Archive: July 2012

Olympic Bound!

posted by Chelsea

Last week was our local PRCA rodeo and all of the events that go along with it.  Included in those events were two parades, a kiddie parade…

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…and a regular parade full with rodeo queens, community floats, and the like.  On Friday the girls were in the kiddie parade with some of our friends.  We had plans for them to be dressed in red, white and blue leotards as olympic gymnasts.  But life is busy and when Jessie found red, white and blue short/tank sets at Wally World we decided they could be “Olympic Bound”… future olympians!

The girls were delighted with their new outfits and were even more delighted when Jessie painted their faces….

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Lucy sported a flower…

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Codi, a flag…

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Katelyn, a star….

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Kylee, a heart…

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And even “baby” JoLee got in on the action with a heart on her cheek…

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Here’s the whole Olympic Bound Crew… ready for some parade action….

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And here they are making their debut… very similar to the opening ceremony, if you will….

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They were quite the Olympic team. In fact, they were such a team they even earned a bronze medal  for their efforts!

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Cooper didn’t get in on the action, well, no worries…..

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….he supervised the whole thing!











To Do List

posted by Chelsea

We have company coming tomorrow!  Buck’s Grandma Carolee and Aunt Jean are coming for a visit.  We haven’t see Grandma Carolee in almost two years!!  And this is their first visit to our “new” house.   Needless to say, we can’t wait to see them.

After a busy weekend full of all sorts of rodeo festivities, including two parades that I’ll write more about later, here’s a little preview of our girl (circa 1920)….

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Anyway, after that busy weekend, we have some work to do to prepare for this visit.  This morning Lucy helped me make a list of things to do before our guests arrive.  I need to show you our “To Do” list.  It’s a super cute list.  Did you know “To Do” lists can be super cute?!  They can.

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I’ve never been so delighted with a “To Do” list!   Off we go!


Mornings in the High Country

by Charlotte

I have spent a few summers in what I would consider “the high country”, places with an elevation of over 8000 feet.  There is nothing like a morning in those places.  The air is thin and crisp.  There is a silence that can be heard.  It touches me somewhere in the depths of my soul.  No matter what drama is happening in my life, I can escape it for a few hours during a morning in the high country.  I had forgotten all of this until I took a trip to Yellowstone.

We woke up early one morning in order to travel.  I was at the border of Yellowstone before 6:30 am.  There was fog in the bottoms and along the rivers and streams.  The wildlife were out and about before the heat of the day.  It was beautiful.  I closed my eyes and remembered summers past.  Summers of taking guests for rides at dude ranches, summers of checking cows, summers of solace, and summers of peace. I also remembered summers of turmoil with a brief reprieve in the first cool hours of the morning.  Reprieve in the fog and mist that finds itself trapped in the lower areas or hung up in the trees.

I breathed in the cool air and was transported back in time to beautiful places where I didn’t feel tethered to the earth or bound by worries and cares.  For a brief moment, all was right with the world again.  Children don’t fight.  People don’t shoot people randomly and violently.  Wars are non-existent.  People don’t argue.  Vans don’t seem cramped.  I’m not tired and cranky and so on.  It might have lasted longer than a moment but for the protests of small people demanding to get out of the van as well.



Here is a series of photos that my oldest took of Old Faithful, the icon of Yellowstone park.


As Faith would say, “All none.”  Or in other words, “The End”.

All The Answers

posted by Chelsea

Two months ago I would have said “Feeding and nap schedules, nursing, pumping and nighttime sleeping– I have advice for all the “issues” mom’s seem to have after the arrival of their newborn.”  I even do a postpartum session in my childbirth classes and fill moms in on how to do it “right” so they can have the best experience possible after they head home with their newborn.   Now I’ll say I “USED TO” have advice for them.  Today I humbly admit that Cooper has thrown most of my advice completely out the window.  Let me give you a little rundown of typical advice I used to give and what I might say now that I’m experiencing a baby with a completely different temperament than the girls.

QUESTION: My baby wants to nurse all the time- I don’t know what to do.
OLD answer: Your baby sounds like a “snacker”.  You need to hold him off between feedings so he’ll eat “meals” instead of “snacks”.  He should be able to go about 3 hours between feedings.  Once he has a good meal he won’t want to nurse so often.  Solution= simple as pie!
NEW answer: SHOOT!  Hire a maid, a cook, and a nanny cuz you’re going to be sitting around doing a whole lot of nursing.  Oh and keep extra clothes handy for both of you- he’ll probably overeat and then puke and then be hungry and repeat a few times a day.  Sorry about that.  As my mom reminded me the other day “he’ll grow out of it!”  (in like a year?!)

QUESTION: I have to nurse my baby to sleep, she won’t go to sleep on her own.  
OLD answer: Oh– don’t get in the habit of nursing your baby to sleep! She’ll depend on it and then you’ll be “stuck” nursing her every time you want to lay her down.  Feed her, do some activity with her, then lay her down to sleep.  She’ll be tired and she’ll go to sleep- you have to just trust that she’s going to be tired- especially if you’ve fed her every three hours, and done some activity.  She’ll learn the schedule and follow it.
NEW answer: Nurse  her to sleep!  You have to survive!  If you don’t nurse her to sleep you’ll be stuck swaying and bouncing all day long.  Nurse her to sleep- wait until she’s really out then lay her down ever so gently- patting her tummy if she starts to wake up and sneak your little buns out of the room.  Repeat as necessary.

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QUESTION: When my baby is awake he’s fussy- I walk, I sway, I bounce, but he seems discontent.
OLD answer: First, make sure there isn’t something else going on- gas, constipation, etc.  Second, don’t change activities too quickly, give him time to see what you laid him down in front of.  If he fusses when you put him in the swing- he’ll settle down and start looking around, just be patient.
NEW answer: Learn to walk, sway, and bounce while you do everything else you need to do.

QUESTION: My baby hates her carseat.  She starts crying when I put her in- eventually she’ll fall asleep as we drive, but she cries for the first few minutes every single time we put her in it.
OLD answer: Make sure all of her needs are met before you put her in.  Try to schedule your driving around her scheduled nap time.  Make sure she’s well fed and had a little activity.  Put her in and you should be GOOD. TO. GO!
NEW answer: SHOOT! Consider investing in ear plugs?!

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QUESTION: My baby goes to sleep in the evenings about 8 and will sleep for about 5 hours.  I can’t go to bed at 8, I need a little “me” time, but then I lose that sleep time.
OLD answer: Go to sleep at 8.  You’ll be glad you had that rest and even though a new day starts ever so quickly you’ll be thankful you’re both on a good schedule (see scheduling advice above).
NEW answer:  SHOOT!  Try to get as much done as you possible can from 8-9 or 8-10.  Jump in  bed, will yourself to sleep as quickly as possible and pray tonight is the night he sleeps a couple hours longer.

New answer for EVERYTHING: Isn’t it great that you’re so in love with that baby?!  Seriously. Who knew you could love a little person so much?? He’s so worth the sleepless nights! The lack of schedule! All the snuggling time!  Soon he’ll be grown and your messy house, showerless days, and thrown together meals will be a distant memory.  Enjoy him… before you know it kindergarten will start and he’ll lose his teeth and want to do everything by himself.  Don’t try to solve all of his your problems because this…

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…..only lasts a little while!





Creamy Ranch Chicken

posted by ann

This recipe is quick and easy to prepare, but isn’t your run-of-the-mill chicken dish.  The combination of ranch dressing and bacon really gives this dish and extra-special flavor.  I double this recipe when I make it.

In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.
Drain bacon on paper towels; discard all but 2 Tbsp. of drippings.
In the same skillet cook chicken in reserved drippings until tender and no longer pink, turning to brown evenly.
Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.


Sprinkle flour and salad dressing mix over the chicken in the skillet; stir well.  Stir in milk.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir one minute more. Crumble bacon over top and stir to combine.


Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Running Lines

posted by Chelsea

Back in the days of high school sports, I “fondly” recall “running lines” (aka sprints) for basketball practice.  I “fondly” remember thinking I might just keel over in a heap of flesh and die right there on the basketball court every time our coach hollered for us to “get on the baseline” one more time.  I remember surviving those first few weeks of grueling practice and being thankful I was in good shape when game time came. BUT I will be completely honest and tell you  the thought of faking an injury right in the middle of running those sprints crossed my mind more than once.  I considered  intentionally rolling an ankle or even faking an asthma attack.  I never followed through with those thoughts, they merely crossed my mind.  I knew acting was never my strong point… and I knew it’d be really embarressing if my ankle never swelled or my lungs wouldn’t wheeze.  So I toughed it out and survived the line running and even managed to give it my all, despite the gruel.

Keep that in mind.

This past weekend my beloved husband needed to “work a few calves”.  He thought he could do it with maybe “a little assistance” from yours truly.  So once Buck had all the cows and calves gathered, the children and I packed up and headed to the corrals.  The day was HOT- so hot that for the first couple of hours Cooper couldn’t hang in the frontpack without both of us completely dripping in sweat.  Thankfully God provided us with some cloud cover and a nice breeze so we could survive… Saturday being the ONLY day we had to get this job accomplished and so… there was no turning back irregardless of the weather.  Eventually the clouds were thick enough that Cooper managed to sleep quite comfortably  in the front pack with only a few breaks to nurse.

When we arrived, Buck had the calves sorted off from the cows and we needed to run the calves through the alley to the chute where we would work them.  This set of corrals is not one we normally use…. and for good reason.  Whoever designed this particular set must have had a plan in mind, but we have yet to figure that plan out, nor have we had the time or resources to fix it.

Example A: Buck was pushing calves through the alley and as he has a habit of doing, attempted to jump out the side.  Putting a hand on either side of the alley he jumped with all of his might to throw a leg over the edge and climb out.  Well, the designer of this particular alley decided to put a metal bar right up through the center of the alley (I assume so cows can’t jump out the sides as Buck was attempting to do).  And so as my beloved jumped he hit the metal bar square in the top of his head.  He turned white and his legs buckled and he moaned a big moan and he dropped, like a limp noodle, to the ground- in the alley with the calves.  Fortunately, I was standing right outside the alley and right next to a trap door (good design!) that I could open.  He came to enough to belly crawl out the door, moaning all the way, and then he laid on the grass for a few minutes before he stood up and uncrossed his eyeballs.  He downed a sip of Gatorade and said a few choice words about the alley design and we were back at it.

Then, to no fault of the poorly designed alley, I was pushing calves with a stickish-paddle from outside the alley when unbeknowst to me Buck jumped back in the alley to push from behind.  I was standing up reaching down into the alley when Buck came up behind my paddle and with one big whack I nailed him right in the face.  He may have had choice words for me, but they didn’t come out of his mouth.  Rather, he just shook his head and kept pushing whle I sheepishly said “Umm.. sorry hunny!”

Sidenote: The girls have grown quite accustomed to our days at the corrals.  They play on the fence, watch the commotion, and ask questions or point things out to us.  For example “Dad!  Why ya laying down in the alley?” or “Dad! Your horse is loose! (and running out that open gate!)”  or “The horses are running around in the barn messin’ stuff up! You better come quick and deal with this!” (Katelyn’s words, not mine).

Back to the poor corral design.  Example B:  Once all the calves were run through the chute we needed to sort first-calf-heifers and their calves from the cows and their calves.  The heifers and cows needed to go to different pastures- hence the sorting.   Buck jumped on our Sally horse and Cooper and I were to man the gates.  Not all of the gates fit their respective fences and so a few are unattached… meaning they are a metal panel that has to be picked up and moved rather than swung like a “traditional” gate.   Read that again: metal panel that has to be picked up and moved rather than swung.  Bearing that in mind, heifers were to go one direction and cows another, both with their calves.  Buck and Sally pushed cows towards us, yelling which direction each animal needed to go.  Once headed the right way Cooper and I moved the panels around and pulled the drooping gates open or shut making sure each cow went to her respective pen.  Sorting cows requires quick movements and speedy thinking.  One wrong move and the whole thing can be ruined- or at least a lot more work can be created.  Cooper and I were quick- I held his head tight against me with one arm and moved panels with the other and after about an hour of this,  I thought back to basketball (recall first paragraph) and I thought “Can I fake an injury now? Would Buck believe me?  I think I could muster up some tears… I think I could even wheeze.”  But then I remembered the job had to be done and irregardless of my “rolled ankle”- someone had to get the cows sorted.  At one point, Buck decided to count how many more we had to go and when he said we were only half way I seriously thought I should pretend to pass out.. or go jump my head into the metal bar in the alley way.  But, just like running lines, I couldn’t do it.  I toughed it out.  And so, with sweat dripping down my face and elsewhere… Cooper sound asleep in the frontpack… the girls playing on the fence… my husband and his horse both sweating and muddy from the flooded corrals (did I mention that part?)… we managed to finish the job.  The sun was on its way down and each cow and heifer, with her respective calf, were finally turned out for the night.

Exhausted, hungry, hot and well, a little cranky, I headed toward the girls to gather things up and find dinner… wherever that might be.  Walking away from the corrals Buck hollered over to me “We did it!”  And I hollered back a thought that occured to me just then, “Yeah and next time I’ll take the horse! You can have the baby and the panels!”

Having started the day in seperate rigs, we drove to our local mexican restaurant for dinner.  Buck arrived first and waited for me outside.  As we walked in with our crew, he did as any good “coach” would- he smacked me on the behind, swung his arm me and said with his big cowboy smile, “I couldn’t have done that without you today.” I raised my eybrows and said without a cowgirl smile, “I know.”  And he chuckled and said, “I’m super impressed- you’re a real trooper.”  Then I couldn’t help but smile and said,  “That.  Is all I needed to hear.”

Till the Rainbow Comes

posted by Charlotte

I heard this new song on YouTube the other day and immediately fell in love with it.  I know nothing about the artist or his other music and he probably wouldn’t appreciate me taking his song about his ex-girlfriend and turning it into something “religious” but I did because God is indeed with us “till the rainbow comes” (Grae, if you ever read this I am sorry.  I hate when people take my stuff out of context and twist it to fit their own purposes.  It is a really beautiful song and I wanted to share how it touched me even though it was different than you might have intended.)


… “To wipe away your tears ’till the rainbow comes”.

Two Cowgirls

posted by Chelsea

On Friday night there was a ranch rodeo dinner, a dinner that preceeded a ranch rodeo on Saturday.  Buck was “forced” to go because it’s a “calcutta” dinner- where the ranch rodeo teams are auctioned off and someone from each team has to be present for the bidding process.  Buck’s teammates weren’t able to be there, so he was the “lucky” attendee.

I didn’t feel like going for several reasons.  I thought $18 for a dinner was completely unnecessary when I was quite content to eat toast and a smoothie for dinner.   I also couldn’t remember the last time I showered.  Not to mention, my postpartum wardrobe is lacking in several ways.   I also wanted to go to bed by 7 o’clock and try to make up for the last 3 weeks of limited shut eye.  So together, Cooper and I skipped the dinner.

BUT I will tell you, that while I didn’t want to go, Buck was NOT left date-less.  In fact, he had two cowgirls chomping at the bit when he walked in the door from work- ready and anxious to be by his side.  Their wardrobe wasn’t lacking, their showering was recent, and they were ready for some socialization…

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I think he was as pleased with his company as they were with their’s.

My Little Guy’s Birthday!

p;osted by Robin

Well, his birthday was last month, okay now it’s July, 2 months ago.  OOPS!  I got pictures but just didn’t get over here to share them with you.  So now I’m here to share one of my favorite guys in my life.


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He was born on Mother’s Day in 2010, and what a great Mother’s Day present he was!


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With only 4 hours of labor (compared to his sister at 14 hours) I’m feeling pretty good here! Then his sister gets to hold him for the first time. What a good big sister to say “sssshhhhhhhh” to help him quiet down. I don’t remember if it worked or not, that was couple years ago.


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And now my little guy is getting big! Cy is now 2 and VERY active! My cuddle bug. My boy.


May 2012 Birthday boy #2


He was showing me his stick here, he loves to play with sticks, rocks, mud, you name it. Although he sometimes doesn’t like to get dirty, well his hands, but he’s getting better about that.


May 2012 Birthday boy


He also like to help me A LOT! This day he was helping me with raking leaves. Okay, so he wanted to ride in the wheel barrow, not doing the raking part. But how can I say no? He’s so much fun! I’m so glad God brought this little guy into our lives. He is truly a joy and brings a smile to our faces every day.


May 2012 Birthday


Happy Birthday Buddy!