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I had a really great time with my sister, K! She lives on a ranch, and I got to watch her ride this horse:

K attempts to ride the world's most stubborn horse

He was one STUBBORN animal, who didn’t want to be ridden, and he gave her a very hard time. Which was too bad, because she’s very good at riding horses, and it would have been fun to see what she could do with a cooperative animal…

K with the cow she very entertainingly named after one of our brothers

They raise calves at the ranch, and K is in charge taking care of the sick calves. I got to see her give them medicine, and she let me give a calf a bottle in his pen. The older calves are in feed lot, and she handed me a milkshake to feed one calf who was looking too scrawny. I learned that it’s much harder to give a bottle to a calf in a feed lot with other cows than a calf secluded in a pen! All the other calves crowded around, wanting a drink. One calf kept licking my hand, and then he would start nipping! At that point I would run to another part of the lot, the calf I was feeding would run after me, and I would have a couple of seconds of peace before the other calves caught up. My sister watched me do all this, highly entertained, and then explained that when SHE gives calves milkshakes in feed lot she keeps walking, and then she just has a line of calves following her instead of stampeding her!

I also learned to play tetherball on this trip, and if you’ve never played I highly recommend it! I want to find one to put up in our back yard now!

And my, it is SO easy to travel without children! I admired other people’s adorable children, and didn’t have to do anything when they cried on the plane. I used to love flying alone, because it’s a great time to just sit back and relax – and this trip reminded me just how wonderful that is!

I was also able to spend time with all four grandparents. It was wonderful to see them, and a great opportunity to visit without having to worry about child-created mischief.

I missed my kids like crazy, and had a hard time holding it together when Lily especially talked to me on the phone.

The kids themselves did great! I was actually a little hurt that they didn’t miss me, but they were busy playing with Aunt E and Daddy. They were happy to see me Sunday evening, and on Monday Lily spent the entire duration of Emma and Johnny’s gymnastics class running around my chair, chanting, “Mama! Mommy! Mama! Mama! Mommy! Mama!”

Mike discovered that lone parenting can be exhausting, lonely, and incredibly rewarding. Saturday afternoon I called him, and he was lonely, after spending his first 24 hours parenting without my sister’s help. Then Saturday night we talked again after a day spent playing in the back yard, and he declared it the best day ever! He was still pretty excited to have me come home, though! =)

I learned that ranch life is exhausting, but it was so fun to experience a different KIND of exhausting! Thank you, K, for letting me experience your world!

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

12 thoughts on “Travelogue”

  1. Very fun post! You write beautifully! Much deserved mini vacation. Hopefully one day I’ll have me one of those too!
    And your horse picture… I can’t believe I haven’t sent it yet! I have to finish Johnny’s drawing and send it all on its merry way to you.
    Envy your sister’s horse back riding. Fun fun fun! :)

  2. It sounds like you had a great trip. It would be interesting to see a guest post from Mike about parenting three on his own :)

  3. Wonderful pictures! When I was a little girl we had some baby goats and I remember feeding them those big bottles. I loved it. I added your button to my sidebar. I wanted to tell you. I wish I knew how to get those buttons. I never figured that out. Have a great day! :)

  4. I don’t think my kids missed me in their week with their grandparents….. Sigh………

    I’d love to spend some time on a ranch, I’m jealous!

  5. Elisa | blissfulE

    How interesting! I love how K let you try your method of milkshake feeding before telling you how she does it. What are sisters for, right?

    Probably your children didn’t seem to miss you because they were so secure in the knowledge that you’d be back for them soon.

    Welcome back!!

  6. I loved reading about your trip and your thoughts on everything too. I’m glad it turned out to be a good time with your sister, and the calf stories are very entertaining :-).

    I know exactly what you mean about just admiring other’s children when traveling without any. When Jamie and I are away I feel the same way. Funny, I miss them, but don’t miss them to the point of tears when it’s just me and Jamie. But, when we go away with just the two older ones and leave the two little ones behind it hurts my heart after a couple days. We have been at the beach this week and are due to come home tomorrow. I cannot wait to go home and the last couple days have been teary for me missing my two littlest. So, enough rambling, I know how you feel!

    Isn’t it wonderful to have Mike know how it is to live in ‘your world’?! Jamie is in awe at my everyday life and feels just as Mike. It is both exhausting and rewarding at the same time. I’m just so thankful to have a husband who will not only be so hands on, but take the time to experience ‘my world’, as well as his.

  7. I have never gone on a trip without kids…never! I was loving your post..and pretending I was on the trip! Sounds like a fantastic vacation..and well deserved!
    I love tether ball…love it! I am sad they don’t have it at the schools anymore!

    1. I couldn’t believe how much fun tether ball was! I’m definitely on the lookout for a set for our yard! =)

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