Category Archives: Country Living

2017 Family Recap

Nothing like including a direct link on your Christmas card to get your butt in gear to freshen up this crusty corner of the internet that you can’t seem to bring yourself to let go of.

If you’re new here, thanks to the back side of our Christmas card, Hi! and Welcome! Don’t expect too much. What was once a thriving (self-sustaining even!) blog about our family life has been pushed further and further to the farthest back burner as more children have been grown inside my belly, birthed, then continued to grow outside of my belly. It’s like with each additional family member, time has exponentially sped up and there’s barely enough hours in the day to make sure all the kids are fed and showered, let alone time for updating this blog. Funny how that happens, hey?

If you’ve been around these parts before, Hi, again! Don’t expect too much. I would love to say that my new year resolution for 2018 will be to start writing again, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Basically, it comes down to this: I truly enjoyed creating last year’s “holiday letter” so I wanted to do it again.

Continuing with the theme of time flying by, what the heck happened to 2017!? When trying to come up with snippets and highlights to share for our recap, I had to scroll through the pictures on my iphone by date just to make sure I had the year right.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this year was our road trip. This summer, the five of us loaded up in the truck and hit the road for College Station, Texas! We went because my work is based there. For me, it was nice to spend more time than a rushed 4-day trip that happens every few months. For Andy and the kids, it was like any other summer break day at home, just with a swimming pool at our rental! Along the way, we hit the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. We snuck in plenty of fun while we were there too, including spending our last weekend with my boss and his family and some of their friends on one of the family ranches. We did a little of everything “Texas” – hunting, hiking and exploring, fishing in the pond, swimming in the same pond, shooting, relaxing on the front porch. It was the perfect end to our trip. The kids were real troopers with the long days (and nights) in the truck. Overall we were gone for three weeks, and while we all enjoyed our adventure, we were happy to get home.

Seemingly less exciting than a 4,000-ish round trip adventure, but a just as important milestone in our house happened in March. We got chickens! Real, live, egg-laying chickens. This has been a long time coming. Just ask Andy’s buddy Keith, who helped Andy unload the chicken coop his shop class built what… 4 years ago now? It’s been a back-burner project for a long time, and it was really exciting for us to get it done! We started off with 3 pullets (not chicks, but not full grown hens), assuming at least one of them would die and it’d be an easy way to “work out the kinks.” We now have 7 hens and they’ve all been named, much to my initial dismay – they’re not pets! I insisted. – Yes, I know all their names, but I usually just refer to them as “the ladies.” I’m pretty sure I love them more than the kids do now.

Rylee is now 9 and in the 4th grade. She is still very into American Ninja Warrior. So much so that back in April she was asked if she would want to give a speech at an event all about celebrating what makes them unique. She agreed and in front of an audience of about 100 people she spoke about her dream to be on American Ninja Warrior someday. I recorded the speech and shared it on the ANWNation facebook page and they turned it into a blog post on their website! Rylee was so excited about that. THEN! Her ANW hero Jessie Graff tweeted about Rylee by name and shared the link. Rylee was over the moon. In July Rylee got to meet and train with her ANW hero at the local ninja gym’s grand opening. There’s no safe doorway or wall in our house anymore. Everything has turned into something she can train on. Outside of her ninja training, Ry continues to work hard and do well in school, she’s decided her sports focus will be soccer and basketball, and she’s really into helping make dinner lately. And she’s at the point where it is actually helpful! I’d use this space to say something about wanting time to stop and for her to stop growing up, but I’ll be honest, I kind of love it! The person she is growing into is just plain awesome.

Reese turned 5 in July and this has been a year of big milestones for her! She started kindergarten this fall, she finally gets to ride the bus, she finally got to play soccer, she lost her first (and second!) tooth, and she got her first “real haircut” at a salon. She wanted it cut “all the way to her head” but ended up deciding on just so her hair touches her shoulders. The short, sassy style matches her personality perfectly. At her Pre-K graduation ceremony, Reese was in charge of carrying in the American flag, asking the crowd to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, holding the flag during the pledge, then concluding it with a loud “you may be seated.” She took her job very seriously and when Andy and I asked her about being chosen, Reese informed us that is was because she was “responsible enough and loud enough.” We got a good laugh about that last part because that’s our girl! Outside of all the big things that seemed to happen for Reese this year, she’s also following in her sister’s footsteps and loves American Ninja Warrior! She has figured out how to “spider jump” up the door jam to the pull-up bar and is now working on those pull-ups!

I gotta say, I really love that we have two strong and confident ladies on our hands!

Lincoln is 3 as of October and certainly coming into his own. He still gets along great with his sisters (most of the time), but let’s just say that things can … escalate quickly. I joke that he’s a curmudgeon old man in a three-year-old’s body. He likes things just so and he’s not a big fan of when those things change. Case in point: he graduated from a crib to a big-boy bed over the summer! However, six months later he still talks about his crib and how he wishes he still had it. We are also officially a diaper-free household! BIG KID LAND IS THE BEST! These days he really enjoys playing with his train set and anything that resembles a tractor, dump truck, front loader, or skid steer. He also spends a lot of time with his red little tikes car flipped over in the middle of the living room “fixing it.” He is still very much a mama’s boy (I’m certainly not complaining!), but he loves working out in the garage with Andy and spent many hours out there this summer “building stuff.”

Speaking of building stuff, it seems like that’s all Andy doe these days! He certainly keeps busy around the property with projects – my home office was in the works until a windstorm destroyed our pole barn last April. The set off an entire chain reaction of projects that left Andy very busy outside. He demo-ed the pole barn, salvaged everything he could and cleared out the rest. From what he saved, he’s built us a carport off the side of our house, an awning off the front of the brick house, and even repurposed some of the metal roofing to be the ceiling in my office. He’s also been working on the site prep for the new pole barn to go up. That included having 16 dump trucks of gravel brought in! This September kicked off Andy’s 14th year of teaching. He has been very busy at work helping to build their CTE programs, and even assisting in designing and team-teaching an Ag-intensives class. So far for that class alone, he has taught 2-week long units on concrete work, framing, welding, and basic car maintenance. In addition to that class, he is also teaching middle and high school PE, shop, and a construction math class. He’s having a lot of fun this year. But probably the most exciting thing that happened over the last year for Andy was his back. After living with constant pain over the last 10 years, seeing a specialist and multiple physical therapists to no avail, he blew it out (again) back in February. Despite that being a really terrible, painful, and hard thing, it’s really been amazing. He started with a new physical therapist, and after 5 months of pretty intense therapy, Andy’s back is back to what it was before he ever hurt it 10 years ago. He can run again! He can do more than a few hours of work before being in serious pain! He can sleep again! Did I mention he can run again!? As cliché as it sounds, it’s really changed his (and our) life.

As for me, life consists of working and, well, everything else you’ve already read! I still love what I’m doing and consider to be working my dream job. I try to have some fun here and there. I was able to help Andy quite a bit with the carport project, I’ve helped with the office project, I went to Chicago for a girls’ weekend. Beyond that, I’m just trying to keep practice schedules straight and to remember to have the girls keep those damn reading logs up-to-date and turned in.

Every year seems to get better and better and we can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!

Sending you wishes filled with love and laughter this holiday season!

Katherine, Andy, Rylee, Reese, and Lincoln

It’s FriYay! – Dante Edition

Hi. Hello. It’s been a busy couple of weeks! Last weekend we had non-stop plans with family and friends. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Awesome things from this week:

1. Last Friday night we had friends over for dinner that we haven’t hung out with in a while. It was fun to catch up with them! Good food, good wine, good friends – great night! I was up past midnight, which I never am. I was SO tired Saturday morning!

2. Saturday morning our circus loaded up in the car and headed to K2’s house so the rest of the fam could meet her BABIES! At long last! My sister had twin girls a few months back, and they’ve had a long road in NICU. But they’re HOME! And they’re HEALTHY! And we were SO excited to be able to have the cousins meet. Reese was so sweet, she sang to them when they got fussy. One not awesome thing to add: Lincoln decided it’d be fun to jump off the bottom of their stairs onto hardwood floors. He cut his lip so bad we thought he bit through it. Cue our first trip to urgent care! He was fine. No stitches necessary. Just a gnarly fat lip for a day or so.

3. Saturday night we went over to some friends’ house for dinner! The kiddos all played like maniacs. They have stairs too, so it gave me a mild heart attack again with Lincoln.

4. Sunday morning the circus headed to church! My nieces were baptized that morning and I’m officially a god mother!

5. Post-baptism get together back at K2’s house with lots of family and good food.

6. We got home Sunday afternoon and every single one of us passed out for a couple of hours! The weekend wrapped up with a super easy dinner, a family movie and some popcorn!

7. Monday I got to take Dante to the vet. It was time for his rabies vaccine and his normal check up. 10 years old, and other than some arthritis in his leg, he’s super healthy! 74.2 lbs. His steel blue eyes have turned a bit cloudy and I was expecting to hear that it was cataracts. I has so happy to hear that the cloudiness is normal in aging dogs and his eyes are actually perfect!

8. Rylee had her first soccer game of the season on Tuesday night. They won 1-0! She had some serious hustle. It’s so fun to watch her play a sport when she actually tries. Homegirl is FAST.

Photos from this week:

Lip in question… totally fine by the time we saw the doctor at urgent care. Of course.

I actually think this one is from last week, but it’s too funny not to post it. Lincoln got his dinner taken away for feeding food to Dante while we were eating. That’s a no-no. He spent the entire rest of our meal side-eyeing the dog. It was hilarious.

We made dessert to take to our friends’ house on Saturday. Reese has happy to help.

Yesterday was national coffee day.

Lincoln and I had some alone time earlier this week while everyone else was at Ry’s practice. I love it when I get one-on-one time with my kiddos.

Tried to get a pic of Lincoln, Dante and me. That worked out well. At least Lincoln thought it was funny!

Pretty boy Dante.

Things I’m looking forward to next week…

1. Lincoln’s birthday is tomorrow!! TWO! Family brunch to celebrate in the morning.

2. I need to do a final fit test over the weekend. My fitness challenge group ends today, so now I need to compare my results and track my progress!

3. I have some ideas floating around in my head for sprucing up this space… hoping I get around to it next week!

Oh and I still haven’t made it to Costco. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

It’s FriYay! – Lame Photo Edition

Let’s be real here… that will probably not be the only time I ever need to use that as the title. Meh. Chock it up to another point for the world’s okayest mom.

Awesome things from this week…

1. I totally killed it on the workouts this week.

2. I’m thanking my past self for pre-prepping healthy/-ish/-er lunch options for the freezer.

3. Andy went and met up with a couple of buddies the other night after work.

4. I updated my phone to iOS10! SO MUCH FUN NEW STUFF!!

5. Lincoln has started asking to sit on the toilet. Nothing has happened yet because of it, but PROGRESS!

Photos from this week…

The kids got to climb around a search and rescue boat at the harvest festival last weekend.

I know I have a billion photos exactly like this one. But this view never gets old.

This creeper was watching me work out one day earlier this week.

Things I’m looking forward to next week…

1. Head to the OSU game tomorrow with my dad and K1! I think I included that in last week’s update. Oh well.

2. Having lunch with an old boss turned friend.

3. Going to our local Lean In lunch. I love being able to connect with other like-minded professional women!

4. I really need to go to Costco. That’s not so much something I’m looking forward to, more like a reminder to myself. Ha.

Life Update

I think it’s time to get back to the basics. When I first started this blog (over SIX years ago!) the whole point was to keep friends and family, near and far, up to date on the life and times of Little Miss Rylee. Then people other than friends and family started reading the blog, I started posting 3-5 times a week, making a little money and somewhere along the way I lost touch with why I started blogging. Between that and life getting more and more busy I just got overwhelmed with this space and the unrealistic expectations I’d set for myself.

And so here we are.

Getting back to the basics I figured I’d start by trying to give some life updates on the family. On a semi-regular basis maybe?

Rylee continues to kick serious booty at school. Sure, she is smart, but she also works really hard. I love that about her. She’s reading at almost a third grade level. Her math skills are just about off the charts. Like, literally. Her 2nd quarter state math tests put her in the 98th percentile. Yes, in the state. She continues to blow me away and at the rate she’s going she’ll be better than me at math by the time she’s out of elementary school. Other than school, she still loves art, Taylor Swift, board games, playing mine craft on her ipod, and tacos. She tells me her favorite colors are no longer orange and pink. Well, she “still likes, them, but just like not super bright pink or anything.” Her sense of humor is on point. She doesn’t have a boyfriend. She’s lost 5 teeth so far.


Reese is so full of life! A typical 2.5 year old, she is opinionated as all get out. She makes us laugh all the time. And once she knows she’s being funny she is relentless. She will definitely be the class clown. She also gives some killer dirty looks. (Gets that from her mama.) She’s thoughtful and polite and loves to be a helper. I feel like I need to add more here to make her update more even with the other two, alas I can’t think of anything else to report, Sorry future Reese, I’m definitely not helping with that middle child complex.


Andy and I have talked about getting Ry back into gymnastics and trying it with Reese too. I just keep forgetting to look up class times.

Oh and I just remembered something else about Reese. We transitioned her to a toddler bed over Christmas break.

Lincoln is actually asleep on me as I’m typing this. Weekends are for snuggle naps, right? He just had his 4 month well-baby check earlier this week. He’s quite the little peanut – just breaking 14 lbs (19th percentile) and 22.5″ long (34th percentile).  He’s generally a happy guy. His blond fuzzy hair cracks me up. His lashes are to die for. He found his toes! He’s also kind of a jerk. He figured out last week how to knock the binkie out of his mouth and replace it with his thumb. Intentionally. Then he’d smile. He’s rolling over from back to stomach. He’s occasionally sleeping through the night. He definitely favors me over Andy and even though I feel kind of bad for Andy, I’m not going to lie, I kind of love it.


Andy is busy with work and the property, as usual. We had some broken pipes in our pump house last month and like most things with this place, it took way longer to fix than it should have because once he got in there to fix what he thought was the problem, he discovered a bunch of other stuff wrong. It’s exhausting. And expensive! He also cracked a rib or two while he was dealing with all of that so that’s been fun.


As for me? Being back at work full time has been a pretty easy adjustment. My new role is going well. It’s a bit of an adjustment to go from my old role of pretty much just copy writing to managing a team and keeping track of multiple moving pieces. It’s something I used to do at all my other jobs and it’s coming back to me, but there are definitely times where I feel like I have ADHD or something. One of the first things I had to do was plan a marketing retreat. Overall it went well and it felt pretty good to kind of knock it out of the park. I finally figured out how to french braid! I’m losing hair in disturbing amounts. Meal planning is still my sanity keeper. I’ve started taking a Barre style work out class on Saturday mornings. It’s amazing and I love it and if you live in my area, you really should try it out.

And at this point, that’s all I’ve got. As always, I have so many things I want to blog about. Maybe someday.



Snow Day

Back in December we got a bunch of snow here. It was a Friday and I don’t particularly love driving in the snow/ice if I don’t have to plus we had a busted pipe from the night before so I ended up taking a Snow Day.

Andy and Rylee were stoked to be able to get out and play. Just like driving, I don’t particularly love playing in the snow either, but I do love watching Andy and Ry have a blast and I couldn’t wait to see what Reese would think of her first snow experience.

Our buddy that’s a plumber came out that morning to help fix our broken pipe and he brought his kids so they could all play together after the pipe was fixed. The big kids had a blast…and yes, I’m including Andy and our buddy Jim in that group. Reese? Well that was a whole different story. Homegirl wanted nothing to do with the snow. She had more fun watching the big kids from the window.

Oh well, Maybe next year.




Then the entire next week was super cold and all schools in the area were cancelled…for the entire week.