Moooove.

See what I did there? Cattle moo, we’re moving??? I am hilarious.

Anyway, we finally did it – we moved to the ranch!!! All this talk of doing it and writing about packing and how much I hate it has led us to the final result. We are officially ranchers. ūüôā

The trip itself was the roughest one yet. We’ve had some crazy times going back in forth, especially right after Christmas when the blizzards hit and almost shut down the highways. But there’s nothing like driving the dually (aka Big Butt Trucks) and a Uhaul through Albuquerque on a Saturday afternoon…where you have to drive 70 in a 65mph or get hit. I grew up in Albuquerque for my teenage and young adult years and, now that I’ve driven our truck through it, remember why I am moving to the country. That was scary! We made it without a problem and headed on home. About 5 hours after that, we were on our caliche road. Caliche is hardened calcium carbonate that acts like rough asphalt. Works great out here!

Did I mention we have chickens now? Yeah, I drove 8 hours from one part of the state to a far corner of New Mexico with 3 chicks as my passenger. They survived and are thriving in the office now but sheesh. Food, water, poop, and the kid…they got a little crazy every now and then, especially on the outskirts of Las Vegas when one tried to literally fly the coop. Luckily, I had a random lightweight summer scarf that kept them contained. I can only imagine the crash that could have happened if it was in Albuquerque. Right now, they’re sleeping by my feet. They really like to peck at my rain boots and follow me around. Soon enough, we will move them outside in an old horse trailer we can convert to a pretty well fortressed coop. Sometime in June or July, they’ll have friends. And by friends I mean guinea keets. Keets is the term used for guinea chicks. Then they turn into guinea fowl. Either way, it’s a game bird that can sound the alarm for predators and apparently will attack snakes. We have both here, so it’s a good thing. At least until they’re sounding alarms at 2am and waking us up.

Speaking of rain boots, it’s been cold and dreary here all week! Literally, I haven’t seen the sun for more than 10 minutes at a time. I joked with my husband that he moved us to Scotland. Fog, drizzle, rain, slush hail, more fog, lots of clouds. But, I get to have warm fires every night and sweaters. Good thing because I have yet to find my summer clothes.

Oh, and the only internet is out in the office. Nothing in the house. No TV, either. We have movies, of course. I think the one who is most affected by the internet is me. I am lame on FB posts! The TV affects my Sprout-addicted daughter for sure. She didn’t understand how we had a TV but no cartoons. She’ll get over it. Or we’ll get wifi in the house and stream it in…just sayin’.

 

 

 

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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.

 

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 pi√Īata 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

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.”