Over the next 30 days, I will be reviewing Time4Learning’s online education program. It can be used as a homeschool curriculum, an afterschool tutorial or forsummer learning. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. You can write your own curriculum review, too!
Seriously, has it really been that long? I have missed you guys. And I have a lot to share with you. I mean, of course, we’ve had lots of surprises around Cocklebur Junction since January. So here’s the first part of our update. With no pictures. Sorry. I wasn’t able to take pictures for a while….
It was mid-January. A white blanket of snow covered the ground. The Cowboy was in central Nevada working on a pipeline. The kiddos and I were having lots of fun snuggling on the couch, eating popcorn for dinner and ice cream for breakfast and doing all those horrible things the Cowboy should never, ever know about.
We’d had a massive all day long, use every single dish you own, cooking-fest. Homemade pizzas were in the oven, the mozzarella just starting to melt into the sauce. The girls were kneeling on the floor in front of the oven watching their pizzas, waiting patiently.
I reached over their heads and grabbed a large glass dish I’d been using as a double-boiler off of the stove. It slipped. I threw my hands down in front of them to shield them as the bowl hit the corner of the stove.
Bailey had blood all over her face. I was trying to see how badly she was hurt when Dally pointed out that I was the one hurt. I looked down at my hand and my pinky finger was just a mangled mess. It had been sliced by the glass.
I wrapped it with a dish towel, put it over my head and got the kiddos in their shoes. Dally helped her sister into the truck and buckled her in. Off we went to the nearest town. Twenty minutes away. With my hand in the air.
Dally kept saying, “Calm down Momma, you’ll be just fine,” over and over. I don’t know how I would have done it without her.
I was hoping it wasn’t that bad, so we went to Urgent Care. I made it that far before I completely lost it and started going into shock. They bundled me up – I was falling completely apart – and a kind nurse got us all back in the truck and she drove us around to the ER entrance.
Now, let me just say this once. Our ER is not the best in the world. Sorry if you are reading this and you work there, but it really lacks sometimes. There was no one in the waiting room, I was bleeding heavily and hysterical and it still took almost an hour for a nurse to assess my condition. She sent me back into the waiting room and told me to wait. Several hours later, they called my name and the kiddos and I went back.
The nurse unwrapped my hand, immediately wrapped it back and went for a doctor. I had a severed artery in my hand.
At this point, I was so beyond caring that I actually thought it was kind of cool that the blood actually does shoot across the room with every heart beat. I thought movie people just made that up.
An hour later and through the use of what is basically a mini-branding iron, they had me put back together.
The rest of the month was miserable. The Cowboy was 15 hours from home. I couldn’t even wash dishes. I couldn’t cook. We ate things that I don’t see how anybody eats. The kiddos apparently have discerning taste. We discovered that Nutella sandwiches are much better tasting than freezer lasagna.
But, we survived.
Six months later and I am just now able to slowly play a scale with my right hand. I can’t type with it at all. But I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, because I don’t need it to type. Who would have guessed?
So — that’s what stopped me from writing here. Then we just got busy. You know how that goes. You wake up in the morning with your entire day planned out. Then a child happens to squirt an entire tube of toothpaste in your cowboy boots. You realize that you can’t find your cell phone, house keys or one spur (where the heck is that spur? It’s been missing for over a year now!). Then just when you think you’ve got it all pulled back together, you get stuck in a snowdrift.
I don’t mean in a vehicle. I fell in a snowdrift. The quarter mile walk to the barn will take you one and a half hours when over 20 inches of snow falls and drifts all the way from Nebraska to stop at the first buildings — which happen to be our barns. I left the kiddos at the house and went half way to the scale house (holds the cattle scales) to check on the water heaters for the horses. One horse was missing. How could a horse be missing. So I trudged down to the horse barn. By the time I got there, I was out of breath and thanking God I’d been going to the gym several times a week.
Horse was there. Somehow had locked himself into one of the outdoor runs. Have no idea how that happened, but the current theory is we either have a ghost, or Bigfoot did it. I just think our horses know how to operate latches.
On the way back towards the house I was walking straight into the wind. The windchill for the day was around negative 20. IN OKLAHOMA. We aren’t talking Siberia here. OKLAHOMA. Again. OKLAHOMA.
This woman just wasn’t raised for that.
So I wasn’t watching where I was – just kept going North. Just about the time I felt like I was walking on old snow, not the ground….I fell through. It was deep. Like between my waist and shoulders.
I dug myself out. It took a while. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack.
But I made it out.
And that stinking horse must have been sent from God. Because the entire way back to the main gates, he pushed me. Right behind me, pushing his head right in the middle of my back. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have made it. He has a free pass for the rest of his life. Even though a month later, he knocked my side mirror off my truck….
Oh, so much I have to share with you.
The Cowboy’s had three trips to the ER, he brought home a four-legged. keep me up all night, monster who eats shoes…expensive shoes…puppy for the girls. I got sucked into raising a fawn — that’s a baby deer — and it lived under my desk for a couple of months.
Oh, it just keeps going and going around here.
No surprise in that!!! If you don’t hear from me again for a while, I am probably hiding in the closet, eating Oreos and playing on Pinterest. I may never be seen again!
I’m not a fan of the cold. The perfect temperature for my house in the winter is somewhere in the 70’s. If I wasn’t so frugal and didn’t have such a large space to heat (and old barns are not all that efficient), I’d just crank up the thermostat.
The first winter after we had Dally, we had a little run of bad luck that resulted in my having a few bottle calves to feed.
Every couple of hours. Day or night. In the cold night. Me bundled up like a small marshmallow man and trudging down the road to the barn with a warm bottle of milk replacer.
And somewhere between the moon reflecting off the white blanket and the stars quietly dotting the sky, I discovered that the most precious thing in the whole world is the peace and quiet of a snowy winter night. It’s even precious enough to make up for baby calf slobber.
After being up all night with a crying baby, it feels really good to volunteer for bottle calf duty. For 20 minutes, it is perfectly calm.
Five years later, I wish I had 20 minutes of bottle calf time. So I slip out in the early morning before the kiddos get up for a few minutes just to breath in the cold winter air and I always go feed the dog after they go to sleep. In my opinion, it’s the only way I stay sane. Not that I don’t love the kiddos. But without the quiet, would I recognize how sweet their endless chatter is?
I have no idea what they are up to all night long, but lately I get up in the mornings and find that all the horses in the front pasture are laying down.
This is weird. It is unusual. I can walk right through the middle of them and they don’t even stir.
Causing me to freak out the first time because I thought they were all dead. But, um…let’s just keep that between us. It doesn’t exactly fit the smart cowgirl image, now does it?
The Cowboy wanted me to take a picture because he doesn’t believe me. He never believes me. Not even when I swear I didn’t side swipe the gate even though there is red paint on my white fender and white paint on the red gate…or the time he says I drove the tractor into the pond and got it stuck and left it there….and he found the key in my coat pocket….or the time I….okay….I kinda get why he doesn’t always think I’m truthful.
There are five more horses just like that off to the left.
I’m so jealous. Do you know how many years it has been since I’ve had a nap?
Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve slept through the night? I’m not talking weeks here.
It’s been years……long years…..filled with lots of caffeine and oreos. There have been nights that I’ve purposefully carried a screaming baby into the bedroom and laid them next to the Cowboy in the bed. After five minutes, I feel bad for the crying baby and pick her up and return to the living room to rock some more. The Cowboy never stops snoring. Between the crying kiddos and the snoring Cowboy I sometimes feel like moving into the horse barn. Because apparently, they live a pretty easy life.
And this horse has the nerve to lay there all stretched out, nice and comfy and then SMILE at me?
I think it’s fitting that it’s snowing right now. I’m all comfy in my pj’s on the couch in front of a roaring fire. This morning, the kiddos and I ate homemade doughnuts.
It makes it a bit better.
But who am I kidding? I really would like a nap.
Yesterday, the only sound in a small section of the Osage was the snapping sound of a flag in the crisp December wind.
The solid, echo-less notes filled the air as a soldier paid a bugling tribute to an old Oklahoma cowboy.
The Cowboy and I stood there both fighting back tears. His for the memories of a true cowboy and a good man. One born on a ranch, raised on horseback and toughened by the times. Sent on a tour of the world courtesy of the US government while his young wife stayed home and waited.
A good amount of my tears were for her. I know that God has another cowboy in his bunkhouse. But I cannot wrap my heart around what it would feel like to be with someone for sixty plus years and then wake up to find them gone. But I know that every moment that I’ve gone through as a young cowboy’s wife and mother….she’s been there.
She stood there once and pledged to love someone that she knew was wild and full of dreams. She had his babies, raised them and probably felt like killing him a few times in the process. She’s prayed for rain…not just for the pastures and ponds, but for the short amount of time it forces the cowboy to stay indoors. She learned how to handle a man as strong as leather and as hard headed as the red, dry Oklahoma ground, while understanding that deep down, he’s still just a boy that dreams of spending some time down at the creek with a pole and some worms.
I’m convinced that all of the trials and tribulations that a wife goes through help to toughen her for this moment. Every prayer said was practice for this moment.
He’s up there right now riding though bluestem so deep that it’s brushing his stirrups on a big, stout horse with a proud roman nose. Where the air is so crisp and clean in the mornings, he looks forward to getting on a horse with a little buck to him. And she’s still here, rock strong for her family. Holding it all together as she always has. A proud display of everything he was shining through her.
Because when I have dealt with kiddos, horses and all the disasters (I mean surprises…) that happen around here on a daily basis….then sit down at midnight to finish a project…there may be a typo.
Never professionally. If you are one of my clients and are reading this, I never include have tpyos in my professional work. I promise.
Okay. Well, they happen to all of us.
We all make mistakes and mess up.
But Shutterfly made my photobook look so amazing that I hope that it will dazzle everyone to the point that they don’t even see the typo.
I had never seen a Shutterfly photobook in person before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I was thrilled with how my prints turned out (and that they were here in just a few days), so I spent about an hour and a half one evening crafting photobooks for our family for Christmas.
That’s all I have to say.
Let’s just say I worked for a publishing company for a few years. These books are top quality. The cover rocks. Partly due to my excellent models who were well rewarded with all the grass they can eat.
The worst thing about creating my Shutterfly photobook was narrowing down my millions of pictures into 50 pages. Now, you can have as many pages as you want. But I am known for way overdoing things. So I set myself a limit of 50. And promised myself I could do another book later with no limits!
So inside we have….
Some pictures of the Cowboy. Actually, there are about three spreads of the Cowboy in this book. Including one of his tush in his chaps, just like Ree is always posting about her Marlboro Man. However, the Cowboy has put his foot down. There will be no internet pictures of his tush.
That he knows of anyway….
The majority of the book focuses on….
The kiddos. I was thrilled how true the colors are and how great the large photos look. They are 8.5 x 11 inches. I was nervous about them….but I didn’t need to be.
Some of my other favorites include…
I even included one picture of myself! Just one, but I may have made myself a book of pictures of just me. But let’s just keep that between us.
The back cover features one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken this year…
And a barcode. Not sure what that’s about, but if you see my book for sale anywhere, just let me know.
So this evening, I will finally finish my Christmas photocards and mail them out to everyone I know.
I may become addicted.
Since we homeschool, why not have our own kindergarten graduation for Dally and make graduation cards to announce her achievement!
Birthday party invites could be fun. I’m thinking of taking pictures of where the party will be to announce a scavenger hunt birthday party!
Other photo cards could announce all the special events in our life….the new foals in the spring, our anniversary, Mommy getting to go to the bathroom for the first time in six years all by herself.
Though I’m thinking that one would be a picture of the kiddos on the outside of the bathroom door.
Well, you get the drift. The options are endless.
So check out Shutterfly. I’ll be ordering tons of products from them and featuring them on here, so if you have a question, just ask.
And in all fairness and disclosure, I receive products for my thoughts on Shutterfly products. But I promise you that I will always be honest about my feelings.
Oh, the typo you ask?
We are now officially changing the spelling of the word Cocklebur. (Bet you didn’t know I have that kind of influence…) The dang word comes up on spell check no matter how you spell it. So Cockelbur or Cocklebur. Who cares? They are prickly no matter how you spell it.