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Muck Boots and Ballet Flats

Muck boots to squish through mud, snow, water, dust and dewy grass to take care of the eight horses, two cows, fifty chickens, four dogs, ten cats, and thirteen hogs that call the HK Bar home .

Ballet flats. A transformation happens in the barnyard nearly every morning. The muck boots come off after hours of feeding, watering, and grooming of the HK animals. The tall riding socks also come off to expose calloused and cracked feet with chipped blue nail polish. The ballet flats are slipped on, and a journey to another world ensues. The HK children must go to school. And I must have the proper shoes to take them there. As you must know a Catholic School would surely not appreciate muck boots tromping through the halls in order to deliver the three HK girls to its sanctuary.

Sure the ballet flats are lighter and much prettier to look at….But there’s something so lovely about muck boots….

The children are delivered to school, and the ballet flats are promptly traded for riding socks and muck boots.

Because you see, there is more fun to be had in the muck boots.

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PRIORITIES MAMA, PRIORITIES


As I’m getting ready to get the girls’ breakfast around Boo rushes over with a mug of water to put in the microwave. She says, “Your coffee has to come before our breakfast.” I say, “That’s really sweet, but you guys should get your breakfast before I get my coffee.” Boo gives me a half hearted grin and says, “No Mom you are so wrong!” I say, “Why shouldn’t I fix your breakfast first?” Boo chuckles and says, “Because you microwaved my corn flakes last week…. you need coffee before you do the things…priorities Mama, priorities…”

#keepinitreal #ionlydidthatonce! #reallifeatthestaleyhouse

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So I was Basically the Mean Girl

Last week I took my three girls shopping for new bathing suits as the following week swimming lessons were scheduled to start. Because we live in a fairly small rural town we made a day of going to “the city ” (Lawrence, Kansas) -big but not the big city. 

We pulled up in the parking lot of Target and the traffic was fairly busy so I told my oldest daughter Boo, whom is 7, to exit her side of our Yukon and walk round to the front and stand close to me as I still had to unbuckle my two youngest daughters (Owl 4 years old and Bunny 3 years old) from thier car seats. Boo exited the vehicle as I’d instructed and starts to make her way round our Yukon when I notice a lady exit an SUV on Boo’s side. She is looking at Boo and I can hear her ask her a question. I’m unbuckling the two little girls and watching this unfold. Of course as a mom that frequently travels with all three of my young girls, I am very aware of my surroundings and alarm bells are sounding in my head. I am literally mentally shouting at Boo to quickly get round my side of the Yukon. 

Thankfully I have frequently had the stranger talk with my girls. And just as Boo and I had practiced she didn’t pay the lady any mind and high tailed it to my side. I did a collective sigh when I had my hands on her shoulder. But then ! The lady from the SUV continues to walk round to us standing on our side of the Yukon and says to me, “Wow, you have a whole crew there!” I commenced to nodding and paying her no attention. I look up expecting her to have gone but she’s standing at the end of the Yukon just staring. If my alarm bells were yelling before they were utterly screaming now. There is no way this woman could be up to any good. 

She then proceeds to say, “Nice Yukon, it looks much newer than in your pictures.” Meanwhile I’m thinking what? I don’t know you! What scam is this?! 

I’ll tell you what happened next. I became 😡 angry. How dare someone think to threaten the existence of me or my daughters. So I did what any insane mother bear would do, I became the mean girl. I squared my shoulders, tucked my girls behind me and lifted my shirt enough to reveal my shoulder holster and pistol. And I said, “I don’t know what you’re going on about but I don’t know you and I’d be obliged that you respect the space of me and my girls.” I didn’t draw on her or anything of the like, but I wanted to send a very clear message. 

The color commenced to drain from her face at an alarming rate and she put her hands palm up in mock surrender and said, “I’m supposed to meet a lady with a black Yukon for sale.” 

Before I could say anything more a black Yukon, identical to mine with a few more bumps and bruises pulled up next to her, rolled down the window and asked if she was so and so that agreed to meet to look at the Yukon for sale…..

I tipped my hat and took my brood on in to the store. In the moment I didn’t think much about the whole experience, just the fact that I was relieved this woman whom I’d thought a threat truly was just meeting someone and it was a case of mistaken identity. 

But these few days later it appals me that I even feel the need to behave in such a way in today’s society. I grew up where everyone left doors unlocked, where everyone said hello and offered you a cup of coffee even if you weren’t a familiar face. And here I am today in a public car park with my three girls armed to the teeth and ready to push back if threatened. Has it really come to this? 

I don’t want to teach my girls that the world is a place to be scared of. I do want to teach them to be prepared, aware, and minimize themselves as a target or victim of crime. In today’s world how do we do this without going overboard? 

So today I’m praying for knowledge, the knowledge to lead my girls and raise them into independent women that can protect themselves, but yet be the person that still offers a friendly word to a stranger in a car park. 

How do you raise children in today’s society to toe the middle of the road between safe, yet still personable ?

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So I Fell in Love With A Death Row Inmate

I did. Fall in love. With the biggest brown eyes and toothy smile I have ever seen in my life. He is the typical tough guy, full of devilish good looks and rippling muscle. And a dash of mystery. His name is Tyson aka Jelly B Yellow, he is a two year old pitt bull mix. I agreed to foster him for a local (ish) rescue called Unleashed Rescue. He was on death row in Greater Kansas City Animal Control. I just couldn’t say no. 

I picked him up today, not knowing what I would find. All three of my girls in tow and a collar and leash to be filled. Let me tell you,  what I found was heart breaking. The smell about knocked me flat when we went inside the building. There were huge smokestacks to the crematorium outside. It was dark and I could hear dozens of cries from the back. This was definitely death row. 

I gave the bored worker my info, as well as the collar and leash. An attendant brought out Tyson. He smelled terrible… scratches and wounds adorned his body. Possibly cuts from trying to escape? From being handled roughly? I prepared myself to see a broken soul. Instead a smiling, tail Wagging, exuberant soul met me and the girls. He looked carefree and happy despite his condition. 

The forgiveness dogs offer has always amazed me. Here he was in deplorable conditions and he still wore a happy grin and fostered a bounce in his step. He was happy to see me. A perfect stranger to him. 

We got him in the car quickly. He sat quietly observing me. Blessing me with his contagious grin. And his horrible smell. I’m still wondering if I’ll ever get that smell out of my new Yukon. Oh well if I don’t. It will remind me how easily some people throw life away. How easily some souls are deamed inferior and dismissed so easily because someone got tired of them. Cast aside like filth and sent to death because someone suddenly decided they had no value. I took this photo minutes after rescuing him from death row. Those stacks in the back ground are from the crematorium. So close to death, and yet he smiles. Ironic hey?

The ride home was uneventful. He was quiet and  stared at me. Trying to make sense of his situation. Wondering if I’d be his saviour or his warden. I guess at some point he decided I was a good person. 

Got home, gave him a much needed bath and a meal. Poor chap is so thankful. He tried to eat Eli (our housecat) once, and tried to jump the two little girls. So I sit here with him on a leash for the while day. Yikes! This rescue business is work. In exhausted and this is only day one! How do people do this every day. Day in day out? It’s exhausting. Or did I already say that? But that smile is so worth it. 

After bath and meal we had a two mile walk and played with toys. He pulls on the lead. Not to be mean. No one has ever taught him anything. He’s a seventy pound puppy.

So that’s my story of how I Fell in Love With A Death Row inmate. He won’t stay on the HK Bar forevor. If circumstances were different he would be my forevor dog. But reality is not as such. The HK Bar will be a stepping stone, a place to rest and be loved. A short stop on his journey to his forevor life. I know as long as I live I’ll never forget Tyson. He has changed me. Forevor. 

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Where Do I Blog? 

Where do you blog? I often wonder about trivial things like this. While I am reading different blogs I wonder if the person is blogging from some beautiful beach somewhere as the sun comes up, or are they blogging from the bowels of a dark castle that seeps moisture, or maybe from a more ordinary place like an office cubicle; possibly blogging while they are truly supposed to be working their day job. I assure you, where I blog from is a mix of all three of these places I’ve mentioned above. The HK Bar is where I blog 99% of the time. Sometimes my view is the porch scene you see above. With my little people painting, coloring, or simply running about with the dogs and sometimes a miniature horse being drug across the lawn as my three little girls become Cowboys and Indians. I often blog standing up at my kitchen counter and it takes me hours to complete one post because I am also trying to run the farm, cook meals, watch kids, make phone calls, etc etc etc. And sometimes, during that 1% that I am not blogging from the HK Bar, I am blogging as I wait in the grocery store line, or have a five minute break working as a nurse, or when I’m sitting in the parking lot after I get off of a nursing shift. I am never really NOT blogging. In my head at least I am always thinking of something to write about. I generally think about epic posts in my head, only to sit down in front of the computer to realize I have forgotten them more quickly than I have composed them in my head. 

So today, From the HK Bar I m sending out this question into the great unknown to ask, “Where do you blog?” I have a feeling it will interest me more than what you might think. Are you the beach blogger? The castle blogger? The cubicle blogger? 

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A Date Designed For Him; Operation Romance Phase 3

Phase three was a total slam dunk! I keep thinking one of these phases is going to fall flat on its face and give me a reality check. it has been going so well! Ugh my pessimism creeps up sometimes. I am a bit of a serial realist. Ouch, hurts to admit. Anywho, phase three of operation romance I planned yesterday morning, the day of. I know talk about last minute, but hey, I can work under a time crunch and really let’s face reality, A day designed specifically for him just needs to include food and entertainment that can hold his attention. THe key to designing a date tailored specifically to one person is to actually know what would make that person happy. My husband isn’t a Neanderthal, but close. So basically I guess I have to admit I had a slam dunk from the word go. I mean really, my husband would have been happy to have no children in the house and stay in bed with a pizza and sex for the night. He would literally have been as happy as a rhody at a Duran Duran concert.

But that’s not what happened….well…completely. Having some respect for our private lives I will say his date started off with the kids going off to the babysitter and him getting to spend some time in bed…taking a nap….

After his nap he was much refreshed. He commented how sweet it was for me to think of that, and I secretly fist pumped (seriously NOT a sexual innuendo here) my victory in the bathroom as I prepared for phase two. I mean really score one for team Heather. 

I then whisked him away to his favorite place to eat. Longhorns Steakhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. I took the liberty of ordering for him. Starters were a bud light bottle for him and “make sure it’s cold” (I’m sure the waitress thought I was a real control freak) and a strawberry margarita for me. The husband was impressed with my skills I could tell. Or actually it was probably because I’m a huge non drinker and I get all frowny and pissy  faced when he usually orders a beer. (A little back story though my husband used to be a big drinker. Not alcoholic , just more than what pushed my comfor t zone. Oh to have been raised in an alcoholic family. It damages you somehow. But that’s fotter for another story). Then I commenced to ordering Chicken strips with french fries WITH barbecue sauce and ranch dressing. Because my husband can’t stand honey mustard and eats barbecue sauce on everything. Seriously, I told you he was the human being most closely related to the Neanderthal living! We chatted through supper like we were newly dating and getting to know each other. All the while I am thinking where is this coming from? Usually by now I’m irritated because he is spending two dollars on a beer and all I can think is how irresponsible  that is with my hard earned money. (HAHA right he is the one that works three jobs. Ok so I’m possessive. …..can I also blame this on thoses alcoholic members of my childhood??) We just enjoyed supper. I had to check my mouth a couple of times from discussing bills and other concerns I Have for the planning period for the HK Bar for next calendar year. I decided no business talk on his date. I mean really Ithink that is why I stress him out so much is because all I can think of is finance, planning, what’s next what’s next……I get it though, seriously from his point of view he works sixteen hour days and then comes home to three screaming children that want his full attention and a wife that is bitching because the finances are so tight you could bounce an elephant off of them. Like seriously I’d be thinking of doing a runner in his place. Maybe he fantasizes about it…. But back to supper. It was fantastic. Period.

I next took him to a movie that he has been talking about for weeks. ‘War Dogs’. But realized a flaw in my planning. We had an hour to kill in between supper and movie. That’s when my Neanderthal, I mean my husband stepped up his game to impress me. He said let me take YOU somewhere for the next hour. All I could think was Great he is gong to take my to some very public place and want to have sex in our new Yukon. (The back cargo area is huge), And then the police are going to come and arrest me and then I’ll go to jail for the first time in my life at thirty years old  because I had my naked ass up in the air in the back of our family vehicle in the middle of a populated area…..” Seriously the struggle is real inside my head sometimes. But he took me to a book store close out. Big red signs of 70% off flashed everywhere. BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! And all at dirt cheap prices. This is the precise moment my husband turned from Neanderthal to Prince Charming. He so gets me . I love books. So for the next hour I put armfuls of books into a cart pushed by my husband who followed me silently like a loyal dog. God I love that man. 

Then it was on to the movie. War Dogs was the typical stuff based on a true story I’m a gun runner badass……. I did enjoy it. A little. Not as much as the bookstore, but I lived. My husband was grinning like a kid at Christmas on the drive home. And then he said the magic words….”That was the perfect date night, thank you Baby”. I melted into the seat and closed my eyes after those words. Phase three had been a success! And all I could do was smile. ……and start planning PHase Four of Operation Romance…….