Monday, November 14, 2016

Little Boys' Heaven on Earth

Life has been zooming by lately and there have been many days that the boys haven't played as much as they would have preferred.  It's hard to run around and get dirty when you're stuck in a car seat and helping Mom pick up a battery for the tractor, parts for the 4 wheeler and groceries (while you're in town anyway).  

During weeks when I'm feeling especially neglectful I try to make a special point of taking them down to a creek to play at least one evening.  It's a few miles from our house but well worth the drive.  We love the flat, rock bottom with little puddles of clear water everywhere.  It's filled with sticks, rocks, leaves and water.  Heaven on earth for little boys. 

I asked for a smile.
I got a raspberry. 


I love it that I can just let Kenyon explore to his heart's content.

Over there, Mom!

Friday, October 28, 2016


The other morning I looked outside my kitchen window to see one of the most beautiful foggy mornings ever in the history of the universe.  I'm sure of it.  At least one of the top 10.  

I neeeeeeeded to take a few photos of this morning.  My soul wouldn't let me rest until I did.  I was torn - do I stay in the house and feed and clothe my beautiful children or do I capture God's beauty? 

I took a moment to assess my priorities.  I rushed to turn on some some Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood cartoons, set up the baby gate in the kitchen doorway and outside I ventured.  

Feel free to click on the photos to enlarge them.  And please note, I'm not claiming that my photography skills are stunning.  In fact, they are seriously lacking in most of these when I review them, and they could use some serious editing.  However, ignore my ineptitude and focus on God's handiwork.  Not. Too. Shabby.

All these views are from our front yard.  *cue happy dance*

Focus near...

Focus far...

I love the way spiderwebs stand out during the morning dew.

And one photo of Laurie.  Because I love her.

And him.  I love him too.  Especially since he didn't completely tear up the house during the 10 minutes I left him unsupervised. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Lately, it seems that we've been burning our candles one of two ways:

  • We've been burning our candles at both ends - weaning, cutting beans, cutting corn and drilling wheat, or....
  • We've been so sick that we've been trying to keep one candle dimly lit in a very small room with little to no breeze lest it extinguish the candle permanently. 
Hopefully we are soon done with the latter and return to the former. 

This would be evidence of poor, sickly days I described.

The weather has been great, so on days when we feel magnificent we soak up all the crisp air and sunshine we possibly can.

Doesn't everyone wrinkle their nose and smile with glee when they finish a field of beans?
If not, you should.

Perhaps this is part of the reason our allergies are attempting to kill us this year.  This is the grill on the front of Wesley's feed pickup, covered in bluestem seed.  Actually, this is a trifling amount compared to just a few weeks ago.

Getting ready to move to a new field and cut more beans tomorrow.

"Mom, I got some work to do."
Kenyon has morning chores, both real and imagined, but all incredibly important.
Feeding the dogs: important.
Kicking out mineral to his imaginary cows in the shop: more importanter.

Bumper cars.  It gets more vicious as they age.

Work, work and more work.  They rarely take a break.
Their great-grandparents got a workbench for them to play with and it was nearly impossible to pry them away.

A pasture picnic.  I love these days.  This is a post in and of itself. 

Yes, he eats off the ground.  Sometimes I feel fancy and call it 'organic' when he eats grass and sticks.

Learning how to operate the hydraulics on the tractor.  You're never too young to learn.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Have Smiles, Will Travel

The boys and I traveled to see my family this weekend for some much needed snuggles and good food.  I'm always slightly embarrassed, slightly proud when I see the boys eat my mom's food so well.  Yes, they do try to eat her out of house and home, but it's not all their fault.  She cooks REALLY well.  

In the event you do not have a proper teething ring available, just throw a stick of celery at this kid.
He enjoys it just as much.
Mom's mums are enormous and gorgeous.  These were knee-high on me, to help you put it in perspective.
 Yes, I see cattle every day.  Yes, we live in the middle of beautiful grass country.  Yes, I drove hours away so I could see the exact same things with my dad.

Now that John is one year old it was high time he had a proper hair cut.  My Aunt Chelle did the honors in her beauty shop.  It warmed my heart to see John wear the same little cape that I wore countless times when she trimmed my hair growing up. 

Before: little baby
After: big man
The boys read lots and lots of books with their Great Grandma S, and Kenyon was kind enough to sing her the ABC's as well.  She's a great audience and fawns over their accomplishments like a dutiful, well seasoned great grandparent should. 

Books, books and more books.  Kenyon has memorized so many of his grandma's that he reads to her these days.
I love John's laugh when he's with them.  He was such a ham all weekend.

His mustache may be a different color than Dad's but it feels the same.
Grandad had a coconut cream pie for his birthday.  We used to say that everyone in the family (besides Grandad) hated coconut cream pie.  That is now amended to say everyone (besides Grandad and Kenyon) hates coconut cream pie.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Catching Up

Its been a day or two since I last wrote.  My apologies.  It's been busy here, just like with everyone else.  Let's do a little recap, shall we?  

We purchased a swing set for the boys with my credit card rewards points, making it *nearly* free for us.  My favorite four letter F word.  But... we still have to put it together...

Drinking or sober, it won't matter.  There is no way to make building this swing set look appealing.  Or possible.  I wish I could go to the factory where they pack these kits together.  I imagine some college age kiddo taping together every box to send out the door and giggling uncontrollably while muttering under his breath, "Those poor idiots.  They won't stand a chance."
Please pray for us.

On to happier things.

I highly recommend this craft for any toddler.  I 'painted' a tree with a sharpee marker.  And I have not a talented bone in my body, so when I say 'painted' I mean that I drew one tall line with several lines offshooting in an attempt to mimic branches.  That's really all it takes, folks.

I then took a bunch of Q-tips (approximately 20) and bundled them together with a rubber band.  This became Kenyon's paintbrush for our craft.

On one paper plate I squirted out three dollops of paint.  Red, orange and a deep red.  He would dib-dab his Q-tip paint brush in each dollop of paint and then dab it onto the tree branches of the canvas.  (You can purchase a 3 pack of canvases at Wal-Mart for just a few dollars.)
Kenyon demonstrated his superior art skills to his grandma and grandad yesterday.  He had a captive audience and put on quite the show.

Viola!  A masterpiece.  There is really no way for a child to mess anything up, destruct anything or cut themselves during this process.  It could quite possibly be my favorite craft we have ever done together.  Scratch that.  It is my favorite craft with him, ever.  Now I'm trying to imagine ways we can tweak this craft for different times of year by using different colors.  For example, we could use red and blue paint and make a firecracker canvas for the summer, pastels and paint flowers in the spring, etc.  Watch out, Martha Stewart.  I'm coming for you. 

This weekend we celebrated many of the fall birthdays in our family during a ranch rodeo.  While it rained INCHES outside on the men that were competing, we sat under a covered pavillion and exchanged presents.  When the ranch rodeo was over, everyone came over to join us and everyone celebrated both birthdays and Uncle Mitch's team winning with celebratory cupcakes and beer.  (Like one man chuckled, "Wow, cupcakes and beer.  Feel's like college all over again!")

Kenyon and cousin Kade played HARD during the hours they were together.  Seeing Kade guarantees a good night sleep for Kenyon.  Or perhaps it is more of a mild coma.  I really don't know, and frankly, I really don't care. 
In other news... 

While the weather has been so pleasant lately, we've been trying to go for jaunts every day.  Sometimes we go check cattle, sometimes we just walk down to the creek and throw rocks into the water.  Regardless, we have a great time. 

John is pulling himself up anywhere and everywhere and loves to walk (with assistance).  He is getting more impatient with his assistants and I feel that walking unassisted is going to begin just any day now. 

My porch is covered with these delicate, purple blossoms these days.  It is a transplant from my aunt.  She calls it a Hyacinth bean.  Calling it an aggressive vine is an understatement.  I have to spend a few minutes every day or two with the vines and help them climb my makeshift trellis I've tied together from jute.  Otherwise they will overtake anything near them.  I had to cut out a patio chair that the vines overtook one weekend while we were gone.  It is that crazy.