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.

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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. 🙂

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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!

Milestones

This morning, I dropped my baby off at school for her first day of kindergarten.

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I haven’t cried…yet. Luxe isn’t allowing me a chance to. However, I feel like a piece of my heart broke off and stayed at school with her. I can’t wait to pick her up so I can hear about her day.

That Band-Aid on her arm is from a booster shot she had to get on Monday. We got her a little stuffed Husky dog named Slush for moral support. However, I only thought she had to get one shot. They informed us there were 2 for this visit.

Let the meltdown commence. She was bawling before the first needle prick.

Taegan doesn’t like to show weakness, so we walked back out to the parking lot where my mom waited with Luxe with a red face and wounded pride sporting Band-Aids on both shoulders. My mom hugged Taegan and said, “You’re so brave! Such a big, strong girl!”

Taegan sourly replied, “Actually, I cried…”

We got her buckled in and had to chuckle. It’s rough being 5 and beating yourself up because you failed to meet your own self-imposed definition of brave.

But, she is brave. Brave without even realizing the risks she takes.

For instance, a week ago, the farmer had some dry cows with the milk cows. She knows they’re dry because he writes a big “D” on them with a hot-pink paint stick. We have a dry cow pasture where all the expecting mothers usually reside, but he had been letting these few come in the barn with the milk cows to eat grain, but not get milked.

Well, he walks out the other day to find them corralled off in a separate pin that leads to the dry cow pasture. Taegan, our little wisp of a girl, had sorted the dry cows out of the herd and put them where she thought they ought to go. Dry cows need to be in the dry cow pasture, so, by golly, they’re going in there tonight!

Usually, the farmer gets angry when he finds Taegan in the holding pin with the cows. It’s dangerous. She knows that. As he started to get mad, he realized what she’d done and just had to stare in shock for a minute.

“Daddy, we gotta get these dry cows in with the rest of them.”

“Ummm…yep, we do…,” he said.

Her grandma has given her the moniker “Little Pol” around here. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the show, “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” but it’s Taegan’s absolute favorite. She DVR’s it and watches the reruns over and over and over. He’s a veterinarian who has a HUGE clientele in Michigan and does a lot of work on–you guessed it–cattle. Taegan has been known to perform procedures on her calves. The other day, one had a “twisted stomach”, so she was caught getting it on it’s back and rolling it over. The calf was perfectly fine, but it took one for the team.

That being said, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up this morning and, with hardly a thought, she said, “A vet.”

It’s funny because right now, knowing Taegan, I can’t picture her doing anything else. That would be perfect for her.

Today is the first day of her academic career. It’s a milestone that begins a channeling of all this intelligence into more specific things. She’ll continue to learn more about what interests her and what doesn’t. Starting now. Kindergarten, to this mama, is the first step in the journey of growing up. And the farmer and I get to walk that journey for a while with Taegan, our little spirited, capable, determined daughter. We’re so proud and so blessed.

June-July: A List

Whew! This summer has been crazier than any other summer I think I’ve experienced. And by crazier, I mean BUSY. And by busy I mean, my poor little blog takes the back burner more than I would like.

Today, I’m going to attempt to squeeze June-July into one post.

1. I’ve been working 2 days a week at the law firm I work for in the city. I love the job, but I do not love the 2.5-3 hours I spend on the road getting there and back. And see, my right foot is kind of on the heavy side and I’m all about efficiency, so I’m waiting for the day when I become both an employee and a client.

2. After returning from Orange Beach, we had the Tri-County Fair to go to. This is Taegan leading her calf, Triumph, into the barn.

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She’s looking less and less like a toddler every day, which means I catch myself just staring at her while wave after nostalgic wave rolls through me all the while trying to picture who she’ll be when she grows up…

WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

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She had a great time and made new friends. Some human, some bovine.

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Naturally, she and Triumph won first place.

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(Little secret: It helps when you have absolutely no competition. Zero.)

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A blue ribbon, a new lead rope, and a good friend.

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Because of Triumph’s star status and her new position as playmate, she gets the privilege of just running free in our yard. I look out the window and there’s Triumph just walking around, picking grass, looking in windows, chasing Banjo, or being led around by Taegan. (She still gets “showed” on a daily basis). Basically, Triumph is now a pet.

She sometimes gets tired of being led around and runs into the brush and weeds. This occurred a few weeks back. Never fear, though. I’m definitely not raising a dummy.

Who does one call when a cow won’t come out of the brush and weeds?

That’s right…Banjo.

I stepped out on the deck and witnessed this: Triumph had made it impossible for Taegan to get to her, so I heard Taegan yell, “Banjo!”

Dun-Dun-DAAAHHH! He really does need a cape.

He runs to her and looks at her like, “What ya want me to do?” She says, “Go get it!” Trust me, you don’t have to tell him twice. He lives for this. He bounds off barking and carrying on, gets behind the calf, and drives her straight to Taegan.

I was totally enthralled. The intelligence of both my daughter and her dog…I couldn’t do anything but laugh and then go call her dad.

Triumph doesn’t run into the brush anymore. And Taegan really doesn’t need a lead strap for Triumph to follow her around now. She just does it.

And Banjo gets to lay in the shade and enjoy some reprieve.

For now.

(Note about Banjo: I mentioned that we were sending him to get trained a few posts back. Weeeeellll, it didn’t go so well. See, we wanted him to learn how to herd. Like, go get the cows and bring them all to the barn for us. Long story short, he got kicked out of herding school. You should have witnessed my husband. The disappointment. The anguish. The embarrassment. Blue Heelers are what the trainer called “drivers.” Border Collie’s are “herders.”She told us up-front that she didn’t know if he would do it, but she’d give it a try. Yeah…no. But you know what? He’s still very useful around here. As a playmate, as entertainment, as a guard dog, and as a helper. Taegan obviously knows what he’s good at and when the farmer is out rounding up the girls to go the barn and he has one that just doesn’t care about going, all he has to say is, “Where’s Banjo?” and she’ll start moving right along. She doesn’t think we really need to go to extremes, now, do we? They’d rather him not be around.)

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Getting a picture of all of our kids even looking at the camera is impossible, but they all really enjoy this time of year. It’s a lot of work getting these calves ready and they (and their parents) put a lot of time into preparing. My sister-in-law, Tanna, was the one that really worked hard with Taegan and her kids and we’re glad because Taegan probably wouldn’t show at all if it wasn’t for her. Thank you, Tanna!

There’s a lot more over the last couple of months to tell you about, but I’ve got to take Taegan to swim lessons, so I’ll just have to write more throughout the following days. Stay tuned.

 

To be continued…

 

Breauna

Snow Day

Yesterday was another–yet again–snow day and when there is snow, Peanut must play in it.

And when Peanut must play in it, Daddy must play in it, too.

She wanted to make a snowman and as any fun-loving, indulgent father would do, he agreed to it.

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See, she has more of a supervisory role.

Observing while the farmer does the laborious part.

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She might move to the other side, once in a while.

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Now, Peanut, you must punch the snowball.”

He didn’t really say that; I was just narrating.

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Official carrot holder. Somebody’s gotta do it!

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I hear it pays really well.

Then, Banjo arrived. He’s kind of a party crasher.

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This dog is so weird. Army crawling is his favorite mode of transportation. “Pft-puth-puh! Note to thelf: Don’t uthe your nothe ath a thnow plow…” (He has kind of a low, rather unintelligent voice if you’re trying to hear this in your mind. You’re welcome.)

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“I don’t know what that orange thing in her hand ith…but…I want it.”

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“Thtealth mode… keep your eye on the target.”

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“Doh! I’ve been made! I am up to abthoulutely nuffin.'”

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Thtick your nothe in the thnow…that alwayth confutheth ’em.”

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Then roll around…act like you’re just a dog…playin’ in the thnow.”

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“Yawn…look natural.”

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Meanwhile, the farmer is putting the finishing touches on the snowman.

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All done!

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Just your friendly, neighborhood Select Sires snowman. Out here in the cold. Advocating artificial insemination and exemplary genetics.

After that, being the adoring father that he is, the farmer threw a snowball at Peanut. However, Banjo saw this as an opportunity to play, as well. He kind of stole the show, in fact.

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The big galoof was showing off, catching snowballs on the fly.

“Catchin’ thnowbalth…I can do it in my thleep.”

Famous last words…

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“Firtht, you must antithipate.” (It’s kind of a selective lisp. I do it at my own discretion.)

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“Then, keep your eye on the thnowball.”

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“Wait for it…wait for it…”

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“Doh!! Mith’d it!”

In fact, he never…quite… caught it again.

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“But, look how high I can jump! Thee! Thee!”

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“Yeah!!! Th-tuck it!!

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Find the thnowball…and…bow.”

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A for effort, Banjo…ya cute lil’ thang.

Having way too much fun talking for my dog,

Breauna