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All I Want for Christmas is….

My two front teeth!

They poked through at the beginning of the month. Just in time for Christmas.

Trying to get a picture of them is very difficult.

 

Now we sit in a rare moment of quiet, ready, I think, for Christmas and the chaos that brings. Until then merry Christmas!

Of Snow and Painting

We knew it was coming. The day before it was all anyone could talk about. Would it or wouldn’t it?

It did.

The snow came in around 8 in the morning. The school superintendent nearly gave himself ulcers trying to decide whether to cancel school or not. In the end he didn’t, the snow came after school started. It came just as we started to feed the cattle. I brought the feed truck up to the house and let it warm up as I bundled children. I was delighted to find a tiny pair of snow pants as I looked for more clothing for 8. The Goblin Child I sent out to roll around in the white stuff so I could finish dressing the rest of us.

Inside the truck it was toasty warm and we soon unbundled a little. The cows were huddled in such a tight ball I couldn’t find them until they were pointed out to me. Covered in snow they blended in, a black outline around a white blob in the snow. They came running to their feed fed behind the shelter of the windbreak.

Back inside we did the things one does on a snowy day. We made cookies, we made water color paints. Ok so maybe making paint isn’t so normal but I had the recipe bookmarked for years (here) and was thrilled to have a chance to try it. It called for typical household things, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring. The Goblin Child enjoyed the fizzing and had fun mixing it together. My first attempt gave resulted in a mix that was pretty dry so I added more vinegar.

We poured it into an ice cube tray and started adding food coloring. I had fun talking about primary colors and different shadings. The Goblin child had fun pouring colors in. I could barely keep up with her and keep her from dumping the whole bottle in. Our fingers did get dyed yellow but that was fine.

We were not able to wait for them to dry, they still aren’t dry probably the extra vinegar, but they made great paint wet too. I couldn’t believe the colors we got from plain old food colors and they painted on so bright and saturated. I may have to make a set just for me to play with. Ours got mixed and muddied a little from over enthusiastic painting.

School was let out at noon and after giving the cousins a ride home my hard working husband was home to spend the afternoon with us. The Goblin Child was adorable when she woke from her nap to find him there. With exclamations of joy she ran and threw herself into his arms for and long hard hug. She then stayed in his lap to tell him all about her day and ask about his.

Today the snow is done falling, the sky bright and painfully blue. But the wind is howling blowing the snow all around. It’s always hard to tell with the drifting but looks like near 10 inches of the white stuff.

Feeding Time Again

Not that it’s just begun, we’ve been feeding calves since they and their mama’s came home. But it’s in full swing and the weather is typical. Cold and snowy and winter. Today my hard working husband headed out to his other job, fought to get his frozen door open, hacked at the ice caked onto his window and nearly froze himself working on it all. He declared it too cold for me to take the children with to feed.

Last night we ran to Alliance to eat, shop for Christmas gifts and look at lights. We stopped for gas and it was a toasty 22 degrees out. After looking at lights for awhile, during which The Goblin Child begged for ice cream loudly and continuously which cut that a little short, the temp had dropped to 6. It wavered between 6 and 8 the whole drive home but basically stayed cold. The highway warmed from the sun all day steamed and fog settled in making for a long drive home. But this morning dawned clear and crisp. And still cold.

Tomorrow it is supposed to snow again. People are getting all panicked about how much we’re going to get, some of the forecasts say almost a foot. Of course some say a couple of inches.  I thought we should get outside while the weather was still decent and play a little. The horses were up here knocking at the gate so we went to give them cookies and The Goblin Child wanted to ride. Who am I to say no to that? So we got on which is when I realized I had forgotten her helmet. But her hat looked warmer and we had a very short window of opportunity so I crossed my fingers held my breath and we rode without. It was a very nice ride to the mailbox and back. We could see the fog to the east getting ever closer. She wanted to get home before it got here so it didn’t hurt her eyes. Or maybe to try to ride to the mountain again.

Insane Cowgirl

The weather has been beautiful this week in the fifties and sixties. We have been doing our best to take advantage of it. Yesterday The Goblin Child and I were able to sneak out for a little ride. I decided we would try the pasture, take a look at the cows and see how Princes Onna reacted to them.

The two hot horses were feeling good. They zipped and pranced and were happy to oblige The Goblin Child in her desire to go faster and bounce bounce. She was feeling good too. She kept helping steer. Did a little too good a job at it. I would be concentrating on steering and staying on and watching where we were going, the usual things you do when you ride, and suddenly our riding companions would veer off another direction. I hated to discourage her, she was doing an excellent job.

But when we got to the gate in the electric fence and I had to get off to get it, rather exciting with the latch in the corner, flapping twine and an electric fence, she kept whoaing and steering away from my mounting block. I finally had to ask her to stop steering for a bit.

Back on we chased cows! I remember being a couple of years older than her and having a cow in my horses pasture. I was determined to chase it. It was as big as my horse who may have been just a little smaller than Onna, or not perspective tends to change. We stared at each other in a fierce stare down that we lost, the cow stayed put my pony and I left. The Goblin Child and Onna had better luck. She was thrilled. We followed one cow after another Coyote in ferocious cow eating mode ears flat against his head. Onna in the lead determined to get that cow. And The Goblin Child giggling and steering away. I thought we were going to die. My halter and lead rope were little match for hot cow eating Coyote. We were zipping pretty fast, at a walk, but these two at a walk are only out done by Smoke and speedy gaited horses.

After they were way overly energetic on the way home so I though we would torture them so getting home wasn’t so fun. I devised the worst thing I could imagine. I turned The Goblin Child loose with her Grammy’s Christmas present. Grooming supplies! She sprayed Cowboy Magic like crazy and brushed and braided. It would have killed me.

We survived the last ride unscathed and so decided to do it again today. This time I would be prepared, I put a saddle and bridle and little Coyote, talk about over kill, and strapped 8 on front of me. It was exciting, for me and 8 at least, The Goblin Child wanted to go home once I told her we couldn’t go chase cows with 8 along. But I thought it was a nice ride anyway if not near as exciting.

Over Achiever

It was less than a month ago that he laid there on the floor, a squirmy little ball of baby. Now things have changed. He was able to sit by himself, had been able to since August, but he couldn’t achieve that position by himself. Now I think there is little he is unable to accomplish.

He took his first steps shortly before we left for our Thanksgiving trip. Standing next to me, holding my hand as I put laundry away in his sisters room, he desperately wanted whatever it was that she had. So he let go of me and walked over to her. Across a hard wood floor. He didn’t crash.

He had been crawling, kind of, before that. He would lay on the floor and wiggle and scream for someone to come put him where he wanted to be. Those few steps seemed to be a major breakthrough for him and after that he was unstoppable.

He started crawling for reals. He figured out how to get up, down and around without help. And now he has the stairs mastered.

 

 

 

Decking the Halls

Some stories don’t need words I think.

Snow Dogs

This is my Grandma’s story probably told to her by her mother, and told by her to my mother and by my mother to my daughter as I listened on our last visit. And I’m sure told to me at some unfortunately forgotten point:

There were two young children who loved to go visit their grandmother. Their Grandmother lived a ways away from them through the woods but their mother let them go alone as long as they got back before dark for it was a large and wild wood in which wolves lived.

One winter day they were having so much fun with their loving grandmother that they left for home later than they should have. (Or perhaps they played to much on the trip, I can hardly imagine a loving Grandmother letting them head off into the dark woods.) As they got into the woods the sun was setting. The woods were dark and scary. Soon they could hear the cries of the wolves and branches cracking along side the trail they followed. The were terrified. Huddling together in tears they fell to their knees in the middle of the trail and prayed for God to help them and see them safely home.

As they regained their feet, hands clutched, they could hear the wolves drawing closer and caught glimpses of the  rough, grey coats through the low branches. Then out of the darkness appeared two huge white dogs. So tall they came up to the children’s eyes. Big and hairy they stood on each side of the children with hackles raised and kept the wolves at bay. Each time a wolf dared to step onto the path they snarled and barked and chased the wolf away. They held their posts, guarding the children all the way home.

When the little party reached the lights of home the two children ran up the walk into the anxious waiting arms of their parents. Stumbling over each other in their excitement to tell the story, they happily told their parents how the big white dogs brought them home safe. And turned to show them the heroes.

The dogs were gone.

 

It’s such a good story. Amazing that it’s told by my confirmed dog hater of a grandma. Let me know If I forgot parts. And a great way to start the Christmas season. Merry Christmas!

Bringing Home the Cows

Before we left for our Thanksgiving trip there was one last major job that needed taken care of.

 

I was able to get the reluctant Goblin Child out the first day by promising she could ride with Cowboy Bill. Fortunately she was able to. 8 Gets all excited in his carrier when we get on a four wheeler, he starts bouncing up and down making happy noises. It started out quite nice. The cows came pretty easy and crossed the highway much easier than last year. The wind had come up and the temperature dropped by the time we got to the pasture so I rushed the kids home while the guys took the trailer to get a cow that wasn’t doing good and couldn’t make the walk home. Because I had to get the kids in and maybe because I was completely unneeded 😉 Sometimes the crews for these things are a bit larger than strictly necessary.

The next day the wind blew.

For anyone who hasn’t enjoyed this type of wind there is no explaining it. It’s bad. We huddled in the house. I was sick. The next day was beautiful. Warm and still and perfect for moving cattle. But looking out the pastures looked fuller than they had before. Sure enough the guys, I don’t know who I didn’t even know they had done it, had brought cows home. I can’t imagine how miserable that must have been. At least they would’ve been up wind from the cattle for the whole five miles.

Saturday we weaned and worked calves. It was chilly. Cara was going to watch the kids but 8 woke up and screamed when I tried to leave him. So I bundled him up, tied him on front and put my coat over both of us. He seemed happy and kept me warm. I don’t know how I did it with The Goblin Child without any baby wearing paraphernalia. The Goblin Child was napping and missed playing with Cowboy Bill.

Then, Sunday, it was time to bring the big bunch home from way over west. The morning was relatively warm. 8 was tied in front again and as we all prepared to climb on the four wheeler the neighbor was sitting next to us in his little two seater Razor. So we put the Goblin Child aboard with him. They zipped around the pasture in the sportster honking its road runner horn. It’s not meant to be a cow herding working vehicle but it’s cute and they had fun. She may have fallen asleep.

The cows came in easily to the corrals where we would load them into semis and trailers for the trip home. My cow loving husband and I took turns as usual hopping off to chase on foot. I didn’t drop any children, nobody froze or locked themselves in the pickup. It was a good day. With diapers changed and some layers off we proceeded to haul them home. I got the pickup and trailer and the very first load. My multi-talented husband followed, eventually, in a semi. The next time our paths crossed I sent the Goblin Child with him. Soon all cattle were home and lunch eaten. OK, not soon. It was a late lunch and I thought I was going to die of starvation by the time we got done hauling. But I do hate to complain.

After lunch The Goblin Child stayed at the big house to play with the other kids and I moved 8 to the backpack and we ran the calves through that we had just brought home. About half way through The Goblin Child joined us working and played with Bill. Hopefully she learns to how to properly work cattle from him. He is the master. Then as the sun set and the temperature dropped  my otherwise occupied husband finished the work he was doing and took over for me. I ran 8 into the warm house and started getting ready for our big Thanksgiving trip. It was a long week but they are home and got here before this last little snow and even colder weather. Now the only thing that needs done is the feeding of them. I can never claim boredom.

Thanksgiving

 

With great fear and trepidation we headed south for Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t dread a two day drive with small children? But it was worth it to see Grandma, Grammy and Different Papa. The only thing that could have made it better would have been for my brother and his family to be able to make it. This trip is going to be our Christmas so we won’t be going back to see them this year.

The trip down was uneventful and the two small children traveled very well all things considered. The roads were clear and Missouri is so beautiful. We got to Grandma’s house as soon as we could and she immediately started giving the children their Christmas presents. Even without those they were so thrilled to see her and I love to see her bouncing around like a little kid with 8 and The Goblin Child.

The next day, Thanksgiving, my parents got there. The party was going again immediately. We played and laughed and visited and ate of course. The only problem is that as always it never lasts long enough. And maybe that it rained most of the time. We had hoped to go to Silver Dollar City to see the Christmas lights, oh well. With visits to Lamberts, Home of the throwed rolls, The Bass Pro Shop and PFI squeezed in our short time was over all too quickly.

It didn’t stop raining just because we had to drive home, so with lunch at Steak and Shake we started off. The drive was beautiful we tried a back way through the rolling hills and farm land, crossing rivers with water falls and small towns much more reminiscent of the Missouri I remember as a child than the modern well off developments we drive through now on Highway 13. By dark the rain was still falling as we watched the temperature drop to thirty. When we could see the trees and grass along the road it was coated in ice but the road stayed wet.

Passing only one wreck but two separate ambulances we made it to Lincoln for the night. Despite our incredible rudeness in not mentioning our coming through, we had meant to we really did, my husbands aunt had called us and invited us to spend the night after she heard about it from another source. We got to see her new house, beautiful, and she treated us to a delicious breakfast she made and the children loved playing with her. The room to run and play was great after being couped up in the car so long.

The next day we bid reluctant farewells and set out to finish the journey. Interstate 80 was packed, it was till raining and the temp hovered in the upper twenties. After debating the benefits of the interstate, more traffic, verses the drawbacks, more traffic, we got off at Grand Island and headed north. After lunch at Valintinos of course! And a quick stop at Good Will for more leg stretching, where I wound up buying more stuff despite a car packed to the gills already.