25 February 2018

Happy Birthday 8!

He’s been telling us for a long time that his birthday was coming from over there, then pointing to let us know which direction it’s coming from now. We were afraid that when it finally got here it would be a let down. Especially after we couldn’t get reservations at the bouncy houses. Seriously people how can you just take that away after the children have come to depend on it? We did the next best thing and got the school cafeteria. Lots of room for kids to run and not in our house. We only invited a couple of friends but a couple of friends is a couple of families plus family. It’s just too many people to fit in our house!

We got there early and turned them loose to play in the pit while we got stuff ready. Then people came and they really went to playing. We had brought balloons and they ran kicking and throwing them the whole time. All the childrenย  ought to sleep good tonight. Then we ate cake. Played some more. Opened presents. And played a little longer as people started to file out the door and we cleaned up.

He was asleep long before we got home. What better way to end a birthday party than with a good nap.


18 February 2018

A Day Of Many Firsts

Putting this up here for mom real quick so she, and anyone else who’s interested, can see the videos. We hauled the horses over to a friends indoor arena to ride with our good friend Paula who we don’t see nearly enough. I wanted to try Rusty somewhere besides home and start getting him used to being hauled.

The morning started out warm, as it was supposed to. We spent the morning playing outside and getting the horse stuff loaded. Ate lunch came back out and it had gotten cold, as it was supposed to. We all squeezed into the cab of the pickup and dropped my long suffering husband off so he could put in a couple of hours of work in town.

At the arena I decided there was no way I was pulling down to the arena, it didn’t look like we’d ever be able to get back out. We parked on the gravel far far away from the arena and started to climb out of the pickup. It was cold and windy. The horses were crazed the children were under foot. Paula had arrived by then and was the only reason we were able to accomplish it at all. She took the leads of two horses loaded with children and I followed with Rusty, helmets, hats, gloves, and treat bags.

There is a pen that needs to be gotten through on the way to the arena and it had horses in it. Paula gave me the other two to lead through while she kept the horses off of us. I abandoned my other baggage and concentrated on getting a crazed Rusty and two other enthusiastic horses through two gates and away from the other curious horses. We all lived.

In the arena Rusty immediately made it clear that he was NOT going to stand tied. Not without choking us on clouds of dust. Trying to get the children ready to ride for real, I forgot those pesky helmets earlier in the rush to get horses saddled before we froze, and into the arena where they could hopefully take care of them selves was difficult. Fortunately, once again, Paula took care of everyone and got the job done.

We had a good ride once everything got settled. 8 rode Coyote all by himself! I was so proud of both of them! The Goblin Child was a little pouty and wouldn’t really try to get Onna to go away from me but she still did pretty good. It was the same jumbled, mad rush to get back to the pickup. The kids were cold and tired and grouchy. It was colder and windier. Once everything was loaded, they hopped right in so nicely, good horses, the kids fell asleep almost immediately. It was a great ride and I for one can’t wait to do it again!

14 February 2018

Little Horsemen

Those kids, I’m just so proud of them. They are getting to be such good riders. When I picked The Goblin Child up from the bus yesterday she really wanted to go ride. Who am I to say no to that? It was getting late though, starting to cool off, and saddling takes so long, so they got on bareback.



Of course they wanted to trot.

3 February 2018

Playing With Cattle

We’ve been going out and walking through the calves that are still here. A small pen with the runts and our small group of heifers. The goal is to get the heifers used to being handled by and around people, quiet well trained cattle are always better than wild and crazy cattle. I am happy to see my theories on this holding out in the calves of our calves being right up there in the front to check us out when we go to see them.

The kids have been enjoying the process. One of them is a big help and is loving playing with them. The other not so much. He may also be the reason that quieting the chicks back fired and now they are instead twice as terrified. I was really enjoying watching The Goblin Child lure the calves in as close as possible, and very close was quite possible. The two calves with the green ear tags, 313 and 317, are our two heifers.



31 January 2018

The Goblin Child Presents….

I was editing some video of Rusty and me playing and T.G.C. came to see what was going on. She wanted to add all kind of good effects, so I let her do one of her own. She rather randomly chose from the pictures and videos that were already there, maybe someday she can plan and direct a story of her own. For now here is her creation:

27 January 2018

Proud Parent Moments

It ranks right up there with taking their first steps. I am so excited that I was able to get it on video! The Goblin Child opened her first gate horseback! She had been watching us, Coyote andย  I, do it and we had talked about how she would be able to someday. We had ridden through this gate yesterday and I told he it was an easy one to unlatch, in one way really hard because it’s in a corner though.

We got to go sort the bulls out of the cows today. She got to come along on Princess Onna. Off the lead rope even! She’s been doing so good I thought we could try it. Princess Onna always got overly excited when she and Tanna moved cows together so I was hesitant to let he try it on her own. But she’s been good about it with The Goblin Child so they got to go loose today.

After doing a wonderful job of helping, while poor 8 watched from the four wheeler, she wanted to go for a ride. We went up the lane to go out in the pasture. She walked ahead of us to the gate declaring her intent. I was thrilled to let her try and hurried to get my camera ready. It took a few tries to get lined up and bent into that corner but she stuck with it and together they managed to get it! What very good girls, the both of them.


13 January 2018

Arts and Crafts

This winter The Goblin Child has discovered “projects”. From making homemade play dough, to paint, to slime, she wants nothing else. Every day she asks if we can do a project NOW?

She and her father got out a birthday present she got, clear back last summer. It has been great. They put together a robot out of wood blocks and pipe cleaners. They built a robot rabbit that follows a path they built out of foam paper stuff. The path gets rebuilt over and over again in different directions. We, and she I hope, liked it so much we got the subscription. every month now, the next three at least, she’ll be getting a box like it in the mail. Anybody we know with children may be getting Kiwi crates, or their proper age group equivalent, in the mail for future birthdays and Christmas presents.

Slime is apparently pretty popular right now. That makes me think we should find other things. But we’ll keep doing it, one in a while. It’s easy enough, glue, water, borax, who doesn’t have that on hand. They love mixing it. It last quite awhile to play on. There are so many variations to try, we’ll probably never get to them all. We’ve done regular slime and glitter slime. We haven’t done Fluffy slime yet.

Play dough was my favorite. We would make more but it lasts so long that we don’t really need anymore yet. It was quick and easy and softer than store bought. It has been interesting learning the things we should always have on hand to be prepared for this kind of thing, salt, baking powder, and food coloring are essentials. We also made salt dough, to bake into Christmas tree ornaments and the like. The difference in ingredients was small, they were both fun to play with despite their very different outcomes. Also in the play dough group should be my new favorite project, fizzy play dough!! Again small differences in ingredients major difference in outcomes. Back the the essentials again with baking soda. I misjudged our need of it and we were almost out, until I remembered the stash in the fridge. It needed replaced anyway. It was the simplest to make, mix baking soda with water, and food coloring is desired, until a doughy consistency is reached then play with it. When they’re done playing let them squirt vinegar, mixed with a drop or two of soap, over it. Squirt and squeeze until all that remains is foamy goo. What’s not to love?

We’ve done some others. We have a few books with science projects in them. They work with varying results, some good some not so much. Putting water in a bowl, sprinkling with pepper, then touching with a soap rubbed finger is pretty fun. Mostly because it is quickly and easily repeated. Filling a tray with milk, dropping in some food coloring, then dripping soap over, not so much. Not worth the wasted milk, messy and over with quickly.

I also finally managed to find the recipe for water color paint. It was a fun one that we used for the summer camp art class. It involves baking soda, vinegar, and food colors. Everything but salt. I like projects that take a long time to make, keeping the kids occupied for quite a while, and things that I don’t have to be hands on for the whole time. This is pretty hands on, I don’t get to get anything else done while we do it, but it does last for a very long time afterwards. I just threw away the paints from the last time we did this. they take a long time to dry but they painted with them wile they were still in liquid form and once dried the paints last forever.

This whole thing may have actually been an excuse to get all my links together in one place but we are enjoying the projects. It is snowing out and cold, I foresee another project coming up soon. I need to start looking for something.

13 January 2018

Winter Walk

The day started warm and moist. The snow that fell over night spent the night melting. It was mostly ice, kind of slush. To nice to miss out on. With the children bundled up against the wet more than the cold we set out to use up energy and enjoy the warm weather.

Out through the corrals we played mountain goat on the piles of manure pushed up away from the feed bunks. Up and down and back and forth. I hadn’t intended to go any farther. But the ground was open season for being eaten by crocodiles and we leapt from poop pile to poop pile trying to stay safe until we wound up at the gate. Up and over we went, up between the feed bunks, into the pasture.

I wanted to follow the tree row back to the buildings. My opinion was vetoed. Out here the grey skies hung heavy, the wind was picking up, blowing the damp air, turning cheeks pink with the chill. But on we went. Over the hill and to another set of gates. They were still going pretty strong. Home was looking a long way off though. I checked my phone, it wasn’t working. With a quick reboot, it was soon chiming at me. Our loving husband and father was worried about us. Where had we gone. Pausing a moment I let him know where we were.

We trudged onward. 8 tripped and fell in the wheat stubble coming up with sand burrs in his gloves and coat. I picked them out but soon we were in sunflowers over his head. Both children were stumbling over the weeds and vines. The distance between us and home was looking daunting. When around the corner came our hero on his four wheeler. We all happily hopped on with him, including Daisy who had been enthusiastically ranging along beside us until we hit the sand burrs in the wheat. She had been reduced to slowly and carefully picking her way along behind.

The trip home was much shorter and easier with a ride from our loving father and husband. Once home we settled in for hot chocolate, marshmallows and lunch. Clothes dried in front of the fire. By afternoon the wind was no longer gentle but whipping through the trees and the temperatures dropped. Luckily we had adventured while it was still nice out. We’ll have to do it again, when oit’s warmer.

1 January 2018

Christmas Letter

This has been a busy year. It’s also been a great year full of fun exciting things and so much growth for the children. Looking back I can’t believe how much they have changed since last year!

January: The Goblin Child got to go with her loving father and experience Ice fishing. They caught tons of fish. She loved it! Gus learned how to climb out of his crib, he got to graduate to a toddler bed. My hard working husband plowed all the snow in the driveway from the Christmas blizzard into a great sledding hill behind the house. It provided great entertainment until it melted.

February: Most of the snow melted and I have pictures of the kids playing out side in only a diaper, 8, and no coat, T.G.C. Then it snowed more. We celebrated 8’s birthday at the bouncy houses.

March: The Goblin Child was loving preschool. I started serving on the library board.

April: We got the potatoes planted in the garden! We also went to Missouri to see Grandma. The Goblin Child and 8 loved it, They’re crazy about their grandma. We all loved Silver Dollar City and seeing Grandma, Grammy and Different Papa, and playing with their cousins. T.G.C. got her first driving lesson from her brave father while we were hauling cattle to pasture. Everybody survived!

May: We got baby chicks for the kids to raise. They spent lots of time playing with them trying to get them calmed down and made into pets. It may have backfired, the chicks were terrified! T.G.C. was a big hero, she found our cat with a baby bunny she had just captured and saved the bunny. All by herself, what a good girl. We finished planting the garden. And discovered that rats had eaten the entire inside of the combine!

June: With school out for the summer and the pool open the children and I spent most days swimming. If not at the pool then at my personal favorite, the lake, wading in the warm water. The garden was growing by leaps and bounds, we documented the pumpkin vines growing six inches overnight!

July: The summer really started to get busy! The library started our summer reading program. Once a week the library filled with children for reading and a craft. It was great but exhausting. My hard working husband spent the early part of the month frantically reconstructing the wiring in the combine. One hundred and seventy five connectors and what seemed to be miles of wire later the combine ran on the first try and made it through wheat harvest! My whole family made it out to visit us. We camped at Fort Robinson with my parents then spent the fourth with my brother and his family. It was good to see them all!

August: We celebrated T.G.C.’s fifth! Birthday at the bouncy houses. Notice a trend here? She’s getting so big. We went to a little rodeo with a friend, T.G.C. and 8 both participated. T.G.C. a little more enthusiastically. 8 wanted to play on tractors. They both did well and had fun. Their loving father received a much deserved thank you for all the help he gives at school and around the community in a slight roast from the PEO. It was fun and funny and he was caught totally unaware by it. It was perfect.

September: The Goblin Child started back to her second year of preschool. She loves it and was so excited to get to go and play with her friends again. 8 and I enjoyed riding out to meet the school bus on the horses to bring her home afterwards.

October: Both got to go through their first haunted house. They loved it! No nightmares here, kids after my own heart. We had our usual pumpkin carving party, kids and pumpkins everywhere! When Halloween finally came we went trick-or-treating a few different times, can never have enough of that. The Goblin Child was the most beautiful vampire ever, or princess, or whatever she decided she was at the last minute, while 8 made a wonderful ghoul.

November: Once again we hiked into the back woods to pick the perfect Christmas tree. This years is wonderful. It may also be bigger than our house. We got all got to travel to Kearney with my hard working husband for work. We took advantage of the hotel swimming pool, saw Fort Kearney, and explored the archway. It was so nice to be able to go with him.

December: We went with friends on a little winter vacation up to Rapid city to see the lights at story book island, eat, shop, and, of course, swim! We also ended up ice skating downtown, which turned out to be the, my, favorite activity on the trip. The kids liked the slide at the hotel pool best. we got to enjoy T.G.C.’s preschool Christmas program, She made a wonderful mother choosing a Christmas tree.ย  The Goblin Child also made a wonderful Mary at the Christmas eve service at church this year. She and Joseph had been practicing hard and did a wonderful job of remembering their lines. 8 had been vetoed as the Christmas dragon and made a wonderful wiseman instead. He sauntered jauntily up the aisle and also did a great job in his roll. We were lucky to be joined for the Christmas eve service by my second cousin who was in town for Christmas to see her in-laws. We are always happy to see her when she’s around and it was so nice to have her come with.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!