Monday, June 30, 2008

A Horse Woulda Been Nice

I was asked to help move a bunch of yearling calves on Saturday. They needed to go from one pasture to another that was about 1 1/2 miles or more away (I am not good at these calculations so I might ask The Prairie Daddy later but for now this will do). The Brother-In-Law rode the only horse we have available on this ranch right now...and even this horse is recovering from a fractured leg from last summer. The Prairie Daddy and myself were left to use ATVs. This is actually much easier as far as getting places quickly and not having to saddle up and unsaddle, but on this move another horse would have been a nice addition. I found out on Sunday that Dad went to Billings and bought a couple horses for our ranch on Saturday. I will look forward to meeting them soon. However, they weren't around on Saturday and the yearlings still needed to be moved.

So, I had a little rodeo without a horse! I felt like I was going to get bucked off my ATV a few times. There were some steep areas to ride, lots of sage brush to crush or dodge, and a few ditches that scared me. At one point I thought I might tip over backwards since I was going up a steep bank forwards. I even got high centered coming out of one of the ditches and neither my front nor rear tires were touching any ground. The Prairie Daddy was watching me struggle to get going again and he put 4 fingers up in the air. I didn't know what he meant. But I did stand on one side of the ATV and jump up and down while pushing the throttle and got some traction and got 'er going again. The Prairie Daddy was on his way to rescue me at this point and yelled "You could have used the 4-wheel drive!" Oh, that's what the 4 fingers meant! I proudly yelled back "Well, looks like I didn't need it!" But I knew that I really was silly for forgetting I had 4-wheel drive, however if NO wheels are on the ground what good would it be anyways?

I also experienced a slip n' slide on my ATV after several calves deficated fresh, slick manure all over the trail and as I followed them I slid all over the place! Nice, eh? Aren't you glad I love sharing vivid details of my adventures?

The Prairie Kid rode with The Prairie Daddy. I wish I had pictures to show you but I had to work hard on this ride and there was no time for goofing off with a camera. The Prairie Kid yelled and hollered at those calves to keep moving and he continually waved at me. It was a great time.

Speaking of The Prairie Kid, he has been bouncing back and forth between sweeping me off of my feet and driving me batty. I'll start with the driving me batty so that we can end on a sweet note.

What drives The Prairie Mama batty? A child who is so obviously approaching his third year. I have heard that the 3's are much worse than the terrible 2's. The 2's haven't been too bad. We have had a few phases here and there but nothing that hasn't been shadowed by fun and funny phases. In fact, 9 months to about 22 months were the hardest for me so far. It was hard to have a mobile child that couldn't respond to verbal directions. I hated constantly having to get up and move the child or remove something that was off limits. I remember the first days that he started responding to my verbal commands...I thought I had won the lottery!

Back to the "so obviously approaching his third year." My tough child who barely whimpered when he actually got hurt is now whining like a whimp. We've never responded dramatically to bumps, falls, tumbles, or other normal toddler owies unless they were significantly in need of kisses, band aids and blankies. This helped our child be able to move on and not fall apart unless it was necessary. Well, lately, he not only falls apart with typical bumps and bruises but he is INVENTING hurts. "OWE! I HURT SELF!" When we have to physically move him because he is choosing not to on his own he cries and screams and hollers "OWE! YOU HURT ME!" I am actually afraid that some day in public someone is going to think that I am actually hurting him!

He also has gotten clever and makes up excuses. Today he had no trouble carrying the half-empty gallon of milk to me to fill his cup. This is typical...if he wants milk he brings me the jug and his sippy and then he puts the jug away. But today, he cleverly tried to get out of taking the jug back to the fridge by pleading "It too heavy!" Funny, it wasn't too heavy when he brought it to me...and now it was another cup lighter!

There have been great temper tantrums as well. Thankfully the recovery chair is still working and he doesn't like to go there so it usually only takes us giving him a choice and he corrects his behavior, however one time this past week he was so upset he threw some dice at me and ended up in the recovery chair for quite a little longer than usual.

Whew. That was all yucky pre-schooler behavior stuff. Let's move on to the sweet "sweep me off my feet" stuff.

I got back from camp 10 days ago. The Prairie Daddy and The Prairie Kid picked me up as I exited the school bus (remember the details about this '88 gem?). Well, every day, more than once a day, The Prairie Kid says, "Mommy home. I missed you. I love you. Mommy schoo bus." Today we were baking brownies together when he said "Mommy home. I missed you." And he leaned over and gave me a hug!

Our bedtime routine takes place in our bedroom. We get The Prairie Kid's pjs on, teeth brushed, read the Bible, and then its time for hugs and kisses for Mommy so Daddy can take him to bed. Lately, though, before hugs and kisses The Prairie Kid has been cuddling up between us under the covers for a little while. Now this is extra special for me because my kiddo isn't a big cuddler and I like to cuddle.

The Prairie Kid sweeps me off my feet. What a great note to end on.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Am A Translator

A few nights ago there was a conversation in our family room that went something like this

The Prairie Kid: Dos moff...dos moff!
The Prairie Parents: What? Moth?
The Prairie Kid: Yep! Dos moff.
The Prairie Parents: What?
The Prairie Kid: Dos moff
The Prairie Parents: What? Moth?
The Prairie Kid: Yeah! Moff.

(This continues for several minutes)

The Prairie Kid: Dos moff.
The Prairie Parents: What?
The Prairie Kid: Dos moff, Mom. Ah-car, a dos moss.

All of the sudden I realized, The Prairie Kid was trying to say JOE MOSS! The car is what helped me decifer...he knows we have to go in the car to get to the Joe Moss headgate! Well, we did need to go and check the water so we put him in the car and off we went.

Well, last night we needed to go again. And this time we got to take Monica the Magnificent with because she was over for supper and hang out time. After we checked the water and were driving out we spotted a mama moose and a very young moose calf. And you all know me, the camera was out and ready to go! There is also a quick clip of an elk cow that has been hanging around by herself which means she has already calved and has a new baby hidden close by or she is about to pop out her calf. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bob The Builder Visits The Prairie

I didn't get a chance to tell you all that Bob the Builder stopped out to see us a week and a half ago. He was interested in learning about hauling hay bales. Now, if you here "hell bells" in the video clip, it is really "hay bales," I promise. We haven't really taught our lovely son to say "hell." And I am not sure there are bells ringing in hell anyways. Well, back to the point...Bob the Builder visited the prairie.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Outdoor Adventures

This weekend we did some adventuring (after I moaned on the couch for an appropriate amount of re-coup time after camp) . The first adventure was evening fishing on our reservoir next to the house. I haven't fished much in the past couple of years and was excited about the possibility of some fresh trout.
Here are a few pictures and a video clip of The Prairie Daddy and his clone from the gorgeous night.

I am sorry to report that even though the fish were jumping all over, we were unsuccessful in tricking them onto our hooks. Bummer. I hope to try again soon.

After church Sunday we decided to go on another adventure. We drove up the North Fork (Remember the big horn sheep pictures? That was up the South Fork.). We got to the entrance of Yellowstone National Park and decided to buy an annual pass and head on up to Fishing Bridge. Below will show you why I am so, so glad that we did this. The Prairie Kid was such a trooper with the slow, scenic driving. We did reward him with some salt water taffy and a new stuffed owl that "hoos;" we found it in the bargain bin for $2.50. Owls are a hot topic these days because there is a family of them that lives across the street from Auntie's house in a big tree. (By the way Auntie, The Prairie Kid cannot wait to show you his new owl. He cried on the ride home when he found out we weren't going to your house to show you. And he had his owl book that you gave him and put an owl sticker on the new stuffed owl.)
Okay, back to why I am so, so glad that we decided to head into the park:
This first clip was the "traffic" in Yellowstone. This big ol' bison bull was using the middle of the road as his trail. Later, when we were leaving he was about a half a mile further, still using the "trail."
Here is the highlight of our trip:

And on the way out of the park we were able to grab a view of these two:
It is so much fun to live where we live. I think we're tremendously blessed.

Barefoot And Headed To The Pros

One of the things about The Prairie Kid that I am torn between fearing and being proud of is his love for sports...especially baseball. Why am I afraid, you ask? Well, have you ever seen the amount of time sports families spend on the field? In the car? At practice? I support sports but I do know that my family spent the majority of the time on a soccer field or going to and from a soccer field for years. I am not sure that is my ideal for our family. However, I don't want to squash any passions and talents that my kids may have. So, we'll lay this one in the hands of the Father and wait to see what His plan is. Until then, we get to watch these fun videos of The Prairie Kid interpreting the game of baseball.

This is on Father's Day while we were out at Mom and Dad's ranch. It is nice that The Prairie Kid is so willing to provide free entertainment on occasions such as this.

Notice the slide? Pretty funny, eh? I am amazed at how well he actually swings a bat and can hit a ball. He's not even 3!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Survivor: Wyoming: Kidz vs. Me

I am a Survivor Champion. I did not come home with a million dollars but I survived. I'd really like to see how any of the contestants on Survivor would have held up this week. Kidz Kamp '08 was a wild ride!

It all started on Monday, June 16th at 8:30am. Excited, ready-to-go 3rd-7th grade kids gave their last hugs to their parents (who gave their last reminder to brush their teeth and wear sunscreen). We loaded the hoards of sleeping bags and suitcases into the trailer and the hoards of kids onto the 1988 school bus. Off we went.

Around 4:30pm we arrived at the Wyoming State Fair Grounds. The dormitory was divided to house girls on one side, boys on the other. Extra bunk bed mattresses became projectile objects while crazy, bus-weary kids created their "homes" for the week.

Remembering things from that point on is pretty was non-stop until we pulled back into the church parking lot last night around 8:30pm. I will put together information in categories from here on out.

Here are some camp stats:

80 kids

4 girls cabins
5 female counselors

20 girls showers
8 girls toilets
6 girls sinks

3 boys cabins
8 male counselors

5 days
4 nights
11 camp meals
8 chapel times

Long days
Little Sleep
Lots of coffee

Too much time on a bus
Lots of pit stops

Horses, river floats, BB guns, crafts, faith colors, hikes, field trips, Big Toys, field games, camp fire, songs, prayers, life decisions, cabin times, snack shop, cabin clean ups, water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, whining, crying, clapping, laughing, screaming, puking, bruises, bloody noses, hugs, and much, much more!

Here is my group: Kidz Kamp '08 Cabin #2

Here are some things that built (and thankfully didn't break) my character this week:

- 1988 school buses top out at 60 miles per hours and do not have A/C
- eating, breathing, and sleeping with 11 3rd-7th grade girls builds LOTS of character

- 11 girls being my responsibility 24/5 with no co-counselor
- whining
- absolutely no privacy
- kids who create lots of unnecessary drama
- telling a child what to do and being ignored....over and over again
- accompanying a crying, screaming girl floating down a river in an inner tube for an hour and a half (funny, the first hour and a half we floated she was fine!)
- sleep deprivation
- dealing with, and eventually sending home, a counselor-in-training for inappropriate behavior
- getting the song "I know a Wiener Man" stuck in your head

Here are some fun/good things from the week:
-camp food can be very good
- sleep deprivation does lead to silly camp counselors
- sleep deprivation also leads to silly decisions: like trying to look up a word in the phone book, thinking it is the dictionary
- the really old but spunky camp nurse passed gas loudly in front of me and a camper and her response was "I always say better out than in!"
- a pair of little girl undies somehow ended up on the dining hall floor and created some fun reactions. Poor kid...I doubt she was ever brave enough to collect them from the lost and found table!
- adults that are willing to be camp counselors are tons of fun to hang out with!
- tubing rivers is a blast
- you really get to know each other when you spend time like this together

Here are some fun pics from the week:
3rd-7th grade girls love to scream and literally hang around These are some of the girls from our church
This is our church's fearless Children's Pastor and the new Camp Director
Camp isn't camp until you've sang and acted out silly songs
Kids love to be grossed out and listen well during "live heart surgery"

Girls beating each other with foam sticks is quite entertaining!

Arts and crafts...a camp necessity
" Lean On Me" is a classic
Dodge ball is still completely acceptable in Wyoming
Big Toys prove to be big fun
Kids are eager Girls are great BB gun shooters What kind of camp would this be without horses? Ayres Natural Bridge is one of Wyoming's best kept secrets

I had a hearing impaired gal from my church go with this week. She was in my cabin and this was interesting but really fun. What I didn't know going in was that even though she is 12 she doesn't read well, write well, or sign well. I learned that I know much more sign language than she. I was blessed with her awesome attitude, adaptability, flexibility, and contagious and continual smile. I know she is living in a really rough situation and has had to learn to just survive but she has done it with more grace and perseverance than almost anyone I know. We were able to find ways to communicate surprisingly well and many of the other girls enjoyed hanging out with her. Here is a picture of this wonderful girl enjoying camp more than anyone else I spent the week with:

Overall, it was totally worth every bit of sleep deprivation, whining, lack of privacy, etc. Am I glad to be home? You betcha. I cried when I got to wrap my arms around The Prairie Kid again. Would I do it again? You betcha. But I would do my best to recruit more adults to help because we were short on staff and that made it a much harder week.
Now I get to regroup here at home and make up for lost time with my family.
I am a Survivor Champion.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Song Of Comfort For Me

I popped in my least-listened to CD from Jennifer Knapp the other day. I haven't had the best of weeks. I have been a bit depressed and struggling with a few things. This song really got my attention and I enjoyed listening to it many times throughout the week. I thought I'd share it with you all.

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I am looking forward to honoring The Prairie Daddy and spending a little time with his family. Bright and early Monday morning I will be heading off to camp to be a counselor for 5th and 6th grade girls with our church. It should prove to be an exciting week. I hope that I am not too will be long days and early mornings. I am not an "early morning kind of girl." I will also miss my bed and family. The Prairie Kid will stay at his grandma's for part of the week and then The Prairie Daddy will have him on his own.

I am hopeful that camp will be a good time for me to re-focus a bit and spend some good time with my Father. I think I am in need of a little Father/Daughter time : )

For all of you daddy's out there...Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not Alot To Report

This week didn't prove to have any great stories. The few days with two was not super enjoyable and I think maybe I am still recovering from it! I did get to go to the dentist and our washer decided to kick the bucket. (Great week, eh?)

Since there isn't much to report on I thought I'd tell you about some funny things The Prairie Kid has been saying or doing:

When he thinks something is too hard, he says, "Nuff hard, Mom." He must be confused with "hard enough" and "too hard."

When I am tucking him in for a nap or at night and I am talking to him he cutely repeats me. It goes something like this:
Me: "I love you."
Him: "I llll-Uv you."
Me: "Sleep good."
Him: "Sah-leeeep good."
Me: "Nigh-night."
Him: "Nigh-night Mom."

Sometimes when he is asked not to do something he'll blame it on Lil' Miss even though she's not around!

The Prairie Kid is also obsessed with Gladiators. It comes on Monday evenings and he thinks it's the best thing that ever happened. He grunts and struts and does crazy testosterone-filled things around the family room including YELLING "Glad-ators!"

When there is a noise he quickly looks at me and says "What's that, Mom?" I answer him (wind, an airplane, etc.) and he says "ooooohhhhh."

Sometimes you can say the most simple thing to him, like "it's time to put your shoes on" he says in a sweet way "oh, I see" emphasizing the "I."

Did you know that a four-wheeler is also known as a floor-eeler?

Whenever Barak Obama is spotted on TV he yells "BARAK BAMA!"

He is into telling people to wake up, like the Pepsi Max commercial. He'll say "Wake up people!" "Wake up Mom!"

He wanted to show everyone his cowboy boots or irrigating boots (depending on which were on his feet at the moment) at Rodeo Bible Camp.

He loves to wear a belt and insists on doing so when he is wearing jeans.

I put a sweatshirt on him yesterday and he said "like Mommy!" What is funny is that I hardly ever wear sweatshirts, but hey, I'll take the wanting to be like Mommy any day!

I kissed his hand the other day and he took mine and kissed it. We went back and forth doing this for quite a while.

When he is looking for something he says "where my baseball go?" "where my racecars go?"

Well, The Prairie Kid is wanting to baseball now, how can I refuse?

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Prairie Kid's Hero

The Prairie Kid has a hero. It is his athletic, ball-playing cousin. The Cousin is going to be a junior in high school and thrills The Prairie Kid with three different sport seasons: football, basketball and baseball. He had a baseball tournament this weekend and we made it to one of the games. The Cousin unfortunately got hurt during the game pulling a muscle in his thigh, however the prognosis for a speedy recovery is good. I managed to get a video clip of his last plays. The first is The Cousin making a great hit, bringing two runners home, and the second is him getting to run in from second off another player's hit. This was his last play for a couple of weeks. : (

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Two For A Few

Lil' Miss is back in our home for a few days. As excited as The Prairie Kid is to see her it isn't really a "peaceful, easy feeling." Maybe we need to take a moment and try to have a peaceful, easy feeling again...


See, something happens to Peace and Ease when you take two "only-children" toddlers and make them "siblings" in the snap of a finger. What happens? It is quite scary, Peace and Ease go FLYING out the window. Gone in a flash. I am only getting to vent about this at the moment because The Prairie Daddy took the Peace and Ease Annihilators outside to play for a little while. I did get some cute pictures of them though...

Here is Lil' Miss mowing the deck

And The Prairie Kid missing the ball...maybe it's cause his eyes aren't open!

Trying again

And making contact!

The Home Run Lap around the deck

I also got some not-so-cute but very real video of what happens when The Annihilators are together. This is what my first month with Lil' Miss in the house was like much of the time.

Now, The Prairie Daddy and I were smart enough to sneak some time together this weekend between the craziness of Rodeo Bible Camp and the chaos of two toddlers. I got dolled up and we took The Prairie Kid to Auntie's to stay the night. Then we went out for sushi and dancing with a bunch of great friends. Here I am all dolled up to go out in the brightest pink I own:
We danced and danced. The Prairie Daddy and I LOVE to dance. He spun me around so much I thought I had Vertigo again! It was so much fun. We didn't even get to bed until 1:30am and I am still paying for it! There are some fun pictures one of the other couples took that I might be able to post soon.
I am sure I will have some more great Two Toddler posts for you this week. It is always much more exciting around here with two! Is it nap time yet?

Since I have been working on this post, The Prairie Kid and Lil' Miss started watching the videos of themselves on the laptop next to me. Check out The Prairie Kid cracking himself up...

Rodeo Bible Camp

Rodeo Bible Camp kept us pretty busy this week. Actually, June will be quite a busy month so this is your warning that the blog posts may be a little sparse.

RBC went great. There were lots of kids from several states that were here to learn more about their beloved rodeo event(s). Here are some photos for you to see the youngsters hard at work:

How about a little calf roping?

Or team roping?

Brave or crazy?

Barrel Racing

Pole Bending

Goat Tying

The worship and speakers were great. The Prairie Kid enjoyed RBC as well and was such a trooper during those long days away from home. He played on a particular mound of dirt for hours and hours. He also enjoyed the music as you can see in this picture...and he is mimicking those that had a hand in the air.

Here is The Expecting Faith the Fabulous and her Lil' Buckaroo

And Miss Amanda the Amazing hanging out with The Prairie Kid

Hey all you RBC folks, thanks for a great week!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Old MacDonald Has A Farm

This clip is one I have been meaning to post for a while now. It was last month and since then The Prairie Kid has had a haircut. But, this is too precious not to post even if its late. When you see him walking forward and back it is because he is watching himself in the screen of the video camera...I had it turned so that he could see it.

Humble Pie On Fire

Memorial Day weekend is a time of birthday celebrating in our family. We have a tradition of having a turkey fry down at the shop on our ranch hosted by one of my sister-in-laws. There are two nephews birthdays and my father-in-law's birthday to celebrate.

After the turkey fry we came over to our house this year to play games. Another nephew and his girlfriend were in town from Wisconsin. While playing Hostess I whipped up a quick strawberry cheesecake. While it was baking some of the syrup dripped into the bottom of the oven. Later when I put something else in the oven a big fire started. I managed to fill my house with awful smoke and I am sure that impressed my company. Here I am after I poured baking soda all over the oven to put out the fire.

Games are big in our family. Our favorite is Cranium...and it is almost always played men against women. The women usually defeat the men. Here we are taking this charade victory from the guys. This is our nephew's awesome and adorable girlfriend:

And here we are winning another victory in Sculpturades (way to sculpt sis!):

Here are they guys losing in a Factoid...which is a trivia question:

Although I am showing you how wonderful women can play Cranium, I am sad and embarrassed to report that we lost the "Best of 3" Cranium Competition. It was neck and neck...but we came out defeated. It was so sad.

Here is a clip of The Menfolk winning a charade against us:

Hey all you Family Menfolk out there...I am ready for a rematch!