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. ūüėČ

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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.

More Photos by the Sea

It was one my favorite things ever to see my girls experience the beach for the first time! That’s one of the best parts of being ¬†a parent–getting to see your kids take in the world. How they process it. Seeing things through little eyes that haven’t seen much and listening to their thoughts about it. They absolutely loved it!

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Getting photos of my oldest at this moment has to happen with her being unaware. Depending on the mood, she’s either too busy or too shy for much picture-taking, but I sneak them in when I can.

Taegan was a little afraid of the ocean. The sandbar in Destin extends a great length into the ocean, so you can go out a long way and still be in shallow water, but we couldn’t ever entice her to come past the rough part where the waves roll into shore. She was a beach bum most of the time and successful in talking Aunt Bailey into taking her to the pool that was close by.

The little one, on the other hand…

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She loved walking along the shore and letting the waves crash on her feet…or her knees…or her waist. Truth be told, we had a very difficult time keeping her out of the water! Luxe has no fear. Caution is not a word that occurs to her. Taegan was even cautious at this age, so I’m not sure what Luxe being the exact opposite means for the future. Probably some gray hair and a few strokes along the way. I love her adventurous spirit and sweet disposition, though! Taegan’s cautious spirit is wonderful, too! She’s a strategic, practical thinker who doesn’t mind some responsibility. She’s thoughtful in the sense of thinking of everything. She doesn’t let her parents forget much and she looks out for Luxe.

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“Ocean! Come to Mama!” My thoughts exactly, kid. ūüôā

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“Too close! Too close!”

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Another one of my most favorite things right now is watching her run. It is hilarious! She’s very bow-legged and has chunky, sweet baby thighs. On top of that, we’re not setting any speed records anytime soon, so the mixture of all that makes for the best¬†kind of entertainment.

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See, look at her–she’s back in it; just can’t get enough! And we can’t get enough of watching her. I can’t help but think God is looking down on all of us enjoying His creation with the same expression the farmer has seeing¬†her enjoy these moments. I’m in love with this photo and all that it speaks.

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The Farmer took this one with his phone and I think it’s just precious.

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Love these two so much and everything that I’m still learning about them! Looking forward to exploring many, many new places with them!

Me and My Guy

Our trip to Florida was wonderful! We couldn’t have asked for better. The girls were little peaches! Minimal amounts of whining/yelling during our drive and both of them slept all night, every night. It was the first time we had gone on vacation as a family and we’re so grateful for the memories we came back with.

There will be a couple posts about our trip, but this one’s just about me and my guy.

Here he is. Smolder-smile and all. The best part? He has no idea how charming he is.Especially when he’s got 2 adorable girls in each hand.

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And let me just preface the next round of pictures with¬†this–we I am not great at being photographed in displays of public affection. Especially when it’s my mom behind the camera. To be honest, I couldn’t feel cheesier. BUT, these pictures did turn out pretty cute…
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This photo is symbolic for me. Funny story…Leslee was vehemently against taking a photo like this. Again, the cheese factor…but when I started going through all of them once we got back, it inspired reflection. It takes me back to 12 years ago when I stood at the altar about to embark on a whole new journey. I was willing to walk away with him into deep waters because I knew there was no one else on earth I’d rather embrace uncertainty¬†¬†with than him. And the same still goes for today.

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Let the awkwardness commence…Must I stand so close to this guy??!

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I guess he’s alright. One thing that people might not know about my husband until they’ve been around him a lot is that he’s incredibly funny. I’ll admit, when I met the guy, I was drawn to him because he has a broody, kind of mysterious exterior.¬†I liked it. So, to find out there was a goofball with a heart of gold underneath sealed the deal. I was a goner. He says I bring out the goof.

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But,¬†it’s obvious that we feed off each other. One of my favorite things about us is how much we laugh. At ourselves, at each other, and at common things that we decide to make funny for our own entertainment. You have to. Life gets heavy if you can’t laugh with someone special.

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Parenting–some more deep water, but we’re trusting the good Father for guidance on this part of our journey. And enjoying the laughs along the way, as well.

Me and my guy…

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by the ocean feeling small and embracing uncertainty. The vastness has a way of doing that to a person. However, the sea is full of rejuvenation and empowerment, as well. It’s an amazing place to press “reset” and remind¬†ourselves that we are part of something so much bigger than us. A place to witness something beautiful for our enjoyment and for His glory. ¬†A place to remember that He’s got this–whatever IT is–…and He’s got us.

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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. ūüôā 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.

Taegan Dresses Up for Spirit Week

Whew! I survived last week. I was creative. I baked. I shopped. I worked. I counted. I did no cleaning. I snapped pictures. I took deep, cleansing breaths. I did not maintain my sanity. And now I’m back, mostly recovered with only a small amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I don’t think I could have chosen a more inconvenient time to be 8 months pregnant. It’s really cramping my style. Usually, I thrive on the crazy and mostly enjoy it. I’m a high-energy person. I like to be involved.

However, some alien form of Breauna resides as the dominant personality in my body right now. She’s not as much fun…maybe because she has to heft a bowling ball around 24/7 amidst all the other fun things that come with the third trimester.

Anyway, last week was Spirit Week at Taegan’s school followed by their Fall Festival Friday night. I’m a PTO officer this year, so naturally, this was going to be a VERY busy week.

First, let’s talk about Spirit Week. Every day was themed.

 

DAY 1: PAJAMA DAY

I didn’t get a picture of Taegan that morning because Monday was the only day I was going to get to work. Picture time didn’t happen because Mommy was too busy trying get herself ready. (And if you knew the hoops I have to jump through to get a picture of this kid, you would¬†know ain’t nobody got time for that). Taegan wanted to wear her red and green plaid¬†Hello Kitty long, flannel nightgown. I got it for her last Christmas and, granted, it is adorable, but it screams “Merry Christmas!” I tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted. Nothing else would do but Christmas Hello Kitty. So, in the pouring down rain, I walked my galoshes-clad 4-year-old into the school looking like Christmas morning.

 

DAY 2: STORYBOOK CHARACTER DAY

Figuring out the storybook character for Taegan to be wasn’t hard. In fact, it only seemed natural for our tutu-wearing tomboy with crazy curls and she just so happens to be the main character in some of our favorite books. None other than Fancy Nancy!

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I bought Taegan a tiara with feathers on it and lots of pink beaded necklaces. We had the rest covered. You can’t see from this picture, but I pinned her mess of curls into a…mess of curls and stuck a few hair bows amidst it all. Ooo-la-la! She was darling. (That’s fancy for sweet). ūüėČ I tried to encourage her to say “Merci” any time there was an opportunity, but she drew the line at that.

 

DAY 3: WACKY WEDNESDAY

I love children’s books and I’ve read Wacky Wednesday many a time. I had this. I really knew I had it when I saw the look on the farmer’s face at the outfit I was carrying around… that look of “Are you serious?” You betcha! I was on the brink of genius! Don’t question it! See, look, even the picture’s all wacky because she’s nut that won’t stand still.

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But, I crossed right over that brink with her hair. Vertical pigtails!!

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She looked in the mirror and laughed at her whole ensemble. I take pride in it. If one can pat themselves on the back for wackiness, I did it on Wednesday.

 

DAY 4: SPIRIT DAY

There was a home game that evening and it was “Pack the Gym Night.” So, the kids were to wear their school t-shirts or red. Well, low and behold, my child owns not one dress, shirt, pair of pants, or sock that is red. Nor does she own anything with a tiger on it (the school mascot). So, I believe we went to school that day wearing a purple shirt with a fox on it.

We went to the game that night and she got her face-painted with tiger paws. We ended the night with spirit.

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DAY 5: SUPERHERO DAY

I wanted to superhero day right, but my daughter isn’t in to superheroes, so I wanted to come up with something about her that was something special.

I thought, What does Taegan like to do? Be outside or bee bopping around the farm with Daddy.

What is Taegan good at? Well, her little head is filled with various facts about the farm. All of the cows’ names, who’s going to calve soon, who had a heifer or a bull, which ones are dry or need to be milked on the bucket according to leg paint and ankle bands, which ones have recently had “masatitis.”

What is Taegan’s 4-year-old passion? This farm, the country, dirt, and cows. It’s her life.

Then, it hit me. Taegan’s super power needed to be something to do with our dairy. And then the slogan came to me.

DAIRY GIRL: FEEDING AMERICA ONE GALLON AT A TIME

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Complete with cow ears, a cape, and the dairy farming staple: black rubber boots. I’ll never top that because it truly is who she is. Farmers are definitely superheroes and she was so proud to wear it.

As you can tell, Mommy had just as much fun (if not more) with Spirit Week as Taegan did.