Tag: motherhood


4 Ways to keep the Romance alive with a New Baby

Lets face it, this is just a difficult time to keep the romance alive. You just had a baby, you are still feeling bloated, and your bodies trying to adapt to the hormones and everything post pregnancy whether you are breastfeeding or recovering from a c-section.  But all reasons aside we can’t just abandon this aspect of our marriage completely. If anything this is such an important time for you and your spouse as he may be feeling more neglected with the new baby in the house. The truth is if you are not looking after yourself and your marriage first, this will reflect in your parenting. So in order to be a better mother be a better wife first. ( p.s this photo was taken literally a day after we had our 2nd baby at the hospital! first official date night after baby and she was in the nursery just down the hall hahaha)

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  1. Try and have the baby sleep in their own crib or bassinet. This is hard at first especially if you are nursing and fall asleep during it (like me) But if you prefer to co-sleep use one of those attachments to your bed so that you and your spouse still have your own space.

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2. Self Care! This is something I always neglect but have come to see the importance in lately. Even  just waking up earlier to have a nice shower, even putting on makeup and doing your hair can do wonders for you. For me I just enjoy going for a walk in the morning. It is so easy to get caught up in the drab of being in your p.js all day long. At least dressing up will make you look more cuddly even if you don’t really feel like it.

3. Communicate with your spouse. Help him understand that  time together will be less but when you do get time together ensure that it is QUALITY TIME! Talk and plan what things you can do as soon as you get that time alone.

4. Set specific Date nights. Right now we can’t really leave our little one with anyone so we always set at least 10mins aside each day to talk with each other. It really has become my favorite part of the day, even though I get sick of his work stories I just enjoy where our conversations end up. While the kids are asleep pop out the ice cream or the goodies and have a date night in the kitchen or on the deck outside. Creativity is KEY!!

Would love to know your ideas and thoughts. Email me or message me at info@ourhappytalk.com.


The Conscious Family – Episode 2: Setting Family Goals

 

  1. Find Problems or things that can be improved in the family. Identify the Goal
  2. Ensure everybody is on board with the Goal or has a say in the Goal
  3. Steps to achieving it & Identify obstacles that may prevent from achieving it
  4. Date to accomplish this  goal by. Or if it’s an ongoing goal how often you will revisit it.

Goals for Mummy and Daddy

  • Date Night Monthly
  • Temple Night Monthly
  • Quarterly Night Away
  • Weekly planning session

Goals for the Little Kids

  • Make Bed before breakfast
  • Pick up toys before dinner

Goals for Mummy and Daddy and Kids

  • Dinner or Breakfast Together 3times a Week
  • Morning and Evening Prayers and Scripture Reading
  • Pick up the house before Bedtime
  • No Electronics between 6-9pm
  • Family Vacation 2times a year

Budgeting for Family Vacations

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(photography by Conner and Tracy at the Grand Turks Island 2016)

We love going on family trips therefore we always need to factor in family vacations into our budget. We love going from the simple overnight camping trips, to staying at a bed and breakfast to going half-way across the world to visit my family in New Zealand.

My husband and I live a pretty simple life with one car, one phone and occasionally go out for a pizza or thai food once a week. We also live on a pretty tight budget since he is the only provider right now therefore we may have to scrimp at times but we never lack. We also have pretty strict rules on debt and the only debt we have is that of our house. We will never do trips or purchase anything if they put us in any financial burden. We maintain a good emergency fund of 6 months and find other ways to invest the rest. (So let’s say we scrimp on daily spending so we can enjoy more fun family vacations.) So there’s some background for you. Today I thought of sharing some ways that we budget for our family trips.

  1. Get a Vacation Calendar – This isn’t always the easiest when sometimes we end up going with other family members. But at least getting out a yearly calendar and slotting in the times when you want to go on vacation especially the big ones that you know for sure. Seeing the different times you want to go and where you want to go will help you allocate a budget to each vacation
  2. Budget – Now you know how many times you are going out of town and roughly estimate how much you will be spending at each place. Once you know how much you are spending at each place divide that by weekly or bi-weekly however you get paid to know how much you have to put aside each week for the trips.
  3. Get Creative – I am a firm believer if you don’t have the money for it and you want it then go out there and get the money for it. Life’s too short to go without! (to a certain degree) If the vacation is out of your budget then don’t just end it there, get creative!!! If this is something you really want you will make the money for it. Whether you pick up extra hours doing something on the weekend, sell extra things out of your house or start up a new craft to sell.
  4. Research – So for me I can go pretty extreme. I don’t care about where we stay…Just as long as I am there I will hitchhike to get around or sleep in my car if necessary . (it’s all part of the fun adventure for me) But do your research into all the free activities and all the discounted places you can find to eat, sleep and activities to do while there. The more research the better idea you have and how much money you will need to allocate to this place.  Many times they will charge you for having a tour but if you walked around yourself it would be free. Some people enjoy living luxuriously and that’s great every now and then but if I can save enough for another trip I am down for that!!
  5. Scale – If big trips are just out of your budget just opt for smaller trips around your hometown or a few cities or state away! These vacations are just as fun, they don’t need to be elaborate or fancy. The most important thing about vacations is dedicating extra time to be with the people you love the most and strengthening those bonds.

Vacations and Holidays are times for us to build family memories and to bond on a closer level. Therefore we value this time together as something extra. Yeah the photos are fun and posting it on social media has it perks but it’s no fun if you are going to be in debt for it. So be smart!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to message me at info@ourhappytalk.com. I would love to talk to you about strengthening your marriage and family and creating a vision for your family that you have dreamed of and making it a reality.


7 Topics to Discuss while Dating

Some of these topics may be hard to bring up especially during dating. But create an environment where you can discuss this openly and honestly. The more open and honest you are with these topics before marriage or serious courtship the less headache and heartache it will be down the road. Keep in mind that this is not the end all be all, opinions and views can change over years of being together.

Childhood Upbringing/Previous Relationships

How did your parents handle arguments? How did you communicate with your parents? How long before issues were solved in your home? What would you do different? What did you love about your upbringing? What were some difficulties in your previous relationships? Whether you realize it or not your upbringing has a massive part to play in how your relationship will unravel. Talking about what your families did and what you liked and didn’t like will help you and your partner know why you do the things you do and what things you want to change. Previous relationships also play a part if you came from a emotionally abusive relationship you may bring these emotions to your current relationship which may hinder your progress together. Talk and discuss ways you can start fresh with each other and not let the past affect what the bright future is able to hold for you both.

Faith and Core Value Beliefs

What church or congregation you want you family to go to? What values you want to instill in your children? What traditions you will be bringing into the home? What morals you wish your children to learn? Are you okay with your spouse having a different faith to you? With different cultures talk about the differences in beliefs and ways of thinking. Find a good mix between the two but don’t feel like all has to be set in stone right now.

Previous or Current Addictions

Have you viewed pornography? How often? To what extent? Have you been addicted to any drugs or alcohol or any form of medications? Knowing this may be able to help you understand your spouse a little better. If they seem to be going back down that track you have already discussed it previously and your partner may be able to help and give support during these times.

Finances

Do you have debt? How much debt do you have? How much are you willing to spend on a car? or shoes? How well do you save? Are we going to have a split or separate bank account? Talking about your finances in the beginning can save a lot of assumptions and headache down the line. Be open about where you are at financially so you can be there for each other and keep each other accountable as you both set goals together.

Autonomy & Boundaries

Do you like your independance? Do you enjoy doing hobbies alone or together? How often do you want to do your own thing? How often do you want to do things with your friends? Do you want a shared FB account? Do we share passwords for all email and social media accounts? Do we have a date night once a week? Do we go to our in laws one every other week?

Children

Do you see yourself having children? What if we can’t have children? Are you wanting or open to adoption? Who will be the stay home parent? Will you both be working? What kind of day care or education do you want your children to have? Will you be paying for college tuition? Children are a massive part of marriage and family life so let’s iron out some of the bigger topics.

Dream Life

Where are you living? What are you doing? Where do you see yourself? How do you vacation? What kind of home are you living in? What are things you want to accomplish? What things can you not live without? What things are you willing to compromise on? What things can you not stand in your current life?

Discuss these topics on a date night? Go through one each day take it slow and go into as much detail as you like. This exercise may take several weeks but as you do enjoy learning about each other and your views on life marriage and family.

 

 

 


When your spouse doesn’t show affection

IMG_3479smallDepending on how long you have been married you are probably so sick of trying to get your husband to remember anniversaries, birthdays, mother’s day or even just to be spontaneous and bring you flowers one day. When I first married my husband he was not very affectionate in those ways. When we took the love language test his top 3 were, words of affirmation, time and physical affection while mine was time and acts of service he started to realise what I loved and started to direct his actions towards my love language. But it didn’t happen immediately and I couldn’t force him anything against his will no matter how much I wanted to. The progress was slow and it took effort from the both of us, it required patience and understanding from each of us.

Evaluate Media Intake

How often are you watching movies and shows that show all the fairy tale relationships. While you and your spouse are trying to improve your relationship it would be helpful to decrease your intake of this type of media so you are not holding up crazy fairy tale expectations of your spouse. Even with social media when you see all your friends constantly posting all the fun things that their spouses do for them and there you are getting even more annoyed that your spouse isn’t doing the same thing! Until you are comfortable with where you are in your marriage have a media diet and limit your intake, it will be better for both your marriage and plus you will have more time for each other!!!!

Communicate

This is not a nagging session and finding fault session this is a time to to loving tell your spouse how you feel. Begin the conversation by saying things that you love that your spouse does. Show him that there are awesome things that they do! Then bring up that which are your personal concerns. If you set a time to regularly meet together to talk about deep relationship topics this may it be easier to express your concerns so your spouse knows this is something that you are both working on together and that there is consistent accountability on a weekly or monthly basis.

Give Credit for the Small

Give credit at every opportunity you can. We all work this way when somebody recognizes a good behaviour of ours we are like little kids and we want to do it over and over again. Try and spot those times when your spouse has made the effort big or small. If it was a phone call or even a text message let your spouse know you appreciate them thinking of you during the day and sending that thoughtful message.

5 Love Language Tests

Last but definitely not least!!!! Do this test learn what rings with each other, what makes you and your spouse feel loved. If you have even more time, take some time to read the book if you want to get in depth into it. Understanding each other is so important so you can be a lot more empathetic and loving and understanding to how each other does things and why they do things.

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Marriage Interview: Kaufusi Family

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Pauline and Maverick Kaufusi met in high school they were in the same history class. She goes to say “We stayed good friends. I went to BYUH and returned as a BYUH intern to Tonga in 2013. We hung out again. And he randomly asked me to marry him. I didn’t know if it was for real and so we ended up playing it out like he was just playing around. Long story short i didn’t finish my mission papers and we got engaged and got married oct 2014”

  1. What was your top qualities in looking for a spouse?

So my top qualities i was looking for in a spouse was someone who I could see myself as close to him as I my mum am to my dad. I wanted good conversation, someone I could just be myself with and it wasn’t a chore to try make conversation or try and pretend like I wanted to hang out. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Also it was top priority that i got married in the temple, if it wasn’t the temple then sorry mate you’re not for me! I wanted to make sure he would always treat me well in public as well as behind closed doors. He needed to respect me as well as other women regardless.

  1. What has been the biggest adjustment for you being married?

I think the biggest adjustment for me was having to consult someone about my decisions big or small. I moved out of home at 14 and boarded then went on to university and flatted so I was always used to making my own decisions, spending time/money on whatever I wanted. So adjusting was a learning process. Simply remembering to include my husband in decision making. It was also difficult for my husband too because he felt I was independent and I didn’t need him enough so I had to balance and include him in our decisions

  1. What was the best advice someone gave to for marriage?

My young women’s president in youth told me “Don’t give up an eternity of happiness for a few moments of satisfaction” this helped me in the dating stages to hold my standards high and wait for someone who is ready for the temple.

  1. What has been the most enjoyable part of marriage?

The most enjoyable part of marriage is being over the “playing hard to get” stage. Once you are past that it’s all fun and games. Also the best is not have to say goodbye at night and he go home or I go home. That was always a pain when dating

  1. What have you done to get through your tough times in marriage?

Tough times in our marriage has been a learning process but when we can’t stand each other my husband would just say we are in this forever so either way angry or not I’m still the one you will wake up to in the morning. So we just take time to cool off I always want to talk about it but sometimes we just get over it and it’s easier that way. In the end it doesn’t matter who’s right.

Marriage is a fun and great experience, I thought I loved my husband when I was dating and when I married him. But I learn more and more about him every day and even after knowing his flaws I continue to love him. Like he says we are in this forever. There’s no going back!!!

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Environment for Open Communication

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Last month I talked about emotional abuse and the fear that this kind of behavior fosters in home and family environment. There are many ways emotional abuse can be rendered but today I wanted to touch on having open communication and creating this environment in our homes. Homes that are emotionally abusive can instill fear into members of the family which don’t allow for open communication to each other or even to people outside who may be able to help them.

I know firsthand how it feels to live in this fear as a child and how desperately afraid I was to say anything that would go against my parents beliefs. I was fearful of whether I would get the belt or a lecture lasting for several hours. In my parent’s defense they have been amazing to me and I am so grateful for all their sacrifices yet their parenting style was still of the old school ways. It was mainly my way or the highway and it was you listen to me because i’m older and i’m the boss and I know more than you. (Which in most cases when you are between 1-16years old proved to be right.) But as we got to be teenages we started pushing back and starting having our say, probably not the best way because all we did was try and replicate our views as forcefully as they did their views on us because that was the only way we knew how to communicate our views.

Fast forward to my marriage life I noticed me replicating many of these same behaviours. And it was hurting my husband emotionally especially because he knew there were better ways. I knew that I needed to communicate my views in a positive and more loving way. I knew that I had to create an environment in my home where my spouse would feel safe to communicate his feelings about our marriage and family without being afraid he will be teared down or that I will instantly lash out in defense. I also want my children to feel the same way to, that they are have a space to express emotion and be allowed to feel that emotion without ridicule or belittling.

From my personal experience here are 4 ways we can foster open communication in our homes:

Be Available

Schedule a time with your spouse and children when they know that you are there completely listening to them.  I know as a couple we need to have at least an hour of “marriage inventory” A week to have deep conversations about our concerns and goals etc. It’s not just the conversations of how was your day, but it’s the deeper questions that gets them to open up and express their true emotions. It’s great talking to them daily about their day but ensure at least once a week you can dedicate some time for serious alone conversations. If they know there is this time that they will get with you and it is consistent they will be able to develop this trust to open up to you.

Listen with Validation

Validation is allowing people to feel their emotions. I just read an amazing book by the lunds called I don’t have to make it all better where it talks about the power of validating others. Not trying to fix their problems but really listening with empathy. When your spouse say I have my boss is  controlling maniac!, don’t respond like my normal response  which would be don’t say that about your boss! That’s not a nice thing to say instead. we can respond with, sounds like he making your job harder, being told what to do is not pleasant at all. Allowing others to express their emotions allows them to feel through them and eventually be able to vent it out and can easily be led to finding their own solutions.

React with Understanding and Love

To often when we hear something we don’t like or disagree, we directly go into defensive mode or attack mode. In these times our family members need our love the most. They need our support at this crucial time as they are very vulnerable at these times. This is not the time to ridicule, teach or prove a point. This is the time to listen with empathy and love.

Be the Example

If you feel that there is terrible communication in your household BECOME THE ROLE MODEL. That’s all it really takes is one person showing how communication in the really should be. In my home it was my husband, he showed me how it was to have open communication with love. It took me awhile to get on the band wagon but it finally clicked and now our communication is a million times better than it use to be. (occassionaly I forget)   Our children watch us the most if they see the way that we communicate is through force, harshness, they too will do the same.

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Marriage Spotlight: Fitness and Motherhood

Julie is 25 years old and is a wife and a mother to two beautiful girls. She has been married for 3 and a half years and is a dedicated runner and fitness motivator on her social media platforms. She has some awesome motivational posts @fitbusy_mom on instagram. We are so blessed to have her share some personal insights about marriage and family.

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1: What are 3 things you value most about your marriage?

The companionship, our children and the team work we do.

2: What has been the biggest adjustment for you being married?

For me it has been learning, understanding and respecting my husband’s ideologies. We grew up in different countries and completely different way of living. So our ideologies are very different. He grew up in a very small town in Central America with the very basic needs and I grew up here (US). Even though I didn’t have luxuries I did have a little more than he did with many more opportunities. So, that makes us see situations differently.

3: What was the best advice someone gave you for marriage?

I’ve been giving many advices from different people, and I don’t remember the exact words of the one that stood out the most but I do remember it said something like ” if you put your spouse other first, your marriage will last our life time.”

4: What have you done to get through your tough times in marriage?

Think and pray. Every time something difficult is going on I turn to my Heavenly Father, no one can give me better guidance.

5: What has been the most enjoyable part of being married?

I would say everything, the happy and difficult moments. They have made our marriage stronger and we’ve gotten to know each other more.

Any other comments: marriage isn’t easy, I’ve read that marriages only have happy Moments. We did not married perfection but someone with lots of potential. If we turn to Heavenly Father, always staying close to him and asking for his guidance he will be there for us, making our lives better and marriages easier.

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My Insecurities came out in my Marriage

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Growing up I never noticed that I had insecurities I had always thought of myself as a pretty confident person. I performed in front of hundreds of people, I wore what I wanted, I danced like nobody’s business and could sing down the aisle of a grocery store and not care about anybody around me. I didn’t start connecting any dots until I started noticing my marriage going downhill very early in our relationship. I was jealous, suspicious, afraid, self-conscious, controlling, and paranoid to say the least. It was driving both my husband and I crazy that I was feeling this way, when I knew I had no logical reasoning to feel this way. I had to figure this out and this is when I decided to get outside help.  I turned to reading lots self-help books, articles, and listening to marriage podcasts to try and figure out what was wrong with my husband. Eventually came to realize it was me who had to change. It was me who was still carrying deep emotional baggage from past experiences.

We all have insecurities within us to some degree or another and it’s okay to admit them. We have this wonderful thing called imagination that can help us create beautiful amazing things. Or it can take us the opposite direction of fear, anxiety of imagined situations that take control of our mind and body. Fear, doubt and anxiety can creep into our marriage anytime, whether it is because of past experiences that have caused deep wounds, expectations of ourselves and others or some recent rejection or failure. I have collected a few ideas to help those out there who may have been struggling like I did.

  • Recognize and Identify your Insecurities and understand WHY you feel that way? Go deep!
  • Tell the difference between imagination and reality. (If you don’t trust your husband is it because he’s something he has done or is it because past experiences you think may repeat again?) Write down all the reasons why that imagined situation is not true.
  • Avoid things that increase your insecurities: E.g. social media, unfollow friends that don’t help you boost your self-confidence or avoid movies or tv shows that decrease feeling of self-worth of yourself or your relationship
  • Create a New Story: Tell yourself new stories and live them. Use affirmations, declarations or reframes to help you paint a new picture or yourself and your marriage.
  • Talk to your spouse/partner about it. Be open with it and let him know what you are struggling with so he can be your support on this journey. When my husband understood my trust issues where because of experiences in my childhood he was very understanding and realized he wasn’t the problem.

This really isn’t an overnight process. It is something that I have to continuously work on. It can last from a few weeks to months even up to a year to work through these beliefs. It will take continuous effort but I know you can do it! The results are freeing and immeasurable! I promise as you continue to work on releasing and understanding your insecurities you will see greater happiness, freedom and joy in your life. Self reflecting really is the first step to improving one’s marriage and relationships.

If you have further questions I would love to talk to you. Leave your questions below or contact me with any questions at info@ourhappytalk.com.

You are amazing! You are worthy! You are Beautiful! xo Tracy


Marriage Advice from a Cowgirl

 

Our story began in the Summer of 1993 at a church convention in Chugwater, Wyoming. Cody was single, I was not!We exchanged addresses and wrote a few letters throughout the years.

In October of 1997, I was a senior in High School.  I was very active in volleyball and had just experienced a rough break up with a boy. I had a “NONBOY” attitude.My mother decided that I needed to attend a church convention in Kansas. She insisted that I go. I went by myself and I can remember thinking, “Why am I going?” I made a little detour and was a little late getting to the convention. You see, I really didn’t want to go and I felt like I had my life in control.  Turns out that I need to attend that convention.  I think my mom and God talked to each other. I sat at a lunch table, when I heard this, “Naomi, can you please pass the tea?” I about fell off my chair. Cody Loomis remembered my name.

To tell you the truth I cannot remember a thing that the preachers talked about. All I can remember was the butterflies in my stomach and the long walks that we went on.After the convention was over, I drove Cody to his ranch and we went on a horseback ride.  We talked about our faults, our weaknesses, our goals in life, our fears, our past relationships, and our future. I can remember leaving his ranch that night and thanking God that I went to Kansas.

In September of 1998, Cody took a knee and asked me to be his wife. I said, “YES”. Two weeks later in Lone Tree Canyon, east of Chugwater, Wyoming we said these vows:

“You are my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.” We celebrated 17 years of marriage in October. I’m surprised by how fast the years have gone by.

When I think back on our dating days and then our wedding day, it was filled with such hope and promises. Our love was blossoming and a new life was beginning for both of us. In the course of these 17 years, we’ve learned a great deal about ourselves and about each other. About the importance of marriage and why it’s worth fighting for. We were young, in love and ready for marriage when we said yes in our late teens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we knew how to have a great marriage.

17 years later, here are 12 lessons that have been clarified for us in our marriage:

  1. The 50/50 Game Doesn’t Work.

For a season, we view marriage like it is a game, a competition. If I do this, you should do that. Meet me in the middle here, do a little more there. If you do 50 things, I’ll do 50. That sort of game. But, true love is shown when one of us can’t get to the middle. Then, it’s up to the other to go the extra mile. Maybe that ratio is 90/10 for a season if one of us is sick, stressed, or even depressed. Don’t view marriage as a scorecard. Someone always loses that way.

  1. Keep Adventure Alive.

Fighting to keep adventure alive doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe it’s a small drive with no kids, or maybe you shut the door to your bedroom, maybe its a date to a feeder meeting, or a surprise baby sitter for the evening or even a simple handwritten note. One of our favorites is a horse back ride!

  1. Kiss, Hug & Hold Each Other.

This is a hard one but probably one of the most important. Make a point to kiss and hug your spouse each morning and night. When you’re leaving and arriving too.  I challenge each of you to try this.  It makes a huge difference in your day and night. Be the one to make the move first, don’t always wait for the other. I also challenge you to hold hands, it rekindles the flame!

  1. Grit Is Often The Best Description Of Love.

When we where newlyweds love was easy, but after years real life can get chaotic, stressful, and confusing.  The answer is to dig your boots in when life gets hard.

  1. Real Life Happens In The Mundane.

Babies being born, buying a piece of land, buying a new car are the peaks of marriage, and they are great. However, most normal days are mundane. I’ve been guilty of missing the little moments while I work to make the big ones happen. I’m realizing that life happens in those little moments. I’m learning to love the journey, every bit, as much as the destination.

  1. Proximity Doesn’t Equal Presence.

Being physically close isn’t the same as being close emotionally. We need to put away our phones and listen to each other’s hearts.  Life is busy; when you have the ability to be together physically, it is important be there emotionally as well.

  1. Comparison Will Kill.

In an age of social media it’s easy to feel like your marriage sucks.  It does our relationship no good when we compare our money, house, kids’ performance and marriage to others through social media. We will become the losers. It robs our joy.

  1. Don’t Throw It Away.

Each day we need to keep choosing each other.  When our going gets a little rough, I remember our wedding day or the birth our kids and decide that it will pay to keep our spark alive. We need to be honest about when we fail. It will be worth it.

  1. Giving & Serving. 

Are we giving and serving? Or are we only taking and using? Life is best when we are giving ourself away for the benefit of  the other.

  1. Live In Community.

Nobody told me that marriage is hard. It can be beautiful and redeeming. When we chose to surround our self with friends and family who know your strengths as well as your struggles, you realize you have support and encouragement.

 

Naomi Loomis

http://fromthecornerofthecirclel.blogspot.com/

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I’m Naomi Loomis and I am a rancher from the Sandhills of Nebraska. My husband, our 4 kids and myself are raising the next generation of ranchers and cattle. My blog gives you a glimpse of our ranch and our story—all to better connect consumers with ranchers. Visit me at www.fromthecornerofthecirclel.blogspot.com.

 



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