Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Worth A Try

I made chore charts today for the first time in our home.  I hope they will help a certain 8-year-old boy be more independent with responsibilities.

We start school tomorrow.  I saw "we" because it feels like the school life dictates the parent's lives as well as the child's.  I am praying for The Prairie Kid and I to transition well to the new sleep schedule.  We have been putting him to bed earlier each night recently but he is still sleeping until 9am or later.  This is NOT a good sign!  Poor kid!  He is just like me...a teen's biological clock trapped in an 8-year-old's and 35-year-old's body!  Shoot!

I was amazed that when he saw the charts he seemed excited.  Really?  Excited over responsibilities?  No, not the responsibilities, but the car stickers and newness of the added "decor."

This idea was "stolen" from a friend.  She has a similar deal in her bathroom for each of her girls.  The black tabs are velcro and I hung this next to the door in our mudroom so it will be seen before The Kid leaves the house; it is the things he needs to do before heading out the door (getting dressed and eating aren't in it because he never forgets those!)

When he finishes the item he can flip it up and it will stay.

The other chart is what he needs to do each day, minus Tuesday when he has Bible study and Sunday, a day of rest.  He knows that the dishwasher gets emptied on an "as needed" basis as well.

We're also trying an "electronics free" school week this year to promote more reading, less TV and hopefully a better environment.  If The Prairie Daddy and I wish to have a family TV time in the evening then that will be the exception.  I am looking forward to eliminating the battle of "can I watch a show?"  : )

Here's to at least an attempt to starting out the school year with some routine!  Ready or not, we're starting!

Monday, August 19, 2013

8th Birthday Bowling with the Best Buddy

Fun Times With Great Friends

I gave The Prairie Kid some choices on how he wanted to celebrate his birthday this year.  When he was younger we either had a combined friends/family party or just a family party.  He has never wanted a kids-only traditional birthday party.  I thought maybe now that he is mid-elementary that would be what he would choose but I was wrong.  He wanted a family birthday party and a family-friends birthday party, meaning we would invite a few families, parents included.

The family-friends party took place yesterday at Beck Lake.  He wanted to have a water birthday, thanks to the awesome idea from family-friends.  Not everyone was able to join us but the crew that made it was fun!

We picnicked first
And then sang and enjoyed cake

And then went swimming/tubing

I love this picture...but the preschool sized life jacket is just cracking me up!
And the kids played and had a ball
And on the ride home we saw a beautiful, smoky sunset

Just Like Chocolate Cake

This week I have had some sweet time with my Abba Father.  I have sat on the deck and soaked up the sun and the Son.  I have been encouraged in Scripture, battled in prayer and meditated on my salvation.

I also spent some time in the kitchen.  It was not nearly as sweet as the time on the deck.  You would not know that I had a home ec degree this week.  You would not know I took college level food science classes.  You would think that I should stop by Albertson's or call the local cake-makers to put together my son's birthday cake.

But I didn't.  I am stubborn and persistent, and at the end of the day I am not going to let a messy birthday cake send me over the edge.  It is just a cake.  And if you've been following my blog over the years you might recollect that I have cake mishaps almost annually; this is not unusual.

This year I was trying to bake 2 9" homemade chocolate rounds.  The rounds are hand-me-downs and not the size of true 9" cake pans.  But I put the whole batch of batter in them.  Foolishly.  I thought twice but did not heed my thoughts.  Darn it.

And sure enough, half way through baking I smelled the oh-so-lovely burnt cake pouring out over the pans onto the racks and burner and bottom of the oven.  So glad my guys weren't home.  The house was filling with smoke.  I tried to air it out but the wild fire over the mountains has the prairie filled with smoke, so now I had a double-smoky, burnt chocolate, smoldering pine combination disaster wafting through my house.  Lovely.

Trying to get the cakes out of the pan was another whole debacle.

What a mess.

Just like me.  I have been a mess.  Half-baked, half-burnt, spilling over, stinky and ugly.  I was lost, disobedient and separated.

But because of Jesus' great love and willing sacrifice, I am now redeemed.  He took me out of the mire and washed me clean and set my feet upon a rock.

He made me new; replaced my spirit with His.  A new creation.  When the Father now sees me, He sees Jesus' perfection.  Oh how I am eternally grateful.

What happened with the cake?  Well, it reminds me of the post-salvation life.  Even though I am perfected in God's eyes because I am covered in Jesus, and even though I have a new spirit, I am still a work in progress on this earth.  My soul and flesh are slowly being sanctified, made like Christ.  And even though I look and act and am a whole lot better than before I received Christ's precious gift, I am still not perfect.  I mess up, try to put the pieces back together, repent, try again, mess up, repent, try again, and am continually in process of letting God have all of my soul and body. 

Kinda like this cake.  Much better than before, but still has plenty of flaws. 
But just as God receives me now that I am redeemed, we received the cake!  And we savored and enjoyed the chocolate mousse covered saved cake.

It doesn't get any sweeter.

If There Ever Was

If there ever was...
...a family who longed for a child.
If there ever was...
...a woman who prayed for a family.
If there ever was...
...the surprise of a pregnancy test.
If there ever was...
...a child who was wanted.
If there ever was...
...a miracle in a womb.
If there ever was...
...a labor worth going through.
If there ever was...
...a child enjoyed.
If there ever was...

 It is here.  In this house.  And today he is turning 8 years old.

He is...

wanted, loved, prayed for, hoped for and appreciated.

He is...
kind, funny, stubborn, emotional and relational.

He is...
energetic, spunky, sassy and sweet.

He is...
smart, thoughtful, teachable and willing.

He is tender, creative, attached and simple.

He is our son.  One of the joys of our life.  He is blessed, healthy, and chosen.

We are so thankful.

Happy Birthday, Prairie Kid.  And, Lord, thank You for this gift.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Smoke Makes For Great...

Sunsets! Here is what it was like outside last night while checking the calving progress.

Do you see the little white faces?  This year our cows were all bred with our new Hereford bulls and we have white faces all over!  We even have 4 red calves!  I have yet to get good pictures of the red ones.
Except this red head.  I have LOTS of pictures of him!

Friday, August 16, 2013

What Just Happened?

I don't know where July and half of August has gone.  The beginning of the summer was slow and wonderful and then like a flash it is mid-August and school starts in less than two weeks!  What happened???

I don't even have that many pictures from July...or I put half of them on my laptop and haven't transferred them to my main photo file.  But here are a few...

Smoke rising from a nearby wild fire makes for pretty sunsets
The Hardluck Fire is now over 16,000 acres in size.  Makes for smoky, hazy days
The Prairie Daddy found a bunch of live trout in the irrigating pipe
He brought them home and we cleaned and cooked them
The Prairie Kid is growing up too fast and is now mowing the yard

What else happened in July?  We had my mom and her hubby visit for a week and then take The Prairie Kid home with them to Denver for a week.  We watched our friends and nephews show and sell their 4-H/FFA steers, went to the demolition derby, volunteered for VBS, got really sick and had to leave the VBS post the last two days, and headed out to Colorado for a vacation.  That post will be next.

Maybe I'll find some more pictures from July for another post!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Storm

We had a wild storm here today.  In 10-15 minutes we got .2 inches of rain/hail; it was awesome.
The Prairie Kid really wanted to know what it was like outside so he bundled up and went out to feel the hail falling after it lightened up a bit.   : )

Friday, July 5, 2013

Birthday Blessings

It was my 35th birthday yesterday.  I don't usually like sticking around our own hometown celebration but every few years; it gets a little monotonous.  This year we decided to venture up to Red Lodge, MT for our 4th of July.  We went to their parade and were planning to go to the rodeo but our plans changed a little.

We met up with our friends and the kids were happy that Red Lodge, unlike Cody, hasn't banned the throwing of candy from the floats!
They waited for the floats with the loot
We managed to get one photo of the group
We were SO glad we didn't end up at the rodeo; there was a HUGE storm that hit mid-afternoon and it POURED and hailed for an hour and a half!  We were so thankful to get a table in a restaurant for the ENTIRE storm.  When we were ready to leave, it cleared up! 

We decided to go for a drive in some of the MOST INCREDIBLE country I've ever been.  It is a place I've been before and I never get over thinking it is heaven on earth. 

On the drive we saw this young moose
And some wild turkeys
 We also saw elk and deer and babies and then on the ride home we had these amazing views:

We made it just in time to eat cake and watch fireworks.  What a blessed birthday!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Greener Pastures

Today was the day.  It was time to move cows across the ranch.  We almost always get to ride in June and I didn't know if it was going to happen this year but it finally did!

I got to ride a new horse that they brought down from the other ranch.  The horse that I have ridden for 2 years, High Noon, is no longer with us so I was a little nervous this morning finding out what Augustus was like.

He was not fun or easy to catch but I made sure to move slow and let him think I was just going to pet him after I got him in an alley and shut a gate.  He finally let me put the rope around his neck and halter him.  He was fine until I tried to bridle him and threw his head around some but from then on out we were pretty good.  I guess he didn't like it when I would ask him to stop while moving cows and in the corral when we had to stop pushing cows he got pretty anxious and picked up both feet and did some hoppity-hopping with me. 

He was beautifully responsive to reigning and legs and had some great get-up-and-go but not too much that I had to hold him back.  And he had no issues going through water or boggy areas, which was a welcome change from High Noon LAUNCHING across water with me.   

We got The Prairie Daddy to get a picture before we headed out.  This is Bart and Augustus (aka Gus)

The grass is so beautiful this time of year.  Here is our barn, shop and brother's house
Uncle was helpful on getting things adjusted
Shabby view up Meeteetse Creek of Carter Mountain
The Nephew
Franc's Peak in the background
Uncle and Nephew and Franc's Peak
My little cowboy is horsey enough now to take the camera and take pictures of me while still on his horse! 
There were beautiful blue bells on the hill
Mama and baby didn't know what to do with 4 horses, 2 ATV's and a bunch of cows
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side...
Move along lil' doggies
The herd looks good but there was a storm brewing in the mountains
The two nephews and The Prairie Kid bringing the cows to the corral
These draws are the hardest part of the ride but having a horse that doesn't launch over them made my day much smoother!
After we dropped the cows off at the hay field that they were destined for we picked up the Hereford bulls from our upper pens and took them to greener pastures also
They have been in a pen for weeks with hay and they were like kids in a candy store to be out on the fresh grass
It was a great day!  And the storm went around us so we didn't get drenched!