First Trip as Family of 3

One Cute Cowboy and I both grew up taking trips to Red River, New Mexico with our families. In fact, we probably passed each other on the sidewalks of the small mountain town, when we were just 10 or 11 years old, and never knew we were within arms reach of our future spouse and soul mate. We both love Red River and have gone just about every summer since we started dating.

This year we made kind of an impromptu trip up there when I decided to take vacation at the last minute. This was our first vacation as s family of 3!

“Red River you say? Very interesting!”

We loaded up Lil’ Cute Cowboy and all 90 of the different supplies we thought we needed! Haha! I really should have gotten a picture of the way the pickup was packed. We might have overpacked a bit, not knowing what we would, and wouldn’t need for this little turkey.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous not knowing what he would do going to a place with higher elevation. We live at 4,167 ft. above sea level. Red River is another 4,500 ft. at 8,671 ft. above sea level. But he was a complete champ and did amazing on the drive up!

We stopped at our favorite little roadside stopping place in Gladstone, NM for a bottle break. There was a nice, cool breeze so we decided to have our bottle outside. It’s the cutest little rest stop this side of the Mississippi, and has out of this world baked goods, every day!! We never ever drive by without stopping. We always end up leaving with at least one bag of oatmeal raisin cookies (One Cute Cowboy ‘s) and one bag of chocolate chip cookies (mine!). Not to mention she has homemade loaves of bread. *Swoon* One Cute Cowboy grew up stopping and eating here often. As a young boy he’d day work for people around the area and got to know the owners well, so he especially likes to stop so he can be sure to say “hi!”

Since One Cute Cowboy and I have been together, we’ve never stayed in the same place twice at Red River. Always trying out new (to us) places to stay and trying to figure out where our “spot” will be in years to come. Well, this year, I think we’ve found it! Hotel Ryland! This is a place neither one of us had ever stayed. The newly renovated room was perfect for our small family of 3. It was definitely a smaller room, but worked out great for us. It was clean, updated, and cute. Upon arrival an older gentlemen led me up to our room and told me he was glad for us to be there. He was so nice and sweet and Riley enjoyed talking with him the next day before we left too. He was very welcoming and sincere, and that just made us feel good, and definitely made us want to come back and stay.

Once we unloaded our things we decided to go across the street to my favorite place in Red River–The Bobcat. This place has been my turquoise sanctuary since I was 9 years old! The A-frame building welcomes you in, with its wind chime lazily dancing in the breeze. You walk in and can feel the warmth of the owner, Sherri. We’ve gone for so many years she knows our faces when we walk through the door, and she immediately greets us with a warm smile and a “You’ve added to the family!” She came over to see Little Bear and quickly says, “I have a gift for you!” She went to the back, with her sweet dogs following her, and she came back with a beautiful sterling silver baby rattle that she said to use when he starts to teethe. She said to just stick it in the refrigerator and get it out once it’s cool to soothe his little gums. It was such a sweet, and beautiful gift.

Then she told her helper, a woman I’ve never seen before, to get out the pawn/antique stuff because she knows that’s what I’m there to see. She has the most beautiful and unique vintage turquoise, not to mention a slew of other different stones. We start out looking at the rings, then the squash blossoms, then the cuffs. Most handmade by Native Americans. I ended up with a “Fred Harvey” cuff and ring set. It’s hard for me to ever leave without getting something.

Lil’ Cute Cowboy was fascinated with everything in the shop and I was so proud of how well he did! After that we decided to stroll down Mainstreet.

It was a little warmer than usual, but there was still a nice mountain breeze that made it perfect. It was pretty quiet in town, being the middle of the week, there didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually are, which was really kind of nice. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Little Bear absolutely loved it! We’d stroll around and he’d just look at all there was to see, taking it all in. Then we’d stop and hang out for a little bit in the shade and he’d just hang out and listen to the birds or the wind chimes clinging around town. He’s a mountain kid for sure!

We worked up quite an appetite and decided to try the brand new brewery that opened in town just about a month before. We’d walked by earlier and it looked fun and the food they were serving looked delicious! When we got there we could tell the music was really loud but hoped maybe there was an area where it wouldn’t be so loud, but we walked in the doors and Little Bear had a look of terror on his face, seconds from a complete meltdown. We quickly walked back outside and decided we’d better try some place else. So we decided to go to the nice little Mexican food restaurant in town, The Sundance. It was Lil’ Cute Cowboys first time in a restaurant.

He did pretty good as long as he could see all that was going on. He was completely worn out by the time we got back to our room. He’d had a huge day!

The next day we ate at our favorite breakfast place, T-Bucks, and did some more walking around and visited our favorite little coffee place The Way Coffee. I ordered my go-to, a London Fog, and Riley ordered himself a latte. They were so delicious! We just sat and watched passerby’s for awhile and enjoyed our beverages and breathing in the mountain air. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

“Best Seat in the House” by Kenneth Wyatt

One of my favorite places to stop in Red River is Kenneth Wyatt’s art gallery. Photos on the internet cannot do his incredible paintings justice! This is one of my favorites of his. He is truly gifted and I always enjoy walking through his gallery to see what’s new and to see the ones I’ve seen 100 times over again. He’s currently 88 years old, has painted over 9,000 paintings, and paints every single day. Did I mention he didn’t even start painting until his 40’s?! If you ever go to Red River, do yourself a favor, and walk through his gallery.

We tried out the Smokehouse before we left, and parked beside this pretty little stream to eat our chopped beef sandwich. Little Bear loved to watch and hear the small stream. It was finally time to head home. We said goodbye to the mountains, and pointed our pickup east, back to the flatlands. It was such a nice trip and went great for our first mini-vacation!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Check back in for the newest “Ranching on the Ponderosa” that will be up in the next few days!

*ASpottedHeart

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The Moon-Lit Sessions

My lifestyle has changed a bit in the last few months, and I’m up at all hours of the night. I’m beginning to realize why God made me a night owl, he was just prepping me for motherhood.

I’ve always liked the night-time. Growing up I’d stay up watching Nick at Nite until the wee hours of the morning and the infomercials would take over. As I got older (and Nick at Nite stopped playing the good shows) I’d spend those late nights watching movies,writing in my journals, or reading. When I lived in Nashville, those hours are where I found my solitude to write, to think, to be creative. (I used to have another blog on Tumblr that was primarily pictures, but fun and inspiring.)

So now as I find myself awake in the wee hours of the night I revisit some of those habits. I find myself searching to be inspired. Which raises the questions, What inspires me? Where am I pouring out my creativity? What makes my soul feel energized?

I think it’s important to stay inspired and to ask yourself these questions often. To keep your mind stimulated. To do things that “fill your cup” so to speak. One of my favorite sayings is, “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” meaning you must first make sure you are taking care of yourself before you can start “pouring” or reaching out to love/help/appreciate others. If to haven’t taken the time to nurture and take care of your own soul and mind, how can you help others?

So what feeds your soul? What makes you feel alive and happy? Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s baking. Maybe it’s climbing a mountain. Maybe it’s sitting alone, in the quiet for 5 minutes. Whatever feeds you, whatever fills your cup, make sure you’re making time for that. Now, I know that’s much easier said than done. If I’ve learned anything from becoming a mother it is this, time is no longer yours, and has taken on a whole new meaning. I don’t think one truly understands time until it’s no longer their own. Haha! But honestly, I understand how “finding the time” can truly be a difficult thing.

But I urge you, find the time to recharge and fill your cup. In this season of my life, in those late night sessions, I find myself in prayer more often than not. Prayer has a way of recharging me spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It can inspire me and inspire new thoughts and ideas. Never underestimate what prayer can do for you.

So what do your “moon-lit sessions” look like? How are you recharging and staying inspired? I want to hear from my readers about what’s inspiring you or how you’re staying inspired!

*ASpottedHeart

Currently: A Playlist

I haven’t listened to a whole lot of music in the last couple months, but here are a few songs that have been on my radar, rather it be singing them to Lil’ Cute Cowboy, or actually listening to them, here’s the playlist currently playing in my head. Enjoy!

  1. More- Clare Dunn
  2. Velvet Elvis- Kacey Musgraves
  3. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough- Marvin Gay
  4. From Me To You- The Beatles
  5. If I Had Me A Million- Pat Green
  6. Something Just Like This- The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
  7. All Night Long- Lionel Richie
  8. The Reason- Brett Eldredge
  9. Love Love Love- Tristan Prettyman
  10. Hold On Forever- Rob Thomas
  11. Style- Taylor Swift
  12. Let’s Hear It for the Boy- Deniece Williams
  13. I Say A Little Prayer- Aretha Franklin
  14. Paperback Writer- The Beatles
  15. Golden Years- David Bowie
  16. Gravity- John Mayer
  17. If I Ain’t Got You- Alicia Keys
  18. Deepest Ocean Blue-Tristan Prettyman
  19. Lean On Me- Bill Withers
  20. Fresh Eyes-Andy Grammer

You can go have a listen over on Spotify, follow the link below!

https://open.spotify.com/user/1215492818/playlist/1dDJs4qJLrfg2xfWchQKuN?si=S4djpxsARnKu-Jkeni917w

So there’s a few songs that have been floating around in my head lately. What are you listening to?

Happy Saturday!

*ASpottedHeart

The Hating Game Book Review

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbing similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations.”

My sister originally told me about this book because she’d seen it on one of Mix and Match Mama’s book reviews. I had been looking for a new book to read and just couldn’t find anything in my own “Books to be Read” list that looked appealing. I’m so glad I went ahead and downloaded The Hating Game.

This book was wildly funny, and probably equally inappropriate! Haha! I’d say it’s a little risqué in a few spots (No, I’m not talking 50 Shades of Grey), but the characters and their antics will have you laughing from page one. It’s a really quick and enjoyable read. I finished it in about a weeks time.

The electric banter between the book’s main characters, Lucy and Joshua, is enough to make you want to scream out loud at times. You can feel the frustration and the need to “get even” with every game played.

I was shocked to find out from my sister that this is the author, Sally Thorne’s, first book! She truly captures, what can often be, the running thoughts of a woman. From second-guessing herself to being so determined it hurts. It’s funny, it’s romantic, it has some twists and turns that will leave you thumbing through the pages in no time!

If you’re looking for an entertaining, humorous book, I would definitely recommend The Hating Game.

Saturday Favorites: New Mom Edition

I figured what better “favorites” list to do this Saturday, but one of a new mom! I realize this won’t be all that interesting for some of you, but as a new Mom there are definitely some things I couldn’t function without along with a few “wish list” items as well. So without further adieu, here we go:

The Snuggle Me Organic

This wonderful little lounger is something I am so glad I invested in. When I lie Little Bear in it, it envelopes him in and he snuggles down and is comfortable and happy. Its’s sling design mimics being held and cuddled. This has been a life-saver for us! Plus it’s made in the USA!

Mud Pie Swaddles

I got a couple sets of these muslin swaddles for baby gifts and I absolutely love them! I received several nice, pretty swaddles but I think the Mud Pie ones are my favorite if for nothing more than the simple fact of, they’ve kept their softness. You seriously can not have enough swaddle blankets. You’d be surprised how often you use one.

Rock n’ Play

This is definitely one of those things I think all moms need. It’s so nice to be able to lay Little Bear down in it when I need to get some things done around the house. It rocks him back and forth and even has 3 different sound settings to soothe him as he sleeps. This is a must for us! It’s also light and easy to move around, which is a plus in my books.

Cloud Island Burp Cloths

Something I definitely underestimated before motherhood were burp cloths! I never gave much thought to them to tell you the truth and it wasn’t really something that was on my “radar” of things I needed. Boy am I glad I had mamas that knew otherwise! I got a set of these Cloud Island burp cloths that are perfectly soft and nice and long to drape over your shoulder or across baby’s back while burping. They’re the perfect material to soak up any spit-up or drool that baby might have. My sister also made me some really soft and cute ones that are my go-to for using on Little Bear’s face because of their plush softness. My point is-make sure you have good burp cloths.

Owlet Baby Care Monitor

We got this as a gift from my parents and let me tell you, its made the difference in how well we sleep. It’s a baby heart and oxygen monitor that goes on their foot when you put them down to sleep. It has a “Home” base that goes by the crib and it connects to your phone via wi-fi. Anytime I want to check Little Bear’s heart rate, I click on the app and it shows me his heart rate and oxygen levels. Any time one goes below what’s considered a normal level, it sends an alarm to my phone and the base station alarm goes off and it turns red. This has made sleeping so much better because I know if our guy is in danger that alarm will go off and we can take action. I can’t tell you how much better I sleep at night knowing this. Now, that doesn’t go to say I don’t still wake up several times a night to check on him, but it definitely gives me peace of mind. This is something I think is most certainly worth the investment!

Now for a couple of “wish list” items:

WildBird Sling

I’m in love with these slings. I received a Moby sling and it works good, but unfortunately Little Bear isn’t a big fan of it. He’ll tolerate it for about 5 minutes, then he’s done. I think it’s getting him situated in it that gets him so frustrated. I think with the Wildbird Sling, it would only take a second to plop him in and go. Something I really love about WildBird is there isn’t some big manufacturing company making these, they’ve hired 45+ seamstresses that are moms, that work from their own home to create these beautiful slings. I think that’s pretty spectacular, giving mom’s the chance to stay at him with their baby birds.

Mama Wolf

Every new mom needs a tee stating her new title, and this is my current fav! “Mama Wolf” I love this on so many levels!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!

*ASpottedHeart

March on the Ponderosa: Lil’ Cute Cowboy

On the night of March 13th, around midnight-thirty, my Lil’ Cute Cowboy decided to start his journey into the world. One Cute Cowboy and I headed to Amarillo and arrived at 3:00 a.m. I was treated like a queen at BSA, and had a really great experience. Then at 1:49 p.m., on the 14th, One Cute Cowboy and I’s lives changed forever when Bratcher Lynn entered the world. 7lbs and 19 inches long. We are so in love and feel beyond blessed to be this guy’s Mom and Dad.We’re so excited to be on this adventure and feel a whole new level of love for this guy and for each other! Needless to say this has been the only thing going on at the Ponderosa as far as I’m concerned for March 😉

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

P.S. Seeing One Cute Cowboy become a dad has been one of my favorite things to ever witness. He’s been amazing with this little bear and has been so helpful adjusting to our new way of life. ❤️

*ASpottedHeart

Love, Love, Love

Lately, I’ve thought a lot about Love. February seems to do that…and being pregnant. The word itself has become so commonly used, but do we ever stop to think about what love actually means to us?! According to Webster’s dictionary there are 9 different definitions of love, nine! Maybe thats’s why they say love is a universal language.

I won’t list what all nine say, but let me tell you the ones that resonate the most with me.

1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.

2) warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion.

4) unselfish loyal and benevolent

9) God

These are my 4 favorite ways that love are described. Being pregnant has made me really focus on the love between One Cute Cowboy and I, and the love we already have, abundantly overflowing, for little bear. It also has made me fiercely protective of that love. I guess you could say like a Mama Bear, I want to protect and nurture and make the love I have for Little Bear prosper, but I also feel that strong intuition to protect the love between One Cute Cowboy and myself.

That “warm attachment” mentioned above, has been like red-hot attachment lately. We’ve been savoring these last couple months as just “us” and cherishing one another for what we’ve become as a couple, and what we’ll soon be–parents! We’re wanting to make sure we’re setting a strong foundation of love for our Little Bear to look to when everything else seems to falter. We want him to know how deeply his parents not only love him, but love each other. I think it’s important for kids to see that.

Which brings me to the number nine definition of Love–God. I can’t help but think it’s that red-hot attachment that He has for us as well. He wants us to know His deep love for us, and to share that love.

Now a minute to brag on my loving husband. I’m strong-headed (so is he) but he lovingly takes me in stride when my temper runs over. He is my supporter in anything I set my mind to. He is my rock, he is my shelter. He is quite simply the love of my life, and soul-mate. I can’t imagine going on this journey with anyone else in this world. Our love isn’t perfect by any means, but we’ve learned to love through the imperfections.

” It’s not a walk in the park to love each other, but when our fingers interlock I can’t deny, can’t deny, you’re worthit. ‘Cause after all this time, I’m still into you.”–Paramore

We’ve been on many adventures together, but we’re getting ready to embark on our greatest adventure yet, there’s not a doubt in my mind that you’re my One. Happy Valentine’s Day, My One Cute Cowboy! ❤️

Friday Favorite: Beatlemania

Lately I’ve been obsessed with The Beatles channel on XMRadio. They’ve been a favorite of mine since I was about 9 years old and found out who they were. I thought what better post for a Friday Favorite than sharing some of my all-time favorite John, Paul, George & Ringo classics!

  1. Something
  2. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
  3. In My Life
  4. She Loves You
  5. 8 Days a Week
  6. Get Back
  7. Girl
  8. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  9. Happiness is a Warm Gun
  10. I Saw Her Standing There
  11. You Really Got a Hold On Me
  12. I’ve Just Seen a Face
  13. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  14. Eleanor Rigby
  15. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band
  16. Lovely Rita
  17. All You Need Is Love
  18. Blackbird
  19. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
  20. Come Together

Hope y’all enjoy some of my favorites Beatles songs! Some you’ve probably heard time and time again, and some may be new to you. What’s your favorite Beatles song? Who’s your favorite Beatle? Mine is easily, Ringo!

Happy Friday!!

*ASpottedHeart

The 4-leggers

I haven’t shared much about the 4-leggers on the Ponderosa lately. They’ve been begging me to have their own series here on A Spotted Heart, so we’ll see. For now, here’s a little update on the crew.

All the way back in September Ponga-Girl had 5 little Auggie (half Mini Aussie- half Corgie) puppies! FIVE! We couldn’t believe it. She’s such a small dog, we were shocked she packed away that many. They were so fun to watch start to grow and one by one they’ve found their homes, with only my little red “Poppy” left, whom still needs a good home.

It’s incredibly hard to let these cute pups go, but I know they’ve all gone to good, loving homes.

Since the pups were born, Charlie is pretty sure she’s been in Heaven. She’s been getting to sleep inside so she wouldn’t disrupt Ponga and her puppies, so now, naturally, she thinks she’s an “inside” dog. She takes over any blanket you leave out, as if you left it just for her.

Bumper still thinks she’s the Queen B. She spends most of her days avoiding Poppy and sunning in her catbox by the window. She roams around and goes hunting a couple hours before sunset, then she’s ready to go to bed for the night.

These two alley cats spend as much time as One Cute Cowboy will let them, in the tac house. They definitely earn their room & board by keeping the tac house completely rodent free. They’re sweet little barn kitties that are always happy to see you.

Huck of course still thinks he’s the only one who deserves any of my attention. As far as he’s concerned, the others are all One Cute Cowboy’s, and he’s all mine (and me all his!) He’s the one I worry about most once Baby Pup comes, just because he’s such a mama’s dog, it’ll be a big change for him (and me!)

Ponga is always going. She likes to run through the trees and hunt up whatever she can find. It’s hard to get a picture of her because she’s constantly on the go, but will always stop to bask in your attention. She was such a good mama to her pups, but I think is happy to be puppy-free again.

Si & Olive are my elusive felines. These are older photos. Olive has become quite the traveler this winter and made a trip to the ranch two different times! Let’s just say One Cute Cowboy and my dad have gotten in the habit of checking vehicles before they leave. Si spends as much time as she can in the well-house where it stays nice and toasty warm. She’s not a cold weather cat.

And as for Hershey, she’s just happy to be a ranch dog! You can always count on her to greet you with a big grin.

They’re all staying warm and happy through the winter. I’ve been asked if I think any of them sense that I’m pregnant, and I’d have to say I think Charlie especially did in the beginning, but I think Huck and Hershey sense it more now, always wanting to stay close, and for other not to be close. Animals are interesting beings, I can’t imagine a life without my 4-leggers.

Hope you’re all having a good week! Do you enjoy hearing about the animals on the Ponderosa? Should I let them have their own series? Let me know what you think in the comments, or email me! aspottedheart@gmail.com

*ASpottedHeart

Keeping Christmas

This was actually a post I had planned for the day after Christmas, but I had some technical difficulties and couldn’t get it posted. So as we look into the new year, here is a few thoughts I’ve had.

What exactly does it mean to “keep the Christmas spirit?”

I hate when Christmas is over. I get the Christmas blues every year. There’s all of this fun and exciting build-up—playing Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, getting and decorating the tree, pulling out all of your favorite decorations from storage, and making your house into a winter wonderland. Finding just the right gift for the ones you love, lighting the Advent wreath, preparing to celebrate the birth of our King! There’s all this build-up, and Christmas Eve comes and the magic is palpable, then Christmas morning is finally here and the festivities of the day begins! Then in the blink of an eye, it’s all over. The lights come down, the wrapping paper gets picked up, the family goes home, and once again, your heart waits for the next Christmas to come.

So my question to you is, how do we keep that Christmas spirit all year long? How do we keep excited and passionate about giving to others, our appreciation for the small things, our waiting for the King?

This year it seems like it went even faster than usual, and I’ve found myself stuck with this question. I want to keep the fulfillment that Christmas gives me in my heart all-year round.

My mind keeps going to Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.” Surely part of the key of keeping Christmas, is keeping a merry heart. But that’s sometimes easier said than done. You get cut-off in traffic, your boss is on you about this or that, your day just doesn’t go “as planned”—it’s hard to keep that merry heart in difficult times.

So I’ve been thinking of how to keep a heart for Christmas all year-round, and this is what I’ve come up with:

  • Immerse yourself in scripture

I’m one of those people that always likes to know more. I want to know facts and details. I used to love Paul Harvey, “and now you know, the rest of the story.” One thing I’ve thoroughly enjoyed is the “subtext” in my Bible. For most verses there’s a footer at the bottom telling details about what the scripture might be pertaining to in that time, going into further explanation of the verse. I think one way to keep a fulfilled heart is to read scripture everyday, and for me, dig even a little deeper to find what the scriptures are actually saying.

  • Prayer

I guess you could say this goes hand-in-hand with reading scripture, but I find when I start and end my day with prayer, I keep a more mindful heart (and mouth for that matter) and reflect more upon the happenings of my day-to-day.

  • Continue to Give

Now, don’t get me wrong , I’m not saying buy gifts for everyone you know or love all year long, but have a giving heart. Maybe that means giving your time to someone to listen, maybe it’s giving someone a helping hand at the grocery store, and maybe it means to simply give–whether it be to your church, someone in need, the homeless, or something else entirely, but don’t let the Christmas season be the only time you “give” during the year.

  • A Christmas Reminder

I challenge you to keep one small Christmas decoration/ornament out in a place where you’ll see it everyday to remind you of the joy and peace that comes with Christmas. The picture above is a candle One Cute Cowboy got me our 2nd Christmas together, and I plan on keeping it out even after I put my other decorations up, to remind me to keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year long.

I hope you had a beautiful, joyful Christmas and pray for many blessings to all of you through the new year!

Happy New Year!

*ASpottedHeart