Home · On The Ranch · Personal

Taking a Break

far awat cows
Hey y’all! I just wanted to jump on and say I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks since we’ve got so much going on between the sale of the ranch, moving to the new house, and traveling for Thanksgiving.

And decorating the new house for Christmas immediately upon our return, of course. Oh! And my birthday. Big three weeks! Real excited.

I’ll be back the Monday after Thanksgiving! As always, you can also follow our shenanigans over on the ole Insta.

Friday Favorites · Home

Friday Faves

Happy Friday! Guess what? We’re moving. Yes, we just did that. Yes, we’re doing it again. Why not, right?

Don’t answer that. There are a lot of reasons.

The ranch Bert is currently working for has been sold, and he received a great offer from another ranch in the area, so….we’re moving again! Yes! For the second time in three months we will be packing everything up, and moving it. Yay! (<< sort of manufactured enthusiasm, sort of not).

The new ranch is 20 miles down the road, and has been in the same family since 1917, so it’s unlikely *crosses fingers* that they’ll sell it. Ha. (<<not manufactured sarcasm). It feels good.

So. We will have a new new house. However, guys, the new new house is cool. It’s old, like real old, and needs some work, but oh, the bones of it are so good. And, the closet space is unreal for such an old house. And there’s trees, a tire swing, and a gas range. And funny quirks, like a weird pantry, and the laundry room is in one of the bedrooms. But I sort of enjoy funny quirks because it gives it character.

Anyways.

I’ll cut right to the chase: new house, new Pinterest board, new five-gallon bucket of Revere Pewter. Onwards.

Favorite Chalkboard: Weathered Framed Board. The current porch is a screened-in affair that the owners are enclosing and updating (*cross fingers* *knock on wood* *Hail Marys*) before we move in. The idea is that it will end up being a big ole functional mudroom (please, Lord). If that’s the case (again, please Lord), I would love to have a big chalkboard in there to write verses, song lyrics, uplifting snippets, menus for gatherings, etc. It’s going to be a pretty mudroom.

chalkboard

Favorite I Wonder If This Actually Works: Cabinet Door Transformation. The part of this house that needs updated the most obviously is the kitchen. The cabinets are oldie-but-sort-of-goodie plywood (yes) that are stained classic 1950s orangey wood. So. Unless the ranch has big plans to redo all of the kitchen cabinets, this little project might be on my (eventual) to-do list. Or they might grow on me and we’ll just pretend we’re super ranchy circa 1951.

cabinetsFavorite Bulletin Board Revival: Burlap and Frame. In the kitchen there is a place for a desk or buffet table or something. I’d like to put a something there with a pretty bulletin board like this over it with all of our calendars and things. We already have a pretty bulletin board, but it needs a refresher, and I love the frame on this one. I might try to see if there’s a way I could do it with crown molding and our current board. I also love the idea of having a little banner of photographs!

framed bulletin board
Favorite Well-We’re-Moving-So-May-As-Well-Get-It-Done: Faded Jeans Chalk Paint. Wacey’s bed needs a refresher, so I’m painting it blue. Bam! Instant refresher. When I go to my high school reunion in a month, and someone asks me what I do, I’m going to tell them I’m a painter because apparently I paint. So, I’m a painter who paints.

blue paint

Favorite Welcome Mat: Hey Good Lookin’. We will finally have one door that everyone will use, so a doormat is a must. This is one of my favorite songs, I remember my parents playing it when I was growing up and it has such a special place in my heart. Plus, what a nice thing to say, right? “Welcome to our house, you good-lookin’ human you.” It’s a little sassy, a little uplifting, but also functional. Add in “on time” and you’ve got all the things I strive to be.
hey good lookin
Favorite Bathroom Lights: Farmhouse Lights. I’ve wanted these in the last three houses we’ve lived in and never pulled the trigger. In the master bedroom of this house, the bed is right across from the sink (bath and toilet are in their own little room), and so I’ll have to look at the lights all the time. Eventually, I want to put these in. Very eventually, since no one wants to be the ranch gal that moves in and does allthethings. I mean, I actually do want to be that gal, but that gal is overbearing and high-maintenance, and I don’t want to be that gal, so we’ll all be confused and I’ll wait on the light.
light fixture
Favorite Why Haven’t I Done This Yet: Gold Dipped Barstools. We have two barstools that have been with us since Montana. They’re the sort of cheapie ones, but they’re sturdy, and they were free, so I’d like to give them a little fresher-upper with some paint. I already have quite a few cans of spray paint laying around, so I’m not sure why I haven’t done this yet!
painted bar stoolFavorite I Think I Already Talked About This But *Heart Eyes*: Pipe Wood Rack. I love this. Love it! It’s a great way to store a lot of wood in not a lot of space. This house has our first-ever fireplace (and by that I mean Christmas Stocking Displayer) instead of a woodstove, so it’s for funsies only, and I think this sort of rack would be perfect to have out on the porch without taking up tons of room. Also: not sad about not needing to cut and split and stack a thousand million pounds of wood this winter.
pipe wood holder
Favorite HA THIS WILL NEVER BE IN MY BUDGET BUT GOSH IT’S PRETTY: Fancy A** Barstool. I just like these. Kacey Musgraves has them in her house. I like the butt cheek contouring.
stool

So. There it is. Yet another Friday Favorites full of things for a new house that will hopefully (so many prayers, Lord) come to fruition. I know you’re probably sick of these but you know, I can’t believe we’re moving again. I’m not sad, really, but this is my way of hyping myself up and distracting myself from the fact that we have to move again because moving is so much work. So much. But. Doormat. Chalkboard. (Hopefully) awesome mudroom. Gas range. Full-size fridge. Actual closets. A closet big enough to be a closet and an office. Character. Awesome ranchiness. And, I believe there’s a full-size cutout of John Wayne in Wacey’s closet that comes with the house so: all future guests, beware.

(If you’re related to me, specifically to the Millers, you’ll understand that John Wayne will function as Captain Kirk. And you’ll understand I’ve been dreaming of that exact day for years.)

 

Family · Home · Personal

New Mehico

HOME
We’re here! We made it. We rolled in about five o’clock last Wednesday, and the boys did great except for the last 40 miles or so. I don’t blame them, though, it was a long old drive!

Quick summary of our first week in New Mexico:
1. I hate, hate, hate, hate, double-hate, loathe entirely (name the movie) unpacking. Like, SO MUCH. Thankfully, as of today, we’re about 75% there, the remaining 25% being everything that has to wait until I get paint on the walls.
2. Speaking of paint, I went Benjamin Moore Gray Owl for the living areas and the boys’ bathroom, BM’s Revere Pewter for the bedrooms, and BM’s Whale Gray for the master bath and laundry room, plus bright white for all the trim. I am so excited to see the house with a fresh coat of paint, but ugh so not excited about painting it. Still, once I get the gray up and the curtains hung…you watch out, I may not get up from the sofa for a week.
3. It’s gorgeous. Like, so pretty. Mountains, canyons, trees, cactus–it’s so cool! Roll on over to my Insta to see some shots of the new place.
4. All of a sudden, Wacey is talking! Like, actual, intelligible words, and more than one at once. We’re so excited because although he’s not late or anything, it feels like a long time coming and it’s so nice to be able to understand what he needs or is telling us about.
5. Buster’s been sick (stomach bug? Ear infection?) and after almost a week of 10+ dirty diapers every day and multiple daily poopsplosions, I decided to take him to the doctor and we’re going to town (aka 50 miles) to get some antibiotics (okay and yes, Starbucks) tomorrow. They’re not sure what it is, but I’m down with throwing everything we can at it because he’s miserable and not sleeping, we’re miserable and not sleeping, and the jig has really gotta be up. On top of it all, Bert’s been having to get up at 4am to ship calves, and will be gone for two nights starting tonight, so that whole thing about being in the trenches? Heeeeeey. I started Buster on rice cereal and bananas tonight, though, so here’s hoping it was worth it to break the rules and give Bub fruit before veggies. He LOVED it, ps. Tomorrow we’ll start both antibiotics and probiotics, and pray to all the gastrointestinal gods that something starts working. Also, I was a major Bert’s Bees diaper rash cream girl, but I don’t love the new formula, and Desitin Rapid Relief came in STRONG for us this time, so I might be converted.
6. The crew and Bert’s boss and his family and the big boss that I met are great. And, the guys played with Wacey and held Buster and even laughed at a couple of my jokes and it felt so nice to know that even though we’re not with our old crew (I still think of it as our home crew, gotta quit that), there will still be a good crew around. Here, the “crew” only comes in for big works like shipping and branding, but I’m glad to know it’s something to look forward to and that the boys are welcome.
7. Central air is *praise hands* especially when schlepping boxes and trash in and out in the heat (and humidity? What?) of the afternoon.
8. We’ve been watching way too much TV and doing way too little being outside, so it feels good that the house is unpacked enough to where we can get back into our old routine a little bit.
9. The UPS guy probably already hates me, because I’ve been Amazon Priming the s**t out of everything because #newhouse and we’re reeeeaaallll rural, y’all. Not real, real rural, but rural enough that going to town takes an hour and sometimes ain’t nobody got time for that. I also ordered a new devotional since finishing my old one and I am so excited for it to arrive, so yay mail.
10. New Mexico dust takes no prisoners–everything we own is covered in a fine layer and it turns to mud as soon as you get it wet. Hazards of moving with a stock trailer, I guess.
11. I made the difficult decision to save GoT so I could binge-watch it and listen to the accompanying Nerdette podcasts while painting. I can’t wait. If you tell me any spoilers, I’ll Mother of Dragons you faster than you can say Samwell Tarly.
12. September’s coming, and it’s gonna be good. I can feel it. Or maybe I’m willing it extra hard with my heart. August was hard guys. Like much harder than anticipated, and I generally hate on August pretty hard. But one of my mantras for 2017 is “I can do hard things” and I can, but I’m ready for some progress instead of just survival. However, all of this seems so small compared to…
13. Hurricane Harvey–Harvey, you’re a real ass. Man, my heart is broken for these folks, the same way it’s broken for victims of any natural disaster, but gosh watching these things unfold from the relatively new place of being a mother brings a whole new dimension to the sorrow I feel. Mother Nature doesn’t play games, and it’s awful to watch the devastation from afar and feel so strongly for everyone and also feel helpless. If you’re needing a good list of organizations to donate to, this gal made a handy little roundup, and I’ve heard there are also places where you can find lists of needed items and put ole AP (Amazon Prime) to work. Enormous shout out to the cowboys and farmers keeping their animals safe, and so many prayers for everyone affected. Let’s all help out!
14. Kilt me a rattler on my first day here. NBD. I’ll save you a picture but trust me, that sucker was real dead. And yes, I took a picture.
15. New Mexico maintains its roads like a boss. So lovely and refreshing after coming from the King of the Washboards himself, ole Colorado.
16. I really, really love having a washer and dryer. And I really, really love my Sleep Number mattress (55 holllllaaaa). Git you one. And I really, really, really love being altogether.
17. I don’t like ending things on even numbers.

And now? Bed. Because it’s past 9pm.

Home · Personal

Packing is Hard.

Like actually hard. My hiney is sore from umpteen trips up and down the root cellar steps.

Y’all, my brain is full. You know how it is, when you’re laying awake at three in the morning thinking about everything you need to get done? That’s how it feels alll the time right now. Not bad, just full of to-do lists and calendars and prayers and should-we’s and the like.

We’re knee-deep in the packing over here, and truly, I’m already heartily sick of it and we’re not even close to being done. We have, however, loaded up the dumpster twice, sent a load to Goodwill, set aside yet more for Goodwill, and emptied and consolidated what feels like a thousand totes, so we’re actually doing pretty great, right? #motivationalspeakerintraining.

tubs.jpg

Fun fact: when you ranch, you’re probably moving with a stock trailer because #freetrailer and #uhaulisexpensive, so you invest in many of these because weather.

Things That Suck About Packing:
1. Everything.
2. Having to sort through every single thing you own and either pack, donate, or throw away.
2b. Being embarrassed by the sheer amount of junk and waste. It’s so depressing, and I am putting a major curb on our junk accumulation because never again. We consume too much. TOO MUCH. To be fair, a lot of it was stuff from college or from our parents’ houses that hasn’t seen the light of day in years, but still. Why did we keep it? Why did it come to this house with us? Like, why do I hold on to any of my heels? We live on a ranch for Pete’s sake, and I don’t even like heels when we’re not on a ranch. Ugh. I’m not a minimalist, but curating our belongings is the name of the game from now on.  PS I wear a size 9 so if you want free shoes…
2c. Having to sort and pack at the same time is horrendous, I will be sorting/purging/donating on a regular basis from now on.
3. Hauling everything everywhere. To the truck, to the dumpster, to the trailer, to the Goodwill. In July.
4. Trying to be sort of quiet about it because the boys are sleeping and nothing wakes a sleeping baby faster than packing tape, but also wanting to get a hustle on.
5. Sweating. See #3
6. Maybe hantavirus, because ranch root cellars=mouse town. Soooo much handsoap and wash happening around here. Also bleach. Need some more.
7. The pre-organization explosion. It’s like living in a Forever 21–so many things everywhere, constant sensory overload, and being so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to start. But, finding some really cute things in the mess.

boxes.jpg
But, even thought I hate packing, and all of the junk with moving to a new state (the healthcare marketplace UGH, changing cell and internet carriers, changing insurance agents, etc.) can be exhausting and annoying, don’t you just love a fresh start? I do. Bert doesn’t crave fresh starts the way I do, but I think he’s really looking forward to this one, too. We’ve learned so many things out of this hard season–and I’m sure we’ll continue to learn more–and so we’re trying to be super intentional with our packing and our donating/trashing so that when we get there, we aren’t weighed down by college notebooks and fourteen pairs of pajama pants.

There’s also the element of trying not to be a) super emotional and b) super overwhelmed. There’s something strange about bare walls and putting your whole life into boxes, and something overwhelming about seeing all the boxes and thinking about loading them into trailers and then unpacking them into an entirely new place.

We’re running on prayers and caffeine, tape and tag pens, but we’ll make it through!

 

Home · Personal

House Hunters Non-International

house.jpg

Happy Monday! We had such a great weekend of fellowship and friends. Although leave-takings are hard, we’re so blessed to have friends that are like family all over the place!

Today’s post is about something fairly unique to the agriculture (or maybe ranching specifically, I don’t know)–the housing. On a ranch, housing is part of a cowboy’s salary. This is the kicker with ranch jobs–when you move jobs, you move, and you don’t get to pick your house. And on ranches, you’re just not sure what you’re getting into with the housing situation, and a house can be a deal-killer or a deal-maker.

So, the interview process for cowboys is a little different than for jobs in town. Often, the spouse/partner goes, too, even if they will not be working for the ranch. The interview rarely involves sitting in an office and hardly ever involves a suit. Most of the interview will be conducted in a pickup, and maybe over lunch at the local diner. The wife will go to meet the boss and maybe his wife, ask questions the husband may not think of (where are the schools and the churches? Is there any kind of grocery shopping nearby? How close is the nearest hospital/doctor’s office/decent-sized town/Starbucks/Costco?), get a feel for the area, quite importantly, check out the house.

You can bet while the men are talking shop and feeling each other out, the wife will be eagle-eyeing their potential future home and making notes about what it needs to feel like home (paint? Contact paper everywhere? 47 boxes of Brillo and a prayer? Maybe just a light scrub with something floral? Demolished? Absolutely nothing, sign us up right now?) This is especially true if the ranch is out in the sticks, which is pretty much the definition of a ranch. It’s no fun to be ready to move into a place and realize there are things you need before you move in and town is two hours away and waiting for the ole Amazon Prime box to show up isn’t an option.

I’ve called five different ranch houses “home”, ranging from a glorified actual homestead cabin with not a single kitchen cabinet for food storage and a bathroom wall that didn’t reach the ceiling thus making for some really interesting interactions with guests to a double-wide modular with ancient blue carpet to our current (wonderful) house.  It’s also the scariest part (for me) about job-hunting other than the actual job part, because a job could sound great–starting colts! No farming! A nice truck and trailer! Annual bonuses! Kids welcome! Angels singing on high! But then you might get there, and the house is (at best) a womp-womp of aged linoleum, sketchy kitchen appliances, outdated everything, and tiny closets, or (at worst) a haven for moldy carpet and water damage that’s basically a horrible case of hantavirus waiting to happen.

I’ve lived in both of those situations. While instilling much character and perspective and gratitude for better things, my overwhelming feeling about those (very) humble abodes is: no mas, por favor.

I might be exaggerating a little. Actually, retract that–I’m not. I haven’t had to live in anything truly awful, but I’ve known people that have (like rooms above the processing barn in a feedlot where you get to share your washer, or a trailer that was condemn-able when Nixon was president).

And because housing is part of a cowboy’s salary and most ranches aren’t rolling in money, what you see is probably what you get unless you want to put in money or have Junk Gypsy-level skills with various saws and spray paint (#lifegoals). Sure, they might be able to have the carpets cleaned and most places will allow you (or encourage you!) to paint (enter the Revere Pewter vs. Gray Owl conundrum). But if you don’t like the appliances, or the bathroom gives you the heebie-jeebies, you’re probably going to have to live with it.

I lived in a house once where the oven grossed me out so bad that I cooked everything in a little convection toaster oven. It actually worked out fine because I lived alone and practically lived on baked chicken breasts and homemade pizza, but for a family that just won’t do. Unless it’s a family of mice, which you can bet lived there too.

Again, no whining here, especially because I’m far enough removed from those houses that those times are character-building and funny. We have a lot of funny stories about birds flying in through the woodstove and then out through a broken window after much excitement, or the owner lighting a water heater with a lighter instead of the “use this to avoid explosion” starter, or a washing machine full of dog food brought there piece by piece by particularly doomsday-afeared mice, or finding various personalized wedding gifts heaped in a box in the kitchen that were left there after the previous occupants’ not-so-amicable divorce. In those situations all you can do is laugh and maybe do a little bemoaning of the fact that you didn’t share the same initials as the not-so-happy couple because some of those gifts were actually pretty cool.

Our new house, though, has none of those things, hallelujah! It’s definitely the newest home we’ve lived in, and looks the least likely to be secretly infested by mice (or rattlesnakes!) of any of our previous residences. I’m excited to share our transition from our big, old, sprawling house we currently live in to the much-smaller-but-super-functional house we’re moving to. I’m a little nervous but also excited about the challenge of purging and streamlining our belongings to fit in an entirely new space.

And also for dog kennels that aren’t right underneath the bedroom window because we got a puppy. His name is Scooter. And he bark-howls allllllllll the time.

 

 

Celebrate · Family · Home · Personal

Big News

capitanphoto cred because I failed to take a single picture during our interview *facepalm*

Big new’s y’all! Sorry for the radio silence but the last few months have been full of real life and some hard things, and I needed to take a break. But, I’m missing blogging and some big changes are happening around these here parts and I’m excited to document this new chapter the boys and I (and the dogs, and the horses, and maybe an errant barn cat or two) are about to start.

We’re moving! Bert got a job working for a ranch in Capitan, New Mexico, so we’re packin’ up and movin’ out. We jumped some of the major hurdles this week (navigating the health insurance marketplace…#woof) and it’s starting to feel a lot more real and exciting. It wasn’t an easy choice, and I have a lot to visit with y’all about, but it’s new, and it’s fresh, and sometimes we really need that. This is the path that God has put us on, so I have faith that it’s a good one. Stay tuned!

Family · Home · On The Ranch · Personal

We’re Back!

We’re back! Baby Buster was born almost three weeks ago, and it’s time for this mama to get back into the blogging game.

mirror selfie

I’m planning on sharing a little more about Buster’s birth soon, but long story short: he was born on the morning of Wednesday, March 15, less than four hours after we arrived at the hospital! He was a whopping 8 lbs, 7.5 oz (Wacey was 7 lbs, 1 oz so Buster was just a liiiiittle bigger) and 20 inches long. He’s already surpassed nine pounds, which is crazy, and he’s a pretty mellow little squish.

hospital

sleeping

neck rolls

mohawk

blanket

Our last few weeks have been full of movies, snacks, books, snuggling, Amazon Prime, odd sleeping patterns, and we’re pretty smitten with both of these little boys! So far, Wace is all about being a big brother, and although it hasn’t been 100% smooth sailing (is it ever with a toddler?!), I think he likes Buster quite a lot. I’m excited for when B is a little less fragile because Wace really wants to hold him and carry him and play with him.

Wace holding Buster

We’ve done a couple of trips to the store (okay, one real trip, the other one was an excuse for Starbucks), and of course to the pediatrician for checkups, and while it’s a little harder to get us all out of the house–newborns need so much stuff, I think Buster’s just going to roll right on in with our crazy selves. I think he’ll fit in, though–he isn’t fazed by much so far, and loves being worn in the wrap which is to his benefit because he’ll be there all spring! Wacey’s been appreciating the extra time with Bert, too. They just left in their matching hats and jean jackets to go put up some fence, and you’d think it was Christmas Wacey is so glad.

park day

mama wace wrap

little cowboy

As lovely as playing a pseudo hermit has been, it’s time to get back to real life. I feel really good–the recovery has been vastly different this time, for which I am so, so grateful. I’m chalking it up to a much faster labor and less than a half an hour of pushing vs. over three hours, and staying in better all-around shape this time, and also God. We got lucky with the timing of Buster’s arrival and we’ve been able to take it pretty easy, and have Bert home more than usual. But, it’s springtime on the ranch, and that business waits for no one!

So, what’s coming up? Bert is done calving his heifers (yay!) but we have about 400 calves left to be born elsewhere on the ranch, so I’ll be busy getting calves entered into the database for a long while. I have 125 waiting on calving sheets to be entered this week already! We’ve set up our first group of cattle to breed (post coming!) and will breed them this coming Sunday, I’m counting that as my official return to work (even though I’ll put in a lot of hours this week at home!) and the end of being a hermit, haha. We have eight groups of cattle to breed, plus over a thousand calves to brand. All of this needs to get done before the middle of June, so our calendars are full. We were supposed to have branded calves already, but we’ve been getting snow and rain for over a week, praise the Lord! While it sucks to feel behind already, we really, really needed the moisture so we’re singing lots of hallelujahs over here regardless.

I won’t lie, though, I’m ready for sunshine–it’s hard for Wace to be cooped up all day, and it’s hard for me because he’s a toddler who’s been cooped up all day. Plus I can’t wait to take the Bob Duallie for a spin.

The next few months will be a mixture of baby things, family things, and ranch things, with some real Mom life thrown in. I decided that this space is going to be as honest as possible about everything we deal with because I don’t want to add to the fake noise on the internet, and well, it’s just life.

Real life side note: I’ve been reading tons of books since I’m pumping so much (I’m pumping + supplementing with Buster, more on that in the future), and have stumbled across some great reads. The Hidden Figures book was so interesting, I learned so many new things, and now I’m fully prepared to see the movie (anyone else refuse to see the movie before they read the book?). I would recommend Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance to anyone and everyone; it’s well-written, and so appropriate for our current political climate. It provides insight and nuance into some pretty big, important issues.

For lighter reading, the Sunday Philosophy Club and its sequel, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (he wrote the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, if you haven’t go read allll those) are both really good, I can’t wait for the third installment to come available at my library! I finally read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and devoured it–I’ve got the sequel on hold and I’m so excited for my turn. I checked out the movie last week, so I need to watch that, too, now that the book is read, duh.

Next up while I wait for my holds to come available: The Nightengale, and maybe the Martian? I can’t decide. I also have another Emily Giffin waiting in my Kindle–she’s one of my favorites (like Liane Moriarty) for lighter, fun reads. On hold: the audio version of Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is FatAfter You, and Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild. I’ll report back!

Happy Monday, sorry about the word vomit, I’ll try to be more eloquent in the future but I have a newborn. Don’t get your hopes up.