Thursday, May 20, 2010


The boys and I took a break from reality last weekend and went to Iowa to celebrate my little cousin Timmy's high school graduation. (This next weekend is my little cousin Sarah's graduation. Can you believe they let little kids graduate now? Ha. Just kidding guys.) (Not really.)

Getting out of here was a little stressful.
Me: We will leave Friday night.
Matt: Well, we need to get all the cows moved to pasture so let's brand the 16 new calves first.
Me: Aaaaahhhhhh.
So some good friends came to help, and we had a fun evening working and playing. It was so much fun to watch the 5 kids goof around together while we worked. They chatted with each other, ran races, climbed trees, built rock towers, and I don't know what all. It is amazing that they are big enough to do their own thing, completely oblivious to the adults nearby. Now that they are practically grown up (ages 2-7), think of all the peaceful evenings ahead! (Right? Right?!)

So we got out the door on Saturday, and 10,000 hours later arrived at our destination. The best part of the trip was picking up my brother in Lincoln and my sister in Omaha. I highly recommend scheduling reinforcements. The worst part of of the trip was everything else. But we made it, and being with my wonderful family just started that hole in my heart healing right up.

We stayed an extra day and visited a dairy ran by the family of Ethan's new best friends Josh and Jessica. It was so interesting! We milked a cow and saw the long line of milking machines, and the pen with all the baby calves (they have 10-15 every day of the year!) and the barns where the cows live (some of them sleep on waterbeds!) and finished up with chocolate milk. It was fascinating.

Now the boys are on their way home with my dad to spend the weekend at my parents' before we meet up on Sunday. We are so excited for more time with cousins and aunts and uncles!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I went to a funeral this morning for a three-year-old boy who ran between the tires of a tractor. My heart is broken. Not mine, not mine, not mine, it thuds hollowly.
Not my child, but my grief. Every mother's grief.

Three weeks ago he was at my house, driving toy tractors across the living room floor with my boys and serving pretend birthday cake in the little kitchen. He didn't want to go home, and his mother told him they could come back to play soon. Last week, he wasn't with his mom and she said he was with his dad; "He would spend every moment in the tractor if he could." On Saturday, in the midst of getting ready for a mini-campout in the pasture, I got the phone call.

The boys were so excited about camping. "We's not seep in ours beds? We seep in ours tent?" Evan kept asking as though it were too good too be possible. As much as I wanted to curl up in a ball in my room, we pressed on with our adventure. After the boys had eaten their weight in marshmallows, they went to sleep while Matt and I sat by the fire. The stars were shining. How can it be that we have had such a lovely evening, while Jacob's family is devasted? I wondered. Matt kissed my forehead and whispered, this happens every night. Every night. Every mother's grief. Every mother's prayers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hello again

I think Spring is my favorite time on the ranch. Actually, right now I think that Spring is my favorite time anywhere, but I know when Fall comes I will think differently. The boys are definitely enjoying more time outside (and I am enjoying their time outside even more). They provide live updates! every 10 minutes! on the status of my tulips. "One is big! Two are little." "Two are big! There is a red one!" "Five are big! Come look now!" Little lettuce leaves are coming up in my garden and my strawberries are blooming. Everything is so green and hopeful, I am just soaking it in.

We have been calving for a month now and are about two-thirds done. I love the baby calves so much. They run and play together, and their mamas take such good care of them. The cows kinda make me feel like a loser, though- I mean, they can give birth in the middle of a pasture and I couldn't even manage it in the luxury (har) of the Ainsworth Community Hospital. Oh well, I'm happy for them. We branded yesterday. The little calves were troopers- even the new steers were up and running around moments after we finished working them. I am sure I would not be as resilient. (See above, loser.)

The agency I had been working for is closing and I am unemployed. For a little while, unemployed felt a lot different than stay-at-home mom, even though I spent approximately 19835 times more hours with the boys than I did at work these past 9 months of employment(which, as Matt helpfully pointed out, is almost a record for me to stay at a job) and was constantly on the verge of quitting. I have been embracing my inner housewife in a big way lately- I even made mozzarella cheese last week and have been baking bread like a crazy, carb-obsessed woman. I have also been (forced into) embracing my inner ranch-hand, and have been spending lots of quality time with Matt and the boys clearing cedar trees, caring for the cows, and building miles of fence.

And maybe one of these days I'll re-embrace my inner blogger.