16 years, 8 houses, and 4 kids later…

Beau and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this week, and as we thought back over our married life during a rare kid-free evening (our nephew and my mom were babysitting!), we were very much entertained by the divisibility of our lives in this particular year.

We’ve been married 16 years.  We’ve lived in 8 houses.  And we have 4 kids.  We dabbled somewhat with breaking the numbers down further:  2 hearts?  1 vow?  But that all seemed a little cheesy.

We were married in 2003, at ages 21 and 24.  For the first two years we lived at Horse Camp here on the PV.  Then came a job offer for me:  my mentor in the newspaper business was leaving her job and had recommended that I take her spot.  We agonized over the decision but ultimately left Horse Camp for Agri-News.

So in 2005 we moved into a house on Pat Goggins’ Pryor Creek Ranch outside of Billings.  Beau worked for the Gogginses for a few months, but was soon drawn back to the PV.

In 2006 we moved into what we called the Ditch House, owned by the Rancher Ditch Co., on the Yellowstone River between Custer and Hysham.  Beau commuted 13 miles east to the PV for work; I commuted 60 miles west to Agri-News for work.  We lived there for over 2-1/2 years; eventually we both grew weary of our work situations and along came a job offer…

In 2008 we moved to a ranch nestled atop the Wolf Mountains east of Lodge Grass.  There we worked for Tim and Linda Smith — even ran our own cows — for one year.  Our restlessness persevered, though, and soon we headed south with everything we could possibly need (including three horses) in our horse trailer.

Through late 2009 and early 2010 we lived near Selma, Alabama, on the property that Beau’s folks manage.  I worked at Target in nearby Prattville and Beau did all sorts of odd jobs while we were down there.  We were back home in Montana by branding season, though, and Beau hired on again full-time at the PV.  He worked all through the summer of 2010 fixing up the PV cookhouse here at headquarters — no one had lived there for probably 10 years.  We were, in the meantime, camped out in my parents’ guest house.

We moved into the PV cookhouse October 1 of 2010.  Asher was born October 29!  A little over two happy years later, Emilyn joined us at the cookhouse.

In December of 2014 we left the cookhouse for the VX northeast of Ingomar.  During our 22 months there, as Beau gained valuable insights into the newest and northernmost property on the ranch, we welcomed Marsielle into our family.

In October 2016 we made our most recent move:  into the house I grew up in here at PV headquarters.  It’s been almost 3 years now, and it’s hard to describe, but I am just now starting to gain a sense of safety in living here.  I’m starting to sense a seasonal rhythm that is comfortable and hopeful:  as in, if we don’t get to that project this summer, there’s always next summer… and we will persevere… and we will get it all done eventually.

Come to think about it, now that I consider the reality that we have 4 kids and have lived in 8 different houses, I don’t feel quite so bad about the chaos that reigns in our household no matter how diligently I beat it back.  Beau and I have done so much adventuring and so much fast living throughout our married years that we’ve never had the time to settle down into an organized routine.

Eh, routines are for boring people anyway… right?

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© Tam Blake

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