PAP Testing and Wonderful Vets

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On Friday, we tested some heifers and bulls for their Pulmonary Artery Pressure or PAP score. I’ve talked a little bit about this in the past, but I’ve never been in the front to take pictures. But, since pregnant ladies are pretty effectively banned from working in the back (insistent men with sorting sticks are very effective), I got to snap a couple of pictures. They’re not the best, because I didn’t want to be in the way, but you can sort of see what’s going on.

PAP testing is to determine an idea of survivability at higher altitudes, because not all cattle are well-adapted to the rigors of lower oxygen availability and will die if left too high. This gives us an idea of cattle who are predisposed to become ill, so we can either take them to the sale barn to sell as a feeder animal, or take them to lower elevations, if we can.

The vet who does our PAP testing (and who also did the PAP testing for the Sitz Ranch in Montana, which is where I first met him) is named Dr. Holt. He’s probably the best PAP tester in the country, if not the entire world, and is one of the pioneers in the field. He’s also the coolest vet I’ve ever met, is an excellent teacher, and always loves to tell you and show you what he’s doing so you can learn. He’s full of tips and facts about every animal species ever, and is so enthusiastic it’s contagious. He’s a professor at CSU (where Bert met him) and he makes me want to go back to college!! I would just follow him around all the time with a notepad if I could.

Maybe I should ask.

The way the test is conducted is by inserting a catheter into the right ventricle of the animal’s heart via the jugular vein. I think it’s pretty cool. We always put a halter on the animal, because they need to stay still and the vet needs good access to their vein. Whoever gets the job of haltering needs to be pretty strong, and they usually wear lots of plastic because of all the slobber and blood.

The vet sticks a large-gauge needle into the jugular vein–you can tell because blood will spurt out. Sort of gross, but true. Then, the vet will insert a plastic tube through the needle all the way to the right ventricle of the heart (I don’t know how he tells when he’s there), and connect it to a special machine that is hooked up to a computer thing that tells him the numbers he needs to know. That’s what he’s looking at in those pictures. Then, he pulls the tube out, throws it in sterile solution and does it all again on the next animal! Someone is always assigned to write down each animal’s numbers, which all have a significance, but the PAP score is the one we’re most concerned about–the lower the better. At this elevation, our cutoff is about a 45 or 50. In Rand, we didn’t keep anything higher than a 40 because we were at a higher elevation.

Sometimes high-PAP animals will simply die of a heart attack, or sometimes they will die slowly, usually of brisket disease. We call it brisket because when they have a high PAP, the right ventricle pumps blood too slowly, and basically slows down the entire body’s blood flow. Because everything isn’t working efficiently, the liver and the kidneys are not able to process fluids as quickly, and so fluid (plasma) accumulates outside the organs. Because the brisket of a cow (the dangly part between their front legs) is the lowest fleshy part, all of the fluid accumulates there. So, a cow with brisket will look pretty poor, but have a big ole swollen brisket. Sometimes you can save them by taking them down to a lower elevation, but by the time you can tell that it’s brisket, they’re usually already too sick to be saved. That’s when we take them to the sale barn to at least get some salvage value. From there, they’ll often go to a processing plant that makes things like dog food and whatnot. Sad but true.

Obviously, we would rather not have animals dying of brisket. It’s awful for them, and hurts the ranch’s bottom line. So, we try to eliminate dams and sires with known PAP issues, and relocate high-PAP animals before they become sick.

Now, just because an animal is high-PAP doesn’t mean they’ll get sick or die prematurely, but it’s a very good predictor so we generally do not keep animals with PAP issues on our ranch. The reverse is also true, but in those cases we just try to minimize suffering. In the spring, we will PAP test all of the replacement heifers for that exact reason, and all of the bulls we keep will be tested, too.

The last picture is of Dr. Holt looking at Miss. One thing I love about him is that he’s always so thrilled to look at other animals when he’s here, especially if you’re stumped about a problem you’re having–he loves a challenge! Now, it’s not polite to have a bunch of things for a vet to look at if you didn’t tell him in advance, but if you ask nicely enough, most are amenable to one or two special cases, particularly if it’s something weird. Miss has has a small wound on her head that won’t heal, and Bert wasn’t sure what to do about it, because he’d tried virtually everything for a couple of months. Dr. Holt concluded that she likely was running around the corral and was being crazy and either got a splinter there or hit her head and a tiny piece of bone broke off. Apparently, it’s very common, and as long as it doesn’t hurt her, we keep it clean and just leave it. He did recommend trying to use a special ointment generally used for mastitis to help the fragment or splinter work itself out. Otherwise, if it starts to bother her, we can have x-rays taken and they can surgically remove whatever’s causing the problem. But, he said he’d rather not cut half her face open, so we’re just going to leave it for the time being, and try the mastitis cream and see what happens.

He also looked at Gaucho while he was here, and listened to his heart, because I was talking with someone about how fat Gaucho had gotten, and Dr. Holt asked “Is he here?!?” and Bert happened to have him in the trailer. He said that Gaucho’s heart is good and strong, but that he has the look of a thyroid problem, which is common in collies (I didn’t know that!). So, I’ll take him for a test in the next month or two, just to rule it out. If he does have a problem, it’s easily fixed with medication. If not, we’ll see. I’m just wanting to keep him alive for as long as possible.

Long story short, I love PAP testing–it’s so interesting!–and I have grown to really appreciate good vets. They’re very hard to find, and so if you have a good big-animal vet (or a small-animal vet that doesn’t rob you blind), give them a Christmas card and some cookies, because they’re so, so rare, and kind of a dying breed.

And, I’ve not met a vet yet that would turn down baked goods of any kind.

Friday Favorites: December 12th

Hi and happy Friday! I hope y’all had a good week. We spent our day PAP testing cattle and having a calving seminar–more on that tomorrow. Today’s Friday Favorites is all about things that have been making my heart go pitter-pat lately–even though I really believe it’s better to give than to receive, Christmas always brings out the wishlist-making-five-year-old in me.

On tap for this weekend? Wrapping up everything that should have been done during the week but wasn’t, due to the fact that I was asleep. I’m almost done with thank-you notes, but I want to get our Christmas cards in the mail, treats made, house cleaned, laundry put away, the rest of Christmas decorations put up and walks both days. Oh, and I’d like to hang out with my husband, too. Ambitious? Extremely. But I know I’ll feel better on Monday if I get it all done. Plus, if I’m efficient with my time, I bet I can squeeze in a nap or two, and I’m not sure what a better motivator for time management would be :)

Favorite Oversized: By now you should know I’m all about oversized, fuzzy and warm. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that oversized scarves are one of my love languages. They’re cozy, luxurious and perfect if you’re a jeans-and-basic-tee girl like me.

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Favorite Bling: Antler Bangle. I’m not usually one for jewelry, but this bracelet caught my eye and is officially on my wishlist.

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Favorite Baby: Baby Horse. I’ve been hunting for pictures for Junior’s nursery, and this baby horse caught my eye. How cute is he?!?

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Favorite Gift Guide: Foodie Gift Guide. This gift guide is perfect of chefs of all levels, and since I’ve tried some of her recommendations in the past, I trust her opinion. Some of these things (dutch oven, cast iron skillet, nonstick skillets, wok) are on my wishlist, too!

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Favorite Mommy Desire: Stroller Mittens. These insulated mittens attach to the stroller, so you’re not constantly pulling your gloves on and off. I’m very intrigued, and might have to pick up a pair!

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Favorite Moosen: Moose Raft. I have a thing for moose.
I can’t tell you why, but I love them. Maybe it’s because they hitch rides on their mothers.

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Favorite Decor: Butcher Print. I’ve been wanting a print like this in my kitchen forever, and I think I’m going to have to DIY one soon–$80 is a little steep for a canvas of a cow.

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Favorite Bedroom Decor: Deer Blanket. You knew it was coming! Remember last week’s bedroom pic? With the texture? I think this blanket would be perfect. The only thing is to decide whether to get it in fawn or grey!

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Favorite Story of My Life: Nope Tee. This t-shirt is pretty much the story of my life right now. The exhaustion of my first trimester has returned–I feel like I am going into hiberation with the amount I sleep. It’s super for getting things done in the evenings. Or at all. Sarcasm was there, just FYI.

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Favorite Holiday: Little Car, BigTree. Something about this picture is so Christmassy I just want to look at it all day.

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Favorite Holiday-At-H0me: Gift Tags. I printed these and some other ones with deer heads on them for my gift tags this year. I love the chalkboard-y, vintage look of these labels–they dress up any present! The best part? The printable is FREE!

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Favorite Sweet Treat: Seven-Minute Caramels. While I’m not sending out as many cookie boxes as usual this year (I’m granting myself a little bit of grace, so bear with me this year!), I’m still all about holiday treats. These look easy, delicious and festive and I can’t wait to try them this weekend!

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Favorite Baby Find: Cowboy Crib Sheet. I’m trying to get Junior’s room ready, of course, and we have no bedding! I was going to go gender-neutral, but after some thought (and a little visit to the baby Wrangler website!), I think I’m going to go full-on cowboy with the sheets, because they’re so easy to change, and relatively inexpensive. The best part? They’re from TARGET. Who knew?!?

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Favorite Non-Holstein Cow Baby Find: Cow Print Changing Pad Cover. One thing I’ve found out: It’s hard to find good cow print fabric, period. There’s tons of black and white out there, but what most people don’t realize is that’s the color of a Holstein, which is a dairy cow, which is not a beef cow. So, when I saw this cover, I fell in love.

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Favorite Tried-and-True: Sugared Pecans. If you need a delicious holiday snack for yourself or for guests, I highly recommend this simple, delicious recipe. They’re even Cowboy Husband Approved, and my cowboy husband is a notorious non-nut-eater. So, you know they’re good! I’ll be making a batch or two for neighbors and Christmas Eve.

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Favorite Makeup: Brown Smoky Eye. I’m trying to do my makeup more often–it makes me feel more put-together and feminine, which counteracts the feeling of being a beluga whale. This makeup looks very doable, and comes with a tutorial. I’ll be trying it out the next time I leave my house for somewhere other than the barn, haha.

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A Gift Guide for the Hard to Shop For

GIFT GUIDE

Oversized Scarf/Joan of Arctic Boots/Cookbook/Flannel Shirt/Coffee Mug/Can Opener/Moccasins/Socks/Glittens/Throw/Lip Balm/Leatherman/L’Occitane/Travel Mug

It’s that time of year. Christmas music all around, lights sparkling in the snow…and a couple of hard-to-shop-fors on your Christmas list.

You know the type. The ones who are hard to please, or claim they don’t want anything, or for whom a giftcard isn’t going to cut it but you would like to get them a gift. Have no fear! I’ve put together a little list of things for these folks on your list so you don’t show up empty- handed.

For the gal in your life, oversized scarves are a sure bet. They’re a little more exciting than your typical scarf, and these ones are so reasonably priced that you’ll have her something luxurious and useful without breaking the bank.

Snow boots (if you live where you need ‘em!) are an excellent gift. While they may be a little pricey, I promise the Joan of Arctic boots by Sorel won’t let you down. They’re a feminine take on the traditional Sorel boot. I have a pair that was (wouldn’t you know it!) given to me as a gift years ago, and they still look brand-new. I go everywhere in them when it snows because they’re so warm, comfy and stylish. Plus they come in all sorts of colors!

If you have a cook in your life, I highly recommend Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. While it might be a little elementary for your expert home chef it’s got beautiful photographs and tips for every other level of cook for every dish imaginable, plus info about herbs, spices, cuts of meat, etc. I’m ordering one for myself!

You can never go wrong with flannel shirts! Besides being very hip right now, they’re so comfy and warm that they’ll be appreciated no matter what Because we’re a cowboy household, we go with Wrangler since they’re cowboy cut and hold up wear after wear, but there are tons of other brands to choose from.

Contigo travel mugs are hands-down the BEST mugs EVER. They’re all Bert uses since they NEVER spill, literally–they roll around on the floorboards of his pickup and nothing comes out, and he abuses uses them constantly and they last for years, literally. They keep things hot hot hot for hours, and are very durable. If Bert can’t destroy them, no one can. A tip, though: if you can, buy them at Costco. It’s $20 for two, instead of $25+ apiece. I just bought Bert two more (the tractor ate one), and their new design looks even better than the ones he has.

A bottle opener is a great, inexpensive gift for the beer-drinking (or bottled soda-drinking) fella in your life–you can mount it to the counter right above the trash can so he’s always got a bottle opener handy.

Another thing you can never go wrong with? Moccasins. They’re a little warm, soft, slice of heaven. You all know my love of these gold ones, but I also have multiple pairs of Minnetonkas. Again, a fabulous gift for both guys and girls (although maybe forgo the gold for the menfolk) that is inexpensive but highly appreciated.

Now, socks might seem boring. But if there’s someone in your life who is constantly on their feet, then trust me, a good pair of socks is always appreciated. Bert loves Dan Post tall boot socks–my parents bought him some for Christmas last year, and he always tells me how great they are.

Are you noticing a theme with the warm and comfy? A pretty pair of mittens or gloves is a great gift because I’ve found it’s something that people don’t typically buy for themselves. Glittens are my favorite–my mother-in-law got me a pair for a Christmas past and I wear them all the time–on walks, in the morning, in the barn, you name it. Guys also love these, we just got Bert a pair to wear over roping gloves, because he likes being able to wear mittens since they’re warmer, but not having to swap for gloves when he’s out doctoring cows. Win-win!

Another thing that’s warm and luxurious? Throw blankets. This beautiful one speaks for itself.

EOS chapsticks are my go-to, and make excellent office gifts (I gave them to the girls with cookies for Valentine’s this year) and stocking stuffers. They come in all sorts of colors and flavors, leave your lips hydrated longer than other lip balms, and are hard to lose in your purse because of their unique shape. Bonus: you can buy them at Costco in a pack of five for ten bucks.

Now. If you have a guy in your life that’s hard to shop for, this is my #1 recommended gift. Leathermans are appreciated by every man ever–not just outdoorsy types and cowboys. Bert has the Leatherman Blast (it’s got lots of options, but isn’t enormous) and it is on his person at all times, literally. Plus, again, won’t break the bank. I got his on Amazon for about $45.

Lotions and soaps are always a great gift, and L’Occitane is my favorite brand. You can’t beat their shea butter, and I swear by their bar soaps.

I know I already have a coffee mug on here, but I can’t help but put a pretty one on here, too. I received a beautiful one for my birthday, and I love it. It’s fun to have something that you use every day be pretty and special–it just makes your day a little brighter! Bonus: Starbucks.com is having a big sale on mugs and tumblers. Woo!!

I hope those give you good ideas if you’re struggling! I hate not knowing what to get someone, especially when I know we’re exchanging gifts. All of these things on this list are things I have bought or plan on buying, so you know I’m being honest! I love finding thoughtful gifts for people, even if it’s something they didn’t know they wanted ;)

30 Weeks

 

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How far along? 30 weeks. Officially third trimester!
Total weight gain:
 Twenty pounds, but it feels like a lot more.
Maternity clothes? Yes, with some non-maternity things mixed in. I’m not sure about other pregnant gals, but I prefer to wear really long shirts/tanktops every day. Less tugging and adjusting! I’m wearing a lot of my long cozy cardigans lately, too. And the sequinned mocs in the picture above. I saw them for $6, and who says no to sequinned moccasins at that price?!? Literally no one.
Stretch marks? Not yet! Keeping fingers crossed.
Sleep: It’s getting a little harder to get comfortable these days, but I’m still sleeping pretty well! In fact, I keep waking up waaay too late.
Best moment this week: I snagged a pretty much brand-new swing at a baby consignment store for less than half of what we would have paid buying it on Amazon. Score! Also, Saturday night was the company Christmas party, so that was fun. And, our Christmas cards came in the mail! I’m anxiously anticipating the arrival of my Target box with all my Christmas wrapping goodies.
Miss Anything? Not having to pee all. the. time, and I miss just being comfortable in general. The company Christmas party always has an open bar, so I missed out on that too. The bartender they have every year makes wonderful whiskey sours, so that was a little depressing. Oh and energy. Yeah.
Movement: Constantly! I think he’s going to be a wild man. It’s pretty funny when he kicks hard enough that Bert can see it.
Food cravings: My appetite has tanked in the last couple weeks, especially at dinner, so I’m having to remind myself to eat all the time. Apples and PB, sharp cheddar cheese and milk have been the name of the game for the last several weeks, though! Sometimes that’s what I eat for lunch and dinner :) Bert was sick this week, and asked for ice cream, and the good stuff happened to be on sale! Sooooo I may be steadily working my way through a carton of Breyer’s mint chocolate chip, too.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Still the same!
Have you started to show yet: I would say yes, definitely.
Gender prediction: There’s a boy in there!
Labor Signs: No, thankfully! We still have ten more weeks, Junior!
Belly Button in or out? In. However, I’m still betting on an outie before too long. Bert thinks it’s hilarious.
Wedding rings on or off? On!
Symptoms: The heartburn has calmed down a little, but my feet are starting to get sore in the evenings. Thankfully, I think I’m still pretty comfortable compared to a lot of gals at this stage, so I’m not going to complain too me!
Happy or Moody most of the time: I feel great!
Looking forward to: Christmas! And getting back in the swing of things this week–I was exhausted all last week from the Thanksgiving/Baby Shower festivities over the weekend, and Bert was sick sick, so between the two of us it was pretty boring around here. Buuut I slept until 10:00 this morning, so I think after that I’m caught up. Maybe Santa could deliver an early energy boost–I don’t want to sleep my way through Christmas!
Exercise? Totally fell off the wagon last week–I was just too tired to do more than the minimum. But, I gave myself a little grace, and have managed to go on a walk three of the last four days. Walks are getting shorter and slower, but I feel so much better when I get up and move! And it makes the dogs happy to run and play and dig and, in Duckie’s case, chase deer for miles. 

We’re creeping closer and closer to Christmas! What is on your agenda this week/weekend? I’ve got wrapping to do, and some thank-you notes and Christmas cards to write and send. I’m also hoping to work in the nursery a little bit–I haven’t put away any of his things yet because I wanted to keep everything straight until thank-yous are written. It’s looking a lot like a baby boy in there, though!!

I’m trying to be very conscious about being in the Christmas spirit from here on out, since last week things were so…sleepy! So, bring it on, because there’s only 17 days left!!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This weekend will be dedicated to laundry, Christmas decor-finishing, gift-wrapping, and holiday card addressing, providing that my cards come in the mail! Sickness permitting, we’ll also be heading to Denver for my nephew’s birthday party, but Bert’s still not feeling well at all (his words to me last night when I asked how he was feeling? “I feel a lot better when I’m laying down. Standing up isn’t good.”) and the guy’s been living on chicken noodle soup and Sprite, so we’re going to have to play it by ear. No one wants to bring sickness to a birthday party!!!

What are your weekend plans? I’m hoping we have a few more free and lazy weekends coming up to relax because Christmas and Stock Show are on the horizon.

Oh, and a baby. A baby is also on the horizon, and we’re not talking baby Jesus. A live human child. Is coming up. Er—out. Into the world. And we have to keep it alive. Forever.

Right.

On to Friday Favorites!

Favorite Sparkle: Silver Necklace. Yet another sparkly statement necklace that I would love to add to my collection.

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Favorite Cozy: Gold Moccasins. I’m going gaga over these moccasins! My house shoes are on their last legs (being over four years old now!) and I think these would be PERFECT to wear around the house. And everywhere else.

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Favorite To Live By: It Just Blooms. These are words I need to keep close to my heart. I often try to impress people, either by trying to be funny or well-informed, and I usually don’t notice that I’ve done it until after the fact, when it hits me that I’m a crazy person and need to tone it down and just…bloom.

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Favorite Holiday DIY: Sparkle Nativity. We don’t have a nativity in our house, and I think that’s sad. We also have a mantle in need of some serious help. Enter this printable, et voila!

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Favorite Fuzzy: I see you have cheese. This is my life. “I see you have cheese,” “I see you have a free hand with which to pet me. You don’t need to be careful with that scalding hot pan.” “I see you have something in your hands that may or may not be food, but I’m going to beg anyways just in case it is.” “I see you are eating something. You tell me it is a vegetable and I won’t like it. I think you should give me it so I can test it out.” “I see! You! There! You’re there! You are there, in front of me!”

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Favorite Floral:  Poppy Bouquet. Not at all holiday-related, but gorgeous nonetheless. Whoever arranged those flowers has a serious gift!

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Favorite Bauble: Green Earrings. Again, more sparkly things. I wear my hair up constantly, so I think it’s time to invest in a grown-up set of costume-y jewelry. Pearls and small studs are my standbys, but I think it’s time to live a little in the jewelry department.

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Favorite Green: Little Trees. Again, my love of little trees. Maybe that will go on my Christmas decor list for this weekend. I bet I can rustle up something sufficiently rustic to put it in.

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Favorite Words: Tact. I’ve always loved this quote. I don’t think I have that level of tact (does anyone, other than the British and perhaps the residents of the upper echelons of society in the South?)

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Favorite Is This Real Life? Beaded Leggings. I looooove these. I would never wear them (combine these with the aforementioned canine attentions and it’ll be a disaster. And, won’t the beads eventually come off on the tush area?), but I can still appreciate them!

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Favorite Breakfast Treat: Cranberry Orange Scones. I think I’m going to try these to have on Christmas morning! I’m not a huge scone person, but the cranberry/orange combo sounds wonderful!!!

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(of course) Favorite Bedroom Inspire: Grey Textured Bedroom. We can’t go one Friday Favorites without a bedroom inspiration!! I love all the textures in this bedding–I’d forgo the sequins and glitter, though, seeing as how a rather manly man has to sleep there, too. Usually he gives me free rein, but I think even he would draw the line at sleeping in a disco ball.

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Happy weekend, I hope it’s lovely and relaxing and filled with holiday cheer!

Christmas Decor

Oh my gosh, I don’t know about you, but I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving (and baby showers)!

But, I think I’m finally caught up on sleep and managed to get out of bed in time this morning to take the dogs for a short walk. Short because I’m officially feeling very pregnant (I am 30 weeks, after all!) and can’t make it very long without stopping to use the ah, facilities. And since the facilities on a walk are things like bushes and stands of cattails, I’m thinking shorter is better, especially since it’s still hunting season and no one wants to see that through their rifle scope.

But, it’s December! It’s Christmastime! I snapped a couple of quick photos last night of the decorations in the living room–I have a couple more projects to finish elsewhere in the house, so this is the only room that’s sort of done. The pinecones still need to go on the garlands, and Mom is making me some festive Christmas pillowcases, so when all that’s done, I’ll take more pictures!

But I’m happy with how everything looks right now, even if the rest doesn’t happen. My main objective is a new string of lights for my little bitty tree we put in our bedroom, since they finally burned out last year (because I’ve had them for over ten years!).

Pretty much the same as last year in most ways, but a little more low-key on the covering every surface with snowmen and such–I thought it might be a good idea to make it easier on myself to put everything away in a month. But, we have our lit garlands over all the windows (but longer and fuller this year, and the addition of an ever-present Darkwing Duck), and our Christmas tree with more lights and assorted ornaments than is classy (we care not). But this year we have stockings, and a Christmas-y mantle! It’s still not quite right, but I’ll figure it out this weekend. And, I know Junior isn’t born yet, but it felt right to have his stocking up already, because I feel like we already know each other so well, considering we’re sharing a body and all :)

Please excuse the picture quality–nighttime is just not photogenic in our house!

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I can’t wait to finish decorating and wrap presents to put under the tree!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

I needed thank-you cards and I haven’t been able to find any cute ones, but I found some gorgeous ones online at Target and snatched ‘em right up this morning–but since I can never buy one thing from a store (and shipping is free for the whole holiday season!), I also ordered kraft paper, ribbon, baker’s twine and metallic sharpies. I can’t wait to get my present wrapping/Christmas card-addressing/thank-you note writing on!

I just love that stuff.

A Christmas movie, some tea, and piles of red and brown paper and glitter. Also glitter. Did I mention the glitter?

On the ranch end of things, we’re in a little bit of a lull right now. The guys are sorting their cattle for calving, and working on their barns and vet rooms and such to get ready. I’ll spend my day today working on a wall calendar for the office, since our lists are finally up-to-date and we’ve got as much as we can have done at this point for Stock Show. My darling husband has come down with an awful, flu-like icky bug (I’ve had my flu shot, and have been eating cuties and drinking OJ nonstop, so don’t worry about me!) and has been laid out flat for almost three days, so he’s taking it easy at home this week. It sucks to be sick around the holidays, and to go into calving with any kind of residual sickness, so I’m hoping this is a short bug that he can kick to the curb quickly! In the meantime, we’re living on chicken noodle soup and ice cream, which is just fine by me.

Tomorrow I’ll have my latest Friday favorites, and this weekend I’ll have a Junior update!

In the meantime: “Buzz! Your girlfriend! Woof.”

30 Days of Thankful: Day 29

30 Days

Happy (late!) Thanksgiving and official start of the Christmas season! I’ve been trying to post, but once again our lovely satellite internet isn’t working very well, so I had to wait until I got to my parents’ house to post anything. Woe betide our internet people if they can’t figure out why our internet keeps going kaput!

I hope you all had fun and food with your families. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house, and while it was a tiny bit of a zoo and I’m still working on my hostess-ing skills, it’s always wonderful to have everyone together. We had a big dinner, five (!!) kinds of pie, homemade vanilla ice cream, and blueberry waffles for breakfast. It was fab! My grandparents flew in from Indiana for all the festivities, and it’s wonderful to have them around. I took them out to see the cows, and they’re getting big! These girls will have their first calf this year–they’re due January 15th. They’re also in full-on fuzzy mode, which makes me wonder if we’re in for a rough winter.

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This weekend is also Baby Shower Weekend! I had my (our) first one today–it was thrown by my mother- and sisters-in-law, and it was gorgeous! Of course, like always, I forgot to take pictures, but it had a fall theme and they spoiled me with all of my favorite prego foods–clementines, Hershey’s cookies and cream, apples and peanut butter–major happy camper. It was so fun to get together with friends and family to celebrate Junior. What a lucky boy he is that so many people love him already!!!!

After the shower, it was old school pizza-and-a-movie (okay, TV show) with my mom and dad–we picked up a pizza from our favorite pizza place and watched episodes of the season one DVD of Walker, Texas Ranger because we’re cool like that. Heaven, I tell you!

Tomorrow, my mom is hosting one at a coffee shop by my parents’ house (I first wrote our house, but I don’t live with my parents anymore! Weird!), since I have a thing for hanging out in coffee shops. Junior is going to be one spoiled little guy–I’m already very thankful I drive a pickup because we’re gonna need that bed!

I’ll also have to share decorating pictures–my sister stayed and helped me decorate the house for Christmas yesterday! The tree is up, the garland is hung, the Nutcrackers are out–it’s looking a lot like Christmas at the Johnston house! Now, if I could only get the dogs to wear Christmas sweaters (and not eat them), we’d really be in business!

So, today I am overwhelmingly thankful for my family. Not everyone is blessed with such a great group of people, and I’m also so excited for Junior–he’s never going to lack for love, that’s for sure! I’m also thankful for Tums, a dishwasher, Christmas lights that work, garland that comes out exactly the right length and cozy blankets for falling asleep absolutely anywhere that I sit down without an activity. I have holiday-induced narcolepsy, I think!

I hope everyone is full of turkey, and love, and is having a wonderful weekend putting up Christmas decorations, doing a little shopping, or camping on the couch. It’s the most wonderful time of the year after all!

30 Days of Thankful: Day 25

30 Days

Today, I am thankful for lots of things. Being able to work cows on the ranch, even when it’s cold. Foot warmers, for working on the ranch when it’s cold. And a hot shower to come home to, for working on the ranch when it’s cold.

And, I won’t lie, sometimes it’s sort of nice to be able to meet everyone down at the barn once the gather is all done rather than saddle in the dark and ride out in the cold. And, Junior keeps my middle nice and warm for me. What a guy! Downside: my coveralls don’t fit anymore, so I bring a blanket to the barn with me ha.

Today and tomorrow we’re working heifers. Today’s girls were our commercial heifers that are going to be sold in the next few weeks. They got ran through the chute today to get new ear tags, and so we could get weights and a better inventory of what we have. They direction the guys gathered from today isn’t super conducive to getting really picturesque shots, but it’s what it looked like this morning!

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DSC_0064And my personal favorite from the day. I just can’t get over this camera, even on auto mode! I also can’t get over fluffy cows, they’re my fave :)

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26 and a List

Now that my 26th birthday has come and gone, and I’ve been heartily spoiled by one and all, and I ate an entire gigantic waffle cone full of peppermint ice cream in no time flat, it’s time to revisit my List from last year of goals for my 25th year.

1. Become a better hostess.
I’m getting there! Better has definitely happened–my next occasion to hostess is coming on Thursday, so we’ll see. This is a continuing goal for me, and for my 26th year, I’m being inspired by this quote from one of my favorite blogs: “People should leave your presence feeling better about themselves, not better about you.”

2. Learn how to do makeup properly.
Getting there!! I’ve expanded my makeup arsenal and I’m learning, slowly but surely.

3. Get a job that I like!
I feel proud and blessed to say that I’ve accomplished this goal :)

4. Get fit, and keep some sort of regular workout plan.
Unfortunately, I’ve fallen off the wagon where workouts are concerned since I’ve started my second trimester. But, I’m still going on walks, lifting weights a few times a week, and eating healthily, so I’m cutting myself a break. This goal wasn’t made with being pregnant in mind! And, Bert’s starting P90X-ing, so while he does that crazy stuff, I do my own workouts and it helps keep me motivated!

5. Make new curtains for the living room
I didn’t make them, but I bought them! So that counts. Number five, check!

6. Providing that I get a job that requires me to look presentable, fix up my wardrobe with things I actually like to wear, and get rid of what I don’t.
This is another continuous goal, but I have a lot more clothes I feel comfortable in, and I think I officially have a “style.” Again, this wasn’t made with being pregnant in mind.

7. Get the house a little more “finished.”
I accomplished almost all of my sub-goals (???) for this one, so I’m counting number 7 as accomplished! I’m officially onto the decoration part of decor. Yeah!!

8. Find a charity to work with.
Ouch. This one didn’t happen. That’s pretty disappointing, I’m not going to lie. I won’t make excuses, either. This will stay on the goal list for next year.

9. Read!
Again, ongoing, but since working for the ranch, the library and I have rekindled our relationship because the feed store is next door. I’m currently working my way through my latest bag of books. Right now, I’m reading one of the Wars of the Roses series by Conn Iggulden, and it’s pretty good!

10. Relax. Enjoy life, acquire some patience, and every day be grateful for what I have.
I think I’ve made some big leaps where this goal is concerned! Again, obviously ongoing, but I think I’ve come out of my 25th year with a more grateful and patient heart.

11. Perfect my homemade ravioli.
Another one that didn’t happen. No excuses for this one, either. I just need to hunker down and try out some recipes!!

So, all in all, not bad. 25 was a good year, and although there were some curve balls in there, I’d say it was the best one yet!

My goals for 26 are fewer, but more important. My number goal, obviously, is to:

1. Have a baby.
I would add something like “I want to have an all-natural birth and be in labor for an hour and bring cupcakes for the staff  with homemade buttercream and chocolate buttons,” but let’s not get too big for our britches. I’ll just take happy and healthy :) I’m pretty sure that’s self-explanatory. As is #2:

2. Keep him alive and happy.
Again, self-explanatory.

3. Somewhere along the way, work “Mom” into my identity, right along “Wife” and “Daughter” and all the other things that make me myself. Because they’re all important.
I have no plan for to do this, because there isn’t one. I’m just hoping, by the grace of God, that I can do all of these things. Not “do it all,” in that sense. But become a mom without losing the rest of what makes me me–that would be awfully boring for all the parties involved :) Does that make sense? It does in my head, which, since this is my list, is really all that matters, I guess.

4. Bake some bread.

5. Continue on my ongoing/unfinished goals from last year.
Reading, charity work, eyeshadow, ravioli, hostessing, patience–I’m comin’ for ya!

And, obviously, the common goal shared by all new moms who have succeeded in keeping their child alive and all of the other important things:

6. Lose the baby weight.
Not overnight, not all at once, and maybe not in all the same places, but I miss my old jeans and having a waist!

7. Keep working on my budgeting skills.
For groceries, house stuff, etc.

8. More time with the family.
Buuuut I bet they’ll want to come see Junior, so I don’t think that will be a problem. Judging by his latest 3D ultrasound pictures, he’s a pretty cute little guy :)

I have other goals–some that are a little more personal (not like that, but not everything is for the internets, after all!) and some that are a little less important: work on my gardening, landscape the front yard, become a master photographer, publish a coffee table book with cows in it, market my own line of hair-care potions, make all my granola from scratch–but those aren’t official because I have no idea what this year is going to bring an I am not doing that to myself.

So, here it is! 26. Taylor Swift doesn’t have a song about that yet, so I don’t have anything catchy to say about it. Maybe that should be a goal? Write catchy things about being 26? That rhyme with bricks, and kicks, and sticks, and licks?

I don’t know. Maybe not. I’ll just stick with successfully birthing a child and stuff.

Happy Monday from Jay and Gaucho, aka Sir of the Weird Ear, and Master I-Lay-Down-For-Everything :)

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