Puddle Buddies

We had a puddle jumping session a few nights ago. My sister-in-law, Staci, is visiting along with my two nephews and naturally anytime there’s a good rain, puddles are going to happen.

Where there are puddles there will be muddy children.

Here’s the cast of characters:

Taegan:

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The oldest of the four and instigator of all things ornery. Look at those eyes. Mischief. Intelligence in spades. Spirit. Sparkle. Pray hard for us.

Drayson:

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Rough and tumble, fearless, all boy. There’s very few daring things I haven’t seen this little guy attempt. But, look at that sweet, mud-splattered face.

Carson:

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Carson has always been a calm, quiet type (at least around me). He’s shy, sweet, and is usually more content to observe from the sidelines  (sidelines meaning wherever his mommy is). Give him a rock and a stick and he’s good!

Luxe:

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Prissy. Purposeful. Pint-sized sweetness with a smidge of sass. Puppy dog eyes at level 10. Curls for days. Lover of all things cute and cuddly. This was taken after one too many times of being splashed in the face with mud. That’s a look of “Mommy, PLEASE! Can’t a girl get a little time in the mud puddle by herself??”

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To start things off, though, we’re all still relatively clean. Testing the waters. Onesies and shorts are remaining mostly white.

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Sticks and rocks again…Boy, they’re just the most interesting things!

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A good, dry time is being had by all.

And then…

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there were four.

Taegan thought a little too much good, clean fun was being had. If you’ve been following along over the years, you know my eldest has no problem getting as absolutely filthy as she can get.

Exhibit A.

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Exhibit B.

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“Walk with your nose in the air, little lady…even though there’s dirt all over your hiney.”

 

And the grand finale.

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“Dirt Road Camo”

Yeah.

Naturally, she took it up on herself to show everyone the joys of getting a run at the puddle from above in order to land in it with as much splash as possible.

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The race was on after that between Taegan and Drayson to see who could make the biggest splash.dsc_4330

 

On the days she’s not being heart-meltingly sweet and responsible, it’s this:

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A perfectly timed jump just to splash Little Sis. Even though I felt kinda bad for Luxe, I knew exactly what these kinds of antics do in the reward centers of an older sister’s brain. Let’s all just hope this is as bad as it gets and I don’t pay dearly for my raising…

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Whew! I finally got it to myself.”

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“Ohhhh, I see…feelin’ a little bad now, aren’t we?” Meanwhile, I can’t appreciate Luxe more for bringing out the affectionate side of Taegan. Not only does Luxe get the hugs and kisses that she dearly loves and bestows on all of us, but the farmer and I get to enjoy a few extra from Taegan, as well. That wasn’t the case before Luxe. You were lucky to get to steal them. “Hey, Mommy, is it just me…or would you say I won this?”

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At this point, I’m not sure Drayson’s boots are being effective at their job.

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Dirt roads…country kids…rain…boots…and a love of mud = puddle buddies.

Sweet Sisters & Afternoon Routines

Taegan is back in school now. Here’s my little first grader on her first day of school. Along with little sis in a nightgown. She really dressed up for the occasion.

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Taegan’s current favorite color is “red–no wait–pink. Pink or red.” Combine the two and I think we’ll be golden. She also wants to be a police officer when she grows up so she can “arrest people.” Although it is a noble profession, I’m pretty sure Zootopia is the influencing factor at the moment.

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Basketball practice stared Friday and my little girl continues to grow up on me. How does this happen??!

I have to admit, though, that the growing up has been something so precious to watch because of how she is with Luxe. SOOOOO grown-up. “No, no, Luxe, you can’t have that. Give it to me, baby.” (said in a sweet, but authoritative tone) “Oh, you want some milk? Here, I’ll get ya some. Just give me a minute.” (As she scoots a chair across the kitchen to reach the sippy cups and hefts the gallon jug to a comfortable pouring point). I tell ya…I walk into the kitchen from folding some laundry and she’s got dinner fixed, dishes washed, Luxe has already been fed, and is in the process of having her clothes removed for bathtime!

Ok, so not quite to that point, but we’re getting very close. Taegan is also ever present at the dairy barn. She had a new addition to her own little herd a few weeks ago.

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Her name is Celestia. We’re still scratching our heads on how that name was contrived, but we’re going with it. So now, she has Virgo (the only heifer I named), Milka, and Celestia.

Meanwhile, our morning routines consist of getting Taegan off to school and calming Luxe down once I get back in the car. She was completely over dropping Taegan off about 3 days in. This morning, we were down at the milk barn and she asked Grammy, “Where Tae-Tae?” Grammy said, “She’s at school.” Luxe replied, “I cwy.” Yep. Every morning. Taegan is sorely missed during the day.

But, here’s the sweetest thing. Luxe can look forward to this most afternoons.

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Luxe loves to “dwive” and Taegan doesn’t mind being the motor…most days.

They pull up to the dairy barn…

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…and Taegan unstraps the seat belt that she always buckles without fail.

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“Safety first, Luxe!” Responsibility is something Taegan has settled nicely into…most days. (Meanwhile, I’m kinda jealous of Taegan’s tan and toned arms. That’s what being a farm girl will get ya.)

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You ready to go in the barn?”

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Taegan is actually big help in the barn already. She’s not in the way–oh no, she’s a working member with her own very necessary jobs. The farmer misses his little milkhand in the mornings now that school has started. This weekend, Taegan was up Saturday morning before him, went and got the cows BY HERSELF, and had them all loaded into the holding pen, gates locked, ready to milk. She cracks the whip around here and can regularly be found arguing with her father because he’s not doing something right. Never mind considering who taught her how to do things the “right” way in the first place. 😉

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Now, she must teach her sister her ways. I think the farmer  will be able to retire very soon.

Sweet sisters.

Things to Watch Out For on the Farm

The girls and I hopped in the truck this morning for a ride along with the farmer as he fed. I brought my camera along today because sitting in the house on these cold, drab days washing dishes, “catching up” on laundry (2 farm kids and a husband that is splattered with manure daily and I have the reel of “This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends” on replay in my head except it’s with laundry), and feeding hungry kids and a husband all at different times leaves this mama feeling a little uninspired sometimes. So, when I feel uninspired, I go out looking for inspiration. Granted, it’s a little more difficult with winter not being the most beautiful of seasons, but it always there if I’m looking. 🙂 Today, it came in the form of literally “looking.” Or maybe I should say “watching.”

The first stop on our feeding rounds is the heifers and the not-so-favorite bull.
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This is Instinct. He’s two years old. Give him another year and he’ll be a muscled up, mature Jersey. Any bull is unpredictable. We always operate with caution no matter which breed of bull we’re dealing with, but Jerseys have a reputation for being extra ornery. Given half a chance, this dude will clean. your. clock. He’s a beautiful safety hazard. If Instinct were to tell you a little bit about his likes and dislikes, here’s what he would say:

“Hi, my name is Instinct, and I like my grain. Quickly empty it into the feed bunk and we’ll have no trouble here. Disclaimer: I may or may not bristle up, bellow, and paw the ground at you while you empty the feed. Depends on the day. Depends on my mood. Should you find yourself on the other side of this fence with me, my “instinct” to show you who’s boss around here will no doubt manifest itself. Drive that tractor through my field and I will exercise my right to headbutt the hay bales on the front end loader. Try…just try to put one of my lady friends in the squeeze chute and that mess of metal and I will throw down! Oh, and after I’m done with this grain, I will show you how creative I can be with feed bunk placement. I fancy metal art projects. I DON’T fancy people.”

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We caution anyone that comes to the farm: Watch out for Instinct.

Shortly after, we drove through my dad’s pasture to check his beef cows.

Lot’s of new babies are being born and, that being said, you really have to watch out for little black blobs in tall grass.

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We scoured the ground while driving through the field so as not to run over a calf and look what we found!

One must always watch out for hidden calves.

And then one must always watch out for mamas.

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It goes back to that whole “cleaning your clock” idea. Jerseys are so used to being messed with and their natures are usually docile and gentle. Beef cows, on the other hand, can make for some entertaining stories every once in a while. For example, the farmer got chased back into his truck yesterday after trying to find out the gender of a new calf. His truck barely got out unscathed. Dents in farm trucks are a common occurrence. That mama apparently wants her calf’s gender to remain a secret. (SO wish I had been there and seen that!)

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The last thing that we always have to watch out for are these two. They might be little girls, but they are FEARLESS. No concept of danger = turning Daddy into a nervous wreck, sometimes. But, neither one of us would trade raising them in the country on a farm. Teaching them to watch out for things…and for each other…will come.

October Update/Ramblings of an Insane Pregnant Woman

1. As much as I hate it, my blog has had to take the backseat lately and my camera has sat in its case far too long. With work, pregnancy, school stuff, and motherhood/wifedom in general, I live in a state of perpetual chaos that I honestly haven’t figured out how to juggle gracefully yet. Add to it the impending extra child and I fake sob maniacally just to get myself to laugh. I think we have officially crossed over into crazy town. A tranquilizer dart may be in order.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream in which my cousin asked me to do her a favor and make the church loaf on Sunday. I walked out of the church house sobbing. Then, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. By the way I reacted, you would have thought it was a nightmare.

The next night, I dreamt that Taegan and I were going to miss a flight we had to be on, yet we didn’t have a car to get us to the airport. Have no fear, though, we could run as fast as cars, so here we are on Highway 60 running alongside a semi like it’s no thing. But, in my head, I knew we still weren’t going to make it.

Dreams reflect the subconscious and mine has been totes cray cray lately.

2. The farmer has been milking, feeding, cutting, baling, milking, cutting, baling, feeding into infinity and this week started planting. Mo’ cows, mo’ work. Inevitably, this means that the tasks that require some brawn or carpentry skill around here have had to take the backburner. I’m trying to be patient, but the pregnancy compulsion to nest takes over sometimes because there’s no nursery to “nest.”

3. I don’t have a single item of the baby bedding I designed done. “Yay, look at me! I’m going to learn how to sew, design and make all of my nursery stuff, and achieve world peace!” Why, why, WHY didn’t I just go buy something? I enjoy the time spent with my mom immensely (she’s helping me make it), but somebody honestly should have slapped me when the idea popped into my head. Taegan’s room was done before I hit the third trimester.

4. I still have to paint the dresser, too.

7. Get the crib out of storage and clean it.

6. Get the dog fixed.

7. Do most of my Christmas shopping because everybody knows that’s not going to happen when you have a newborn at the end of November.

10. Decorate for Christmas? I say BAH HUMBUG to that.

9. Prepare for the fall festival at Taegan’s school.

43. Organize the pantry.

2. Go to the doctor every whipstitch.

-5. Maybe buy a diaper or two.

Quince. Get all of Taegan’s outgrown clothes stored away.

Pickle. Get the carseat in my car.

9. Get all my photo albums up to date.

17. Say hi to my husband.

You know… everything and nothing that has anything to do with having a baby MUST be done YESTERDAY!

20. I need a vacation from myself.

2. I’m hungry.

21. The farmer built me some bookshelves for Taegan’s room. I found how to make them on Pinterest and he took it from there. They’re super cute and so easy. Easy to make and easy organizers because there’s no order or organization for the books. You just throw them in there and you’re done. It makes it a lot easier for Taegan to clean up her own messes, too, and I’d be crazy not to LOVE that.

 

 

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22. Taegan’s been cooking, which is one of her favorite things to do.

 

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She’s also been cracking us up with her maturing wit lately. She told us she got put in time-out at preschool last week. When I asked her what she did, her reply was, “That’s… a long story.”

The farmer took over after that while I stepped around the corner and listened trying not to bust out laughing:

Farmer: Well, I guess I’ll just have to ask your teacher.

Taegan: You never pick me up.

Farmer: Oh, that doesn’t matter; I can call anytime.

Taegan: You don’t know her number.

Farmer: Taegan, I have the school number. I can call up there anytime.

Taegan: (Looks skeptical as to the likelihood of that happening)

Farmer: So, tell me, did you like getting put in time-out?

Taegan: Well, I didn’t cry! (4 year olds and sarcasm…gotta love it.)

Farmer: (Getting a little heated) Well, what does make you cry??

Taegan: (Knowing she’s approaching dangerous territory) *crickets due to wheels quickly turning* “…Bleeding.”

With that response, the farmer was having trouble maintaining the firm look on his face and I was shaking. Making our daughter bleed is not part of our disciplinary repertoire in this house and, clearly, she knows that.

There was once a time before I had a child when I worried that being a stay-at-home mom was not going to be mentally challenging/stimulating enough…

There’s another story I wanted to share. It happened right before Taegan started school. The farmer had gotten out of the shower, so he shut our bedroom door, locking it because anyone with little ones knows that anytime a door shuts, it sounds an alarm to them wherever they might be in the house. They come running. Shut doors are NOT ok. I was in the bedroom folding and putting away clothes and she was watching cartoons. No biggie, right? Wrong. Door shuts. The sound of little feet running and she’s standing outside the door obnoxiously knocking, saying, “I want in!” (BAM, BAM, BAM) “Let me in!” (Fingers wiggling under the door) “Why does Mommy get to be in there?” (BAM, BAM, BAM)

Finally, a small, pleading voice says, “I want to join the herd!”

We about died. By that time, the farmer was dressed and opened the door and she skipped in with a successful grin on her face.

So cute I can’t even stand it.

23. I think this picture was taken by the farmer last spring. He put it on Facebook and titled it, “Tools in back pocket=farm girl.”

 

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Nothing has changed. Currently, a trip to Lowes still makes this girl’s day. I call this “Tools and Tutus.”

 

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Do you think Daddy bought these for her?

Um…yeah.

24. Taegan celebrated Grandparents Day at school with her two lovely grandmas.

 

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I absolutely love this picture.

25. Then, about 2 1/2 weeks ago, Taegan came down with the worst cold I think I’ve ever seen. It came with a high fever and lots of sleeping. Neither I nor the farmer came out unscathed. It took the whole family down for a bit, but we’re good now. The only time my daughter isn’t daddy’s girl all the way is when she’s sick. It’s when she’s not feeling well that only Mommy will do. So I rocked and I rocked knowing that the odds were very good I was going to get what she had, but she’s growing up so fast. If Mommy rocking comforts her, then Mommy rocks. Come what may.

I also allow this when she’s sick.

 

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Our bed. To Taegan, there’s nothing better than getting to sleep in our room. The farmer had to sleep in her room. And, trust me, this was no hardship for him. He didn’t want within 10 feet of us. Something about having to run a dairy or some such. No sick pay and no substitutes or what not. The poor guy got it, anyway, and had it the longest. It’s hard to take care of yourself and rest when you’re a farmer.

26. One morning, a few weeks back, I was working on the computer when I heard Taegan open the front door and go, “Whaaaaaat??”

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Taegan was headed outside to the barn, opened the door, and there stands Triumph. Just hangin’ out on the porch. Waiting. I’m pretty sure this calf thinks she is Taegan’s loyal dog.

Well, cattle on the porch was kinda’ the last straw for the farmer, so she joined some friends on a place we rent…where she can be well-socialized…where she can find herself…where she will grow into a balanced, well-rounded cow.

(Read more about Triumph here: http://wp.me/p1lzEK-qS and http://wp.me/p1lzEK-qS

27. I’m 32 weeks pregnant right now. Here’s a selfie from last week.

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This pregnancy has been as different as I’m sure my two daughters’ personalities will be. With Taegan, I gained 45 pounds, had flawless skin, back fat, horrible all day sickness, major swelling, joint pain, and an overall sense of peace and calm. (It’s called naivete.)

With this pregnancy, the sickness was very tolerable for the most part and I’ve been a string bean other than the little basketball that continues to grow. My fingers have swelled slightly and I can’t wear my wedding ring, but I’ve only gained 18 pounds. No back fat, no sciatica (unless I wake up on my back), no joint pain, and a sometimes overwhelming amount of anxiety paired with a roller coaster ride of happy-sad-happy-sad. Some days, the farmer only has to look at me or not look at me and the tears start falling. I don’t know who the woman residing in my body is right now, but I need her to leave. Fast. Oh, and my face possibly looks worse than it did in high school.

Bless my husband’s heart…he never knows who he’s going to walk in the door and find. He’s rolled with it very gracefully.

28. We celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday over the weekend. She a twin and that’s her on your left.

 

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I should have had them stand this exact same way and do a current version of this picture!

 

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Everyone got together and had a really good time visiting around a fire, roasting marshmallows, and listening to our children play and laugh.

And that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to lately.

Ta-ta for now!

Breauna

Back To School Disclaimers

Today started the first day of Taegan’s last year of preschool. She was so excited!

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This little girl loves school.

Taegan’s learned a lot over the summer being on the farm with us every day. This summer she took much more of an interest in helping her dad. Morning and night, she could be found in the dairy barn milking, shoveling manure, spraying manure off the walkways, bottle feeding calves, doctoring cows/calves for various illnesses, riding around with the farmer feeding, and sitting in a chair watching as crops were cut and baled. She’s been taking it all in.

That being said, here’s my disclaimer to her teachers this year: If the words “We had to breed last night” come out of her mouth, please don’t be alarmed. The farmer is trying to teach her to substitute “breed” with “AI,” but it hasn’t stuck yet.

And if she tells you that she milks 81 goats and that sometimes she has to treat them for “masatitis” with an antibiotic called “Colitis,” just go with it.  Once in a while, she has to take a few of those goats to the sale barn for “rotten foot,” rather than foot rot.

She tried to milk her calf, Triumph, by hand a few weeks back and barely got her nose out of the way before Triumph tried to knock her flat. We had to tell her that you can’t milk calves and I think Triumph’s response has detoured any other attempts.

Last year, she told her teachers that “Daddy goes into the bathroom and screams!” They died laughing and then said, “Do tell us more!” This prompted the farmer’s sister to give him a call and say, “Hey, I’m on my way down, but I’ve got to stop at Wal-Mart first. Just thought I’d call and see if you need me to pick up some stool softeners or anything.” Taegan likes to throw him under the bus, most of the time, and all he can do is run his hands over his face and just shake his head.

We have no idea where that came from.

And I didn’t come out unscathed last year, either. She told her teachers that I fed her dog poop. Her teacher said, “I am positive your mommy doesn’t feed you dog poop.” Taegan’s response: “Well, it tastes like it.”

Thanks, love. You’re a real peach.

Honestly, we have no earthly idea what will come out of this child’s mouth from one minute to the next, so if you seek clarification about something, PLEASE ask. Our reputations might depend on it.

Yesterday, we just enjoyed our last day of summer vacation on the farm with the normal day-to-day stuff. Taegan helped the farmer milk that morning and then we both rode around with him while he fed. After that, we worked out in the yard and did other things that needed doing.

The day always goes by fast and then it’s time to milk again.

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Your inspirational quote for this fine Wednesday is: When life gives you manure, you shovel it.

You’re welcome.

And, obviously, Taegan does this with a smile on her face because, goodness knows, there’s plenty of manure.

Let me just say that this  qualifies as “clean” compared to what she will look like when milking is done.

This is more like it after.

I see this coming across the yard at me and I want to go lock myself in a closet and suck my thumb.

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She likes to greet the girls as they file into the holding pen.

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And work out a little, too.

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Our cattle honestly don’t know what to think of this little creature.

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She doesn’t need a horse to be a cowgirl.

Later that evening, I walked outside to find her freeing all the bottle calves.

It just might get a little boring around here during the day.

 

Breauna