Friday, February 27, 2009

Larry, Moe, And Curly

This is a special post...dedicated to all of my local girlfriends.

You have heard me talk about my naturally curly hair. You have heard me complain about my naturally curly hair. You have asked to see my naturally curly hair. I have refused to honor your request. I have coveted all of your get-out-of-the-shower-and-get-on-with-your-day-with-wet-to-beautiful-dry-hair dos.

Here is your chance too see my hair a little more natural than usual. When I went and got my hair cut today I told The Infamous Vi, "what do you think about sending me home curly?" She replied, "give you a perm today?" My response "NO! I just mean style my hair with my natural curl. I am just going straight home so it doesn't matter what it turns out like."
Well, girls, before I show you I have to tell you that if you really like this and think that I should go like this all the time...I do not think I can replicate this. This was not a "get out of the shower, pick through my hair and go" hair-do. This was a very carefully blown dry look that Vi did being able to see my wild cowlicks and curls from above as she worked.
Okay, are you ready? This might be a "once in a lifetime" opportunity!

There you have it. It is true. My hair is naturally curly.

I am really thankful for hair dryers and straightening irons.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Never Ending!

Parenting is full of the unexpected. Every time you turn around it is "Surprise! Your child has a new behavior!" This week was no different.

The Prairie Parents were innocently finishing some dinner on the couch watching Finding Nemo with The Prairie Kid when he got bored and all of the sudden...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who Says I Don't Already Have Two Kids?

My mom lives a short walk from a well-known restaurant that has a petting zoo, playground and pond. It is such a nice thing to have close to take The Prairie Kid on a quick outing. But as you will soon learn, The Prairie Kid is not the only one of my boys that likes to go on this outing.

The Prairie Daddy does too.

Here is The Prairie Kid enjoying the horses that are around the playground...

And here is The Prairie Daddy enjoying them too.
Don't you think my cowboys look good on their steeds?
And The Prairie Kid was testing out the playground equipment... And so was The Prairie Daddy.
Here they are playing well together...
They both are fed the ducks...
The Prairie Kid also fed the sheep and goats
And the sheep soon realized that the little guy didn't have any food but maybe needed some companionship.

It is kind of funny to me that us "ranchers" are taking our little cowboy to the petting zoo when we're in the city! But hey, we aren't raising any sheep or goats now are we?

Practicing Big Brother

The Prairie Kid is practicing for when his prayers are answered. He will be the best big brother ever. He practiced the whole time his little nephew was with us in Denver. Here is a little synopsis of his training:

"Let me help you try to walk"
"I will share my toys with you!"

"I can help you blow out your candle!"

"And eat your cupcake!"

"Wanna go for a walk? I will take you!"

Other things The Prairie Kid did in practicing to be a big brother were not recorded by a camera but very important. He didn't want to miss a single diaper changing and was such a dedicated trainee that he gagged his way through the poopy diapers without quitting! He also made sure that his little cousin knew that he was being too loud and should stop crying. He told him what he could touch, and what he couldn't touch. It was great!
Well, now The Prairie Kid just gets to learn some patience like the rest of us before he can truly put his training to work!

The Prairie Family Returns

I will begin where I left off...

My dad's birthday dinner at Mu Lan was great. It was less emotional than we expected and the food was as good as we remember. My sister and I got a kick out of "re-living" the decor and things we remember about the restaurant (which hasn't changed a bit). I am so glad we all decided to do this.

My mom got a yucky stomach bug on Saturday and I felt yucky on Sunday, missing the entire open house that we had planned. That was awful. Thankfully, Monday I felt better (and my mom felt better Sunday but the poor thing was hit much harder than I was). We wrapped up our time together with a great round of a new game that we got called "Last Word." It was so much fun!

The Prairie Daddy and I were planning on leaving my mom's this morning and getting home this evening but we got a wild hair and left yesterday afternoon. We pulled in around midnight last night and managed to muster up the energy to unpack. Today was a treat to get a lot of paper work for our business caught up. It makes the whole week a whole lot easier to have this extra day at home because The Prairie Daddy hits the road again Thursday for 3 more days of ultrasound. The next few weeks will continue to be on the wild side.

While we were in Denver we decided to celebrate my little nephew's first birthday a little early since we won't be there in March when he turns 1. Grandma got him some cupcakes and he got his first "sugary treat" because his mommy and daddy hadn't yet allowed him sweets. They were great sports and let him indulge a little bit but were wise enough not to let him have the whole thing.
Mmmmm...sugar is good....

And taking away sugar is not good.....

It was such a great trip but it is always good to come home. I missed our bed and the privacy I have out here in the middle of nowhere. I knew we were back in Wyoming when:

- I realized it had been 20 minutes before we saw another car on the highway.
- There were mice and bunnies running across the road
- I could see the brilliant night sky once again and not just the glow of city lights through smog
- The wind came blazing across the prairie and through our house when I woke up this morning.

I have more pictures and stories for separate posts so you can look forward to more Prairie News soon!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Revisiting The Past

I am hanging out at my mom's for 10 days in the Denver area. It is an annual tradition for The Prairie Daddy to drop The Kid and I off here and head to Nebraska for a week every February. We play here while he does two ultrasound jobs that take a full week, usually.

The Prairie Kid and I have been having quite the week but before I get into the fun details I will do a little background info.

Two and a half years ago was my high school 10 year reunion. I didn't go. I didn't really want to go and since it was my sister's 30th birthday I had a great excuse to not be able to go. Most of the reason for me not wanting to go was that high school was not a good period in my life. That would take a whole other blog post to explain but in a nutshell, high school was hellish. I didn't really want to revisit it.

I did have a curiosity about some people. I would hear here or there about so and so. My mom owns a salon in the neighborhood I grew up in so it isn't surprising that she frequently hears the happenings of some of the people I went to school with. Sometimes when I visit my mom I wonder if I will "run into" someone from high school. I had reconnected twice with one girl and that had been a nice experience.

My thinking has slowly changed and I know exactly what to blame it on:

Facebook. What else can I say? Facebook has given us all such a "safe" ability to reconnect with people at a distance. Some people I have started to communicate with more and more. And it has been good. Better than I would have expected. It lead me to desire to actually get together with a few old friends this trip.

Now back to this week.

Monday I shopped my heart out. It was a blast! I got some fun new clothes. My mom and The Prairie Kid were with me and we had a great time. That evening I went out to dinner with my step family. It was fun.

Tueday The Prairie Kid and I met up with an old friend and her two cute boys at The Children's Museum. It was so nice to see her and find out that we have many things in common. You can only picture people as the teenager you last remember seeing and it is fun to see how someone has grown up.

That evening another friend and his family came by for dinner. Again, great time.

Wednesday I took The Prairie Kid to a children's play at a theater I haven't been to in well, over 2 decades. My mom used to take us as preschoolers and I remember at least one field trip there in elementary school. Going back with my own little preschooler was amazing. We saw a play called "Just So" on the same stage from long ago. Of course it looked a little smaller. : ) The Prairie Kid loved the play and it was a wonderful experience for us both. We had "special lunch" with my mom afterwards and The Prairie Kid got to pick where to go. He picked the gourmet and classy McDonald's. I actually bought him a happy meal too...which I don't think I have ever done before. After all, it was "special lunch." He did get a great toy digital basketball game.

Wednesday night was a big night for me. And I was nervous. I was invited to dinner at the house of a friend that I had been really close friends with up until my dad passed away when I was 16. We had corresponded much on email over the past 6 months and came to a great reconnection but actually meeting again in person was a stretch for me. She also invited another mutual friend (the one I have seen a couple of times) and we all fell back into a place of enjoying each other and talking about our lives and the past as if we hadn't missed the past 14 years. It was surreal.

Yesterday I got to go to the airport to pick up my sister, the baby nephew, and her boyfriend. Yea!

And something unheard of happened last night! The Prairie Daddy came back 2 days early! He got things done on both of his jobs a day early so he was two days ahead of schedule! So now we're all hanging out and enjoying each other for 5 days!

On Sunday we will have an open house for friends to come visit us all. All of the girls that I met up with again this week will come over and it will be great to see them again. Plus a handful of other family friends will stop in. Fun, fun!

And there is one last "blast from the past" that will take place tonight. Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 69 but he lost his battle with cancer when he was 54. Before he passed we took him to our family's favorite restaurant one last time. Mu Lan Landing. It is a Chinese restaurant that was next to his office and we began frequenting it for special occasions and family outings long ago. I was as young as early elementary school if not younger. We celebrated birthdays there, graduations, anniversaries, and much more. The owners knew us all by name and often made us special dishes. The last time any of us has been there was the last time we took my dad. He was in a wheel chair and in the last weeks of his life. I remember having to take him through the delivery door and the kitchen because it was a second story restaurant without a front elevator.

It has been 14 years since we've been. We weren't even sure the same owners had the place. We called them today and Kelly, the same owner, answered the phone. My sister told her who she was and Kelly remembered us immediately. We're going to go tonight to Mu Lan and celebrate my dad's birthday. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this. It will be a tough event to revisit but one that I want to accomplish. We have always wanted to wait until we were together as a family to go. Tonight's the night. And Kelly was so excited that we are coming that they are going to prepare our favorite dishes even though one of them is one that they don't even offer anymore. A whole steamed fish. Her husband was going to go out to find one just for us.

I will let you know how tonight goes.

I have found this week that revisiting the past is bitter sweet. It brings back lots of memories, both the good and the bad. I am glad that time offers growth. I realize that I am a very blessed woman with a blessed life. I am thankful. But I also realize that time goes on and things happen whether or not we want them to. Some things we didn't choose and we can't change. I am thankful for a Lord who is constant and loves me constantly, no matter what.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jesus, Please Put A Baby In Mommy's Tummy

Yes, The Prairie Kid has been asking for a baby brother. I told him that he could ask Jesus for this and that he did. His local little buddy just got a baby brother and I think The Prairie Kid is experiencing one of his first true bouts of envy.

I think its a great desire for him to want a baby and I know The Prairie Daddy and I share that desire. We believe God promised us another natural child but He never said when! I had to let go of my fantasy "2 kids in 2 years" and then my "compromise" of "2 kids in 3 years." I used to think it would be best for my kids to be close together. I finally surrendered my "best" and plans to the Lord and admitted that He knows what is best and perfect for us. So, if I don't have another baby for 20 years and that's His best, then oky doky! However, we are told in the Word to ask, seek, knock so we continually pray for this area in our life. And now The Prairie Kid has joined in those petitions.

God never said the waiting process would be all fun and games. But The Prairie Kid likes fun and games and is exhibiting some fantastic coping skills. Enjoy this video of The Prairie Kid finding a "substitute sibling" for the time being...

Monday, February 9, 2009

'Tis The Season

Beef carcass ultrasound. Our family will eat, sleep and breath this three word phrase for about 8 solid weeks. What am I talking about? Well, since my blog isn't quite a year old we missed this season together last year. You see, The Prairie Daddy doesn't just ranch, he is a beef carcass ultrasound technician. We own our own business and thankfully it is seasonal (as if the ranch doesn't keep him busy enough throughout the year!). Actually, this business is a really nice addition to our annual income and it has been a really great adventure for The Prairie Daddy. He is awesome at it and we have a great clientele that we've been working with for 7 years.

Now I used to travel with him full time during the ultrasound season (Feb-April) and was his "right hand man" or something like that. After puking my way from ranch to ranch, state to state during the first part of my pregnancy with The Prairie Kid, I was thrilled to have a reason to stay home and not have to go as much...a baby. I have done a job here or there but for the most part the ranches we work with provide a helper or we hire a friend to go along.
Why don't I like to go along anymore? Let me just say this...we should have been on Dirty Jobs (and I submitted an application but they never called). First thing that gets done to the animal is the dirt gets blown off their backs with a high powered blower. Then their hair gets shaved in the area the images will be taken. Then warm vegetable oil is poured all over that area. Then the scanning.
Let me paint a better picture for you of why I would rather stay home and sip my latte in my pajamas while blogging:
Flying dirt, hair, vegetable oil, poop, pee, and occasionally blood (not from us but from cattle being dumb and hurting themselves while getting loaded in the chute) covering you while you sit in frigged temperatures and all sorts of inclement weather and push buttons on a Saran wrap covered computer keyboard all day long...over and over and over and over again. And when you have to pee (or puke when you're pregnant) you have to try and find a place to hide from all of the cowboys around, usually in a hay stack or a barn behind some big tractor tire.
I am crazy for wanting to stay home, aren't I? Missing out on all the glamour of this classy endeavor?
So what is beef carcass ultrasound you ask? Many people automatically think of babies and preg checking when they here the word "ultrasound." What we (and when I say "we" I really mean "he") actually do is take images of the meat. Know that yummy prime rib you like to eat so much? Well, instead of having to butcher a bull/heifer to see how big that prime rib is and how much marbling (fat) is in it, we can tell with ultrasound images. Call me crazy but dead bulls and heifers aren't really that great for breeding (and all of the bulls/heifers we scan are pure bred bulls/heifers getting ready to be sold for exactly that purpose).

In the slaughter plant the animal is split between the 12th and 13th rib. This is where we take images so that we can measure with software on a computer the same area of the longissimus dorsi muscle (prime rib) as the packing plant. Cool, eh? Here is a picture of an ultrasound image of a ribeye.
Did this look like your steak?
Breeders take all of this data and publish it for their potential buyers. We use ultrasound on our own cattle to cut out the outliers. If a heifer falls too far under or over our desired ribeye size or marbling score then she takes a one way trip to the sale barn. We have been using this for 7 years to get a more consistent herd of cows.
Here are some pictures of The Prairie Daddy in action:

And I have posted this picture before but it is worth posting again...the tongue...always out when The Prairie Daddy is thinking. It's genetic. I am amazed he doesn't get hair, dirt and oil on that tongue when he is doing this!

This heifer looks thrilled, doesn't she?

Well, the blog posts might be sparse for the next month. Or I might have more time to blog with The Prairie Daddy being gone so much. I guess we'll find out, won't we? We are taking off to Montana at the end of the week and then heading to Denver this weekend. I will get to stay at my mom's with The Prairie Kid for a week while The Prairie Daddy goes to Nebraska. And I am so excited because my sister, her boyfriend and my little nephew are coming to Denver while we are there! Yea! There is light in the midst of the season!