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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Same 'Ol, Same 'Ol: Symphony 2016

Another year is in the books regarding the "Symphony in the Flint Hills".  It was an enjoyable event to work at as an outrider and I can only imagine how much fun it must be to partake in the festivities as a spectator.  Seriously.  I will only be able to imagine.  I'll probably always be working.  

I was disappointed in myself for not taking more photos this year.  My mount was a little, ahem, fresh.  I spent most of my afternoon focused on keeping my horse focused.  I did not want to hold my precious camera in one hand and my reins in the other.  Not this year.  My sister, Elizabeth, and friend, Sarah, were kind enough to share some of their photos with me.  Also, I did finally manage to take a few photos with my camera phone.  

Although I wasn't able to capture any stunning landscape photos like last year I feel that you can still get a general sense of our day after viewing these.  Lots of sun, lots of wind, lots of smiles and lots of laughs.  It's a terrible shame that we only see some of these friends once a year.   

Let me preface this first picture by saying that we are not a big 'picture people' type of family.  This is one of only a handful of pictures of my dad and I together and I absolutely love it.  We were both riding our horses behind a covered wagon that my friend Sarah was riding in and she snapped this for us.  Just think how many pioneers could have taken a similar photo - had they only had a camera.  Sigh....

Fun fact: This colt and baby John consume nearly the same amount of milk each day.
Or at least it feels like that to me.

I wish I had a nickel for every mile I've covered in these stirrups.

Our family grew up giving wagon rides and partaking in this just feels.... natural.  It feels familiar.  It's like riding a bike.  You never forget how to harness a team, how to hitch them, how to drive them.  

For more photographs regarding the "Symphony in the Flint Hills", visit:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

First Cuttings

The theme around our place for the past week has been cutting.

Cutting teeth:
Don't let the smile fool you - we've been through some tough times to get these chompers.
And cutting hay:
One of my very favorite sights in the whole wide world.

Kenyon logged quite a few hours in the swather and baler this past week and cried horribly when I broke the news to him that we were done haying for a few days. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Little Work and A Little Play

They say all work and no play is bad for a person, so this week we've tried to achieve a balance and incorporate a bit of both. 

We fished a bit with friends who were camping over Memorial Day weekend.

This picture melts my heart every time.  The two K's just chilling and fishing.  I just try not to stress over the fact that our children were near a large body of water with large hooks flying near their heads.  

I am a parent that stresses endlessly over things and I realize this, but I've been told that my stress level will decrease with each additional child we have.  Great!  If we end up having 27 kids I think I'll finally achieve a reasonable level of stress like normal people with kids, but then we'll have an entirely new set of challenges on our hands.  (And no, we're not shooting for 27 kids, folks.)

John thoroughly enjoyed fishing this weekend as well.
It helped take his mind off the pain from two teeth that appeared this weekend.

Now that the weekend of play is but a memory, it's time to get back to work.  John supervised yesterday while Kenyon helped his dad grease the swather and head out to the hay field. 

Although 90% of the mess on his body is grease, most of the spots on his face can be attributed to Girl Scout thin mint cookies.  He found the stash his dad hides in the shop fridge and raids it quite often.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Life Lately

There's not been much in our lives lately that is noteworthy (not that I'm complaining).  Our boring little life is just fine with us.

Lots of rain lately means lots of rainbows.  If you look really closely, you'll notice that this particular storm produced a double rainbow.  It was absolutely stunning in real life. 
Story time is his favorite.... right behind eating.

The following picture is one of my favorite pictures of all time.  This is why we got married and had children.  This was always our plan from day one.  I can now die happy.

Do you realize what this picture means???


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Some Things Never Change

Every single year, there is one week during the month of May when Wes and the men work calves.

Every single year, during that one week, I make or take lunch to the men in the pastures.

Every single year, (or at least for the past three years) I have small boys with me.  They absolutely love having a pasture picnic.  

Looking through pictures from previous years only helps to solidify the fact that we are creatures of habit.  

I always spread out the food, buffet-style, on the tailgate of my pickup. 

My father-in-law always tells me my deviled eggs are the best and it's hard to beat a good deviled egg.

Wes always takes a boy to eat and play with him during lunch. 

The men always tell me that my cookies are awful and I need to practice making them more often.  

John 2016

Kenyon 2014

John 2016
8 months

Kenyon 2014
10 months

I look forward to this week each and every year.  Even if I can't be helpful working calves during this decade or so when toting around babies, I like to be helpful in my own little small way and bring them some nice meals.  

Who managed to spill Gatorade on himself within 30 seconds of getting out of the pickup?
This guy.

Talking strategy.

A calf getting some ear tags and vaccinations.