Friday, June 26, 2009

Progress...

Had a Dr. Appt. earlier this week. At my last one a month ago, I asked if they could dig out my charts from when I was pregnant with Clayton (the clinic recently put everything on computer and all the old paper charts were filed downstairs. The joys of living in a small town/rural area!) I was interested in comparing where I was at this point with him vs. this baby. Easy to do, since this boy's due on his big brother's birthday. At 31 weeks with Clayton I was measuring right at 31 weeks. This baby is measuring 32. That sortof made me giggle because as I got closer, I asked the doc if he thought Clayton was going to be average sized or on the big side. He felt around and very confidently told me he'd be in the 7 1/2 lb. range, like Caroline. He was genuinely surprised when he delivered a 9 lb. 9 oz. kid who got stuck on the way out. As a result, I've been told that if I don't go into labor on my own at least a week before I'm due with this one, that I will be induced about 39 weeks. I think that because of Clayton's size and the complications that immediately followed delivery, the doctor is hesitant to do that again. Me too! Though I really don't want to be induced again.
Clayton (in the bassinet) on the day he was born, compared to the baby across the hall born the same day-he weighed about 5 lbs.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Love Without End, Amen


One of my favorite songs is "Love Without End, Amen" by George Strait, because it describes so perfectly the fathers I've had the privelege to know, love and be loved by on this earth, as well as the eternal love I feel from our Heavenly Father. So many times I watch my sweet husband with our children and am touched to tears by his tenderness and deep love for them. He teaches them, plays with them and isn't afraid to get in there and do the dirty work of caring for them. I think because he serves them (and me!) so selflessly, completely and with so much care, he has been blessed with a unique love for our children. He truly has a gift for fatherhood and can understand our children in ways I don't. I am so incredibly grateful to have been blessed with such a husband and father to our children and I can't put into words the depth of my love and gratitude to him and to Heavenly Father for helping us find each other and such great happiness in our marriage.

I am blessed to be the daughter of a very soft hearted cowboy. My sweet dad (on the left) is hard working but so loving. He taught me the gospel in by applying the scriptures to daily experiences. He was the most supportive dad and was always at my dance, band and choir performances. In fact, he is one who helped instill in me a love for good, uplifting music. As a young girl, I would sit in the cab of the truck while we were feeding cows and dig through his collection of cassettes to listen to The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's patriotic songs or Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops playing classic tunes such as "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. (A song, by the way, that I think still causes him to have a catch in his throat when he listens to it and thinks of his girls growing up.) And so many times I watched as he became filled with emotion as he listened to sacred hymns. His love of the gospel and testimony were born to me many times simply by his reaction to that heavenly music. .I have memories of being a small girl playing with my dad, climbing on him, being tickled & held upside down, and ALWAYS feeling so loved. He took me with him frequently to the farm and ranch and taught me the value of working hard. He helped me raise 4-H steers and I saw his deep love for me, especially when there were scrapes with the animals and I ended up injured, even just a little. He gave me responsibility, but didn't breathe down my back until I finished the job. Instead, he had the expectation that I would complete the task given and had the confidence that I would do it. He took me on daddy daughter dates, cried when he danced with me after the Promenade at my Jr. Prom and beamed when I married my sweet Jake. Now I love to watch my babies hop in the truck to go to Papa's farm when we're visiting and I'm so glad to have him as my Daddy.

On the right in the picture is my father-in-law, another cowboy with a heart of gold! I'm so grateful that I can call him "Dad", too! I'm so grateful for his love of the gospel that was passed on to his son. Jake has
emulated his example of daily study, and it is a trait that I hope our children will also pick up. He is also a hard worker and I'm grateful for the things he has taught Jake of "perfect practice makes perfect." He is a master teacher to his children, his students, and I'm thankful we live close so that our children can also be influenced by his gift. I love that he appreciates good music as well and look forward to family jam sessions with him and his boys on guitar and me on the spoons! He always shows appreciation for the little things and it makes me more than happy to do things for him - my favorite is baking him his favorite pie - lemon meringue, because I always know how much he enjoys it and how happy he is that I thought of him. He is such a sweet part of my life and I'm so grateful for him.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What the Hail?



A view of all the things that blew off of the deck. In the background is the shed/chicken coop. I was thinking of sanding it down and repainting it this summer - it needed it. Well, the sanding is done - courtesy of the forceful hail!

We were pummeled last night by a hailstorm that pretty much looks like it destroyed the garden and hay crop. We're praying the hay will revive, but right now it's just laying down on the ground, smushed. The boys were planning to cut it today because it looked like it was finally dried out enough from the last week's rain to do it. Then this. I'm trying to stay positive, especially about the garden. But It doesn't look like there's much left. Our corn was finally a couple of inches high and we had nice little green rows of peas, beans, carrots, beets & radishes. I can't see any green in the garden now, except for the bits that I know are underneath the 5 milk jugs covering the 5 tomato plants that by some miracle, survived. The rest of my 20+ tomatoes look like they're gone. The only thing left of my pepper plants are the stems sticking up out of the ground. No leaves, no baby peppers (yes, I had 2 or 3). And my few squashes that weren't drowned in the last couple of weeks by all the moisture didn't make it through the storm last night. I'm trying to decide right now whether to try to replant some things with stuff from the nursery or just give up. It would be easier to not worry about it, especially with 8 weeks left of the pregnancy. But it is so nice to have fresh garden veggies, not to mention how excited I was to put up some salsa and other stuff for the year. Sigh.
We were fortunate that our car was not damaged in any way. Or that we had any broken windows in the house. Our neighbor's window broke while she was watching the storm out of it, and she was lucky to not be hurt. The front door has huge dings in the paint where you can see the metal door shining through, and the west windows (that's the direction the hail came from) have the plastic casings in complete shambles and the screens are all shot.

View of the back door before I shoveled away about 1 foot of hail. I couldn't open it from inside and had to go around from the front.


Front door view from outside.

View out of the front door from inside.

Many of our trees are at least 1/2 leafless. Notice the bits of leaf stuck to the window - they were whipped off of the tree there and blown back onto the house.

The kids were fascinated by the "gumball storm" (we've recently seen the move "Bedtime Stories.") I made them stay back from the windows while the hail came down but then let them go look while it was still raining. Notice Clayton's hat - I discussed his obsession with it in a previous post.

My poor flower bed.
My once lush, beautiful and thriving rhubarb plant. I even had the the thought yesterday afternoon, "I should pick all that, cut it up and freeze it today." I didn't. It's now in shreds.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pics of the Week


My friend Sabrina gave me a bag of clothes last year for Caroline that her daughter had outgrown. In it were also some darling dress ups. Love Bug hadn't been real interested in them until this last week when she donned the bunny costume. I thought she looked so stinkin' cute and she hopped around the living room forever!

Real cowboys sleep with their horses. I guess. I went to check on the kids before I turned in a couple of nights ago and found Clayton zonked out on top of his stick horse. It couldn't have been comfortable, but he didn't budge when I moved it. The funny thing is, I've found him like this at least 2 other times, but either didn't think about taking a picture or had a dead battery.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Berry Bliss


Our first morning in Colorado, I realized that the hotel's continental breakfast was just not going to cut it for 3 days. Danishes and chocolate muffins are okay, but who wants their kids eating them every morning for breakfast? So I made a quick run to the King Soopers grocery store just down the street for yogurt and fruit. Imagine my delight when the first thing I saw as I walked in the store was a display of strawberries and raspberries - 10 for $10!!!! I grabbed some for snacking and vowed to return before we came home to Nebraska.
One of my favorite, FAVORITE things in the world is the raspberry freezer jam my Grandma Redd used to make every summer from the fresh berries in the patch between our backyards. So this week has been busy. In addition to the strawberry freezer jam I did a few weeks ago when they were on sale here (but not THAT on sale...) and the blackberry freezer jam I also did when they weren't $6 a carton, I added 7 pints of raspberry freezer jam and 7 pints of strawberry-rhubarb jam to our stores of spreads. I'm running out of things to do with berries. Made a strawberry pie today, but still have about 3 cartons left. Any ideas???
I know these aren't berries, but I had to take a picture of the gigantic rhubarb from our garden. That plant is seriously loving the wet weather!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Castle Rock, Colorado Weekend


On Thursday, we packed up and drove to Castle Rock, CO for the Four Corners Horseshoeing Contest. For anyone who's unfamiliar with what it is my husband does all day, this'll give you a pretty good idea:
video

Though he doesn't work on huge draft horses everyday or make every shoe from scratch, he does do most of the forging and shoeing stuff daily. This contest was a great way for him to practice and identify things he needs to do to improve his skill in different areas. The Draft Horse competition was just one of several he entered and was a team event. His brother, Pete, and a friend, Jacob (they had to call each other by last names to avoid confusion) worked together to shoe the draft horse. This was actually their second draft horse. Jake said that when they started, he and Pete were totally in the zone making the shoe. Jacob was doing the trimming of the feet and apparently was being stepped on and dragged around by this ginormous animal. By the time Jake & Pete had what they called a "beautiful" shoe almost complete, Jacob asked if they could PLEASE have another animal to work on. Jake felt so bad because he'd been so focused on forging that he hadn't noticed Jacob's situation at all. So they got a new horse and had to start all over. It's hard work, and I think that starting out so strong sortof drained them. For the contest, they only have to shoe one front and one hind of one side of the horse. So they completed that. But then, because of an uneven number of teams competing, there wasn't anyone to finish the other side of the horse. So they went ahead and did that too. Needless to say, the poor guys were pooped by the end!

The team at the very end of the contest - after cleaning up and shining the newly shod draft horse hooves. l to r: Jake, Jacob, Peter

The kids were thrilled to have the huge arena to play in and quickly found a few little friends to run around with. Though I have to say, they spent the majority of the time chasing each other and laughing. It makes me so glad that they are each other's best friend right now and I hope that they stay that way!
Caroline & Clayton running around. I think they were pretending that Caroline was a puppy that had stolen Clayton's hat.
Sadly, (Okay, so sortof not) I only attended Saturday's team event. Friday, my sister-in-law Sarah & I took the kids on a shopping spree to the outlet mall in Castle Rock. We hit all the kids stores (OshKosh, Carters, Gymboree, The Children's Place) and got some hot deals on some cute stuff. We also hit Target & Kohls (since our little boony town doesn't have those) and I have to say, I scored even better there than at the outlets! So the kids are outiftted for the summer, my Bath & Body Works stuff is replenished for the year and I even got me some new maternity capris & shorts for the last 10 (YES, TEN!!!) hot summer weeks of this pregnancy!
Tuckered out. I love that they fell asleep with those little heads together - they're so sweet!
Sophie modeling her new sunglasses.
The kids did great shopping and found some great ways to entertain themselves and each other. Their favorite was hiding in the clothes rack and then popping out to scare one another, which had me and the sales associates in most stores in stitches. But my favorite was Clayton's boogie at The Children's Place. He was sporting a white girls' Easter hat from the 99 cent bin and his dance reminds me of Rowan Atkinson's (of Mr. Bean fame) moves from the movie "Johnny English" (if you haven't seen it, it is hilarious!) They kids finally tuckered out after lunch and that's when I hit the mommy stores. It was pretty nice!
video
Saturday night was the banquet, auction and awards ceremony. Because of a late start that morning, everything got put behind and the banquet didn't even start until 9:00 p.m.! After chowing down on yummy BBQ pork, (it was pretty cool and I wish I'd taken a picture of the WHOLE roast pig - apple in its mouth and all) we headed back to the hotel and crashed around 10:30. I'm glad we didn't try to stay for the rest of the evening - other farrier friends we talked to Sunday morning during breakfast remarked that the auction went way late and awards didn't begin until midnight. But we're glad we went. It was a fun experience and a great little getaway.


Clayton was pretty excited about the orange & grape pop at the banquet!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

FHE - A Night at the Circus! Just Kidding


We were so excited last night! On the last day of school last week, my niece & nephew brought home tickets for a circus that was visiting town. Unfortunately, they were not going to be in town for the event, so my sister-in-law offered them to us. We hopped in the van just as it started to rain, but we figured since the rain had been off and on the last few days, we'd be okay. We got to the fairgrounds and it was still raining. It was then that we discovered that this particular circus was NOT under the "big top", but on grandstands under a covering. We were disappointed, but there was no way we were going to sit for an hour and a half in a windy, rainy, damp, chilly arena with two small kids. So we drove to the back of the fairgrounds, where we could see an elephant munching on grass and let the kids have a gander at him for a few minutes. Then we opted to go see "UP" in 3-D at our local movie theater. We picked up Jake's sister who is on her own for a few weeks so she could join in on the FHE fun! The kids thought the 3-D glasses were pretty cool, and we spent the few minutes before the movie started modeling them.