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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Weekend and Some Elk.

What a weekend!

We did a little house cleaning, a little Clark Griswold-ing, and some more birthday celebrating! It was a good one.

Last night, we went to our favorite restaurant for my birthday dinner (followed by ice cream for the pregnant lady), and my parents surprised me with dressers for our room for my birthday, along with some other goodies. They’re the best! So today, my lovely husband and I spent way too much time assembling two Ikea dressers, bless him. But they look great! Our bedroom has furniture!

However, yesterday morning, I was reading in bed (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, the guy who wrote Wicked. Highly recommend!) and Bert told me I’d better come quick with my camera, and boy was he right! One of our resident elk herds was right behind the house, and I got some decent shots before Mr. Bull in Charge made everyone leave.

You can see a few of the other bulls in the last picture–we counted at least four in this herd!

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30 Days

Therefore, I am thankful for my mom and dad, because they’re great! And I’m thankful for my husband, because assembling Ikea is a true test of a relationship.

And your ability to interpret directions with semi-vague pictures and no words. 

I’m  also thankful that we only needed two to assemble two pieces of Ikea–a third may have done us in.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!!

Friday Favorites: November 21st

Happy Friday! I hope your week was good, and that you’re getting excited for the official kick-off to the holiday season next week! Like many of you, I’ll be spending the weekend getting ready for Thanksgiving, by cleaning the house a bit, baking for next week, and getting some Christmas crafting done and being as quiet as possible, since we have a crazy (good) few weeks ahead!

Oh and the likelihood of me hanging our outdoor Christmas lights is approximately 100%.

Favorite COME ON: Sequinned Plaid Shirt. All I have to say about this shirt is that if I were a shirt, this is what I would look like.

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Favorite Baking Inspire: Pretty Pie Crusts. Thanksgiving is pie time, so I’m hoping to use one of these pretty pie crust ideas for one of my pies this year.

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Favorite Blanket Sweater: Striped Cardigan. We all know I have a thing for long, drapey, blanket sweaters, and this one is no exception. I love that you can throw them on with a simple t-shirt and jeans and still look put together and be comfortable, too!

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Favorite Footwear: Sperry Snowboots. We also all know I have a thing for Sperrys. Oddly enough, I also have a thing for boots. And snow. Sperry snowboots? My jam.

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Favorite Inspire: Ruffled Bedspread. Isn’t this gorgeous?! While I won’t go for the red, even though that color is lovely, this bedspread has inspired me to find something with texture for our room. It adds another element and makes it just a little more special and luxurious, don’t you think?

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Favorite If-I-Weren’t-Pregnant: Cranberry Sangria. Is there anything more to say? No.

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Favorite Sparkle: Bejeweled Clipboard. While I recognize that this is completely impractical, how cute is it?!? I do use clipboards a lot, and this one would ensure that it never gets commandeered by any of the guys :)

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Favorite Kitchen Gadget: Ravioli pan. I’ve had “make ravioli” on my to-do list forever, because there’s nothing like homemade ravioli  But, it’s time-consuming and a little messy, and I just haven’t done it. For shame!!! This pan looks like it would cut out a lot of the work, so I might have to invest in one!

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Favorite To-Try: Homemade Marinara. To go with the aforementioned ravioli. Homemade pasta with homemade sauce? Get in my belly.

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Favorite Holiday Inspire: Door Garland. While I don’t have fresh garland, I do have the fake stuff, and I love this idea as an alternative to lights in the entry way–we can’t have lights very low to the ground, because one large black-and-white border collie who shall go unnamed has a habit of chewing them up :)

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Favorite DIY: Deer head printable. I have a plan to make some Christmas pillowcases out of red ticking fabric that I already have, and I think a little silver and gold paint and a stencil of this printable would make them perfect.

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Favorite Quote: Sleepless Nights. This is true, and something I’ve been trying to remember lately when I wake up in the night. I try to have a visit with Him, and count my blessings or just pray through some things, and it always helps quiet my mind.

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Favorite “Tried That!”: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops. I’ve tried a few new recipes lately, and they’ve all been flops except for this one. We eat a lot of chicken, and so it’s fun to mix it up a little and I looooooove pork chops. They were moist and flavorful, and baked–which is a plus. And, I used pre-made Panko breadcrumbs, so they were super easy. We had them with wild rice and roasted broccoli, and these will definitely be heading into our monthly meal rotation!

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Favorite “Huh, never thought of it that way.” This is why cowboys wear handmade boots–when something is on your feet 24/7, it better feel nice. Hence the reason I’ve been wearing Uggs and Danskos exclusively :) But, this is a good rule–why would you want to spend all of your time uncomfortable and tired? Careful, though–if you’re like me, you’ll use this logic to justify an expensive footwear purchase :)

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In other news, my wonderful cowboy of a husband surprised me in a HUGE way for my birthday today–he told me that the benches were from him and his family, but that sneaky guy gave me a new camera this morning! He used some colt-starting money secretly (I check our online banking almost every day to keep track of expenses, so he didn’t want to use his card) and has had the camera hidden for the last few weeks in his bull/bronc-riding gear bag (aka a place that I never go!) and man oh man, what a guy. I was floored! It’s a Nikon D3200, which is an introductory DSLR and exactly what I was looking into getting. I’m not handy with a camera (yet!!) and so this one is perfect for me–faster shutter speed and the option of bigger lenses, but not a gigillion bucks. I can’t wait for branding/rodeo season to take pictures of the guys in action!

I used it in point-and-shoot auto mode to take a test picture or two, and I am so excited. It’s so pretty!

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So, I think it’s safe to say that today I am thankful because I feel loved–I’m just thankful all around. For my husband, my family, everything. 26 is going to be a crazy year (I’m going to be a mom?!?), but it’s off to a great start, and now I have a fancy camera to document it all. The likelihood that I’ll attempt to use the low-light thingy on my camera to take a picture of my Christmas lights this weekend? 100%. WOOOOO!

30 Days of Thankful: Day 20

30 Days

Happy birthday to my cousin (and almost birthday twin!), Catherine. I’ve looked up to her for as long as I can remember, and she is one of the kindest, most generous people I know, with the best sense of humor. I love her to pieces, and I wish we all lived closer together!

Today, I am thankful that I have someone (many someones!) to support me in my pregnancy. Every time I go to the doctor’s office, there is always someone who seems nervous or unhappy or embarrassed, and I feel very blessed that I have a network of people to depend on when I need help, and I am so thankful that Junior is already loved by so many people. Not all babies have that.

I’m not making judgments about the circumstances of other people, because it’s really  none of my business to judge other peoples’ family planning choices, especially since I know zero details about their lives. But, older, younger, married or not, everyone deserves to have support and love during her pregnancy and after the baby is born, and it’s sometimes apparent that some of these ladies are going it rather alone, and my heart goes out to them, because it can’t be easy.

I’m also thankful for a little Starbucks treat every now and then. A post-glucose test coffee Frappucino is exactly what I needed this morning! Aaaaand I may have grabbed a pack of milk chocolate-covered graham crackers. Because you know.

Check out this guy, he got to go to work with Dad today! We put our dogs in the trailer when they go with us, because too many get run over when they sit on the back on the truck, and you do not want this guy in the cab with you, he’s a little smelly. And pushy :) I guarantee that when I get home tonight, he’s going to be so tired and sore that he won’t come mob me at my car, he’ll just want for me to go over and rub on him and take pity on him and let him come inside because he’s worked so hard moving cows.

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20 Days of Thankful: Day 19

30 Days

Pretend I’m posting this yesterday :)

Today I am thankful that I come home every night to a warm home, with a husband who is happy to see me and dogs that mob me as soon as I get out of the car. It’s a wonderful welcome home, and always lifts my spirits no matter how tired I am in the evening.

I am also thankful for festive plaid scarves. They get me into the holiday spirit, because I have a hard time with that ;)

30 Days of Thankful: Days 17 and 18

30 Days

Edited to add: HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to my Aunt Sue, who always comments on my posts and makes me feel loved. Thank you, Aunt Sue! And to my Uncle Roger, who is the best Christmas Eve Chef of all time. Love you both to pieces!

I’m doing two sets today, since I didn’t post yesterday.

I’m thankful for some days above ten degrees–it’s sometimes a little hard to drag myself out of the house/bed/etc when it’s a freezer outside, and I always feel bad for the guys having to be out in the weather like that. Buuuut since it isn’t calving season, let it snow let it snow let it snow!

I’m also thankful for getting to see all the animals around–the rut started a little late this year, but the elk and deer are now out in droves, and I still love seeing them every year. I don’t get tired of it, I just hope we don’t meet a herd of anything on our walks because I’m scared that Duckie will notice and chase an entire herd of elk through multiple fences. Because she would, and then we’d have to go fix fence.

Less seriously, I’m thankful for whoever figured out how to make cuties, because those little clementines are my love language right now.

And, I’m thankful for wool socks. Because duh. And glitter nailpolish. Same reason.

Here are my gorgeous new benches! Please ignore the too-short curtains, those are a work in progress :) And I do have real chairs for the ends. What a lucky girl I am, thank you to my mother- and father-in-law, and to my husband!

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And, to make your day a little merrier and brighter, here’s a little Earlygram for you :)

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30 Days of Thankful: Day 16

30 Days

Today, I am thankful for my wonderful in-laws, who came and spoiled me for my birthday a week early! Bert’s dad made the most gorgeous benches for our dining room table (pictures tomorrow when the light will do them justice!) and I got other goodies like Christmas movies and another moose cookie cutter to add to my collection. They know me well :) You may get to choose your husband, but you don’t get to choose your in-laws, so I’m very thankful that mine are so fantastic.

I’m also still thankful for marshmallows. Mmmmmmmm mallowwwwwws.

Friday Favorites: November 14th

30 Days

Today, I am thankful for date nights with my husband, and quality time with my dogs. Pretty soon there will be a Junior coming along on our adventures, and while I’m so excited for that day, I’m soaking up every minute of one-on-one (or on-three, where the canines are concerned!) time while I can.

I’m also thankful for extra-large marshmallows. Those things are excellent. 

Happy Friday! We had a gorgeous day today of above-twenty weather, which was very welcome considering we’re meant to get another round of snow this weekend. We had a fabulous date night dinner in town, and tomorrow I plan on working a little in our cow database and cleaning up the house a bit. I’ve got a garland I want to deck out in pinecones, too, and Christmas decorating time is close at hand, so I’d better get that done! Otherwise, walks with the dogs, de-cluttering the downstairs in preparation for Turkey Day, walks with ze dogs and lots of laying around with my latest stack of books from the library. There’s not many non-holiday-full weekends left, so I’m soaking them up while I can (even though I can’t wait for them to get here!)

I hope y’all have a fantastic weekend ahead, full of plans or none at all! Thanks for reading :)

Favorite Fashion: Camel Sweater. I love this look! And, it’s totally belly-friendly and not too fussy, but still put together.

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Favorite Fuzzy: Brockle-Faced calf. We all know I have a thing for multi-colored calves. My boss’ daughter said the other day that we won’t have to have a list of the commercial heifers next year because most of them are funny colored so I’ve named all of them already :)

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Favorite Ranchwear: Wool Carhartt Coat. I’ve had pretty good luck with my Carhartt stuff, and I’m glad to see they’re starting to lean more towards pretty and functional for their womens’ line.

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Favorite Sparkle: Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch. While I’m not sure I’d ever want a watch this pricey (we do live on a ranch, after all!), I am in love with the sparkle in this watch. I’ve never been a big jewelry girl, but lately I’ve been hankering after a watch–maybe I’m anticipating being late more often? Yikes.

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Favorite Funny: Manager’s list of banned words at Chick-Fil-A. I mean, these are hilarious.

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Favorite Inspire: Ralph Lauren bedroom. I love all the textures in this room. It looks so comfy and cozy and luxurious, but I bet if that were my room I would never be able to leave!

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Favorite Bite: No-Knead Artisan Bread. After reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making bread again, and this artisan bread looks like a good place to start. Junior’s been craving fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar lately :)

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Favorite Holiday Inspire: Non-Traditional Advent Candles. I have a major excess of mason jars, and a perfect tray to put candles on. BAM!

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Favorite Indulge: Homemade Snickers bars. I don’t need to say anything about these. They speak for themselves.

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Favorite Truth: Tina Fey’s Kim Kardashian Quote. I’m sure you’ve all seen Ms. Kardashian’s newest embarrassingly blatant publicity stunt (if you haven’t, you aren’t missing much), and while it would be easy to get on a soapbox about how ridiculous it all is, I’ll let Tina say it for me. She’s very eloquent and true.

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Favorite Extremely Superfluous Item: Starbucks Plaid Tumbler. I say superfluous because I have multiple tumblers already, and almost always have one on my person, but this plaid one is my jam.

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Favorite Manta: Brown Paper Packages. If you repeat something enough times, it becomes a mantra, right? Well, I’ve been humming this song all month long and I am itching to wrap presents and put them under the tree. This year’s wrapping paper of choice? Brown paper, of course :) My mother-in-law pinned this for me, and it’s perfect! I think it’s by Lindsay Letters, who does the cutest prints and has the most gorgeous holiday collection.

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…and because I obviously have no control where babies or plaid are concerned:

Favorite Baby Wear: Red Plaid Onesie. I mean, come on. 

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30 Days of Thankful: Day 13

30 Days

Some days, I find that I’m not thankful for anything big specifically, mostly that we’ve been blessed in all the ways we have. I would sound like a broken record, though, repeating it all the time: not a day goes by that I’m not so thankful that we live where we live, do what we do, and get to be close to our families in the bargain. It’s an overall feeling of gratitude, you know?

But, every day, I’m also thankful for the small things. Today, I’m thankful that I remembered that I stuck a chocolate bunny in the chest freezer at Easter :) Sometimes, a pregnant gal just needs some chocolate.