New Year’s Day 2020. Time for taking stock.
All told, 2019 was mighty good to our family. In August Beau and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Our four ranch kids are healthy, smart, beautiful, and challenge me in ways I never (before kids) knew a person could be challenged. Makes for lots of opportunities for personal growth. Asher turned 9 in October; Emilyn turned 6 last January; Marsielle turned 4 in March; and Muggins is almost 2.
October 1st marked three years of our little family living in the house I grew up in, the house my parents lived in for 35 years as my dad managed the corporate ranch that’s always been my home. Dad’s mostly retired now, and he and Mom live in their new house a few miles away, and my husband does the job my dad used to do… in a new way. Beau and I have always been a team, but at this stage of life he shoulders the majority of the ranch work and I shoulder the majority of the kid work.
Our 2019 was full of (in no particular order) homeschooling, budgets/inventories/payrolls, piano lessons, calving/branding/weaning, tee ball, ranch rodeos, cooking for cowboys, managing employees, two trips to Beau’s home state of Alabama, and , as always, asking ourselves the ongoing question: How can we do all of this better?
As in any year, there were struggles in 2019. A record-cold February followed by record amounts of moisture frustrated ranch work all year long. Branding was finished a month late; weaning was finished a month late. Bigger than all this, Beau’s day passed away in October after a battle with pancreatic cancer, a life event that left a permanent mark on my husband and our children.
Saying goodbye to 2019, we Blakes know we have much to be thankful for. Our family has been blessed, that’s for sure. We really couldn’t expect anything better than what we’ve already known… but still, there’s a brand new year stretching ahead of us, full of possibilities, and we can’t help but be — if I had to choose a word for 2020 — hopeful.
What’s Inspiring Me Today — We keep trying to get Muggins to say “Happy New Year” but all he can muster is “Happy! Happy! Happy!”
Today’s Weather — High of 51, low of 35, unseasonably warm, dry, and pleasant. Ground is bare and brown.
Today On The Ranch — The guys who usually ride pens, checking the feedlot calves for health, asked for today off… so Beau covered for them AND (hip-hip-hooray!) he asked me to ride with him. I’m always telling him I wish I could ride more (like I did in our pre-kid days), and my dad taught me early in life that it’s a privilege to be asked to ride. Our neighbors the Lackmans (Mrs. Lackman is my old second-grade teacher!) agreed to watch the kids for a couple blissful hours during which Beau and I looked at cattle, roped a little, and talked about life.
After pens were ridden, our family dined on a traditional Alabama New Year’s Day meal: black-eyed peas and ham, said to guarantee health and luck in the coming year. (Unfortunately we didn’t have any collard greens to enjoy, so we missed out on the wealth part of the promise.) My parents and our friends the McCaffrees joined us for lunch and for a good visit this afternoon.
Favorite Pictures From Today —
© Tami Blake