This spring, shortly after J.D. was born during planting season we packed up and headed south to Missouri. This fall, shortly before J.D.’s six month birthday and Joslyn’s 2nd birthday we packed up and drove south once more during harvest. The trips were bookends to a busy summer and I’m looking forward to and planning for a calmer, quieter winter. (What about fall? Fall, well fall, was overshadowed by this book and harvest. We’re enjoying fall, but it gets lumped into the ‘crazy’ category, too.)

Literally, book ends for a book:

In the first trip, I took three or four almost-finished copies of my book (at that time, it didn’t have a title) and gave them to family members for final reviewing of their stories and quotes.

In the second trip, we launched Sheep, Stetsons & Stockyards: Stories on Surviving Change at Angell’s Western Wear and then held five signing events in rural Missouri.img_1727

Early spring and early fall:

These two trips also added about 20 days of nice weather to the year for the kids and me. When we arrived in Missouri this spring, it was sweaters and hats weather and nice enough to be outside. South Dakota was still a bit on the muddy and cold side at that time.IMG_6968 image1

The same was true this fall. I already packed away Joslyn’s summer dresses, but I pulled a few out for the trip to Missouri. Here in South Dakota it was time for layers and hats again, but Missouri’s more temperate fall allowed us to sneak by a few more days with light sweatshirts. Interestingly, I accidentally recreated this photo with the cat and the kid.

She grew up a lot in a few short months! (Two on Saturday! Woo!!)


I’m beyond thankful for 20 extra days of summer. It feels like stealing from Santa Clause or something. How lucky do you have to be to add 20 days of fair weather to the year?img_1723

The baby days:

JD was just under a month old and I was so tired at one point in the first trip that I forgot the word garage or something silly like that. I literally had to say: oh, gosh, that place you park your car inside of…

We finally figured out the word and then my mom kindly sent me to the back seat for a nap while she drove.IMG_3950

This fall trip was smooth sailing for Mama and baby. There’s nothing else to say except that six months old is a super, fabulous time in the first year of a baby’s life:

  • Less nursing times per day.
  • Zero discipline needed.
  • Toying with solid foods, but not super important that it happens.
  • Playing with toys, but not dumping them out.
  • Enjoying baths, but not splashing wildly or trying to escape.
  • Sleeping all night and consistent morning and afternoon naps. (With the normal traveling hiccups, of course.)
  • Most importantly: he’s still happily immobile!



The potty training days:

It more or less took the summer to *mostly* potty train Joslyn. We started by accident on our first trip to Missouri when she squatted down to pee in the tub and I hustled her over to the toilet. Then, again the next night and the next night and the next.

I was nervous as a — well, nervous as a first time potty training mama — to make a 10-12 hour drive with a newly-potty-proofed kid, but it went as good as it could. We packed that little potty in the car and pulled over when we nature called.

Bookends to summer

So you see? These two trips were bookends to a busy and good summer. Not an easy summer by a long stretch, but a good one!

To read more about my book, hop over here.




  1. Laurel

    I see that you are doing some artistic experimentation by loading some pictures upside down or sideways :).

    Joselyn and the cat are right side up and wonderful. Book ending a summer–you certainly did it.


    • Sierra Shea

      Rats! This is not artistic experimentation — it’s something wrong with my phone. And, worse yet, depending on what type of computer you’re on they are right side up or up side down! Yikes!

      🙂 Was nice to see you!


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Hey there... I'm Sierra!

I love to blog, plan, organize, decorate, teach, research & be creative. I’m a farm wife & mama of three kiddos: almost 6, 4 and almost 2. We love to live and work in rural South Dakota. A few years ago we remodeled a house & we call our home The Peacock Ranch.

I am earning a Spiritual Direction Certificate from Sioux Falls Seminary & I put my masters in English/Mass Communications on hold at South Dakota State University so I can focus on being a mama in a pandemic! In the meantime, I’m enjoying reading more & writing here on the blog.