Tuesday, June 16, 2015

7S: Stuart Ranch

After making plans several weeks in advance, we finally made it to Waurika, Oklahoma, to spend time with our friends!



Clay, a pledge brother of Jeff's, his wife Lindsey and their son Arlington live on Stuart Ranch along with Clay's mother Terry (the Ranch Manager) and Clay's brother Robert (the ranch's Head Horse Trainer).  Clay also works on the ranch as head of Stuart Ranch Outfitters.

Now you can see why plans were made so far ahead - this family is busy!

I felt a bit like a tourist, wandering around the barns with my camera, but I didn't want to miss any of Britton's reactions to all the animals - mares, foals, and ponies, cows and dogs!  She really got into practicing her animal noises too.






Robert and Terry were working out some horses in the arena, and they didn't mind us dropping by.  Terry sat little Arlington on the saddle with her as we watched a team roping exercise.  You can tell he's pretty comfortable up there.




Britton was more content on the rungs of the fence and enjoyed seeing the horses burst from the gates.





Jeff even got some roping practice in, and I had fun riding Batman for a few minutes.




When we weren't watching the horses, we were playing outside in the pool or looking for tiny frogs.





On our last day, Clay drove us to an area of land that will be the site of their new house.  I think Britton was a little confused about why we were sitting so high.  She actually did enjoy the ride!  And we all made sure to get a few more snuggles in with Arlington.





It so rejuvenating getting away for a weekend and being with good friends.  Before our visit, I would never have thought myself capable of living in a rural area.  But something about all that openness I felt while standing on their back porch with nothing but pasture, ponds, and a distant tree line... it would be hard to resist.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Creating Habits: Reading

I strive to create healthy habits for me and my family.  With a little one, sometimes it's hard to see the impact of all that effort.  One goal (of thousands?) I've had for Britton is to create a love of reading.  Part of our bedtime ritual since she was consistently sleeping through the night has been to read at least two books before turning off the light.  




Amidst her other toys was always a board book or a soft book she could get her hands on. 






She even started to act excited over particular books or even certain pages in books.  It was incredible to see this spark of recognition!  For a while, she loved Little Red Riding Hood and an illustrated book of poems.


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Everyone enjoys reading to a baby!  



Books also became one of the easiest ways to distract her when we were in a new place.  Familiar books would put her at ease and keep her engaged.






I knew this activity was becoming a habit when she started seeking books out on her own.  She has also learned that we will drop just about anything we are doing if she brings us a book (versus just whining at us for attention).  






We have made frequent trips to the local library, though I think she likes pulling books off the shelves and the play area a little better than actually picking out books.







At around 14 months, she started to point out familiar pictures, and we used the books to familiarize her with items she wouldn't see otherwise (monkeys!).  Not only were books entertaining but she was also learning from them too!


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As parents, our goals are constantly evolving.  I remember when I couldn't wait for the day she would learn to sit on her own. Or sign "all done" instead of throwing her food.  I wouldn't say I've achieved my goal of creating a habit of reading - it's not a skill but a passion that I will encourage every chance I get.  I think we are going in the right direction!