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Twelve Things

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  1. You might have noticed that things have been less cow-y on the blog as of late. First, it was because we were packing and moving and unpacking and unmoving. Lately, it’s been because there hasn’t been much cow-ing going on, and part of that is because they shipped calves early and don’t have many cows here at the moment, but it’s also because…the owners sold the ranch. So, the last few weeks have been a lot of talking, planning and figuring out what our next steps are going to be.
  2. Bert has received several job offers in the area, including from the ex- and future owners of the ranch, which is wonderful because we really, really like this area and all the people here. I’m so proud of him. We have a pretty good idea about which route we’re going to take, and as soon as we’re able to share, you know I will. I’m very thankful we will be able to stay around here, even if we do end up moving houses.
  3. Life on a ranch–especially if you don’t own it, but even if you do–is a very uncertain thing. At any moment, the ranch could be sold, a wildfire could start, the bottom could fall out of the cow market…so many things. So, like everyone else, we’re rolling with the punches, and if that means we’ll end up living in three different houses in a four-month span, okie doke.
  4. Have you heard of these sunglasses? I got Bert a pair for his birthday, and they’re really cool. They’re made out of (sustainably-harvested) wood, so they’re mega light, but they’re also polarized, and the hinge on the side goes both ways so they fit so nicely. I’m putting a pair on my Christmas wish list!
  5. I am having the hardest time figuring out what to get Buster for Christmas. I know it’s early, but we like to be prepared. We’re definitely getting him a little chair to match Wacey’s, but other than that I’m stumped.  He already has plenty of toys, clothes, and shoes. Is it okay to get a “group gift” that Wacey can play with now but that Buster won’t be able to play with for a while yet? I mean, he’ll be nine months old, so he won’t know if he doesn’t get a bunch of stuff, but still.
  6. I’m currently reading the first book of Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, and oh, it’s so good. If you like: Downton Abbey, World War I, the Russian Revolution, politics, Votes for Women…read it.
  7. Antelope season happened, and someone cleaned an antelope sort of by the house, and now there’s an antelope hide in my yard. #cool.
  8. Wacey has started talking about Santa and Christmas trees and oh my heart, I am so excited for Christmas this year. One of the things I’ve caught myself doing as we’ve been interviewing (nonstop since July, it feels like) is decide where the Christmas tree would go in all the houses, so I guess he’s my kid. He’s got Bert’s eyes, and general everything, so I’m glad he’s got my love of the holidays. We may have watched The Santa Clause today because he wanted to see Santa.
  9. Roasts are so cozy. So we’re having one! Recipe on my insta-stories later today.
  10. Why are there not more remote jobs, or why are they so hard to find if they exist? #ugh.
  11. As part of my #RuralWellnessChallenge, I have been looking at my diet a little more closely and after reading this post, I have been looking at added sugar, and yiiiiikes. It’s in everything! I’m trying to keep added sugar to 25 grams or less most of the time (except for when, say, we’re checking waters on Sunday and I demolish a bag of Sugar Babies), and gosh, that could be tough. Sugar is in everything it seems, from even “healthy” cereals to Wheat Thins to ketchup and jarred pasta sauce, and I thought I knew but oh man I did not.
  12. I want so desperately to be an ace DIY-er, but you know, I’m just not. That being said, I will DIY the heck outta something if I hate it and can’t replace it, so maybe I’m an Angry DIY-er? Hmm. What does it say about me that my primary motivation for home improvement stems from anger, annoyance, and general discontentment? I’ve decided I don’t care, because I will take any motivation I can get.

Happy Monday! It’s going to be a good week. I can feel it. I’ll be back Wednesday with the oft-promised Antibiotics post (riveting, I know, but I know you have questions!) so check back then!

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#RuralWellnessChallenge Week 2

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Hiiiii! End of Week 2. I feel pretty good about this week. I’m starting to feel stronger, and a little bit sore, which is great. My pants aren’t fitting any better yet, but I think a lot of that has to do with my diet (and only being committed for two weeks, ha), so I need to lock that down. Today I did my big grocery trip, and it felt so good  to fill up our the cart with lots of protein, cheese, whole wheat bread, veggies, and fruit. Our produce situation was pretty bad last week since I was late getting to the store, so now I just want to eat, like, Honeycrisp apples and cucumber.

Best Day: Wednesday, with over 12,000 steps, 55 active minutes, and 39 floors.
Worst Day: Yesterday–we had some #adulting to do so I didn’t get a workout in.
Proud that: I finished the week much stronger than I have in a long time.
Not proud that: I only got 4/5 days on D15 again. Apparently that’s my weak spot, so I think I need to shoot for Sun-Thurs instead of Mon-Fri since by the end of the week I’m over it.
Next week’s goal: 5/5 days for D15 and more fruits and vegetables.

I’m starting to get a little more enthusiastic about my heath and wellness, and I think being accountable has a lot to do with it!

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#RuralWellnessChallenge Week 1

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Heeeey guys hey! It’s the end of Week 1 of my Rural Wellness Challenge. Y’all, it was a great week in lots of ways but also a little rough. I got 4/5 days on walks and D15, but all days on my squats. Definitely room for improvement!

Best Day: Tuesday with nearly 12,000 steps, 27 floors, and 54 active minutes
Worst Day: probably today.
Proud that: I squeezed in some workouts around weird schedules and funky weather.
Not proud that: I only got 4/5 days.
Next week’s goal: 5/5 days for D15 and walks, plus trying to remember to eat more protein!

I’m in a funky place where I’m having trouble staying motivated as the week goes on. I think it’s partially due to lack of planning, and needing to be smarter about which days I choose to take off. The good news is that I can just keep trying for better! My end goal for exercise is to be as active as I was before Buster’s third trimester–consistently exercising 4-5 days a week (with a mix of cardio/HIIT/weights), and averaging 70,000+ steps per week and 45 active minutes per exercise day–so baby steps! Everything counts. One day at a time. Begin again. All those things!

 

 

 

Personal

October #RuralWellnessChallenge

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It’s October, which for me is the beginning of the holiday season (no matter how much Bert reminds me that this is actually not true, since I willfully ignore him) and oh, the joy.

I don’t mean Christmas lights and jingle bells, but just the general feeling of celebration and the delicious anticipation of what’s coming. We have lots of family birthdays in the fall, including Bert’s this month and mine next month, and this year is also my ten-year highschool reunion and Buster’s first Christmas! Cue allll the high-pitched squealing.

Thus, I find myself renewed each year in October. I love anticipation and surprising and giving gifts and having things up my sleeve (I’ve already started the sneaky Christmas planning and ooooooh it’s delicious), so I thrive this time of year. Okay, this quarter of the year. I love the coolness of the mornings and evenings, the crispness of the breeze, and yes, my fall wardrobe. I also love not being immediately sweaty hauling my children and all.the.stuff around because gosh these boys.

I’ve decided to take advantage of all this energy and cheer I get and set myself a little workout challenge. In the spirit of full disclosure I’m happy to tell you that yes, I am also a little motivated by aforementioned reunion and wardrobe.

So, I’ll be posting each day on IG with whatever little exercise tidbit I feel compelled to share, but let’s get real: expect a lot of terrible selfies and pictures of Gaucho, my main workout buddy. My goals are pretty simple, since following a rigid exercise and diet plan absolutely does not work for me. I have to have varied workouts (save walks, which are my favorite), and can’t stand a workout schedule which is hilarious because I enjoy a schedule like other people enjoy a good glass of wine or a massage.

I’ve lost all the baby weight but not the baby inches and I don’t feel as strong as I would like. Thus, this month’s goal is a little bit of increased activity and a lot of increased exercise that isn’t walking, haha. Because we live in such a rural area, I’ll be sharing how I stay healthy (and get healthier) without the daily exercise classes, large group of workout buddies, any sort of gym, or smoothie/health food restaurants that I relied upon when I lived in town, and also how I work exercise and wellness into routine ranch tasks!

Exercise goals:
1. 5 walks or equivalent per week. I had hip surgery oh, a decade ago, so running is not in the cards for me, and I absolutely cannot stomach jumping up and down in front of a television alone every day. I exercise best outside since it feeds my soul, too, and it’s a great option since we have a whole lotta outside round there here parts. I know walking is not the very best cardio, but I get my heart rate up to 165 pushing the double stroller up all the hills around our house, so I feel like it’s not completely worthless. I’m also committing to taking the (much) hillier route if I don’t have the boys to make myself work harder. I tend to walk for 45+ minutes when I’m with the boys, longer if I’m alone.

My “equivalent” would be a PiYo workout, or several short PopSugar workouts. Sometimes the weather is too poor for a walk or we’re just not feeling it, so that’s when I’ll get a different type of workout in. Cardio is where I most miss having a workout buddy or a class, but unless I’m going to get one of the cows to learn TurboKick, I’m alone.

2. MommaStrong D15 5x per week. These are 15-minute HIIT workouts geared towards women (particularly mothers) and whole-body wellness. Lots of planks, lunges, and bodyweight exercises. They’re different every day, and the stretch portion has a daily lesson which feeds my soul. I feel better when I do these workouts consistently. I can’t even tell you how much I love this gal and the community she’s built! Try it.

3. Squat challenge. I know there are different feelings about challenges, but I love a squat challenge. This is mostly for quick results for my own personal narcissistic benefit. Again, we’re real here, and I really like it when my hiney isn’t sad, which it always is after having a baby and sitting all the time feeding aforementioned baby and recovering from the birth of said baby and also being tired from hauling around el gordo bambino. Also, I know this challenge only works your muscles one way, but this challenge is really just a supplement to the daily HIIT workouts and all.those.hills.

Food goals:
We already eat reasonably well, so my main goal this month is less carbs, particularly of the simple variety. I don’t have anything against carbs AT ALL because bread and pasta are *just died from happiness* but I’ve noticed that I’ve been snacking on crackers and chips and other simple junk waaaaay too much and would prefer to fill that late-afternoon hangry hole with fruits and veggies and protein. My go-tos are salted cucumber slices or carrots with cheese or turkey, or an apple and peanut butter. I’d also like to find a sweet treat (maybe mini Yorks or some dark chocolate?) to have on hand when I need something sweet so I don’t a) eat a bag of chips or b) raid Wacey’s special stash of mini M&Ms.

So. More fruits, veggies, protein. Less Ritz, Wheat Thins, and Ruffles. Don’t eat Wacey’s treats. Done.

Posting goals:
Every Saturday I’d like to post about the week: things that went well, things that didn’t, and goals for the following week. I’m hoping that all this posting will help hold me accountable!

Other goals:
Because this is primarily a wellness challenge, another part of this goal is to do things that add good into the world–it does good all around. So each day I plan to send a message, share a post, or do a little something nice for a stranger because gosh, we need more good.

There it is. I’ll be using the hashtag #RuralWellnessChallenge if you want to join with your own challenge or follow along!!

 

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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.