Friday, July 22, 2016


I've always been a people watcher; it's a hobby of mine.  I like to study human behaviors and personalities.  

I also enjoy playing a game of bingo.

I present to you: PARENT BINGO (patent pending): the game you never knew you needed and now forevermore will never be able to live without.  

If you find yourself stuck at a basketball game, livestock show, little league game or junior rodeo, feel free to now whip out your bingo card and have a little giggle while your kiddos play.  Chances are, it will help lighten everyone's mood in a world that is becoming far too serious these days.  

Like traditional bingo, please mark your cards when you identify a parent that fits a particular description, either with an X or bingo chip.  If a parent in your vicinity happens to exhibit more than one behavior at a time, please choose only one behavior.  That parent cannot be used again for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to allow other players a fighting chance.

Below is a non-alphabetized glossary of terms to assist you, as well as 30 randomized bingo cards and one master calling card.  Be advised, this list is by no means exhaustive, rather, it only highlights many common parenting personalities.  New editions of PARENT BINGO with highly specialized categories are currently in testing phases with our research and development team. 
  • 5 o'clocker: Knows that it is five o'clock somewhere... like Tibet.  Who cares that they are eight time zones away?
  • Chihuahua: A little too high strung, tends to be incredibly jumpy and skittish.  Be careful with loud noises around these.
  • SUPER Busy:  Spends most of their time telling you how SUPER busy they are, because they are SUPER.  Spends most of their time in meetings on a phone, checking email or not paying attention.  You know, because they are SUPER, SUPER BUSY. 
  • "For The Kids":  Their mouth professes that everything is "for the kids" but their actions leave you scratching your head.
  • The Jolly One:  Always smiling, always giggling.  No reason needed.  Often the comedic relief of the group.
  • Hot/Cold:  These parents go from Mother Teresa to nuclear warfare in the blink of an eye.
  • Chicken Little:  Their life was forever ruined because the piano was out of tune during a talent competition in 1980; their child's life is now ruined by a missed shot/red ribbon/foul ball, etc. 
  • Headless Chicken:  The parent that constantly runs around like a chicken with their head cut off.  Missing ball point pen?  Someone alert the president.
  • Intensity:  Don't talk while their child is performing.  Don't blink; don't breathe.  We will win and we will win at all costs, even if it kills us.  (This generally means that everyone in the vicinity wants to inflict harm upon YOU.)
  • Gloater:  A cross between "For the kids" and Intensity.  They may smile and say something like "bless your heart" but then follow it up with "you tried but we just did better!"  This is often followed up by a cheerful "Maybe next year!"
  • Living Vicariously: This parent had aspirations of becoming the next Troy Aikman but fell just a little short.  As a result, their child has been in football pads and a helmet since birth.  
  • Space Cadet:  They show up to events but forget the major accessories (i.e., going to a baseball game with no glove).  Common phrases often include "that was today?" or "can I give it to you later?" or "is it really necessary?".  
  • Rules, but...:  The rules apply to everyone, all the time.  Except this one time for my kid. 
  • Babysitter:  They enroll their kids in extra-curricular activities just so someone else will watch them for a few more hours.
  • Scheduler:  Practice must end by 5:01 because we must all be across town for piano lessons at 5:07 and then off to ball practice at 6:15 before tutoring at 7:30.
  • Social Media Maven:  Every waking minute of their child's life is documented on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the family blog (yes, I see the irony there and trust me, that's why I try to only update once a week).  
  • Old School:  They sit back and watch as their kids' earn some bumps and bruises.  Common phrases include "when I was your age" and "it builds character".  
  • Cool Mom:  For reasons unknown, they try reeeeeally hard to be liked by a gaggle of 10-15 year olds.  Their verbiage includes words that no one else understands, like fleek, bae and bish
  •  Perfect Parent:  This is a unicorn.  It does not exist.  If you mark this space on your bingo card you are lying.
  • The Complainer:  Nothing is ever good enough and everyone around them is stupid.
  • The Thinker:  They know everything - just ask them.  All of the world's problems could be solved if you had just asked them. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shipping Memories

It's that time of year again, time to ship cattle.  Some neighbors used our pens the other morning to load out and things went less than stellar.  Like, my yard and flower beds are rather decimated after everyone decided to run through them over and over and over again.  As I watched all that unfold from the kitchen window I tried to go to my happy place in my mind and thought back to happier times of shipping with my dad growing up...

My dad is crazy.  Not in a 'oh, my fraternity brothers and I had quite the raucous soiree one evening' type of way but in a 'OH MY GOSH YOU STOPPED FOR BEER ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL???' type of way.  (And that's a true story.  Not the fraternity part, the other part.)

Once upon a time, we were chasing a few stray steers that were pretty waspy and trying to get them back with the herd.  These calves may or may not have come from the southeast and had a touch of ear to them.

One calf darted away from the others and slid down a sheer embankment into a creek.  Dad never skipped a beat and chased after the steer, sliding down the 15 foot embankment like it was nothing.  I let out a little scream as I watched him drop.  I rode over to the edge of the ridge and looked down into the creek.  I remember him stopping his horse in the middle of the creek and turning around to look at me with a grin that stretched ear to ear.  "The man from Snowy River ain't got shit on me!" he shouted, and then he ran off to continue chasing the steer.

My older sister and I were helping my dad ship once with a big group of people.  In this group was a husband and his pregnant wife.  She was far enough along to have a protruding belly, but she still worked right alongside everyone else just fine.

The wife (who I am not naming for security purposes) had been using a hot shot, helping push cattle through the alley and up the loading chute onto the cattle pots.  In between loading two trucks she took a moment to really study her hot shot.  "I bet it doesn't hold a charge that long.  I bet it doesn't even hurt all that much."  She walked over to her unsuspecting husband and barely touched his leg with the long, yellow stick.

We all heard the familiar POP of the hot shot and watched as her dearly beloved instantly lost all feeling in his leg and hit the ground.  He glanced around in an attempt to figure out what had happened.  When he saw his wife holding a hot shot he slowly started to limp towards her like the villain in every horror movie that's ever been made.

She had tears of laughter in her eyes as she backed away from him, holding her belly.  "Remember the baby, honey.  Remember the baby!"

I definitely remember the food.  When we would get done shipping by mid-morning there would always be a feast waiting on us at whomever's house we were near.  As a kid I definitely appreciated the meals, but now as an adult I feel awe-struck when I think back at what those women could accomplish.  Brisket, beans, potatoes, salad, pies, and cookies filled those tables.  My husband definitely is getting the shaft these days.  Poor fella.  Good thing he never reads this blog.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This and That

According to the design blogs I follow, these are called industrial shelves and they are soooooo in style right now.  (By the way, I made them myself for our kitchen for about $40 while online retailers sell them for $100+.  Score!)  And the S C on the left is our brand.  I just love these metal letters, so why not include them in the picture?

Do you know what toddlers refer to these shelves as?  

A ladder.  

This prompted a nice talk on safety, what makes Momma mad, etc. 

Today in cattle shipping style...

We got done watching the men ship this morning and then ran back to the house before the heavens unleashed a torrential rain.  The past three days in a row it has literally been raining cats and dogs.  

Literally?  Really?  

This is the face I fear I make when someone says literally.  Because 99% of the time they actually mean figuratively.  When talking to some people I feel like I can't hardly keep up with the mental math if I deduct 10 points from their IQ each time they misuse the word literally.  The abuse of this word makes me want to scream.  LITERALLY.  

And now for something to help my blood pressure return to normal...

John has figured out that he is in the top 10% of most adorable creatures on the planet and he is using it to his advantage.  He tilts his head, smiles and literally melts my heart a million times a day.  

Oh boy, just like that my blood pressure is sky rocketing again...

I perform several hundred snap tests on cattle each month, resulting in lots and lots of packages in the mail every few weeks.  (Acutally, it's two gigantic boxes with 52 little boxes inside, but who's counting.)  Kenyon and I both look forward to these delivery days for entirely different reasons.  And yes, all these boxes get recycled when Kenyon is done playing with them.  We are big on recycling at our house which will be it's own lengthy blog post some day soon.

Behold: The world's longest train.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Just Keep Swimming

There's a To-Do list a mile long sitting on the desk next to my computer; glaring at me while I type this.

The baby woke up often last night with teething troubles; the toddler had a bad dream.

My husband was out the door an hour before the sunrise - it's shipping season and he's crabby from working such long, hot days.

He's trying to ship a few pastures that are incredibly muddy and even had to take a tractor along just to get the loading chute set.

I made the mistake of reading the news on my phone while soothing the baby at 3am and then I couldn't shut my mind off for several hours following.

The boys didn't get to bed until a few hours after their bedtimes because we were in Grandma's basement during the worst of the storm.

A tornado came through the area last night during all the big storms and it sounds like a neighbor's place got wiped out.  They have two sweet girls that are each only three months older than our two boys.

Life just seems a bit much right now for everyone, everywhere you look.  But...

The sun still came up this morning.  It wasn't a spectacular sunrise, not by a long shot.  It wouldn't even crack my Top 10 list.  But God gave us another day and another sunrise nonetheless.

That To-Do list will eventually disappear, one chore at a time.

Yes, both boys are awake at an incredibly early hour, but they are playing and laughing behind me on the living room floor.

Thank God we have cattle to ship, and cattle that will weigh up well.

Shipping in mid-July when it is wet is an unusual problem to have, and certainly one you feel guilty complaining about.

I will have fresh cookies made to help placate the men when they get back from their long, muddy morning of shipping.

We keep praying and trying to raise good kids that will make it on the news for helping instead of hurting and causing so much strife in the world.

I'm glad I stock up and hoard diapers in the closet.  I have every size and will take them to the neighbors as soon as I learn what they need.

Even though there's quite a bit of negative in the world and sometimes I can easily get overwhelmed, it is nice to sit down and list out all the good as well.  This may feel like the most Mondayist-Friday ever, but we're ready for it.  The coffee pot is full (for the second time), the sun is up and we're ready for the day.  We're ready to just keep swimming along.

We hope you can find some great in your day as well.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Uh, Mom...

I hear this phrase quite often from my two-and-three-quarters year old son.

Uh, Mom?

It's toddler-speak for Hey, Dumbass.  Except we no longer say ass at our house.  We don't even say butt.  We say bottom.  Hey, Dumbbottom.

We were getting ready to leave the house one day and run some errands in town.  I was feeling especially spry and decided to grace the world with a half-hearted attempt at joining society.  I wore jeans and a t-shirt (as opposed to sweats and a t-shirt) and I had even sort of fixed my hair.  Okay, that's a total lie.  I had fixed my hair the day before when we went to church and it was still decent enough to last me through a Monday.  Yay for the small victories in life!

Just as we were getting ready to walk out the door I decided to give my hair a final little spritz of hairspray.  As a girl who spent several years living south of the Mason-Dixon line I learned that sometimes you need a little somethin' somethin' to help your gorgeous hairdo stay fabulous for the rest of the day.  I am far from having gorgeous hair, but doggoneit I was trying.

I grabbed a can of hair product off the shelf and went sssssshhhhhhhhhhh all over the top of my head.  I then confidently placed the can back on the shelf and turned towards the door, ready to conquer the world with my two sweet cherubs.

"Uh, Mom?"

Sigh.....  Those two words completely let the wind out of my sails in an instant.  Nothing good ever comes from this phrase.

"Uh, Mom?  What's that white stuff on your head?"

I slowly turned and faced the mirror.  I looked like a poor imitation of George Washington in a terrible white wig.  Turns out I had mistakenly grabbed a can of volumizing mousse instead of hairspray.  I had never even used that product before.  Well, I had never used it until this moment.

I then spent the next few minutes using a comb and some toilet paper to scrape off and absorb most of the product from my hair.  And find a suitable ball cap, which I should have just done in the first place.

So these days I find small victories to celebrate in life every day.  Chiefly, I count the entire day as a 'win' if I never hear those dreaded words...

"Uh, Mom?"

Thursday, June 16, 2016

State of the Garden

Yesterday morning at breakfast, Kenyon asked me if we could go outside and take pictures together.  

How do you say no to this face?

I have an old camera that is 10+ years old I recently found during a purge-all-my-old-storage-tubs session.  Kenyon pulled it out of the 'items to toss' pile and asked if he could keep it.  He wanted to take pictures just like Mama.  I couldn't tell him no. 

I did; however, tell him NO, he could not crawl through the barbed wire fence and go load pipe in 97 degree heat with the men and this was the look he gave me.  He felt absolutely dejected.  What a horrible mother I am.

Since we were outside with our cameras, I decided to capture some of our beautiful flowers.  For once, the wind wasn't blowing 30+ miles an hour so these pictures weren't a complete blur like normal. 

In focus, you'll notice the delicate, purple blooms of my hostas.  Growing up I was not a fan of hostas but now I can't get enough of them.  

In the foreground.....

This is goosegrass, or gooseneck, or gooseneck grass.  Some such nonsense.  Long story short, I hate this stuff.  It should have a place of prominence on a noxious weed list.  I can pull 90% of this plant out of my flower beds MULTIPLE TIMES A YEAR and it still comes back with a vengeance each and every time.  If ever a nuclear holocaust were to occur I think the only things to survive would be cockroaches and this goosegrass.  And bindweed.  

If you feel you have a black thumb I suggest you give this plant a try.  Or, if you have someone in your life you can't stand but you need to be passive-agressive about it; this plant is for you.  Suggestions include:
  • IRS auditor
  • Neighbors from hell
  • The perfect woman in your book club
  • Someone that just told you their kids are not vaccinated.  (No, don't do that.  Those kids are already exposed to enough bad things in their lives.  Literally.) 
Give them a little start, sit back and watch their flower beds get overrun with the plant.  When they come back to you and tell you what a terrible time they are having with this plant that is just going wild you can give them the ultimate backhanded compliment.

"Bless your heart, you must just have the magic touch!"  

Yes, yes I did plant yarrow in my rock borders.  Yes, yes my husband does spray to eradicate this particular weed in pastures.  Yes, yes he does hate that I have this.  It is one of the few plants that can hold up to our winds and brings a little color and height that I need out here.

More of our hostas, goosegrass and wheatgrass. 

I'm salivating just staring at this picture.  

Our zucchini plant is thriving.  If you hear a knock at your door and open it to find a pile of zucchini on your porch with no one around, it was probably me trying to unload some of it.

Dianthus.  Another plant that I did not appreciate enough growing up but I am quite fond of now.  It makes tiny, pink blooms as well.  I suggest everyone needing a hardy option give it a try.

And here are some of our ornamental grasses and one dianthus.  Yes, we plant grasses for fun.  They, like yarrow, are some of the only hardy things that can survive our scorching full sun and gusty winds on a consistent basis. 

And if you've hung with me this long, entertaining me by pretending to admire my flowers, you deserve some pictures of cute kiddos.  Well, my cute kiddos. 

Kenyon: Mom, I want to hug my brother.