Friday, March 28, 2008

Hot Rod, the Wandering Bull

After we sold the calves this year, we decided that we needed to get a bull, because eventually we would like to have more calves... The problem is, we didn't really want to MESS with a bull. They can be a lot of trouble... they can be mean, and with lots of little girls running around, we didn't want to risk one of them being hurt by a grumpy bull. They also have been known to roam, as (like most males) , they only have ONE THING on their minds. Once all the little cows are pregnant, their work on the ranch is done. Any - hoo, we finally talked to our cattle guy that we've been buying and selling from, and he told us he would just loan us a good bull, deliver it, and then pick it up later. He was impressed with our calves we raised this year, and would like to buy more like them in the future. This all sounded like a GREAT deal to us. Free Bull. No up-keep. No pick up or delivery worries. Happy cows. Happy bull. We quickly agreed.

So... he shows up and delivers us a fine specimen of manly bovine flesh. The name of the bull?? Hot Rod. It said so right there on his tag. Wow.

He seemed to settle in nicely. Followed the cows around like a docile creature. We thought all was well in the world. He showed up at the corral every evening to eat and socialize. Seemed like a well-adjusted male.

Then a few weeks ago... no Hot Rod at the corral. Hmmmm... maybe he was down at the creek getting a drink. No worries. The next night? No Hot Rod. I'm beginning to get a little concerned. Hubby, the gentleman rancher, is equally concerned and perplexed. So much so that he went for a little drive to check the fences. No fences are found to be down, but he does find one that is "leaning". Leaning?!?!?!?!? What could this mean? Oh, yes, it seems that not only is Hot Rod a calf-making machine, he is also a very ATHLETIC bull, as he has leaped over our 5 strand barbed-wire fence, and is gone. GONE. As in , no longer on our land. This is not good, as this animal does not belong to us.

The gentleman rancher peruses the problem. Behind us is about 800 acres. The owner does not live here. In front of us is also several hundred acres, but at least we know the owners well. To the side of us is a large ranch of unknown acreage, along with unknown owners. Luke finally goes to the tax assessors office and explains his problem. They kindly provide him with names and phone numbers of the owners. He calls the out of town owner, who is kind enough to give us permission to enter his land any time we need to do so. Then Luke attempts to call the other owner and learns that... he is in jail. There is no real way to get in touch with him. The ex-wife is not helpful, and wants nothing to do with her former husband or his land. Hmmmmm. How do you get permission from someone you cannot contact? This is a real obstacle. Luke finally decides that since he has made a real effort, he will go there to look if he has to and apologize later if need be.

So, the next step is to phone our local "rent-a-cowboy". We have had to call on his services before, as the surrounding land is too rough for driving with a truck. A horse is the only way to REALLY gather a lost cow. Local cowboy-for-hire says that since we don't really know where Hot Rod is, he will just have to take a buddy and go out looking. No telling how long this will take (or how much it will cost.) We readily agree, since Mr. Hot Rod, the wandering bull, is not ours to lose.

Local "rent-a-cowboy" goes out the next day and spends a half a day searching. He finally finds him, miles and miles and miles away to the east. He was happy... there were other cows there (and they probably weren't pregnant YET.) Cowboy delivered him back home, and deposited his sorry butt in our corral, where he now resides until today, when he is supposed to be picked up and taken away to go and service some more cows on some other ranch.

Good riddance, Hot Rod. You are more trouble than you are worth!! :-)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Life of Abigail Ann (so far...)

In honor of Abby's 6th birthday," I wanted to show her life in pictures so far. My "baby" girl is growing up right in front of my eyes!!

Here is baby Abigail on the day she came home from the hospital. Here is sweet Abby at 6 months old. Look at that tongue!!
Here is Abs on her first birthday. Bring on the cake!
Here is Minnie Mouse (aka Abby) at 18 months, ready to go out trick-or-treating.
Here is Abby on her third birthday at Peter Piper Pizza. She loved those games!
And here is Abby on this past Easter Sunday, just after hunting some eggs. She looks like an angel in that Easter bonnet!
Happy Sixth Birthday, Miss Abigail Ann! Your Mom loves you so much! Thank you for bringing sunshine into my life EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Abby!

In honor of Abby's 6th birthday tomorrow, I've come up with 6 things that are special about her.  Here we go!!

1.)  She is quiet, yet smart.  She doesn't feel the need to be vocal about what she knows, but if you can ever get her to talk about things, her knowledge will just blow you away.  But, you probably won't ever get her open up... the moments are few and special.

2.  She is beautiful.  I mean "take your breath away" pretty.  When she flashes that smile, I am in awe that she could possibly be MY daughter.

3.)  She loves animals and science.  She is always learning new things about new animals.  (I mean, for example, she asked for chickens and an ant farm for her birthday this year!)  When she was 3, she said she wanted to be a killer whale when she grew up!!

4.)  She is tiny, which is amazing, because she was a BIG baby.  We would always laugh about how she was a giant.  She was in the 99th % in height and weight at one point!  Then one day... she just kinda quit growing.  Now she just keeps getting taller, but not any bigger round.  (How can she be tall?!?!?!?  Her Dad and I are NOT tall!!!)

5.)  She is kind and sweet and honest and pure.  She loves with her whole heart.  She is helpful and reasonable and blissfully "undramatic".  (And as a mother of 3 daughters, we have a LOT of drama!!)

6.)  She loves the Lord, which is understandable, because she was a gift sent to us from heaven.  She is like watching my heart walk around outside of my body!  She makes me want to be a better person and a better Mother.

Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.  I love you so much... more than I can say.  Have a wonderful 6th birthday!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More Pics from Spring Break

We all had a great time at my parents' house over Spring Break. All 6 cousins on that side were together, and a they really enjoyed each other. The weather was really great, too. They got to play at the park and enjoy an egg hunt at my brother's house. Then, of course, we needed to celebrate Abby's upcoming birthday AGAIN, because we are all about the cake in my family. My SIL, Rox, got Abs a pinata, and the kids beat on that thing for AT LEAST half an hour. It was hilarious... that thing just WOULD NOT BUST OPEN!!! Below you can see my niece, Sarah, whacking the pinata bunny for all she was worth. She hit is so hard she actually broke the pinata stick in half!! Once they finally made a hole in the tough blue bunny, my brother took mercy on them and dumped the candy out so they could collect it. Even Duke, the dog, had fun gathering the candy.
Here is my niece, Sarah, with the proof that the blue bunny was tougher than the stick that was supposed to be used to beat it. You go, girl! Way to whack that bunny!!!
And here is the beautiful birthday girl, again, showing off her cake and her birthday plates. (Note the chick on the plate... this birthday is all about the POULTRY, since she wants chickens for her b-day! ha ha! We should have gotten her an Easter Chick pinata instead of a bunny! ha ha)
Happy Easter, and Happy Spring Break!! I wish it wasn't over... it went by too quickly!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Photos

We took all 6 grandkids to Sears to have photos made for Easter. Considering how many kid-o's we had, I think they did pretty well (and I even made mine change clothes once! Crazy Mom!!)
Any way, here are the proofs. Happy Easter!

Here are my girls, pretty in pink.
Here are all 6 of them, poised and ready to take a beautiful photo for Nana and Papa.
Here are my brother's 3 kids. Look at all those handsome boys thrown in there with a gorgeous girl!! How did they manage that?!?!? Luke and I never did figure that one out! ha ha!
Here are my three little ladies again. Doesn't Kate look ALL GROWN UP?!?!?!? I'm not so sure I like that, but BELIEVE YOU ME, she likes it!
Here's Kate.
Here's Miss Abigail.
And last, but certainly not least, here's the Grace.

Happy Easter! Hope the bunny brings lots of chocolate to your house!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Abby's American Girl Birthday

On Monday we took my girls and my brother's kids to the American Girl Store in Dallas to celebrated Abby's upcoming 6th birthday. (Her birthday isn't actually until next Tuesday, but it's Spring Break, and we could manage to get everyone there this week, so we celebrated a little early.) The girls had a fantastic time, and we had a very "girly" luncheon at the American Girl Bistro. My nephew (who will also be 6 years old soon) was very unimpressed. He convinced his Dad to take him to Bass Pro Shop instead. Ha! Gotta love a real boy's boy! My SIL, Rox, got a video of Abby blowing out her candles, so I'm going to try and post it. (This will be my very first video, so wish me luck!!)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cheep, cheep...

Abby's sixth birthday is next week, and guess what she wants for her birthday? A nice Barbie doll? A fun movie? Some cute shoes? No, no, and no. She wants some CHICKENS!!! (And I don't mean from Kentucky Fried Chicken, either!!) She wants real, live, egg-laying, pecking, cheeping, chickens. SO... of course we will get them for her, because we do live on a farm, right?? This weekend we went to the feed store and bought 4 baby chicks and two baby ducks. The chicks are colored for Easter. Here's what they look like.Are they not Cute (with a capital "C")? Yes, they are! We ordered her a little chicken coop, and it has arrived, but it is literally in one million pieces, because, you know, there is "some assembly required". We will need to be working on that sometime really soon.

They chickies and duckies are really young, and have to stay under a heat lamp for awhile until they get a little bigger. Right now they are living in our garage in a cardboard box lined with hay.

They have great names. (The girls love to name things.) The chickens are "Pearl", "Tex", "Dumpling", and "Chatter". The ducks are "Bubba" and "Bill". (I particularly love that one, as I have a brother named Bill, and, you know, a duck DOES have a bill! ha!) Ah, the humor... it doesn't take much to amuse me!!

I'm sure these birds will provide lots of good material for the blog before it is all said and done. But, for now, I will leave you with some photos of the girls holding their chicks.

Here's Grace, with Tex.
Here's Kate with Chatter.
And here's Abby with Pearl. That Abby, she'll surprise you every time. She may be the biggest farmer of them all!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shop 'til you drop!

This weekend my friend Shelley and I decided we should take the girls shopping for Easter dresses on Saturday because both of our husbands had to work. Keep in mind that we each have three daughters. The oldest one is 9. Then when Shelley talked to our friend Amy, she thought it would be a good idea to join us. She has 5 kids. When we actually started working out the logistics, Amy decided to only bring her oldest two kids. I was hoping to leave Grace at home too, but finding a sitter proved to be impossible, so I loaded her in the car right along with everyone else! We left my house at 8 am, picked up Shelley's family, and hit the road for Abilene. We got A LOT done. All the kids got dresses and shoes, and lots of other clothes that were much needed for Spring. We took them to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and they thought we were Moms of the Year! We finally made it home at about 10:30 pm. The kids were really worn out! I (of course) forgot my camera, but I can always rely on Shelley to be responsible! She had her camera, so she kindly sent me some pics of the kid-o's in Chuck E. Cheese. Enjoy!

Here are the "big" girls, Katie and Abbey H., posing in front of the Chuck-ster.Here are the best buds, Abby K. and Lainey, jumping around in the play scape.
Grace had a ball in the play scape!

It was a crazy trip, but we sure had a good time. Thanks, Amy and Shelley, for being brave enough to tackle a monster trip like this one!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

CRAZY Morning!

This time change thing is really throwing us for a loop... we all like our sleep, and the only family member who is a "morning person" is Kate.  Last night we had rain and I guess it knocked the electricity out for a few minutes.  At least, it turned all of our clocks off!  So, this morning, no alarms sounded, and since the time changed (and because of the rain) it was still really dark.  I rolled over at 7:45.  School begins at 8:00.  There was a slight moment of terror and panic, and then I thought, "We are going to be late.  It doesn't really matter if we are 10, 15, or 30 minutes late.  I am not going to go stress everyone out and yell at them."  So... I didn't.  I casually went upstairs and woke everyone, and when Katie realized what time it was, so flipped.  I told her to calm down, and then it was ok... I guess I had given her permission to be late or something.  We made it to school at about 8:30.  I was NOT the only one who was late... there was a page full of tardys before us!

I wish they would leave the time alone.  Just about the time we get used to it, it will be time to "Fall Back" again!

Good, Old Fashioned Chicken Fried Steak

Last night I made some chicken fried steak, and I actually followed a recipe.  (Usually I just dip the steak in flour, and then the breading all falls off.)  This recipe had a new idea for the breading, and a new idea for keeping it on the steak, and... IT WORKED and it was delicious.  I can't promise that it is a HEALTHY meal, but it sure was yum-bo.  SO... here it is!

Old Fashioned Chicken Fried Steak

6-8 medium sized round steak, pounded and tenderized
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
4 cups fine dry bread crumbs
1 1/4 cups fine cracker crumbs (I used saltines smashed with a rolling pin)
Oil for frying
Salt and Pepper to taste

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. (Important!!  Choose a cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer!!)  In a shallow bowl, combine egg and milk.  Mix well.  In another shallow bowl combine bread crumbs and cracker crumbs. Salt and Pepper the crumbs to taste.  Dip the steaks in the egg mixture, then in the crumbs, then back in the egg mixture, and then back in the crumbs.  Place steak on the cookie sheet and freeze for about one hour.  (THIS IS THE KEY!!!  Freezing the coated meat makes the crumbs stick to the steak while cooking!  Eureka!  The secret is out!!)  Remove steak from freezer and fry in a skillet of deep, hot oil.

Yummy, yummy, yummy.  Make a little cream gravy and some mashed potatoes and you will be in country-cookin' heaven!  Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2008

"5 Things..."

OK, so my dear friend Amy "tagged" me to post on five little known facts about me.  This will likely be a disaster, because I just did my "100 things about me" post, so there is NOTHING that you all don't know about me!  But, I'm a sport, so here we go...

1.)  I have had a lot of "interesting" jobs.  I've been a waitress at a sushi bar.  I've wrapped gifts and waited on customers at a lingerie store.  I've been an "after-school nanny" to some kids in Waco.  I spent an entire summer at a Jewish sleep-away camp as a counselor one summer in Pennsylvania.  I was the pre-school age director of a sports club camp one summer.  I've been an after school tutor.  I've been a part-time TAKS specialist.  Oh, yeah, and I've taught third grade.  (Not to mention my current, glamourous job, as a MOM.)

2.)  I married a man who had the same last name as me.  We were not related (until we got married.)  I never had to change my driver's license or Social Security cards.  Luke and I used to pretend to be brother and sister in college so that we could check each other's grades at the registrar's office.  He also pretended to be my brother once when I was really sick and in the Health Center at Baylor so that the nurses would let him come in and check on me.

3.) I was an NCA All-American cheerleader in high school.  I also took ballet and tap lessons for about twelve years when I was a kid.  

4.)  I had fertility issues.  I had to take fertility drugs (and a lot of them) to get pregnant with Kate and Abigail.  I miscarried a baby between Abigail and Grace.  We assumed I couldn't get pregnant on my own, and even though we wanted more kids, we didn't think it wise to keep taking lots of drugs to do it.  So, once we decided to be content with two kids, I got pregnant with Grace.

5.)  One of my "dream" jobs would be to be a photographer.  I love taking photos!  Some day I want to take a class so I can be better.  I want to photograph old barns and old churches and make calendars and stuff.  My other "dream" job would be to be a children's book author.

There you go !  Hope you have learned SO much more about me (and my ability to be really random! ha ha)


Thursday, March 6, 2008


*disclaimer* I realize it's not Wednesday anymore, but I tried all day to post these photos yesterday and could not... blogger wasn't my friend! So I am trying now. And, I also realize that since I am explaining, it is no longer "wordless". Oh well, so it's not "Wordless" or "Wednesday"... I had good intentions, though. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Voting Day!

It's voting day, Texas.  Did you make it to the polls?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Good Night, Gracie.

We took the kids out to eat last night in Waco to celebrate good report cards from the eldest two.  They chose to go to the Hibachi Place, which is good food and entertainment all in one.  Gracie was pretty tired, because she won't EVER take a nap, but those car rides will knock her out almost every time.  She slept the whole way over and did not wake up until after we ordered.  She did well during the meal and wasn't grumpy or whiny (which is usually the case when she hasn't slept enough!)  On the way home she fell asleep again and woke up as we were coming up our drive.  She heard us talking about bath time and bed time, so she piped up and said, "I just want to have a bath in my car seat."  


Love that kid.