Celebrate · Day in the Life · Family

Photo Every Hour: The Johnstons Go To Town

Y’all, it’s been a hot minute. I’ve acquired some new projects (more soon) and my consistency in scheduling in all areas of my life has really gone to the dogs and if those dogs are anything like my yelping, jumping, cow-chasing pack of pups, it’s not pretty. But, I think we’re getting into a groove a little bit which is exciting, and once I get everything figured out and get the go-ahead to share, I’ll let y’all know what’s going on!

Yesterday, we took the boys to town to kick off Buster’s first birthday week! It’s been a long time since all four of us were in town together–I usually go alone with the boys to run errands during the week–and it was such a great day. And not just because I got fancy coffee and didn’t have to cook a lick unless you count cutting peanut butter sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters as cooking. In which case, hold my beer and call me Emeril. But really my water, because if I drink beer I fall asleep because #babies.

|seven|
Awake. And, I mean, everyone come see how good I look. Let me tell you what–springing forward isn’t my fave; it’s supposed to be light in the morning, after all! But awake, hair still wet from the night before, lookin’ goooood. (Side note: I just learned the trick of letting your hair sit with conditioner on under a shower cap for a bit in the shower, and then twisting it up into a tight Trunchbull knot overnight to dry it in the morning and guys, it has made my life 100 times easier on days that I need to fix my hair which are going to be more frequent soon. All that conditioner soaking in overnight and airdrying a bit cuts down on dryness and frizz and dry time so much. It’s a miracle if your hair, like mine, resembles something closer to Mufasa, the Beast, or a Brillo pad than an actual head of human hair.)

7am
|eight|
We’re all in the car, fixed up and heading into town! It’s 90 miles sooooo basically tiny road trip.8 am
|nine|
Selfie in the Starbucks mirror because it was really busy and I didn’t want to get caught taking selfies and I was too busy inhaling my coffee the moment I got it. Bert got a caramel latte, ps, which makes me giggle to no end since other than his few cl’s a year, he drinks his coffee blacker than tar. Also, the guy who turned him on to caramel lattes is the roughest, toughest, whiskey drinking-est cowboy I know, which makes my heart so darn glad. 9am
|ten|
We went to this cute little park/zoo in Roswell, and the boys loved it. It was almost empty since it was a little chilly by southeastern New Mexico standards, and it was so fun to stroll around with coffee watching Wacey go nuts over the animals and Buster go nuts over Wacey going nuts. It’s not a big zoo, and mostly has native animals like bobcats and owls and pronghorn, but he loved seeing animals up close that he usually only sees running (or flying) away while we’re caking cows or something.
10 am11am1
|eleven|
Another thing at the zoo? My dream pet. Seriously, sign me up for alllll the mini horses. 11am

|twelve|
Time for foooooood. Also known as Buster’s very favorite part of every day. We’ve learned we have to pace him or else he overeats and throws up spectacularly, so we make sure to give him pre-lunch so he doesn’t double-fist real lunch.
1pm
|one|
Food was inhaled and was delicious, although we really miss our favorite Mexican restaurant in Colorado–the irony is rich that we haven’t found anything quite as good 200 miles from actual Mexico.1 pm

|two|
I finally broke down and got a Sam’s membership–I’m sort of a diehard Costco devotee, but there isn’t one near us, and there are certain things that are so much more affordable when they’re bought in massive quantities (hi, 400 pounds of berries) and also make it a little easier to get staples once a month. We tried the online order and pick up, which worked out pretty well, and I’ll definitely use that option again. It was nice to not have to load the boys in the cart and spend an hour or more strolling around (and going way over budget because I buy all.the.things). I ordered mostly fresh stuff this time–chicken tenderloins, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, frozen fruit for smoothies, yogurt, pesto because my basil plant died, lunch meat, and six loaves of bread because my children are obsessed with peanut butter sandwiches.

We also made a stop to one of my very favorite places (Tractor Supply) because when ranchers go to the Big City they can’t stop at just one place. We grabbed dog food for our canine gang, buckets for the boys’ Easter baskets because I haven’t met a basket that isn’t destroyed or at least maimed in under ten minutes by my tiny frat bros, and a visit to the very best clearance aisle I’ve ever seen. I snagged matching jammies, a little birthday present for Buster, and got started on Christmas because when in Rome, buy Christmas gifts when they’re on massive sale  (if you know the Tractor Mac books, I found a big, all-metal model red Mac-y Farmall tractor on sale for $15 haaaaay and had to stop myself from buying all three that they had plus a giant combine but we’re not farmers soooo…)
2pm|three|
I have no picture of three because we were just driving home, again, so just picture the first car selfie but with two sleeping babes in the back and two worn out parents in the front. If we won the Powerball you’d better bet we’d hire a driver. Or a helicopter. Both. We’d get both.

|four|
Home again home again. The boys did their thing while I cleaned out the fridge (ew) and put up groceries and Bert fed horses and dogs. I’ll tell you what, we’re in a sweet spot where both boys can play together or separately for short spaces of time, and it’s a gamechanger. For awhile, it felt like I couldn’t do anything around the house when both boys were awake. It’s so fun to see what they like to do–Wacey bounces around, but Buster’s favorite place is the mudroom where all of the bigger trucks are.4pm 24pm

|five|
More Sunday evening shenanigans! And if you’re wondering why Wace is sitting on our dining room table playing with his train, it’s not because we’ve now reached that level of Country where we’re into feet on the table, but because Buster is a very efficient destroyer of train tracks and so we have to prevent him King Kong-ing his big brother’s trains for obvious reasons.5pm5pm 11
|six|
Informal dinner. We usually all sit down at the dining room table and have dinner at the same time, but that obvs didn’t happen (#keepinitreal). The boys were a little cranky from the weird schedule (check out the bags under Buster’s eyes), and Bert and I were both still full of deee-licious Mexican, so we turned on Lonesome Dove and let the boys eat whenever.6pm 16pm 2.
|seven|
Buster went to bed at 6:45 or so, and Wace and I went to read books not long after. Once the boys were both in bed and settled, I made a smoothie, Bert made a sandwich, and we sat down for some good old Netflix.
7pm 17pm 2
|eight|
Netflixing and working on some horse registrations for a client. We know how to party.8pm

|nine|
A book and bed. Town days always wipe us out!9pm

 

 

Day in the Life · On The Ranch

Day in the Life: Branding Calves

morning5:30 am Buster and I wake up for the day! Usually we get up a little later, or go back to sleep after I feed him, but since we needed to be up and at ’em, I decided we may as well get up. And no, nothing’s on fire–the nightlight is, apparently, oddly orange.

buster morning6:00 am after Buster eats and gets a diaper change, he comes downstairs with me while I pump and do a little work (my current location!). He lays on a blanket and squeals and snarfs while I get a little work done or check social media.

buster carseat
7:15 am both boys are up and dressed and their mama is up and dressed, which means that surely somewhere a pig is flying around. Wacey is itching to get going since he’s been excited to brand calves since yesterday, and the car is loaded with everything we need to occupy a two-year-old and take care of a baby while we’re branding, which amounts to lots of snacks and toys, pumped milk, formula, and multiple changes of clothes. I used to think it would be a snap to go to work when I didn’t have to get up super early to catch and saddle a horse and go out and gather cattle, but boy was a wrong. It takes us twice as long to get out of the house, I swear. I retrospect, being in charge of just myself and a horse was lovely–I can grab a granola bar and be good for a long time, and I’m fully potty-trained. Horses handily eat wherever they end up, and pee on the go. I mean, babies do too, but horses don’t require you to change a diaper or run up to you with a stinkbomb in their jeans for you to change.

diaper bag
car selfie7:20 am We’re off! We have car breakfast on mornings where we need to be somewhere early–milk and cereal bars for Wacey, milk and BelVita biscuits, cereal, or a protein bar for me. This morning we’re so early that we decide to head into town (close to the set of pens we’re using to brand that day) to get donuts for the crew and a coffee for me!

pumping8:30 am I’m not sure what was in the water yesterday, but we were early to everything! So, while the guys finished penning the cattle and sorting the calves, I used my handy dandy car adapter to pump again.

pumping view
donuts8:45 am Time for breakfast! Wacey is a donut fiend, and I mean for reals, so this had to happen before anything else. He eats while I get my things in order, feed Buster, and put him in the wrap.

buster wrap
wacey watching ropers
9:00 am Branding is in full swing and our biggest little cowboy is making sure everyone is getting their work done. He’s a great supervisor because he doesn’t mind if you take snack breaks, so long as you share with him.

bert roping10:30 am Watching Bert rope calves is our favorite.

hello cows11:00 am We’re still going strong, but Wacey’s attention and good mood is starting to flag since he woke up earlier than usual. He decides to pay the cows a visit and see what’s happenin’.

truck bath11:30 am Law and order has broken down, Wacey’s attention is officially off the branding proceedings, and he has decided that his pickup needs a wash. I have decided to pray that he doesn’t get something gross from the inevitable slurp of water tank water.

way home
12:30 Branding is over, clothes are changed, Buster is fed, we’re only wearing half an acre’s worth of dirt on our faces, and we are getting the heck outta Dodge. Usually we stay and have lunch with the crew, but my spidey senses are tingling and telling me that a meltdown is imminent–it’s about to be past Wacey’s usual naptime, and he’s t.i.r.e.d, and pretty darn hungry, but not in a way that would be conducive to sitting in a diner. Plus, the rain was about to roll in. I, of course, am pumping again at this point, and inhaling a protein bar.

rain
swing1:30 pm After an enormous lunch for Wace, and a little more food for Buster, both boys are down for their naps. Victory! I get to each lunch alone, which is a BFD, and start a load of very dusty wash.

book
2:00 pm It’s time to work! I had 150 calves that were waiting to be entered into the book and database.

coworker2:30 pm Buster’s having a hard time settling down, so I bring him to come and lay near me while I work.

still working4:30 pm I work and check emails (and pump, and eat–are you sensing a theme here??) pretty steadily until the end of naptime. I love getting work done in a quiet house–it’s amazing how productive mamas can be when their attention isn’t divided twelve ways haha.

bucket5:00 pm We have some post-nap, pre-dinner shenanigans that involve me spying on Wacey while he plays “46511322475 Things To Do With A Bucket.”

dinner6:00 pm Dinnertime! Dinner was homemade meatballs and spaghetti with Texas Toast–perfect stick-to-your-ribs food for the end of a long day.

After dinner, bath and bed for both boys, with us following not too long after because the caption to a Norman Rockwell painting of us after 7 pm would be captioned “Tired AF”. Half-joking about how lame we were (but proud of it), Bert said “What if the cows get out or something and someone comes to the door and we’re in bed at 8:30?” Me:

let them come
you shall not pass
GWTW
Hey, at least I’m honest. In all seriousness, if the cows had been out, we’d have put them up, but we wouldn’t have enjoyed it and I would have given them the stink eye in the morning.

Now. It’s past my bedtime, and we get to get up early early and haul our butts down to the barn to breed some cows, so we’re just going to end this here. Which makes sense, because after the “We’re lame for going to bed at 8:30” discussion, we went to bed at 8:30.