12 January 2019

Perfect Snow

Growing up in Nebraska, there always seemed to be plenty of snow days, particularly the kind that were good for sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen (or snowcats, if you're Claire). Not that I don't appreciate the more mild Indiana winters (although the gray skies...ugh), I have come to truly appreciate the perfect snow day in Indiana. Luckily for us, this time, it landed on an otherwise mostly unoccupied Saturday.
Henry loves the snow!
Our first trip outside, we spent an hour shoveling the driveway. About halfway through, some of the kids got cold, so we headed in and had lunch.
After lunch and naps, we all went out together and headed out to the sledding hill. Raven, being the virtual sled dog that she is, came with us, running circles around everyone because snow is so exciting to her. Hercules tagged along, too, until he was nearly run over by a sled because he wouldn't get out of the way. Indignant, he returned to the warm garage to heat himself up on our boiler.
After building a ramp to give the start a little extra umph, everyone took their turn sliding down the snow.
Henry screamed the whole way down...
...Kate shrieked the whole way down...
...and Claire giggled the whole way down.
...and Evelyn skidded and tumbled all the way down.
Last time, Zoey was too young to enjoy time sledding with us but today, she had her first trip down the hill with Jack. She wasn't terribly sure how much she enjoyed it but sure did enjoy watching everyone else.
Mostly though, she was content to munch on snow like it was some sort of delicacy. 
When sledding became tiring, we built snowmen, snow forts, and had a snowball fight that was basically Jack against the world because he throws snowballs like a major league pitcher. Yeah, there were a few tears because he pelted someone in the face. I'm sure they'll get even when they're older.

It's easy for us to get caught up in all the work that comes with winter but it was so nice to stop and enjoy the fun it has to offer all together.
Quality family time during a perfect snow!

05 January 2019

Half of the Story

The Twin Cousins all running amok in the church gym.
Christmas during our annual pilgrimage back to Nebraska is only ever half of the story. True, it is the focus, the pinnacle, the best part of the trip but we've been able to spend a few extra days there, visiting family, seeing old friends, and having a break from the neverending chores on a farm. Jack brought his virtual reality to share and it's just as hilarious watching people play it as it is to actually be the player.
Stay out of Evelyn's way!
Jack and I were able to visit the temple where we were married and eternally sealed nearly twelve years ago. That's right...we're stuck together FOREVER...just the way we want it. YAY!
If you're ever in Florence, Nebraska (just outside of Omaha), plan a visit to the Winter Quarter's Temple!
We saw some pretty impressive gingerbread displays...
...and caught up with Great Grandma Lamb over a game of ping pong.
Well, the girls and I did. While Henry was talking up her front porch steps, he had his hands tucked in his coat pockets, managed to slip, then bang his head on the concrete, earning him his first set of stitches. He wasn't particularly thrilled with the procedure but once they gave him a sticker and his very own blanket, and he saw a picture of himself, he was back to his old self.
Happy to show off another manly facial scar!
Returning to where Jack and I lived when we were first married, we visited some friends who had migrated from Chiapas, Mexico and somehow ended up in Lincoln, Nebraska. They made us homemade tamales, cinnamon tea, and our kids and theirs became fast friends, bonding over their ability to do backbends, their love of hamsters, and My Little Pony reruns.
Every time we go back to Lincoln, it's always a surprise to see how much the city has changed. There's a new Scheel's in town, so we went to take a gander. First, we said "hello" to President Lincoln's likeness on the way in...
...identified pretty much all of the stuffed animals they had on their mountainous display...
...and rode their indoor Ferris wheel. Because when there's a Ferris wheel, you ride it.
Since Zoey was too short to go on the Ferris wheel, she perfected her cooing at her baby cousin, in preparation for a new brother arriving soon.
One of our favorite traditions is to visit Amigo's, the restaurant where a high school/college friend of mine and I both worked. The food is still yummy, and it's fun to catch up and reminisce. I believe we're on our 10th year of the tradition, which is pretty darn awesome, seeing as between us, neither of us lives in Nebraska anymore.
The highlight of the trip--even to supersede the excitement and grandeur of Christmas was that Claire turned eight, which in our faith, allows her to choose to be baptized.
Though it was a mainly family event since all of her friends were back in Indiana, it was still a special day for her, and she was all smiles and giggles the whole evening.
I was even pleasantly surprised that her shy older sister, Evelyn, agreed to and actually sang with her uncle, aunt, and cousin, the song Claire had chosen. Then afterward, we indulged in Claire's choice of dinner: pizza, a fruit platter, popcorn, and jelly beans.
Then, just like that, our time in Nebraska came to an end, and we were back in Indiana, arriving home without any of the surprises we came home to last year.
3rd Christmas at our house!
Visiting Nebraska is always exhausting--we stay up too late, eat too much, and sometimes get sick--but we consider ourselves lucky to be able to go, and happy to have a few days to recuperate before getting back into the swing of things.

Until next time, Nebraska!

31 December 2018

The Rehomesteaders 2019 Goals

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. ~C.S. Lewis
One of my favorite things about the transition from one year to the next is the feeling of a fresh start, which makes it the perfect time to set new goals and review past ones. We've been setting goals for several years, and it's been fun to see what we've already accomplished--some of them have been unexpectedly accomplished as opportunities have arisen, and some may be lifetime goals that take time and means to achieve them, and some still are reoccurring (like family portraits, for example). Whatever the case may be, we love setting goals, and seeing where the year takes us!

See goals from 201820172016, 201520142013 and 2012!

The Rehomesteaders' 2019 Goals

Personal (mostly just for fun!)
  • Sign older kids up for 4H
  • Correctly make croissants from scratch
  • Make pasta from scratch
  • Visit Yellowstone
  • Take a helicopter ride
  • Sign up kids for and complete a summer reading program
  • Be a participant on The Amazing Race
  • Learn to paint with oils
  • Sign Kate up for ballet
  • Index 1,000 names
  • Make a custom bed frame
  • Visit a black sand beach
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Learn to water ski
  • Visit every continent
  • Make shoes
  • Attend the filming of a game show
  • Enter an art competition
  • Cook at least one new meal once a month
  • See the redwoods
  • Donate hair
  • Make ten different types of bread 
  • Become a better knitter
  • Get professional family portraits
  • Take a family backpacking trip
  • Master watercolors
  • Refinish the piano
  • Enter a writing competition
  • Build a porch swing
  • Construct a bird bath
  • Volunteer as a family
  • Build a teeter totter
  • Take a family hike
  • Sell something on Etsy (or another similar online craft site)
  • Build or purchase food storage shelves
  • Go canoeing
  • Make a permanent Family Home Evening chart
  • Attend The Nutcracker
  • Donate blood
  • Bank or donate cord blood
  • Blow glass
  • Take the kids to Disney World
  • Downhill ski
  • Take a train ride
  • Master hair braiding (be able to do five or more hair braids)
  • Learn to crochet
  • Take a family vacation to Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Build a piece of furniture
  • Be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune
  • Take up photography
  • Go back to Montreal (and swing by NYC since we'd be close anyway!)
  • Enter something in a State Fair
  • Paint a portrait
  • Be an extra in a movie (preferably on horseback)
  • Attend a major music concert (other than MoTab)
  • Go to the Kentucky Event...again!
  • Take up pottery
  • Buy a boat
  • Buy a 4-wheeler/farm vehicle
  • Take a tropical family vacation
  • Restore Jack's Mustang
  • Invent something functional and useful
  • Visit France (and I suppose the rest of Europe looks pretty fascinating too, haha!)
  • Rock a short haircut
  • Sign the girls up for art camp
  • Attend a theatrical performance
  • Attend a melodrama
  • Take another self-defense class
  • Make or buy a dressform
  • Go on a family bike ride
  • Ride on the Polar Express
  • Design and sew an outfit
  • Sew a quilt
  • Go to a theme park
  • Digitize mission and family photos
  • Make everyone a personalized stocking
  • Have a sugar free week
  • Have a year of food storage
  • Make the girls dresses
  • Visit an observatory
  • Start the girls on piano lessons
  • Make homemade yogurt
  • Make homemade cheese
  • Be able to do the splits....
  • Prepare at least a four generation family history chart
Home Improvements
  • Kids' Rooms
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Paint
    • Replace doors
  • Our Room
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Paint
    • Replace doors
  • Kitchen
    • Paint
    • Build shelf for farm supplies
    • Build broom closet
  • Family room
    • Paint
    • New blinds
  • Downstairs room
    • Paint
    • Tile
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Build toy shelves
    • Build coat/shoe rack
    • Build a closet
    • New exterior door
    • Hang a world map
    • Decorate "picture wall"
  • Storage room
    • Hang drywall
    • Paint
    • Flooring
    • Build shelves
  • Kids' Bath
    • Install double vanity
    • Hang larger mirror
    • Install bathtub
  • Sitting Room
    • Refinish floor
    • Build half wall
    • New banister
    • New curtains and area rug
  • Exterior
    • Paint doors
    • New front door
    • New deck/patio in back
    • Backyard fence
    • Build playground
    • Paint garage doors
    • Install gates and fencing at front of property
    • Make a bigger beach for the pond
    • Cut down dead ash trees in forest
    • Redo landscaping
    • Paver sidewalk out front
    • Install jacuzzi tub
    • Pour driveway loop
  • Master Bed and Bath
    • Build new garage
    • Build master bed
    • Build master bath
Farm Life and Animals
  • Gallop a horse on the beach
  • Register Dancer
  • Rim ride at the Grand Canyon
  • Trail ride in Yellowstone
  • Build a floating dock for the pond
  • Purchase a trailer
  • Purchase an auger
  • Purchase hay baling equipment
  • Professional horse portraits...again!
  • Take Stoney and Dancer on a trail ride
  • Dye, spin and knit an item from homegrown wool
  • Tin barn and other outbuildings
  • Build riding arena
  • Purchase skidloader
  • Enclose larger chicken run, install swings, dust bath
  • Get a peacock and peahen
  • Install automatic waterers for the cows
  • Fix corral fencing
  • Fix back forest fencing
  • Build goat enclosure
  • Get some goats! Or maybe sheep...
  • Purchase a child's saddle
  • Build a bench to overlook the pond
  • Get a harness and cart for the horses
  • Take the girls to a leadline class
  • Tap trees for maple syrup
  • Plant a garden
  • Construct a woodshed
  • Build a greenhouse
  • See wild horses
  • Plant an alfalfa or hay field
  • Plant a berry patch
  • Get another hive
  • Purchase/cut hay for winter
  • Purchase a horse trailer
  • Teach Stoney and Dancer to pull a cart or carriage
  • Get pigs
  • Breed Dancer
  • Cut cattle
  • Run barrels
  • Go on a cattle drive
  • Buy a log splitter
  • Swim with a whale shark
  • Have yearly wood supply for fireplace
  • Get a beef steer
  • Swim with humpback whales
  • Ride/Work horses 52+ times in a year
  • Build a goat/pig, etc enclosure
  • Build a round pen
  • Ride an elephant (for more than three minutes...)
  • Feed sharks/dive cage with sharks
  • Go scuba diving
  • Hold a koala
  • Hold a sloth
  • See the salmon run
  • Watch a cheetah chase down prey
  • Do a polar bear expedition
  • Swim with dolphins...again!
  • Take a whale watching expedition
  • Be in a dog sled race
  • Ride an ostrich
  • Ride a camel

Health, Fitness, and Sports 

  • Lose baby weight
  • Run another 5k
  • Run a family race
  • Run in a Fun Run, Color Run, etc
  • Run a 10k
  • Run a half marathon
  • Run a full marathon
  • Complete a triathlon
  • Take Dancer to a show
  • Compete in a dressage show
  • Compete in a jumping show (either show jumping or hunter classes)
  • Compete in a two-day horse trial
  • Compete in a three-day horse trial
  • Compete internationally (a girl can always dream...)
  • Pay off Rachael's student loans
  • Pay off Jack's student loans
  • Build a one-month emergency fund
  • Build a six-month emergency fund
  • Open a savings account for the kids
  • Buy new car (preferably with cash)
  • Pay off mortgage

Reading and Writing
  • Read 25 books in a year
  • Read 12 chapter books with the kids
  • Reach 1 million blog pageviews
  • Reach 1000 FB likes
  • Reach 1500 FB likes
  • Reach 25,000+ page views in a month
  • Attend a book signing
  • Design bookmarks
  • Get blog professionally designed
  • Guest blog
  • Have a guest blogger
  • Reread The Book of Mormon
  • Reread The Bible
  • Reread The Doctrine and Covenants
  • Reread The Pearl of Great Price
  • Run a Bookbub ad
  • Publish an article online or in a magazine
  • Finish writing a series
  • Write eight books in a year
  • Hit a best seller list (New York Times, USA Today, etc)
  • Become a hybrid author (Self-published and traditionally published)
  • Get books into a bookstore
  • Get books into a library
  • Write a book with the children
  • Write a book proposal for The Rehomesteaders Memoir
  • Publish The Rehomesteaders Memoir
  • Write a children's picture book
  • Illustrate a children's picture book
  • Publish a children's picture book
  • Write a young reader chapter book
  • Publish a young reader chapter book
  • Write a middle-grade book
  • Publish a middle-grade book
  • Write a young adult novel
  • Publish a young adult novel
  • Write an adult fiction novel
  • Publish an adult fiction novel

What are your 2019 goals?

30 December 2018

Farm Dog, City Dog

It's been nearly five years since Raven joined our family but it seems like she's been around all along. She really is a great dog, and enjoys being in the thick of things, especially if it involves being outside, around the kids, or if there's a ball for her to chase.
Photo bomber.
One of the best qualities she has is that she is an absolute gem around the kids. While we teach all the children to be gentle with the animals, sometimes babies and toddlers just don't grasp the concept. Even while being tugged or jumped on, she patiently enjoys whatever attention she's receiving.
She's even happy to share her crate with any visitors.
As a multipurpose pet, one of Raven's favorite things to do is help pull the stroller around the neighborhood. She's a great pacesetter and has improved in confidence with each trip out. Mowers, squirrels, cars, and plastic bags no longer intimidate her, though if we're chased down by an unfettered neighborhood dog, she's basically useless. That's alright. I have no trouble taking care of vicious dogs and sending them running, tucktail back home.
She even loves running up the driveway with the kids to wave goodbye to visiting friends and family.
Thankfully, Raven has come out of her shell in the years since she's been a part of the farm. At first, the horses were terrifying to her, but now, she doesn't blink when they're close by. In fact, when they're getting their hooves trimmed, it's practically impossible to keep her away as she sneaks hoof pieces to gnaw on.
Another fun thing Raven has learned since arriving is that it's fun to chase and retrieve a ball, which makes getting her exercise in when we're unable to go jogging a lot easier. She'll run down everything from a tennis ball, to soccer balls, to my wool dryer balls that somehow end up outside.

Snowballs also count as chaseable balls.
Speaking of snow, of the whole family, nobody loves snow more than Raven. It certainly makes it less miserable going out in the cold when Raven is running circles around us.
Though Raven is completely at home in the barn, she isn't solely confined to the farm.
She's very well0traveled and loves a family car ride.
We've taken her camping...
Waiting for someone to come over to pet her.
...to the local feed store...
...to grandma and grandpa's house, where she keeps a watchful eye over the kids as they play outside...
...and even a few hotel stays.
Really, as long as she can be near us (and it's not too wild and crazy--she makes her appearances most often when the house is quiet), she's happy.
My writing buddy.
Though Raven has the potential from her sheer size to be a dominant dog, she is so docile that little Nova bossed her around.
When it comes to playing with her puppy friends, she's all in, but would never seriously hurt anyone. That's about as rough and tumble as she ever gets and even then, it's all in good fun.
When Raven's not running with the horses, chasing a tennis ball, or playing with her friends, her favorite pasttime is being brushed. Even having her nails trimmed, she willingly rolls over and lets me give her a quick manicure.
She also makes a willing, impromptu pillow.
And on a hot summer day, she's even taught herself to swim after the girls coaxed her into the water. It might not be her very favorite thing to do, but she seems to recognize that it's the quickest way to cool off.
We love Raven and are so happy that she fits into our life so well as an all-around dog.
She's a farm dog, city dog, family dog, friendly dog, useful dog, cuddly dog, healthy dog, happy dog, and basically, the perfect dog for us.


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