It’s Not All Sunshine

So here’s a non-ranching but very important post when a family considers moving…your children.

Throughout this whole process, my husband and I have been very honest about our decision to move to the ranch with our daughter. She knows we are going, she knows it’s far, she asks us questions that only a 4 year-old can fathom and we answer as honestly (and plainly) as we can.

After our road trip to the ranch, we came back and tried to do our routine of school, soccer practice, clean, cook, laundry, etc. as if we never missed a beat. However, the little one wasn’t having it. Stalling to get dressed in the morning, terrible sleep at night, crying for no reason (or what I thought was no reason), exhausted and falling asleep in the car, not talking about her day, clingier than usual…it was after soccer practice one day one of my BFF’s said the obvious: she’s not adjusting well. This whole moving thing was getting to her.

It killed my heart a little. I had just scolded her for walking away from me, she turned around with giant tears in her eyes. I knew what it was like to feel as if you have no one to talk to…we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. We sat down on a bench nearby and I let her cry on my shoulder. This move was hard for us but we’ve moved before; this is her first move. Ever. Even at 4 this kid has a LOT of emotions to work through. We talked about why she’s sad, why we are going. It may have been the 1,332,483.48th time but she needed to talk and I needed to listen.

I hope that if you have to move soon to remember that it’s big for you, HUGE for your kids. If they act out, take a deep breath, give them a hug first. Say “I love you and I’m here for you” just a few more times. Remind them of how amazing they are and you can’t wait to get their help redecorating, painting, packing, whatever. Just let them know that it’s OK to be sad.

And if you’re still lost, I recommend popcorn and a movie and cuddles on the couch. Maybe Inside Out. Maybe The Croods or The Incredibles. Something showing a family succeeding together. We did that tonight and I think it solidified, in her mind, that she’s not alone.

 

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This is Getting Real

We had an amazing going away party. Like amazing. Beautiful people coming to hang out, well wishes, and unexpected gifts. My husband’s favorite gift was a piñata a coworker filled with miniatures of alcohol. The real gift was being able to hang out with sooooo many amazing people we’ve had the honor of knowing from our adventures here in Las Cruces. They make life worthwhile.

The photo down there is of my Lady Wolf Pack. There’s quite a few missing but I can tell ya they are still a part of the pack. I may or may not have been posing (I think we all are) but then I felt bad for the girl next to my butt (I still don’t know why you needed to crouch. LOL). This is about the tamest picture I have and I’m pretty sure no one wants evidence of Whataburger out in public.

Anyway, this moving thing is really happening. We are about 3 weeks out. We have boxes filled. Last full day of work for my husband is Friday. I’m winding down my time at the gym and subbing a few classes because I’m addicted. School is almost over for our little one and even soccer is coming down to the last game for her. It’s almost here!

But in the meantime, there’s so much more to be done. The foundation has yet to be made because our contractor guy has to wait for permits. The cattle have yet to arrive; it’s almost May! There’s the obvious packing and moving but the truck is reserved and I am paying a couple of movers because I/we need the help. Oh, and my mother in law bought Guinea fowl. Nevermind that we don’t know how to raise fowl, but we’ll learn. I bought books to edumacate myself. And I’m singing in Mahler Symphony No. 2 as the Alto Soloist. That’s another blog post. Two posts, actually. Maybe 3 if you count the insane amount of studying.

In my quest to ignore the calm before the storm, I’ve decided to delve into making my own lip scrubs and glosses. Why? Well, shoot, why not? It’s not like there’s ANYTHING else happening. So far, the scrubs are yummy and easy to make. The biggest expense is the actual glass jar. And the gloss is nice. Peppermint makes my lips all tingly and stuff. Plus, when I’m not wearing my LipSense, it’s a great moisturizer. I even tried a little honey bodywash. That was soothing. So much going on. Why not dabble in making my own health and beauty products?!

 

Lady Wolf Pack

Super Stars!

This is a shout out to all my friends who are in business for themselves. Between kids, games, school, life, these ladies are taking the world by storm because they are passionate, empowering, and inspiring. You rock! Here are their sites and info on what they sell. Go ahead, peruse, love, shop, and tell them I sent ya.

 

Thirty-One Gifts: Amanda Tuthill. Basically, the best bags for every day and every situation. I have a canvas tote for the summer, a huge tote for storage (perfect for pool days, carrying props, extra toys, etc), a few smaller ones for my daughter to store her crayons and Shopkins in one place, and my favorite: the gym bag that is monogrammed with my last name on it. I LOVE THIRTY ONE!!!! https://www.mythirtyone.com/209119/?verify=true

doTerra Essential Oils: Becky Hernandez. How many times have you wished for something that would help you sleep? Lavender. Or help your body naturally combat seasonal allergies? TriEase softgels. Maybe you just need a little pick me up? Wild Orange. Whatever your issue, there’s an oil for that! http://www.mydoterra.com/beckyhernandez3

Rodan + Fields: Laura Justus. Remember when we all used Proactiv in our teens and early 20’s? Well, some of us still have acne and some of us now are wishing we didn’t sit in the sun so much in our youth. I may or may not be talking about me, but I do know the Unblemish regimen is part of my routine. Sunspots, wrinkles, dark circles, acne….R+F can help you with all of it! https://laurajustus.myrandf.biz/

LipSense: Me! Lemme tell ya, I love having lip color. My face just looks happier. I’ve been blessed with Resting Witch Face – replace that W with a B. Lip color just enhances my happiness and tends to make me look less like a mean girl. Or tired mom. Or both. I’m a huge fan of the reds and nudes but can help you find the color of your dreams. Kiss proof, smudge proof, water proof wear for 4-12 hours. A girl can’t have enough lipstick. Or shoes. https://www.senegence.com/SeneSite/Home.aspx

Cake in a Crate: Andy and Asha. You love dessert. But you’re gluten sensitive. Or vegan. Or just like good food. Or you just don’t like the boxed stuff. Whatever your drive, you’ve GOT to try their kits! All the ingredients are pre-measured, directions are included, and the whole shebang is delivered to your door. Lucky you, I’m a test baker, so don’t be surprised if you see something amazingly delicious on here. Make it for a special occasion or just because. Order early so you don’t miss out! http://www.cakeinacrate.com/

AJ Photography: Amanda Jaramillo. Let’s talk about how Amanda did our first family photo shoot! My kid was 4. Don’t judge. And let’s talk about how AMAZEBALLS she is at taking photos that make me smile every time! If you’re in the Las Cruces area, do not miss out on getting a shoot in with Amanda. She’s busy but extremely well priced and the bomb dot com in my book.  http://ajphotography.zenfolio.com

Younique: *UPDATE* Michelle is online – woo hoo!!! Find her page here and get your lash on! https://www.youniqueproducts.com/MichellePonce

This is where I get those 3D lashes. I have two “lash ladies” but neither of them have an active site! GRRRR!!! So how do we fix that? Well, if you know Maria M. or Michelle P., get a hold of them and order. Or just message me and we can talk.

Grant’s Cause: So, I have another amazing friend, Kalyn, who has an amazing military family of 3 boys and her husband who works hard to protect us all (Thanks, Stephen!). Her youngest, Grant, is the cutest, sweetest little guy in the world!!! He also happens to have Spina Bifida. If you don’t know what that is, you need to check out his site. Kalyn raises awareness every year with a 5K in her hometown of Missouri and those of us who can’t join in person can run a virtual race. Sign up, learn more, or donate here: http://www.grantscause.com

AdvoCare: Ok, this is me again. Lemme explain. 3 years ago I signed up for my first half marathon. I was edging up on 200lbs and had no focus. I used products from this company to help me lose weight, gain energy, and just kinda give myself a health makeover. 3 Half Marathons, a career as a fitness instructor, and a Super Sprint Triathlon later, I still use Spark and Rehydrate regularly. Check it out if you need the same kind of jumpstart. http://www.advocare.com/13094578

 

(Featured Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

 

Road Trip!

We haven’t officially moved yet but we did have business to tend to up at the ranch.

  1. Help my mother-in-law move back home.
  2. Figure out where to put her new home.
  3. Get the land ready for oncoming cattle.
  4. Meet and greet our new town.
Egg Hunt in the Snow. Because it's New Mexico.
Egg Hunt in the Snow. Because it’s New Mexico.

 

1. Seems easy enough but really, there’s an emotional rollercoaster when you go home minus a family member. I have to hand it to her, she only cried once (that we knew of) that week, but home is home.

2. That was pretty easy to figure out. Put it here, move the angle, add a road…FYI, do yourself a favor. If you’re getting a new mobile home put in, know EXACTLY what is expected of you and EXACTLY what is expected of the manufacturer. We had a little hiccup and didn’t know until a few days ago. We are back on track but it doesn’t hurt to have a punch list of sorts to get you going in the right direction.

3. Y’all. I fixed fence. Not like “Oh, fixing fence sounds so romantic and outdoorsy! Will it ruin my manicure?” Seriously, I fixed fence with my husband after only a couple of hours of learning and watching and doing with a great family friend who’s patient enough to answer all our crazy questions and teach us all he knows. In all honesty, a couple of hours is an exaggeration. We learned in about 30 minutes then spent the next 1 1/2 hours perfecting our technique. It’s an art that ranchers hate. I’m still in the honeymoon phase of this ranching lifestyle, so it was fun. They say I’ll learn to hate it soon enough. Here’s the gist of how it works: Drive on the perimeter of a giant square. Look at the fence. Is it leaning? Is it busted? Is there slack? Get out, grab the wire stretcher, your good pair of wire cutters, some baling wire if it’s near a post, and the roll of barb wire. Trust me, just get it all ready – going back and forth from the truck is annoying. Fix the fence. It really doesn’t take long once you know what you’re doing and how to use the tools. My father-in-law did have this great invention he found at a conference/expo a few years ago called the Texas Fence Fixer and it’s extremely handy! Jump back in the truck, repeat. We did find a prairie dog village and, while cute, prairie dogs are bad news bears for ranchers and hazardous to cattle. Also found a hawk’s nest in a tree near one of our stock tanks. That was pretty cool! The way she was eyeing Nacho, I’m sure she has hungry chicks. Hubby and daughter also checked the water pump, I hauled loads of wood, we cleaned up the horse saddles, got all the ranch vehicles running after a long winter away, hauled dirt, obsessively checked weather, etc.

4. I will be the first to admit that I am terrible at names. A lot of people in town I know simply because my husband and I have been together for over 10 years. This is his hometown so we all see each other at least once a year for the Fourth of July parade and street dance. By the way, if you ever get invited to a small town celebration, go. It’s crazy fun. We went to a sale barn, met people at the bank, at the saddle shop, at the grocery store, at the café, ya know…everywhere. The best part of small town living? A handshake is what you do to close a deal. A hug is what you do to greet people. I have my issues with personal space but it’s starting to grow on me that I’ll get a hug before I get a handshake.

Did I mention we did this all within a week and I had a head cold the entire time and my daughter had this horrendous, phlegmy cough? We were flying through essential oil in the diffuser as well as this flu shot (in a shot glass) my friend was telling me about. It worked, so I can’t complain. Oh, and the hubby has a bruised rib and pulled tendons in his hand a month before we left. And it was snowing on our drive up. Yep. That’s how we roll.

IMG_3342[1]
Fixin’Fence 3 days later.                           It’s NM, that’s how we roll.

 

And the moving…ugh

Gosh, there’s a lot to figure out when you move from a city to the ranch. Moving itself is a beast. We’ve been in our current city and home for 6 years. Do you know how much crap you collect in 6 years? A lot. Like, a lot, a lot. As in “Why the hell did I need 6 bread pans?” A lot.

I decided to start cleaning it out. One room, once a week. If we didn’t wear it, use it, open it, touch it, enjoy it, eat it…it’s gone. Recycle and donate what you can (because I am a city girl and that’s what we do to feel OK with our urban sprawl) and throw out the rest. And still…SO.MUCH.CRAP. Even if you’re not moving, I encourage you to do the same at least once a year. And try to keep one drawer empty in every room. I don’t know why, but that motivates me to not collect more crap in the future. It’s like that empty space says “See? You’re not a hoarder! Go you!”

But, the good news is that the house will be rented out as an investment property to an amazing family we know, the schools in our new town are great, and our friends are here and there and we are on our way.

Meanwhile, I had to let my gym peeps/members know about the move. I’m not ready to leave them yet. They made this journey of mine so amazing, how do you say goodbye to your inspiration? And my friends. Oh, the friends I’ve made down here are some of the most amazing people you’d ever hope to meet. Our kids are close, we are close, I just love them. It’s times like these I’m glad I asked for internet because there is always FB Messenger.

We will be going up next week to get things prepared for my mother in law’s new homesite. She doesn’t want to live in her home anymore…too many memories to haunt her. So, we are closing on a GORGEOUS manufactured home for her and will have a few great friends and family help us get the foundation and everything set up for her move 1/2 mile away. Then, in about 2 months, we will join her just in time to see the cattle come on (we are leasing the land this year and the heifers are still calving – in late March!), get her house put together, and start the adventure of a lifetime.

Pictures to come!!!

In the Beginning…

Oh shit. We are moving to the ranch. This is what runs through my mind about 8,303,302 times a day. Here’s how it all began.

About a year ago, my amazing husband said he was a little burnt out at work. This is normal for our day and age when information moves faster than the speed of lightning. But, he loves his job, loves his company, the paycheck, the lifestyle we have. Even he admits he has no reason to not love his job. But still – it’s a job. There are issues and it’s getting old.

I’m the kind of person that embraces change instead of shies away from it. “So change,” I say. “Go do something you want to do. We’ll figure it out.” Except he can’t decide what else he would do and I’m in the beginning of my (2nd) career as a fitness instructor. I was an opera singer before that. Never did do the breastplate and horns, though. So we just keep going on our amazing suburban life.

Six months later, my husband is falling more out of love with his job but still makes a great living for his family. I’m starting to rack up fitness certifications and classes like a rockstar. His mom and dad visit to celebrate his birthday. This is where things change.

My husband’s dad, my father-in-law, had a ruptured spleen. What was supposed to be a weekend trip becomes almost a month. My in-laws are retired ranchers from Northeast New Mexico. They started ranching in 1982 and only stopped to retire and become snowbirds in the Florida Keys, near (ok, about 1/2 mile away) the Everglades. After the spleen incident, they return to the ranch. Not even a month later, he’s back in the hospital. They take out his gall bladder, white blood cell counts are low, infections, nothing good. Oncology reports show a cancer so aggressive that there is no treatment. He passes October 11, 2015. Two day later his grandchild turns 4. Only one month after turning 68. Too young. Way too young.

At the funeral, well-meaning friends and family ask repeatedly: “Will you come back to the ranch?” We don’t know. My husband grew up on the ranch. I always say that being at the ranch resets my soul. But could we really be ranchers? Is that in the cards for us? And my mother-in-law just lost her best friend of 47 years. Would she be ok mentally, physically, spiritually, out there? We just don’t know.

Well, as people often do in times of sorrow and crisis, we came together. As we live 8 hours away, we found a nice place for my mother-in-law to stay closer to our home. It took time and patience but she has integrated pretty well into “modern” culture. But it’s only a 6 month rental. Then What?

Months of talking it through, plotting out pros and cons, and sleepless nights led to this conversation.

“I think we should do it. You’ve said you want a change. I’m OK as long as I have internet and a gym.”

“But how do we make money?”

“We’ll figure it out.”

(long pause) “OK. Let’s do it.”