let's visit · On The Ranch · Personal

Kindness in Beef Advocacy

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Do you ever have something you want to talk about, that stays on your heart and your brain for days, for weeks, maybe longer, but you never pull the trigger on hitting that “publish” button because you know that some people may not like what you have to say?

Today, I’m hitting publish (well, obviously, because you’re reading this). And, I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous!

Most of my advocacy happens in real life, or via interviews, or written articles, or on phone calls. I’m working on stepping up my game on social media because social media is just not where I shine, nor is it where I’m comfortable, but I know it’s a great way to help lots of people learn more about ag. Given recent happenings (and the current political climate, etc), I know that social media needs more kindness, and I want to be part of that.

I know that the majority of beef advocates truly want to help, want to answer questions honestly, truthfully, and kindly. Truly want to share, and invite in, and befriend, and just be stand-up people sharing their love and knowledge of what they do.

But there are others that enter this arena with a chip on their shoulder, with an idea that people are beholden to farmers and ranchers for feeding them, with a point to prove and not a kind word in their arsenal. That’s not advocacy. That’s being a bully. Yelling at people, calling them names, telling them they are ignorant for the questions they ask and the concerns they have about agriculture is not okay.

Listen, I know that people can be mean. I have been on the receiving end of some real doozies both in person and online, and once in front of a room full of hundreds of people. I get it. It chaps your butt, it gets your dander up, it makes you want to run for the hills or just get real mad. I’m not immune to wanting to hit someone on the head with a skillet. But, guess what: when people are being really, truly nasty, or you’re in a dead-end conversation, it’s okay to say “agree to disagree, thank you for commenting, have a nice day!” and stroll right on out of that conversation that is going nowhere. I’ve done that, too.

Most people aren’t that way. Most people are genuinely wanting to learn, wanting answers to their questions, and want to talk to someone who won’t treat them like they are dumb because they aren’t experts in the matters of cow digestion or GMOs. I grew up in town. I didn’t get involved with cattle until I was 21 years old. I’ve been the person who has no clue. I’m here on the ranch living this life and being a beef advocate because people helped, and spoke, and listened, and took the time to show me things and answer all my questions…and while I really believe there is no such thing as a dumb question, some of my questions got reeeeallllllll close. I’m here because people met me where I was, and never made me feel stupid. I guarantee it would have been a lot harder to keep going if folks had been unkind. Maybe I wouldn’t have. I don’t know.

Please be kind. Be a good experience. Be a helper, a connector, a light. Our message is heard so much better when it’s delivered kindly.

I also feel compelled to say this: be kind for yourself. I have seen some folks who do have a heart for ag, who have a platform, who are proud of what they do and are frustrated that writers, bloggers, politicians, and activists so often get our story (and the actual facts) wrong, but whose passion and knowledge is moot because of the way in which they deliver their message. It becomes overshadowed by the vitriol, and more’s the pity, because we need all the good help we can get.

Kindness doesn’t mean you’re selling your soul or being a doormat. It doesn’t mean you can’t stand your ground, or stand up for what’s right. It just means keeping your manners and integrity about you, and being tactful.

If you want to see how this works in real life, check out Terryn’s most recent post on FFB HERE and Brandi’s letter to Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez HERE.

Family · Personal

It Won’t Be Like This Forever.

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Hi! It’s Monday!

Duh.

Before I get going, I want to extend sympathy to those of you who are battling the absolute horrendous heat! I feel for you. If you want to come visit, our high this week is 76 degrees. Wacey has bunk beds.

Anyways, how was your weekend? Ours was pretttty darn good. We took the boys to the ranch rodeo in town on Saturday afternoon, and gosh ranch rodeos are one of my favorite things. I miss when Bert used to ranch rodeo all summer, hopefully next summer he can get a team together and they can enter some! Wacey spent the whole time eating, commentating, and being reallllly into the broncs, Lord help us.  Buster spent the whole time throwing things down the bleachers and trying to escape and smiling at random people. Yesterday we started slow, drove around, checked water, found a broken water line, came home, and then Bert and Wacey went out to fix it while I stayed home and did chores during Buster’s nap. It was a pretty big leak but they got it sorted and all is well in the world.

I even had time to tidy up and throw a load or two in the wash so we’re not waking up to absolute mayhem tomorrow which is so sweet. Basically, it was a great, fun, low-key weekend and ohhhh boy I needed it.

I’m in that busy, full, Groundhog Day-esque season in my mamahood journey, and it’s been hard to not feel frustrated with how little I actually accomplish some days. The boys are also at two notoriously ah…trying ages. Wacey is just shy of 3 1/2, so he knows everything, has lots of big feelings, and some of those big feelings are not-so-nice ones directed at his brother and us. Buster is almost 16 months, so he’s big and mobile and has very little sense but a lot of curiosity, and a very good idea about how to antagonize his brother.

Do not get me wrong. I have two amazing children. Even on their worst days, I still feel lucky to be their mama, and their worst days really aren’t all that bad. They’re filled with a lot of tears but a lot of laughter and sweet moments, too. But the gratitude has been a little lost in the fights and the crying and the protests and the repetition lately. My own heart has been struggling a little bit, and I really didn’t like how I was mothering, or wife-ing, or being.

So, I took a step back.

It’s still hard, guys. I still lose my cool, I still wish for more hours in the day, I still wish I had more help so I was able to chase my own dreams a little harder. But I know this is just a season, a really short one, and before too long my biggest kid is not going to be happy to sit by the pens, playing in the dirt with a stick while we work cattle. He’s not going to look up at me and my camera and say “Hi, mom mom!” He’s not going to ask me to “carry you?” or get a huge kick helping make a “butter sammich.”

So, I’m going to take more pictures, soak up more moments, and breathe a little deeper because even though it’s hard and the days feel soooooo long sometimes, in my heart and in my brain I know these days are fleeting.

You know, though: I kind of hate when people say that, because sometimes it feels like people are covering up how hard parenthood can be and are saying that it’s all fine because your kids aren’t babies forever and that their parenthood journey is always serene and beautiful and full of grace. Trite laid right on top of photoshop sandwiched between two big slices of “ha, nope!”

Let me tell you what: it’s not always fine, and most days around here involve at least one wreck. Buster has scratches on his face because I can’t get between him and Wacey fast enough, but he’s learned to retaliate by hitting Wacey square in the nose which is just peachy. We have wash that hasn’t been put up, not a single thing is hung on the walls, and 5/7 days a week I don’t change out of workout clothes because why? My temper can be short. I do my dream-chasing and working in the margins of my day, and I hate that I don’t have a better version of myself to devote to those things. I am not my best self right now, not even close, and that’s showing in my mothering and wife-ing. But, guys, it’s okay. I know this. Every day is a new day, and every day has so many fun things in between the trainwrecks, and we have plenty of Neosporin. It won’t be like this forever. There is grace in these days of raising young children (for the Bible tells me so), and it’s fine that we’re a little bit of a mess. It’s getting better. Every single day. In large part because I know that there are seasons when things feel hard and when I’m not my best self because I’m human, and even in my hardest seasons I’m still so, so lucky. I have so much gratitude, but I’m also really tired. Right? Is that a thing?

It won’t be like this forever.

Parenthood is so bittersweet.

Maybe that’s why everything in my house is so sticky.

 

Personal

I Went To Vancouver and My Movie Moment

vancouver in the morningpastriesflower treedinnerolympic cauldronseaplanesgiant rhubarbbreakfastvancouver at nightwaterfallOh my gosh hi, it’s me, Cassidy.

I wrote several “No, I didn’t quit blogging! Life is just crazy!” posts and not one of them was ever finished.

Life got crazy for a bit, but I’m so glad that it seems like it’s winding down back to normal. We’ve moved, I’m home from traveling, we’re mostly unpacked, we have food in the fridge…things are good.

So, I was in Vancouver last week for the Sustainable Brands conference and oh my heavens it was amazing. Not just because it was in Vancouver, but because it was a great conference full of people I never, ever would have been connected to. I have some big, major things to share about the actual content of the conference, but that’s a post that’s best not written on the fly so I’ll save it for later this week.

In the meantime, I’m going to tell you all about the fun parts of my trip, in list form, of course.

  1. Vancouver is amazing. I want to go back there with Bert and the boys so badly. The weather is cool, it’s not too humid, and it’s beautiful. I loved watching the seaplanes fly in and out, and I think it would be so fun to go on one!
  2. Candians are so nice. I don’t think it’s necessarily that their manners are so much better, but that they have a calm and ease about them that you don’t see in the States. Even when people are in a hurry, they’re not rushing, and they’re courteous and friendly.
  3. Eating at local restaurants is always a must. I love long, leisurely dinners (another quality that is often lost on us Americans), with plenty of food and conversation, and the group I was with in BC felt the same way, praise the Lord.
  4. That being said, I love a Starbucks. I love having something reliable and familiar, even if they do make fun of my gigantic Yeti tumbler.
  5. The weather. The weather, the weather, the weather. It was unseasonably cool when I was there and I loved every second of it. The locals told me, though, that even when it’s not unseasonably cool,, it never really gets hot or cold. Being by an ocean means it’s very moderate and now I’m trying to find a way to start a company and have an office in Vancouver so I can travel there regularly.
  6. French everywhere, even though most of French-speaking Canada is in the east. It made me feel like all of those years of French through college were worth it!
  7. In addition to being so kind, the Canadians are also very well turned-out. I didn’t see a lot of sweats, or messy hair, or disheveled-ness. Even when it was apparent that someone was being leisurely and comfortable, they still looked so put together and classy–much less athleisure than in the US. Like an outdoorsier French. Which, I suppose, is sort of what they are?
  8. It was such a treat to be able to tourist just a little bit while I was there. The last day, some of the other folks in my group and I went to explore this park that is actually basically a botanic garden. We had our heads on a swivel and our phones outstretched the entire time, and it was the perfect start to a long day of traveling. It did make the transition back to the dry, dusty desert that much more stark, though.
  9. So much diversity! Everywhere we went there were people of different ethnicities speaking different languages, and I loved it. That’s another reason I want to take the boys there–it will be good for them to see so many different kinds of people speaking so many languages in one place.
  10. It was so fun to wear “fancy” (read: business casual) clothes for a few days, but golly I need some comfier shoes. Heels are fun, but I’ll take boots any day of the week.
  11. I want to see so much more of BC, and Canada in general. I never really thought of Canada as a vacation destination (sorry aboot that, eh?) but now I want to go back to Vancouver, and spend time in Montreal and visit a ranch in Saskatchewan and go to Nova Scotia and on and on.

 

And I’ll leave you with this tidbit about the time when I had my very own movie moment.

On the way back, the first flight was delayed (nothing direct from Albuquerque to like, anywhere) and I had a tight connection in Denver so I was a little apprehensive at takeoff. Fast forward two and half hours and I’m sort of freaking out because it’s apparent that it’s going to be really tight but there’s no point in really worrying because you can’t make the plane fly faster, right? So we land, and I must have looked a little anxious (was it the immediate throwing-on and cinching down of my backpack? The nervous hand-wringing? The jitters that rivaled a four-year-old in need of a potty break? I wonder.) and the guy next to me was like, “You okay?” and I was like “Yep, totally fine, I just don’t want to miss my plane.” He asked when the plane left and I told him, and everyone around me was like “Oh God.”

You know where this is going, right? I totally missed that plane.

Nope. I totally didn’t miss that plane. What I did do was legit run through Denver International Airport, thanking my lucky stars that I wore tennis shoes, checked my suitcase, and that I know the airport’s layout really well (you have to train a freaking train between concourses), with my backpack bouncing like a kid in elementary school. I ran down moving walkways yelling “ON YOUR LEFT!” like some demented on-foot bicyclist and almost ran over an old man whose name was evidently Ralph since his a lady near him yelled at him for standing on the “walking” side of the moving walkway. I made it to my gate literally as they were closing the door, quite actually yelling “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR! NOT YET NOT YET NOT YET!” and shoving my crumpled, damp (how? I ran for like, seven minutes) boarding pass at a very shocked attendant (hey lady, don’t pretend you haven’t seen this level of desperation of obvious lack of regular running before). Needless to say, they let me on the plane, at which point I took my sweaty, red-faced, hard-breathing self allllllll the way down the aisle to row 22, at which point the man in my seat audibly groaned because he’d already had his heart set on sitting in the aisle and having more room to stretch out with an empty seat next to him.

Not today, pal. Not today. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m a badass.

When you started this, I bet you didn’t think by “movie moment” that I meant the running-through-the-airport scene of Home Alone.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m a badass.

 

Home · On The Ranch · Personal

Lists Are My Jam. Like Space Jam, But Hipper.

Happy Monday! And happy late Cinco de Mayo! And Derby Day! We spent our weekend caking cows, eating pico de gallo, and getting ready for another crazy week–someday we’ll have fun social things to share here, but this weekend was more about getting ahead for this week, which in real life is sometimes necessary! I’m going to do another list, because that’s the easiest way to keep organized these days.

Wacey at branding 2moving cows back

  1. Bert’s finished branding calves here! I love branding season, y’all know that, but it’s been weeks of really early mornings and frantic days, so it feels satisfying to close the books on this season. We have a good friend who is branding across the way this coming week, and then we’ll be pretty close to being done! I’m fixing lunch for the crews next week (lasagna + breadsticks and enchiladas), and I’m excited about making (okay, mostly eating) dessert #priorities.
  2. The press release for the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Council of Sustainability Officers was released, and like I’ve said all over everywhere, I’m so excited, so grateful, and geeking out every five minutes because gosh, sustainability and telling the story of ag is my jam. I promise I’ll stop mentioning it every day eventually.
  3. I ordered these shoes on Saturday and I’m so excited. I need a pair of sneaks to just wear around that aren’t straight-up running shoes but allow for running, you know what I mean? Just file under #momoftoddlers. I’ve had my eye on a pair of New Balances (my old ones mysteriously disappeared a couple of moves ago apparently?) and these are less than $40. Come on. I want all of them. Also pink. Also I may have ordered gray ones too.
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  4. Sneaks-related: I started week 3 of my first round of BBG this morning and omg jump squats and burpees have arrived and I’ve never felt so earthbound in my life. How do kids jump around all the time? Did I do that? Why did I stop? Kids: never stop jumping. One day, you’ll be trying to exercise when you’re 29 and you will thank me. Actually, you won’t be trying to exercise, you will be exercising, because your body never forgot how to jump. What can I say except you’re welcome?
  5. I’m hooked on Louise Penny Inspector Gamache books. The best part? The library has almost all of them on Kindle so that I don’t even have to drive 25 miles to get the newest one! I’m picturing sitting on the porch this summer with something delicious and the aforementioned pico, reading away. I love a good whodunit a la Dame Christie and ole Sherlock, and these books being set in French-speaking Canada make me feel like I’m using the French I studied so hard to become fluent in and use precisely once a year when we lose the English directions to something.
  6. Speaking of porches: we’re getting a new one! Actually, we’re getting a whole new house! That’s right, folks: the Johnstons are moving again. Yep. I could write a whole post about it, and maybe I will, but suffice it to say that three times in less than a year is basically three too many, and I hope this is the last time for a long, long while. We’re staying in the area, but going to a different ranch. I won’t lie though: I’m way excited about the new house. It’s got a lot more windows and a lot more living space, two things I love in a house that we don’t have in our current one.
  7. Speaking of speaking of porches, I stumbled across this recipe via Grace’s blog, and tell me it doesn’t look amazing! Perfect porch-sitting-with-friends drink. Now I just need chairs for the porch.
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  8. Mother’s Day is on Sunday. I have nothing planned, because we’ll be in a car on our way to Denver. I’m thinking we’ll make a stop to scoop up some fresh flowers on the way for our mamas, at the very least! This year is the year of late gifts, apparently.
  9. Can I complain for a minute? K thanks. We’re going full stream of consciousness here. Why are boys’ shorts so long? I mean, I don’t want my children to wear booty shorts, but I would like their shorts to be not Spanky pants. (Spanky from the movie version, ps.)
  10. Over the weekend, we watched The Shape of Water. I can’t explain why, but I actually liked it. I mean, it was weird. But I loved how well done it was! Bert fell asleep about halfway through but I was riveted. It’s definitely not family-friendly, though, what with some nudity and an unsuccessful finger reattachment surgery and some pretty intense violence and the fact that the protagonist falls in love with a humanoid amphibian. Juuuuust so you know.
Family · On The Ranch · Personal

Lately, Otherwise Entitled “Life is Crazy, It’s Beef Month, and I’m Slightly Obsessed with my Children.”

So, apparently I took an unintentional break from blogging. For awhile, I think things are going to be a little sporadic than I’d like round these here parts, but you never know, I might find some as-yet-undiscovered reserve of energy and time management and just get allll the things done! I’m trying to balance everything, and this is truly one of my favorite spaces, but when time gets short it’s one of the first things to go because time is usually short due to things that can’t go. I have faith that I’ll be back on a good schedule in a month or so! Until then, some things!

  1. First of all, Happy May! It’s Beef Month, so I hope I can get all my ducks (cows?) in a row and actually plan content for this month because I love May and I love beef and I love you so I want to combine all those things. But see #10 for why I might slack major.beef brockle cow
  2. So much cooking! We’re branding calves, which means feeding hungry cowboys, which means in the last week I’ve cooked three lunches for 15+. It may  not sound like a big deal, but having a full-blown lunch done (plus house picked up and tables clean and floors cleanish because #toddlers) by 10:30-11 is tough. But, we’re done branding Bert’s calves, so I don’t think I need to cook until next week when I’m fixing lunch for a neighbor’s branding. I enjoy it, but it takes up a lot of time.
  3. Sustainability! I have SO much amazing stuff to share with y’all, I’m honestly just having a hard time organizing it all. We’ll get there, though. I’d like to do a series about it, maybe starting at the end of May when things die down a little. Here is the link to the page about my position as a Sustainability Officer with the U.S. Farmer’s and Rancher’s Alliance!
  4. We have a pacifier-free toddler! Wacey has been in love with his Wubbanubs since the moment he was born, and we were stalling on getting him weaned from them because we were pretty sure it would be tough since transitions–formula to milk, bottle to cup, crib to bed, etc–have been hard for him, but nope. We started kind of gradually, first by implementing the “No wubs at any time except sleep time” rule, then mysteriously losing one (he had two, and we legit lost one. I thought we just sneakily left it in the truck but nope, that monkey’s gone), and talking about how it’s going to be time to get rid of them soon, but we were still stalling for sure.

    On Monday evening, we were playing and while Wacey had his head thrown back in laughter from a tickle attack, Bert said (quietly to me) “Yikes, his teeth are pretty bad.” And yes, y’all, they are. You can definitely tell that he’s a pacifier kid, and that’s okay, and I know his teeth will move back, but it’s pretty dramatic and I don’t want to set him up for any dental problems in the future, so we decided right then that it was time. We cut the pacifier off his last remaining Wubbanub, talked a little bit more about it, and that was that. He had a hard time falling asleep the first night, and wanted to keep the animal part of the wub with him, but since then it’s been smooth sailing. He’s talked about it a little bit, mainly in the context of Buster’s being okay to have a wub since he’s still a baby, but it seems like a nonissue and I’m so gosh darn proud of that kid.

    Next up: potty training because he really, really wants to go to preschool in the fall (I suspect because he thinks all school buses are “magical” and he’s obsessed with other kids) and he’s required to be potty trained for that (which is annoying, but I do get it). Wow. Apparently I had a lot to say about that.

  5. I started BBG last week, and guys? I kind of love it. I don’t love the half hour that I’m doing it, but I love how hard it is and how much it’s making me work in just a short period of time. Three workouts in and I’m so sore I can barely move, and it’s amazing. I’m not doing it to lose weight, really, but more to get some muscle tone back. Babies have made me soft and I want to feel strong again and feel good in my body. I’ve tried other workout programs in the past, but I think this is going to be the one that sticks because it’s so hard. Three days a week is about all I can manage for formalized workouts (I walk most of the other days, but I need weights with my “cardio” #notarunner). I’ve got the app and it’s great! It’s 12 weeks, so my goal is to stick with it for 12 weeks and then take progress photos and re-assess. I can’t wait to see how it goes!
  6. I’m obsessed with–I guess they’re called snapbacks now? Lord help me I’m getting unhip in a hurry. Anyways, they fit my big ole noggin better than a regular ballcap, and I want 500 of them to wear when I can’t be bothered (or it’s too windy) to fix my hair which–let’s face it–is nine out of ten days. So I ordered this baby, and I love it. Next on the wishlist: this cheetah numbermmb hat
  7. Every now and then there’s a day that works out way better than I planned, and we had that day on Friday. We had to drive to Ruidoso to the MVD and I wanted to get there at 8am when they opened because last time we had to wait for nearly four hours and it’s the only place to get a VIN inspection and woof. Anyways, we got it done and were left with way more time to kill than I thought. So, I stuck Bub in the stroller, and Wacey and I pushed him around midtown Ruidoso which is pretty adorable. We ate delicious multicolored ice cream, did a little shopping, and let every lady ever hold Buster and shake Wacey’s hand because how can you not? We didn’t step foot in a grocery store (only because Bert and I had a date night planned for the very next night so I knew I’d run into the store then ha) and just toodled around and it was lovely.
    ice cream
  8. I needed a few new items of more professional clothing for my upcoming USFRA trip to Vancouver, and I ordered this beautiful top to wear with skinny slacks (or nice jeans if it’s a little more casual) and heels and it’s perfect.peach embroidered top
  9. Buster still isn’t walking, but let me tell you what: tiny fat boyfriend is an indestructible climber and general wrecking ball. He is so much more wild and fearless than Wacey is–I think he’s just waiting on walking because he knows he’s going to give us a major run for our money once he’s vertically mobile. I know I already shared this picture on social media but can you blame me for posting it again??Buster the beautiful Ralph Lauren model
  10. I have some big stinkin’ news to share later this week (NO I am not pregnant), so stay tuned for that little piece of oh-so-exciting information. We need to inform all interested parties before I spill the beans on social media, ya feel?
  11. Another thing I’m excited for? This.
let's visit · Personal

What I Learned When I Met USFRA in St. Louis

st louisimage source because I always forget to take decent pictures

I’m writing this sitting outside of the Starbucks at gate E18 in the St. Louis airport. It’s 6:15 in the morning, I’ve been up for about two hours, and an espresso frap has never tasted so good!

I’ve spent the last few days in St. Louis with the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in training to become a Sustainability Officer, and I think I might sleep for a week when I get home (okay, except not because Bert’s been flying solo and that would be a very unkind thing to do to him) because I don’t think I’ve had this level of sustained excitement and human interaction since our wedding!
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I’ll talk more about what I’ll be doing as a Sustainability Officer in a future post, but while it’s still fresh, I wanted to express a few things I’m taking away with me from these past few days.

  1. We are all connected. Farmers, ranchers, food companies, consumers, and on and on. Sometimes we can get stuck in our own little industries, or feel like what we produce is very different from what someone else is doing, but that’s not the case. We’re all connected, and we should behave as such. I naively (stupidly?) thought that there’s no way I could share much with a soy farmer or even a dairy farmer outside of the very basic things, but oh how wrong I was.
  2. Sustainability is really, really complicated. It involves not only the practices on the ground on the farm or ranch, but it’s also being incorporated into marketing and business plans, and is a key part in consumers’ perceptions of our products and businesses, and consumers have high expectations for all of us in this area.
  3. We need to do better sharing our stories, but more importantly, we need to do better sharing our stories effectively, and remembering that the way we share our stories and the kind of information we provide changes depending on our audience. I’m putting together (another) future post about some things that resonate with certain audiences and other things that don’t–I was really surprised about some of these.
  4. We can always do better.
  5. We all have a stake in this. Everyone’s opinion has value. If you are reading this post, you have a voice in this conversation!
  6. This conversation is not going to be over any time soon. I hear a lot of “Sustainability is just a buzzword. Why are we still talking about this?” And maybe it was a buzzword at one time, but now it’s becoming a (hard to define but very real) thing that is taken into consideration all the way from farm to fork (to landfill/compost heap/the toy bin in your kid’s room where they stash weird little trash treasures). If we ignore it, we’ll get left behind and someone else will take our place or be our voice and we know that’s no good.

So. If you’re reading this, I don’t care who you are or how you feel about agriculture. I want to hear what you have to say because it’s important. Comment with how you feel about sustainability, or what you want to add to the conversation. Ask a question, tell me what you’re doing on your farm or ranch, let me know what you think is important for me to know!

 

On The Ranch · Personal

Scrunch Faces and Springtime

Buster scrunch editeswacey editedboys playingbrandingWace at parkbubDSC_0497helpingHi, world’s worst blogger here.

Well, not the worst, but certainly not the best documenter. I didn’t get a single picture of the boys on Easter! Not a single one. I got great video of the first egg hunt, but I didn’t get any pictures of us all spiffed up or the boys in their matching outfits so chalk that one up to a major fail and we’ll just have to do a dramatic re-enactment.

Anyways. Easter was great. We kicked it off by having no power the night before, which actually turned out to be fun, after I robbed all of the remotes of their batteries because we didn’t have any in the flashlights. Which is something I need to remedy ASAP because power outages are fairly routine out in the sticks. It was almost business as usual, just without all the electronic noise (has our fridge always been that loud?) and, well, electricity. We have a gas range, so I could cook, and our water is gravity-fed from a storage tank up on a hill so we had plenty of water, just not a ton of water pressure. It’s actually pretty handy! It was so dark, and so, so quiet and very peaceful.

It also means we showed up to an Easter party with chips and salsa from the store because I didn’t have an oven to bake anything in like I’d planned (our stove is electric start but you can light the range burners with a lighter, not so with the oven!) but you know, it worked out juuust fine.

Sunday morning we gave the boys their baskets, Wacey egg-hunted to his heart’s content, and we had a wonderful morning together before getting all fixed up and heading to a friend’s house (70 miles away, haha. #Rurallife). There were twelve kids total (although three of them are older so they’re more like really fun, energetic adults with beautiful skin), tons of food, lots of our favorite people that we’ve met here so far, and it felt so nice to be included and watch our boys be loved on by so many people. Cue the waterworks! It was really, really great. We went to bed super late, the boys slept in till 8 Monday morning, and the angels sung on high.

I am really starting to enjoy Easter and the message of hope and renewal it brings! I listen to Easter sermons allll year long and I’m finally getting it.

Other highlights from the Week Without Social Media:
I’m finally winning the war on the mice in my kitchen. Mice are just a fact of life on a ranch, but these guys were like mutants. They got into Wacey’s juice bags, all of the drawers, and one even ate itself free from a glue trap. Needless to say, we broke out the old school traps and caught four in less than 48 hours.

Wacey is talking up a storm and I. LOVE. IT. I was watching videos from Easter last year, and he didn’t have many words–mostly “Mo mo!” for “more” and it’s the biggest night-and-day difference. He talked a little later–around 2 1/2–and we love hearing what he has to say. I also love that when other mamas say “Oh my gosh, he speaks so well, when did that happen? My (son or daughter) still doesn’t talk!” I can reassure them that everything happens in its own time, and that even if a kid is “later” by whatever stupid standard someone came up with, he’ll probably be just fine!

I made this and it was delicious, although I think you could probably omit some of the heavy cream and butter and still have a heavenly dinner. Bert even asked if I could put it on the meal plan again this month, which is huge considering he really doesn’t like “fruit and meat together.”

Buster still isn’t walking (and no one is surprised or fussed by this, ps) but he has really perfected the major scrunch face and big ole cheesy grin, and has started to say “Mama” so I’ll take it and be so happy. I’m also convinced he tried to say “Hi everybody!” yesterday, buuuut I suppose it might be more of a gleba situation.

It’s branding season for the reals, which you know if you follow me on Insta, of course! Bert is gathering cattle as we speak! I love spring. Our neighbor (and the mother of the children with whom Wacey is currently obsessed) wrote a great blog post about this season that we all love, check it out!

Exciting stuff coming next week–I’ve been waiting for weeks to let y’all in on something I’m super excited for, but the folks in charge keep delaying the public announcement, but they won’t be able to after next week! So. Stay tuned! You may not be as thrilled as I am, but maybe some of my over-the-top excitement will rub off on you and you won’t have to drink so much caffeine. Or something.