Monday, December 31, 2007

Closing Out Another Year

Hard to believe that I have already turned all 12 pages in my present calendar! Seems like only yesterday I was graduating from college. That was 21 years ago! Yikes! Guess I'm showing my age!

My BIL and his kiddos are heading to Granny and Grandpa's this afternoon. They'll be back on Thursday for one more night. I love my family, but I am tired of company.

We are celebrating DH's birthday today as well. He started his day by cutting the colts this morning with his brother. Then they'll do a little hunting and shoot some shotgun together. We made Auntie's Chocolate Cake for his birthday and it's doubtful there will be much left at the end of the day. Don't know who Auntie is, but she has an awesome recipe for chocolate cake! Thought we might go out, but seeing as it's New Year's Eve, we would rather stay home.

It's almost a given that we won't be ringing in the New Year at midnight. After all the company we've had over the holidays, we will be snoozing by 9. I figure it's midnight in New York by then and that's good enough for me.

I am looking forward to 2008, but being a scrapbooker, I tend to reflect on the past as well.

This has been a good year. The things that matter the most are all intact:

1. My realtionship with Christ is growing
2. My family is healthy and happy and safe
3. My marriage and love for DH is amazing
4. My children are a constant joy
5. I am surrounded by incredible friends
6. I love my life

I am truly blessed!

May you all have a very safe, healthy and blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not as Young as I Used to Be

Having 4 extra people in this house (for a total of 8 and 1 bathroom) and 3 of them being young children has brought me to the realization that I'm not as young as I used to be. I am tired.

Oh ~ so ~ tired!

I want to curl up under my treasured flannel quilt, sink into that precious Tempur-Pedic mattress and hibernate...

until March....

no, make that April.

Today I was in my PJs until 9:00! That's unheard of! I could not find time to take a shower. I was up at 6 folding laundry (love that new washing machine!) and straightening up the chaos that comes with having little children in the house again. It's been a long time since I stepped on a stray Lego and was asaulted by a plastic dinosaur.

I started the bacon, made homemade pancakes, washed grapes, cut up a pineapple, set the table and started hugging little sleepy children as they stumbled from their warm nests.

The minute breakfast is devoured, they were clamoring for colored pencils, crayons and coloring pages. DH and his brother visited as children climbed up and down from laps and new yo-yo tricks were displayed. I headed to my ever familiar kitchen and began yet another load of dishes ~ in my pjs. I have forgotten how difficult it is to get a shower when there are litle ones around.

After gathering up shoes and coats and guns and ammo and safety glasses and shooting vests and children, 4 of the 8 persons head out for another morning of quail hunting and DS entertained cousin number 2 and 3 while I snuck off for that much anticipated shower ~ finally!

Much better!

And yep, you guessed it, I'm back in the kitchen. Ribs in the oven. Baked Potatoes to be wrapped. Bread to make. Vegetables to chop.

This afternoon we're making lollipops! My niece and I went into town yesterday in search of shoes. She made it to our home with only 1 pair of pretty white dress shoes. So while the boys went quail hunting and DD and DS went to their 4-H Officer meeting, she and I ventured into town. She's such a fun kid and we found the coolest shoes! Wish they had these in my size!

Then we stopped in at Starbucks for some hot chocolate and a piece of lemon poundcake before hitting the aisles of Hobby Lobby (for smilie face lollipop molds), the scrapbook store, the kitchen store and the feed store. At the library we scooped up the remaining patches of snow and had an impromptu snowball fight. Made me wish mine were that age again.

Oh yeah! I forgot! I'm not as young as I used to be and I am tired.

Now Dh and his brother, DS and cousin #1 have gone off to shoot Skeet and Trap. I have since tackled the enormous stack of dishes and am about to begin making DH's birthday cake (he's a New Year's Eve baby). Cousin #2 and 3 are sharing their sidewalk chalk artistic inspiration with all the barn cats out on the concrete slab. The cats will have their very own version of the Louve within the next 30 minutes. Our cats are very well rounded and quite sophisticated!

Wish I could share some of the darling pictures I have taken, but since these little stinkers are not mine, I had better not post them here. Suffice it to say, they are way too cute for their own good!

Tonight we are having homemade Chicken Quesadillas with Guacamole and chips. After that we'll be busy with baths and then popcorn and a movie sounds like a good choice. I'm hoping to make my way towards that flannel quilt by 9. Seven sounds better, but I don't think that'll happen.

Oh goodness! There goes the phone! A new neighbor and an old friend wants us to go out with them tomorrow night.

I need my sleep. After all, I'm not as young as I used to be!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tired and Sad

I'm tired today. The Saturday before Christmas we went to my In-laws'.

Then on Sunday, my parents arrived.

They pulled out yesterday. I jumped in the truck and headed to town as soon as they pulled out to hunt for a new washing machine. Mine suddenly chose to retire 2 days before Christmas and DH couldn't fix it. If he can't fix something then it simply can't be fixed. As soon as I brought it home, he hooked it up and I threw in the first of many loads. I can already hear it complaining in it's washer language, "Gee. I wish she had just left me at the store. Doesn't this family ever stop doing laundry?!"

Today my brother-in-law and his 3 little rascals drove in. They'll be here through Monday. I love my brother-in-law and his kids are so sweet and cute, but they are 5, 7 and 9 and it's been a long time since our's were that age. I'm not as young as I used to be and I'm afraid I'm showing my age ~ I'm tired.

I'm sad too. I had a long overdue visit with a very dear friend this morning and she told me that she and her husband were divorcing. It just breaks my heart. We cried and laughed and added another strand to our friendship bond. I told her that I missed her and she said that she was afraid that I would judge her. I was hurt and I told her so. I thought she knew me better than that. My friends are so precious to me. Of course we do not always agree on everything, but for some reason, that makes our friendship even richer. We still respect each other's perspectives and support each other. We have poured our hearts out to each other through the years and we have each grown in different ways. If we weren't growing, we wouldn't be living. Everything that God created and breathed life into must grow. It's a necessary part of life, but growing pains aren't reserved solely for children and I am sad and mourn this loss.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It's here! Whether we're ready or not.

I'm ready.

Or not.

But I did get it together enough to get out all of our Christmas cards ~ with photos and my annual Christmas Poem. Each year I think I'll forgo my holiday poem, but almost every card we receive mentions how much they look forward to it each year so each year I squeeze out another one.

Edited at the request of a sweet friend:

Family Christmas 2007

A Thanksgiving snow kicked off the season this year
It put us all in the Christmas mood you can bet
It’s hard to believe that it’s December already
I must be getting older…nah, surely not yet!

We’re decorating the house and planning the baking
Playing “O Holy Night” and “Deck The Hall”
The gifts are being wrapped and placed under the tree
Keeping Christ’s birth in the center of it all.

We look forward to hearing from friends far and near
And catching up with your family news
The letters and cards that arrive each day
Bring smiles and stories that amuse.

As for us, we’ve been truly blessed
The rains were abundant and plentiful this year
The cattle are fat and the pastures are green
Fuel prices are our only real fear.

At 6’3 we must look up to grin at Tyler
He loves to hunt, shoot shotgun and plays a mean guitar
He’s a junior this year, taking college class too
His dream of attending the Air Force Academy will surely take him far.

At 14, Caitlin is now taller than I
4-H and piano keep her on the move
She’s working with colts and shoots like a champ
And she loves riding as part of the crew.

Gary still works 24/7
He’s always got a project going
Starting the colts, gathering cattle
Forging metal and keeping water flowing.

My days are busy, filled with so much
Schooling. scrapping and cooking for the crew
I like to sneak out and snap a few photos
Whenever I have the opportunity to.

Here’s hoping that this year finds you all well
May blessings abundantly flow your way
May your Christmas be merry, your New Year be bright
Here’s wishing you a magical holiday!

Then there's the photo. I am running out of ideas, but I do like these. I had planned to shoot them in black and white or sepia, but the morning light was so pretty. Couldn't pick just one to share. It was so-o-o-0 cold when we took these ~ about 22 degrees. DS chose not to wear a coat becuase he thought the picture would turn out better for me. Poor kid. I told him to wear his coat, but he wouldn't budge so we walked across the water lot and he stood out there freezing. I snapped away as fast as possible and then we all scurried back to the saddle house to put the tack away and made a beeline for the warmth of the house.

Love this one with Primo's tongue sticking out. He's worse than a little kid!

I hope that all of you have a magical Christmas. May you be richly blessed by the Lord's presence during all of your holiday celebrations and in the coming New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Finally Got to That Baking

Whew! With all the holiday bustle, I was beginning to question whether my baking list was ever going to move from the paper to the oven. Each year I resolve to start the holiday preparations earlier and be more organized and each year I find myself procrastinating. I have good intentions. Hope that counts for something!

So, I am applauding the fact that the baking was accomplished and I thought I would share a few of the photos of our goodies. A few photos are missing because we simply devoured said sweet before I remembered to snap a photo. Even though I am posting this late (remember, I am a master procrastinator), and you are all sick of holiday sweets (we are too), I am posting it anyway. I baked it and took pictures and had to endure the teasings of my family for taking pictures of food so I am posting:
Here are our Peanut Clusters
And our 2 fudge varieties:

Here's our Christmas elf with the Pretzel Rolo Thingies:

Our Dipped Pretzels that take way too long to make:

And last but not least, our Gingerbread Cowboys!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Over the River & Through the Woods

Today we headed out in search of the perfect tree.

Yes, I am well aware that it is December 22.

Yes, I realize that Christmas is only 3 days away.

And yes, I know that I am behind schedule.

I really don't need to be reminded.

Today was the only day we could get anywhere near a tree. And seeing as we live in an area that is completely devoid of trees, we had to drive 100 miles, crossing over a river and walking through the woods in order to complete our mission.

In the process, we spent a very enjoyable day with Granny & Grandpa who happen to live in the mountains.

We awoke this morning to find a dusting of snow upon the ground, packed up and headed west. We were greeted by hugs and a platter of Granny's homemade cookies and Christmas candy.

My mother-in-law is an awesome cook and her baked goods are out of this world. I tried to resist the tempting offerings, but it was all in vain. I am weak and Granny's goodies are irrisistable...mmmmm!

I couldn't cook a lick when DH and I married. He really took his chances. He was spoiled since he grew up with a master cook for a mom. My mom is a wonderful cook as well. I had big shoes to fill on both sides. Took me a while, but I had the best teachers and DH was a great guinea pig.
So back to our main objective.

Grandpa jumped in with us and pointed us in the direction of the perfect tree. We all bailed out and began wandering around in circles. Except for DH. He always knows where he's going:Actually, I was probably the only one wandering around in circles. I am not known for my sense of direction so when the Whoops were heard, I followed and they lead me right to the perfect tree. Then it was my turn to Whoop until everyone was gathered together. I wouldn't have minded if it had taken longer. The weather was cold, yet exhilirating, and the mountain air was intoxicating, but our hunt had reached the end.
Will this one do?
DH is the man for the job:
It's a group effort...
The tree looks small in DS's hands. He's 6'3 though and that tree is over 7' tall.
Hope the pickup's not too far...

When we returned back to Granny's, the welcoming aroma of fresh, hot rolls and Crock-Pot Pizza had us all clamoring to the table. Our meal was complete with a crisp green salad and a new recipe she got from her twin sister. It was a corn salad that looked a bit odd and not very appetizing, but oh my ~ was it ever delicious! Must have that recipe. Oh, may we also have the recipe for that fabulous Peanut Brittle?Then it was time for pie! Granny makes the bestest pies in all the land and even I, who is not a pie person, can not resist her apple pies.

We all ate too much and then went back for more. Will we ever learn?

Alas, we had to turn back towards home, but our quest had been successful and it had been a wonderful day! Now we are off to trim the tree!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Colt School

Our baking took a detour, before it even got started, on Saturday morning.

Ranch life leads itself to detours on a regular basis. Never know when DH might need an extra hand sewing up a prolapsed cow, mending a water gap, pulling a windmill, making an emergency run to the vet or climbing up into the attic when the roof blows off (that's a post for another time).

So through the years I have learned to fly by the seat of my pants and I must admit that I have become quite adept at the sudden-change-of-plans-lets-move-on- to-plan B (or C or D)-lifestyle. I will also admit that I love every minute of it!

I make plans. I am a list maker, but those plans are always made out in pencil and I go through a lot of erasers.

So baking was put on the back burner in order to begin halter breaking the colts.

Hard to believe that anyone would choose to venture out into the cold, cruel world to work with colts when it is a frigid 19 degrees. Hard to believe, but the weather does not deter the rancher I am married to. DD however, was a bit hesitant about spending the wintery morning outdoors. Hesitation lost out though and after making numerous trips back into the house to add yet another shirt, coat, wildrag and ear muffs; she eagerly joined her Daddy in their early morning quest to begin breaking the colts. The freezing temperatures soon took a back seat to her passion for equines. I contemplated joining them, but it was a battle. Did I really want to subject myself to the numbing cold or should I just stay in my warm, cozy kitchen with my mug of hot tea? Stay or Go? Go or stay?

Alas, my passion for photography pulled me outdoors and towards the pens. There is something absolutely magical that transpires between DH and a horse when they work together. I have spent many a hour in an attempt to capture that relationship. Sir Winston Churchill once said:

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man".

That quote fits my husband to a T. My daughter is inflicted as well.

This spring we had 7 colts ( 4 fillies and 3 horse colts). We usually end up halter breaking them and beginning ground work in December.

DH is using a white flag (or in this case a grocery sack because I need to sew him a flag) to desensitize this little colt. At this point is it 19 degrees which explains why DH is well insulated.

Then they move into the little round pen and work on getting the colt to face up and flex.

There is no place she'd rather be:

DD and the colt are both in training. They're both good students and quick learners.

DD can talk to the animals. I'm pretty certain she is related to Dr. Doolittle:

I don't know about you, but the promised warmth of a hot mug of tea is calling my name and I'm heading back to the house!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Let the Baking Begin!

Ooohhhh ~ I love this time of year! I love everything about it. I love hauling the boxes from the shed and rediscovering our treasured decorations in each one. I love wrapping the colorful packages and bedecking them with ribbon and bows. I love cutting a tree and revisiting the stories behind the ornaments. I love celebrating the birth of our Savior. I love selecting the carefully chosen gifts. I love the magic of the season. I really love it when it snows and I love the mouth watering smells that waft through the house when we are in the midst of our Christmas baking extravaganza!

This weekend is the designated baking weekend. I have toyed with the idea that I should begin baking earlier, but it simply isn't possible in a house filled with cookie monsters. Everyone here has a big sweet tooth ~ in fact I do believe that they are in possession of multiple sweet teeth. When I bake ~ it disappears. Case in point: I baked a double batch of gingersnaps on Wednesday. Today is Friday. Out of 9 dozen cookies here is what is left:

Why 1 cookie?

Thanks for asking.

It's quite simple. No-one wishes to be accused of taking the last cookie. They do not wish to hear me exclaim, "Alright ~ who ate all the cookies!?"

Sigh. Guess I'll be adding another batch of these to my list.

So, tomorrow DD and I will be up to our elbows in flour and sugar and cinnamon and butter and all those wonderful ingredients that can be mixed and stirred and baked into the most heavenly concoctions. You know, the good stuff that is certain to make your belly jiggle like Santa's.

We've got a list like Santa too. All those must haves:

1. Cranberry Sour Cream Pound Cake (this is our annual Birthday Cake for Jesus)

2. Pretzel~ Rolo~Pecan Thingies ( you can make a lot really fast, but they disappear just as fast
as you can make them)

3. Gingerbread Cowboys (an original invention by me!)

4. Mint Fudge (DD found this a few years back and oh good!)

5. Heavenly Fudge (a Christmas staple)

6. Chocolate Caramel Candy (have to give these away or I will eat them all)

7. Sugar Cookies (so much fun to decorate)

8. Dipped Pretzels (these are so pretty on a plate)

9. Peanut Clusters (a favorite from DH's childhood)

We'll weigh a ton by New Year's! Thankfully, we're making lots of plates and baskets to take to neighbors and friends.

I think we're well armed. Don't you?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Do You See What I See?

Last Tuesday DD's life was changed forever. According to her, it will never be the same. What on earth could possibly cause such terror in a teenage girl? Well, at 14, it doesn't take much.
The news came in the form of a phone call. THE phone call.

Cue the sinister music:

Her glasses were ready to be picked up. Oh the wailing that ensued, "Noooooooooo!".

For some time now, she has been complaining about headaches and about her eyes aching when she reads for more than 10 minutes. This kids is a voracious reader. She is currently reading everything by Sherlock Holmes. So I made an appointment and had to drag her to Dr. Greg. After all the lights had been shone, the air had been blown and the charts had been read, he reached a conclusion and she received the dreaded news:

"Let's get you some glasses."

Oh the horror of it all! How unfair! (Remember that DD is 14 ~ everything is accompanied by a bit of drama)

She shuffled to the large display and began her search for her frames reluctantly.

Very reluctantly.

I only added to her grief by snapping a couple of pictures, "M-o-o-o-m-m-m-!"Hey, I'm a scrapbooker! These monumental moments should be documented. I don't think it will cause any permanent damage.

Hey, she actually found a pair that she liked! And they look wonderful! See, you've got good taste kiddo!

What do you see?

No, you do not look like a nerd (although most of them are pretty smart and people just call them that because they're jealous).

No, you do not look like a bookworm (although you are one).

No, you do not look like a scientist (although, what's wrong with that?)

Wish you could see what I see.

I see the beautiful, smart, funny, talented girl that you are and now you can read to your heart's content and give those beautiful eyes a rest.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cowboy Days and Musician Nights

Our son plays the guitar and he's unearthed a musical ability that seems to have eluded his Mom and Dad. His sister plays a mean piano too.

This week he had 2 Christmas Jamborees. Monday was Jamboree #1. It made for a late night as wherever 2 or more musicians gather, music shall be played until the wee hours of the morning or in the case of school age musicians, their parents begin dragging them out the door.

Alas, we were scheduled to work those heifers I wrote about yesterday and those wee hours of the musician's morning were butting heads with the wee hours of the cowboy's morning.

Then enter Jamboree #2 on Tuesday evening. Can we say tired?

Here is David introducing DS and bragging on him. He's only been playing a year and although I think he has incredible talent (of course), it's really neat to hear other people recognize that. DS played some awesome improvisation solos. It's fun to watch his fingers fly over the frets and strings.

The past-bedtime hour was worth it. Two very cool nights of good music. DS's guitar teacher is just phenominal. His passion for music is contagious and he is extraordinarily talented. He teaches not only guitar (acustic, electric, classical, jazz, bass) but drums, piano, fiddle, mandolin and voice. I love it when someone is passionate about what they do for a living.

So the kids just played their hearts out. They played solos and duets and trios and quartets. DD played "Little Drummer Boy" on the piano as a duet with DS and although they bicker when they play at home, they both played harmoniously and were both very pleased with one another. For the quartet, they chose "Angels We Have Heard on High" and it was magical. Yes, he is my kid. Yes, music makes me cry. But it was still just beautiful to hear the 4 different parts come together so sweetly.

For some reason, DS looks mad when he plays. In every picture I snap he looks like he's not having any fun ~ until this one: Ahhh ~ there's a smile!

I guess he's just concentrating ~ way to focus kid! We'll gladly keep balancing those musician nights with those cowboy days. You just keep on strumming!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Vaccinating Heifers and Longing to Go Back to Bed

First off, let me apologize for the quality (or lack thereof) of these photos today. I think my camera is dying a slow death. Then again, the fuzzy spot may simply represent my present state of mind which is quite unclear at the moment.

I think I need to go back to bed.

Tuesday morning started at 4:30. I reluctantly stumbled out from under our flannel quilt and faced the cold, unfriendly kitchen. I rummaged about for the bacon, fumbled for the coffee and sighed when the coffee began to drip to the floor because I had neglected to replace the pot under the spigot. Sigh.

Can I please go back to bed?

Somewhere in the fog that is my mind, I realized that I should probably get dressed before the crew comes jingling in the door in search of a hot breakfast. That took me back to the bedroom where that flannel quilt was mocking me.

Can I please go back to bed?

Doesn't it seem to you that everyone is extremely chipper on mornings when you are not? Sigh.

This morning's agenda consisted of Bang's vaccinating the heifers here at headquarters. We also had to spend the rest of the day in town so I rushed around getting the kitchen cleaned up after breakfast and started dinner before loading the truck with the water bottles (the water here is just plain horrible so we have to haul it from town ~ sure do miss that mountain spring water!) and various asundry.

The sunshine promised to lift my mood and I was loath to head back inside so I grabbed my camera (surprise ~ surprise!) and trotted towards the fun. The crew had already gathered the heifers (a heifer is a young female calf that has not yet given birth) and were waiting for the vet to arrive. Finding themselves with some downtime, they shared stories (cowboys are voracious storytellers) and were entertained by Clint's bag of rope tricks. This is one talented cowboy folks. Not only is he good with a rope ~ he's got a voice that will knock you out, he can tell stories that will make you spew your tea across the table, he's a very talented guitar player, he's wicked smart and he's a heck of a hand with a horse. Sorry ladies ~ he's married to the coolest gal!

Suddenly everyone else wants to get in on the action:

Notice Clint's stance and skeptical expression. He doesn't hold much confidence in their abilities. Looks like they'll need a bit more practice:

How's that go again?

At this point, my cookly-duties called and I had to scamper back to the house and get dessert in the oven. My dessert loving crew would never forgive me if they had to go without.

I hurridly peel apples, mix the topping and pop it into the oven, glance longingly at the unmade bed and make my way back out to the pens. I can hear the cattle bawling in protest as they are herded through the alley and arrive to find my handsome cowboy working the chute. It takes some finesse and timing in order to make all those levers do what you want them to do. I do not possess either the timing or finesse. They open when I want them to close and they squeeze when I want them to release. Behind the camera is a good place for me to be.

DH gives a shot of Bovishield which is a vaccination for 7 different maladies ~don't ask me which 7 ~ IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) and 6 something or others.

Clint sprays them with that purple stuff ~ it's called Cydectin and it protects against a broad spectrum of internal parasites and eternal parasites including the Ostertagia Ostertagi or more commonly known as the the brown stomach worm. Eww!

Then they receive a brand on their hip...

While the vet gives them a Bang's (guards against Brucellosis ~ a bacterial disease that can cause the cow to abort her calf ) vaccination, a tatoo and an ear tag on the other side of the chute:

Behind the scenes, Grandpa and Dave bring up small bunches of heifers and let them mosey into the chute. We don't work our cattle fast and furious. We are easy with them and try to keep the stress to a minimum. They bawl a lot, but 3 minutes later they are happy as clams. They're a lot like children.

Here's DD manning the alley. She nudges the reluctant youngsters towards the chute:

Here are DD and DS working the gate. They make a pretty good team when they forget that they are siblings, teenagers, in the midst of adolescence and are just part of the crew:

It's been a long day. Can I go back to bed now?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...