Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! It’s one of our favorite days of the week (duh, #basic, whatever). Even though neither one of us has a traditional job with a traditional workweek, everything just seems lighter on a Friday.

Plus, not to be a summer humbug or anything, but every Friday that goes by is another week closer to not being hot and worrying about rattlesnakes. Fine, just label this Take 1 from Confessions of a Summer Humbug.

I’m so grateful to be getting back into the swing of things, so here’s a sort-of-celebratory Friday Favorites post! These are all things that I’m currently loving.

Favorite Face: Beautycounter Cleansing Milk. I love this, truly, which is sort of a big deal because I was a little sad when I got it because I usually order their Nourishing Cream Cleanser, and this doesn’t smell nearly as good (my one criticism of this product!). But, good golly it works. It gets my skin clean without drying it out–the first cleanser I’ve ever tried to do so! I’m trying to simplify my skincare both in terms of products and ingredients, and this is a permanent part of my lineup. At least until I have another baby and my skin changes completely again.

cleansing milk
Favorite Drinker: Yeti Rambler. Bert got me one of these for Mother’s Day customized with our brand (as I’m sure you know since I hardly hide my love for it on Insta), but I really do love it. It’s huge, but not too too, and fits in a cupholder. You put ice in this baby and hours and hours later, it’s still there. Icy-cold water is one of my love languages, and so I want like, five more of these.

yeti tumbler

Favorite Thing: Yeti Tundra 45. I got Bert this bad boy for Father’s Day (one of those “I want one so I’m getting you one so I can use it” sort of affairs) because, well, all the other kids have one, and please see all comments above re: Rambler except for the cupholder part. Keeps things cold for literally days. Expensive as hell, worth every penny. I want another to keep in my car for when I go to town. Specifically a pink one. Or one of the new ones with wheels.
yeti coolerFavorite #NerdAlert: North Point Media’s There & Back Again Podcast. I love podcasts. I love book series. So you can imagine how I feel about a podcast that talks about one of my favorite series of books! I love learning more about Tolkien and the universe he created and all of the nerdy things that go along with that. I’m not a mega-super-nerd, but I love stories, and I’m re-reading the LOTR series to follow along with this podcast so you decide. He also has one for Harry Potter, and the Outlander series, ps.
tabagin
Favorite Summery Pasta Salad: Herby Couscous salad. So, couscous is a pasta, in case you are like me and have been going through life believing it was a rice. It is not. Thus, this is a pasta salad and it is delicious. Bright and fresh and would be so good with herbs from your garden if you are not like me and have a garden. Worth mentioning though is that Bert didn’t love it. Like at all. So, it’s not on the dinner menu but it’s delicious cold so it’s perfect for lunch! Which is what it’s supposed to be for, so…
couscous salad
Favorite Worky-Outy-Thing: Nike Dri-Fit Sports Bra. So, disclaimer, I didn’t actually buy this. I was given a pile of them by my beloved best friend who is a collegiate athletic trainer and gets tons of team gear and passes some of it on to me because she’s amazing and one person can’t possibly wear 1000 sports bras. I love these. They are so soft–with other sports bras, I’ve had problems with chafing underneath my arms and on my sides, but not with these–and their length is perfect. Also they are constructed in such a way that Sports Bra Uniboob isn’t as pronounced, and they come in both normal colors and crazy colors depending on how much hoo-rah you need to get your workout done. Verdict: I’d actually buy these, and probably will if I ever run out.
sports bra
Favorite Yes I’m Shocked Too: Frankincense Essential Oil. So, I am not a woo-woo crystals type of gal, and I’m very wary of things claiming to be toxic or not toxic or green or more natural, etc. since a lot of the time those claims aren’t true. I did order a starter kit from Young Living, though, mostly out of curiosity and because they were on sale. and my good friend made a small commish. I’m sort of hooked, and want to try more. No, I don’t think they are a substitute for modern medicine, and yes, I think lots of people overstate their use and/or efficacy. But let me tell you what–this little oil has made a huge difference in my skin. I will keep buying it because, like I said before, I’m trying to simplify my skincare. I mix a drop or two with jojoba oil to use as a moisturizer, and apply neat on blemishes. My skin has never been so luminous, less flaky (to be fair I know this is in part due to the new cleanser, but this is also making a huge difference!), and it actually works to help heal zits. So, while I’m not totally jumping in the essential oils deep end, I’m sticking a toe in the kiddie pool and so far, I’m liking it.

frankFavorite Car Snacky Snack: Rx Bars. One thing I am sure about, though, is that there is so much sugar in so many foods! I really noticed it in Canada, where I’d have something that they have here, but it was so much less sweet (and typically much tastier), so I’m sort of on a mission to remove as much excess sugar from our diets. If I’m eating sugar, I don’t want it to be in a granola bar, or in yogurt, or in peanut butter. I want it to be in ice cream and cookies and cakes and candy and sugar straight out of the jar, you know the little lumps of brown sugar? #ragingsweettooth. Anyways. I love Rx bars and have added them to my monthly subscribe & save order. I picked one up for the first time in the airport a few weeks ago, and I’m hooked! My favorite flavor, of course, is one of the sweeter ones (Mixed Berry), but it has no added sugar, and that’s what I’m focusing on (first–baby steps!). I’m looking forward to trying more of their flavors because I love to keep bars on hand since we are often eating snack in the car (a habit that I hate but that is nearly impossible when everything is at least an hour’s drive). I also love that if things are frantic at home and I can tell hangry is right around the corner, I can grab one and be a better human.
rx barFavorite Kid Thing: Joey. So, last time they were here, my in-laws brought this for Wace. It’s basically a magnetic paper doll, and while I thought it was cool I wasn’t sure if it was something he’d be super into for more than a day or two. Friends, I was so wrong. He loves it, and we’ve taken to having some one-on-one time each evening before bed playing with Joe–he’s made bedtime so much easier because Wace really looks forward to it and I enjoy that time so much with him, since most of the day is spent trying to keep him and Buster for assaulting each other. We put on each outfit, talk to Joey about it a little, and it’s adorable and is great for those fine-motor skills and imagination muscles. When we’ve done each one, we put everything away, Wacey covers Joe with his “blanket” (an infant washcloth), and–I kid you not–gives him a kiss after tucking him in. It’s adorable. They don’t have very many of these, but I think we definitely need to get him another one–Julia looks like a nice gal, and I think we can always use another feminine influencel around this tiny frathouse.
joeyFavorite Tiny-Bit-Shocked-That-Something-So-Cheap-Is-This-Awesome: Kroser Laptop Backpack. Before I went to Vancouver, I decided I needed a better carry-on situation for all of my things. I don’t have a satchel big enough for my gargantuan laptop (I’m a 17″ type of gal) and I wanted to minimize the hot mess-ness that is inevitably Cassidy in the Airport. So, All Paths Lead to Amazon and I found this guy for less than $40 and I love it. It has pockets for everything, and my megatron laptop fits in the compartment even if I keep it in the sleeve. It has a charger thingy that I bet is real cool but I need to figure out how to use it, and a couple of pockets in the front that make you look real slick when you need to produce your travel documents or credit card in a hurry. Now, it’s a straight-up backpack. It’s not beautiful, but it’s not ugly, and does the job perfectly. Of course, if it were made of hair-on hide it would be perfect, but this is a solid 9/10 and makes running to the next gate so much easier. Just hike that baby up and go.
backpackFavorite Apparel: Embroidered Tunic. I don’t need to say much about this top except that it’s beautiful, makes me feel like a million bucks, and is currently sold out but that’s okay because this little boutique has the most amazing things at really surprising prices. Get thee over there, fellow embroidery lover!
pink embroidered top

Favorite upgrade: Adirondack chairs. We finally got a couple of new (plastic) Adirondack chairs to replace our grody ones on the front porch and they are wonderful. They are super comfy, and look nice. Granted, they’re not the solid-wood versions. But, I don’t want the wood versions. I want the plastic versions so that when they inevitable become pulled over by a child, they just cause said child to be pissed off instead of injured. Now, you might be saying “But Cassidy, a child couldn’t pull over a wooden Adirondack chair,” to which I’d say “But Gentle Reader, Buster weighs over 30 pounds and has the most shocking strength you’ve ever seen. He’s like a tiny, less tan Hulk. I promise you he will get it done.” To which you’d say “Touche.” Because it’s true. Anyways, I digress. These chairs are fab, the mini version are great too, and we are getting two more because no one wants to sit in the sad old ones anymore and now they look even sadder. Someday we’ll get wooden ones. That decade is not this decade.
adirondack chair
Happy Friday, team! I hope your week was great and that you have some amazing things planned for the pre-Fourth weekend. We have an exciting weekend full of a birthday party or two, caking cattle and checking water, and (God willing) a little hanging of things on the walls because our house is still bare and it makes me feel like I live in a tan mental institution. In the best sense, of course.

God Bless America, and Amazon Prime.

Family · On The Ranch

A Family Affair

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Do you remember going with your parents on “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” or when you had a day off from school? I grew up in the city–Denver–and remember those days so well! I remember camping out under the conference room table at my mom’s office, eating snacks, or playing dolls and listening to CCR with my dad in his office while he worked.

When we bring our kids to work, they may not get fun snacks in a conference room table fort, or get to have their own desk to “work” on, but they have a ball and we’re lucky that on a ranch, there’s a whole lot of “Take Your Kid to Work Days!”

A couple of weekends ago, we preg-checked our fall-calving cows (to see who was pregnant and who was not) and it was so  fun. I didn’t really help, to be sure–the boys and I showed up late (but can you blame us, the vet was there at 6:15!) and mostly just went because we just love working cattle. The boss’ whole family was there, too, with some of the neighbors and the owners, so we had 70+ years between the oldest (the owner) and the youngest (Buster).

The kids were pushing the cows from the tub to the chute, the neighbors were pushing the cows up the alley to the tub, the vet was doing his thing, Bert was running the chute, the owner and his wife were vaccinating and taking care of the records, the boss was checking teeth*, and his wife was making sure the kids were actually helping, and taking over when they needed a hand. I was taking pictures, offering encouragement and bad jokes, and we were all holding Buster, haha.

The kids only hit each other in the face with the flags a couple of times, one of the girls got peed on by a cow but only a little bit, the owner’s wife made the most delicious snickerdoodles, and Buster didn’t eat too much dirt or dirt-like substances, so we’ll count it as a major success.

Afterwards, everyone got wet (or downright soaked) putting horses in trailers and packing up supplies, but we were so grateful for the rain that not a soul complained, and it made lunch together a little festive. I love that we get to spend time together, and that it’s always a family affair when it comes to this ranching gig.

Except when it’s reaaaaalllll hot outside. Then I’m busy. With something inside. I won’t always have the excuse of “it’s too hot for the baby!” but you’d better bet I’m going to use it while I can.

*as cattle get older, their teeth can get worn down or fall out altogether, and that can make it hard for them to eat, so we check teeth to make sure they are living their best life. Plus, our country is so rocky that their teeth can wear down faster!

 

 

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.
    dusty rose new balance
  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.
    marg
  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.