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New Mehico

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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.