so I brought my bigger lens (and Gaucho) because they don’t always especially appreciate company, especially company in the form of an oddly-shaped lady and a tiny human.

There are about a hundred pairs (mamas + babies) out here right now, and other than a couple sick ones that Bert has been tending to, they’re all doing really well! I’m glad it’s been warm because although calves do just fine in the cold and snow, it’s nice to see them play in the sun.

One thing that cracks me up about baby calves is how silly they are. They run and play and jump and chase each other, and it’s hilarious, especially when they’re just learning how. During the day, everyone tends to spread out and play and lay in the sun, but as the evening comes on, the calves start to retreat to the tall grass. I also love the “it takes a village” mindset of the cows–often, you’ll see one or a few cows hanging out with a bunch of babies while their mamas graze or go to water. I hope they switch it up, or that the nursery cows like to mind all those crazy little bovines. Every now and then, you’ll see a calf that’s just had enough and needs to find mama now, and he’ll go trotting out into the pivot, bawling like he’s on fire, until his mama takes pity on him and comes to the rescue. The calves still get all their nutrition from milk, but some are starting to pretend graze, and it’s so funny to see them acting like big cows. They’re just like human toddlers– they can’t wait to be big. They’re also very dramatic, very hungry, and very much in love with their mamas, and like to throw fits.

We also spotted the geldings from way out–Bert hasn’t been riding as much, and the horses have been getting a break since their only job right now is to eat, which means we hardly see them. They’re going to be fat fat fat when it’s time to start spring work in the next month or two!

While I was taking pictures (I was using my 120mm lens which I kind of really suck with, so I was concentrating pretty hard), I heard all this giggling, and I look over and see this:

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I mean seriously. And Gaucho didn’t even care! What a silly situation; I about died laughing. If this is how the rest of my life is going to be with being a boy mama, oh my gosh bring it on because it’s so much fun! Although I so hope the boys refrain from sitting on Gaucho as they get older.

Wace has been telling me for the last ten minutes that a) the trash is gross and b) “Boxboxboxboxboxboxboxbox hathathathathathat” which means that there are coffee grounds in the trash can and it’s time for us to go get a hat on (he has to wear a hat outside) and go play in his sandbox.

May your Thursday be lovely, may your coffee be strong, may your Valentine’s treats still be in existence, and may you get a chance to be one of the free-grazing mamas at some point today!