Thursday, August 23, 2012

Second Grade

How in the world are you this old/big, Prairie Kid?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beefed Up Birthday Boys

We celebrated the Prairie Boys' birthdays (7th and 38th) with banana cream pie
Didn't know how much fun they could have with tissue paper!
Pumped up for 2nd grade!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yellowstone Request

The Prairie Kid requested to go to Yellowstone for his birthday. It is pretty convenient to have a national park 2 hours away!

Just before entering the East gate of the park

He opened presents throughout the day in the back seat
After we ate in Cooke City we saw a moose and I got this shot in front of Pilot Peak

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We just got in from checking cows; it is calving season.  The Prairie Daddy spotted a heifer right away that had a calf coming backwards.  He called his brother to bring up some tools to help as we coaxed her to the corral.

He put her in the chute and then checked to see if he could feel the entire calf inside the womb.  Once he located all of the "parts" they put chains around the hooves and pulled.

It was the hardest calf pull I've ever witnessed.  It was so hard to watch and I prayed the whole time.  It got too hard for The Prairie Kid to watch; when the heifer laid down in the chute he was done.

Finally the calf came out.  I had prayed that it would be alive.  I didn't think it was.  The Prairie Daddy quickly started pushing on it's chest to get it going.  Nothing.  But there was a strong heart beat and finally, after what seemed like a long time (but was probably less than a minute), the calf started to wheeze a bit and breath.

Why did this seem so fitting?  As we were first riding out to the field on the 4-wheeler, I was telling The Prairie Kid that at the same time seven years ago I began labor with him.  I had a special connection with that heifer tonight.  Her baby was breech and mine was only sunny side up, but we both experienced the harshness of labor pains on the same August night seven years apart.  Tonight is much nicer than the night we drove to the hospital.  I remember at about 11pm there were a few snowflakes falling.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the sweet birthday of our precious miracle.  He wants to go to Yellowstone so that is where we will head.

I will lay my head down tonight with deep gratitude for the joy of having a son and a thankful heart that the calf was saved (and maybe even the mom) this evening.

1 Samuel 1:27–28
"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chemistry Fun

There is a chemistry lab going on in my kitchen.

It took a little while for them to decide which experiment to try.  I'm not surprised that they chose one with fire.
Especially given that the Firefighter cousin was involved : )
They were super serious and the teamwork was impressive
And...FIRE! fire.
The experiment was supposed to have gas from a mixture in the test tube blow out the match.  It didn't work but they had fun trying!  Now I am hearing things like "copper sulfate" and "color changes."  I think I'd better grab the video camera and go check out the kitchen.

Best Buddy

Remember that conversation I had with The Prairie Kid about what he wanted to do for his birthday?  Well, he also wanted to hang out with his best buddy.  So yesterday we got him and went out for pizza, mini-golfed, went to a local attraction, ate ice cream at a restaurant none of us had ever been to, and he came over for a sleepover. 

There is something super special about a best buddy.  We're sure thankful for this friendship!

Another Year

Today we celebrated The Prairie Daddy's and The Prairie Kid's birthdays with our local family.  It was a fun night.  A couple weeks ago I was driving down the road and talking to The Prairie Kid about what he wanted to do for his birthday.  This is the 2nd year that he has expressed that a family party is more important to him than a party with kids.  I asked him what he wanted to eat for that party and he specifically lined out the menu for me.  I made sure to write it down so that I didn't leave anything out.  Here is what he wanted:

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Caesar Salad
Red-top Jell-O Salad
 Cookie Bar Cake

We didn't really have a "theme" for the party.  We've done pirates, cowboy, sports and camo.  And really, that is still the main interests in The Prairie Kid's life.  I guess we could have gone with Legos, but I just used some fun things I had on hand around the house. 

Like mason jars and bandanas.

 And some fresh flowers that we already had.

 My Main Squeeze is the Grill Master
 He grilled these pieces of heaven to perfection...
 I have never made a "cookie bar cake" before...but I made the cookie bar recipe that The Prairie Kid wanted in round cake pans and stacked it with ganache in between and over the top.
 Not very fancy but it was tasty

And card reading...

 The Prairie Kid's cousin got him a much wanted chemistry set....lab coat and all!
We teased that all he needed was a pocket protector, pens and a calculator.
He must have been taking notes because a little while later he came into the room with a pocket full of pens.  
And the set came with these AWESOME goggles!
What a hoot!

Happy Birthday, Guys.  I love you dearly a million times over!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cowgirls Don't Rest

Just kidding.  They do...sometimes.  I needed a day of rest today but the ranch needed me more.  As I was resting this morning, The Prairie Daddy stopped by the house and filled me in on the ranch's needs.  His brother is on vacation for 11 days and we're calving, irrigating, and now haying again. This morning we had a calf with a broken leg and someone needed to go to town.  As much as I wanted to keep my bum planted on that couch, I offered to go and he took me up on it.  He is burning the candle at both ends and has no finish line in sight. 

The calf was born yesterday and was fine.  The mom must have accidentally stepped on it's leg over night and crushed part of it.  It was swollen above the hoof and then just dangling below the knee.  The Prairie Kid and I met The Prairie Daddy at the field and he loaded up the calf.  The tough little thing never even whimpered...just fought going in the kennel.  The dog kennel worked great to transport the calf to the vet.
At the vet's The Prairie Kid took pictures of the first part of treatment.  I was holding the sweet calf on the cart.
Don't worry, that is iodine, not blood...
The vet drilled holes in the hoof so that he could run a wire through it for traction for the foot.
We then took him inside and gassed him.  They pulled his leg taught and casted it and then wrapped the lower end with duct tape to keep poo and dirt out of it.  I held the head and kept the gas mask on him.  The Prairie Kid helped hold the rope taught that was tied around the hip .  Then we loaded him up and brought him home. 
The Prairie Daddy had brought the mom to the corral where they will stay. 
Here is the new cast.  It will take him some getting used to but he should be just fine.
He was still a little wobbly.  I tell you what, this calf is so sweet and he stole my heart today.
Mom came right to him and we're hoping they figure out the nursing thing really quickly. 

Now I think I might get a little rest...or maybe go sit in the swather with my cowboy.

The Finish Line

I crossed the finish line yesterday.  It was a long journey...and at times a grueling one.  But my goal was to finish well and finish strong.  By the grace and strength of God I reached my goal yesterday.  At times in my church staff season I was barely surviving in ministry, though I longed to thrive.  This final week we thrived.  It was exhilarating.  Praise God for His provision.  He is Jehovah Jireh, "The Lord Who Provides."  

The church gave me a wonderful send off yesterday.  It was quite touching and blessed me greatly.  Many people have asked me how I am feeling,  "Are you relieved?"  "Is it hard?"  "Is there a great weight lifted off you?"  My answer has been that it is bittersweet.  I didn't feel a "great weight lifted" but I do have a sense of freedom.  And although my time as a staffer is done for now, I am already asking the Lord what cross He has for me to take up next.  He commands us to "take up your cross and follow me."  I will take up the next cross and follow.  I trust without a doubt that He will show me what and when.  

I have also been asked what I will do now.  Besides the townhouse management, I will rest a little.  I will also celebrate my boys' birthdays and get my kiddo settled back into school in a week.  Maybe I will volunteer in his class this year. And I will cowgirl.  There is an obvious need for helping my husband these next few weeks on the ranch and I am now in a great position to be a better helpmate to him.  

After all, the reason that I shifted out of this job in the first place was because the church needed a full-time director but my first ministry is to my husband and my son.  I could not be both and I am at complete peace with my choice.  So, if a cowgirl is what The Prairie Daddy needs, a cowgirl I will be!  And I know that God will show us how He desires to use us in the next season of life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Glory Ablaze

We went out again this evening for another incredible display of God's art in the sky.  The light tonight was incredible.  I am focusing how incredible THE Light always is.
All I can say is "wow."

Look at that amazing cloud behind The Prairie Daddy!
Here is the top of it a little earlier
Last night there was a sun dog in the distance.  Tonight there was part of a rainbow.

Despite loss and hardship, we constantly thank God for our little life on the prairie.  Our struggles may be intense today but we know that it shall pass.  We know that we are richly blessed and eternally secure. 
"Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens." Psalm 148:13