Penelope’s first Rodeo!


Every year on Labor Day weekend the Rodeo comes to a small town in Palestine, IL. It takes about 35 minutes to get to this small town from where we reside. Roque and I decided to take Penelope for her first time. Penelope’s Tia Mariah came along with us as well. As soon as we arrived into the small town there was instantly a long line of vehicles, motorcycles, and golf carts waiting to be directed into parking. The local county officers were directing traffic into this large grassy field for parking. In the distance we could see the carnival rides all lit up and the Rodeo arena lights on. There was music playing and announcements as the Rodeo was getting started. We were a little late but not too bad. Once parked we made our way to the ticket stand. I was thinking tickets would be around $10.00 each but I was mistaken. Tickets per person $18.00! Luckly little miss Penelope was able to get in free. On our way to the stands you could see a couple western tack shops open for sales. Roque was able to purchase a rope, spurs, and spur straps for his son Mason. They are too cute. Roque is going to teach Mason how to rope and ride horses as soon as he is big enough.

Finding our seats.

Once inside the Rodeo area we were looking for section CC, row 12, seats 129/130/131. The stands were packed with families. I was carry Penelope and just kept thinking I was going to slip off balance and fall in the stands with the narrow benches. We finally found our seats towards the top of the bleachers and shuffled down row 12 to our spot. There was an older couple sitting behind us and a younger family sitting directly in front if us. Penelope was looking around at all the noises, people, lights, and action. She has never been to an event like this before. The first event began with cowboys wrestling young cows with horns. Not even 10 minutes in the stand and all of a sudden I hear this loud noise and a little girl crying. I looked over to my right and noticed that the little girl had fallen down from the middle bleachers down to the pea gravel below. Her mother instantly jumped down and went to her aid. The little girl appeared to be okay and more shaken up from the fall than anything. This just made me hold on to Penelope even closer!

Cattle Chase.

As the events continue the Rodeo asked for children 5-8years of age for Cattle Chase. The game is to send 3 young cows into the arena with 4 ribbons tied to their tail. The children have to grab a ribbon off the cows tale and bring it to the Rodeo Clown. Penelope thought all those children were silly. Penelope would dance/bounce up and down as the music would play during the game. The next age range of children were around 9-12. Before they started there was a dance off where the children were dancing to the latest silly dance moves.

Half time.


The events continued through the night with team roping. Soon it was half time. Mariah, Penelope, and I went down to get some refreshments and stretch our legs. We walked towards the carnival while Roque went to purchase the items for Mason that I spoke about earlier. Mariah and I took Penelope to see the Carousel. Penelope by this time was getting tired but still curious of all the pretty lights and sounds. She loved the Carousel. As we made our way back to the Rodeo we stopped back for a bag of cotton candy, hot dogs, and drinks. We made it back in time for the next event. Roque had taken the items for Mason and cotton candy back to the suv so he was a little late returning.

Barrels, Bulls, and my little social butterfly.


Once settled back into our seats Penelope had a bottle and watched the women’s barrel racing event. Once she was finished she started chatting up the family in front of us and the couple behind us. At one point she even reached back for the older woman behind us to hold her. She was so sweet to the older woman. Soon daddy arrived back with a light up toy horse necklace for Penelope. She thought this toy was awesome. First thing she did was pull it straight to her mouth for the taste test. As the barrel racing wrapped up they drove a new Chevy truck around the arena with the Rodeo Queen in the back waving to the audience. Roque lifted Penelope’s hand and started waving it like the Queen. Roque said we needed to practicing now. The couple behind us started laughing with joy. The final event finally arrived with the big bull riding. The cowboy riders were excellent! By this time Penelope was munching on little blueberry puffs trying to keep her eyes open. When Roque would hold her she would try to take his hat off the whole time. Once the last bull rider rode the Rodeo opened the main gates and let a herd of wild mustangs out into the arena to run around. It was such a beautiful sight to end the night!

The night comes to an end.



As the stands cleared we all went down to the arena for a family photo. Overall, Penelope was excellent and appeared to enjoy her first Rodeo. We made our way back to the suv, packed up, and headed back to our barn. Penelope fell alseep as soon as we started moving down the road. We will most likely be back next year.

If you are considering taking your family or just yourself to a Rodeo I would recommend it! Get out and get some dust on your feet and see some action. It will be worth it! I had just packed up a diaper bag with food, diapers/wipes, and a change of clothes for Penelope. The walk wasn’t too bad at all so no need for a stroller with just 1 baby. Food and drinks were priced decent. Hotdogs were $2.00 and drinks $3.00. The Carnival food was a bit pricey however. Their food was more like $8.00 and drinks $5.00. I wasn’t able to see the bathroom availabe but Mariah did and said she didn’t see anywhere to change a diaper. So we made do in a private area on the grass with a jacket for a diaper change. Wasn’t a big deal. Parking was free.

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you have enjoyed it.

-Erica R.


The day I met the father of my children.

Wonning Melon Farm.

sliced melon
Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on

It was the Summer of 2016. I recently picked up a 3rd job working back in the melon fields. My 8-5 job was social worker. My 4-6 job was coaching high school girls soccer. Then on my weekends I picked up hours at a local Wonning Melon Farm I had worked at in the past as a child and young teen. I guess you could say I was bored or just didn’t want to be in an empty house. 8:00 a.m. sharp I was expected to be on the farm clocked in, athletic shorts, old high school soccer t-shirt, hair in a messy bunn, shades, and puma shoes ready.

The bus ride out to the first field.

I was the last person to load up on the bus. Mind you this is only about a 15 passenger bus. There was the bearded white driver in his 20’s, 1 white girl in her 20’s, 1 older mexican woman, and the rest mexican males ranging from teens to 50’s. I took my seat next to the other white girl. The driver started moving the bus towards the road and you could hear chitter chatter amongst the guys. The gentleman next to me asked me what my name was. I told him, “Erica, what is yours”? He replied, “Lupe”. Then several others started to tell me their names as well. A couple rows back an older gentleman stated his name but I couldn’t understand him. Others started to smile in my confusion so I looked back at him and stated…”Is this your real name or are you fucking with me”? The whole bus started laughing and the ice was broken. I noticed the bus driver in front of me look up in the mirror and look at me but I couldn’t see his eyes due to his Oakley shades. Who was this mysterious guy? You never know when someone is messing with you when there is a langauge barrier. It was all fun and games.

First field.

The bus pulled down a sandy lane along the rows of the field and came to a stop. The cloud of dust blows past the bus and the driver opens the door for everyone to get out. Once out of the bus the workers and myself went around to the back of the bus to get our vine turning stick. Once I had my stick in hand I took a row next to Lupe and the white girl. Conversations started quickly as I was a new face in the field that year. The rows are long and good for learning about one another. As I looked around I noticed the bus driver was just hanging back supervising the crew. As time went on I started to pick up on the fact that the bus driver would hang back in my row and watch me. At first I thought I was doing something wrong. He never said anything so I kept my pace and steady work. I started talking to Lupe again about the few spanish words I had learned myself. Next thing I know the bus driver spoke up and stated that the kind of spanish I was speaking was too formal and that people don’t normally talk like that. This is when we started to engage back and forth with sarcasm and jokes.

More weekends of labor and then love on the horizon.

Over the next couple of weekends I learned the bus driver’s was a man named Roque, mexican/not white (as I had thought), funny, and very intelligent. Roque is a man full of amazing ideas and potential goals for the future. Some call him a dreamer. Roque at this time was a single father to 2 beautiful little girls and a son. He loved to share memories and talk to me about his babies. I myself at this time was a single fur mom of 2 medium mut dogs and a new kitten. I remember one day while walking down a row turning vines roasting one another for fun. We could have some much fun going back and forth being playful. I soon met his parents unexpectantly one day. I saw this big blue Ford truck driving out to meet the our crew of workers after a long day in the fields. I asked one of the workers who it was. Someone responded, “the boss”. I replied with, Brad? (The farm owner) They laughed and stated, “no, the boss boss”. Two people got out of the truck. A mean looking mexican woman and the man with her. They started asking the workers how they were doing and if they needed any water. As my row came to an end Roque yelled, “mom, this is my new girlfriend”. I instantly looked at her in fear and shook my head no. Roque was laughing. His mom just gave me a glare and said something back to him in spanish. I quickly went to the bus and sat down ready to head back to the main farm shelter.

The first thing I noticed about Roque was his beautiful smile and personality. He always wore sunglasses so one day I asked him to take them off so I could see his eyes. He did as I had asked. His eyes are brown. A very peircing handsome brown. I knew as time went on that I was falling for him but I didnt want him to know that. One day he asked me for my phone number. I told him I was talking to someone at the moment and I didn’t want to be disrespectful. His response was, “that’s okay, I’m not a jealous man anyways”. Well, he ended up with my number lol. One day as I was leaving for lunch he asked me what I was going to cook for him. I looked at him and debated in my head on whether to go somewhere alone with him. That somewhere was going to be my home. I told him I was just going to be picking up the gas station pizza and running home to check on my dogs. He ended up riding along and we shared the gas station pizza in my kitchen just as friends. Even back on the farm when we weren’t together he would always make it a point to flirt or be back around me. I have 2 examples for you. Once I had just finished a row and was walking to another row when I saw this sharp blue Chevy truck pulling down the lane catching up to me and stopped. Guess who gets out of the truck…Roque. He asked me if I was thirsty and offered me an empty water bottle from the truck bed. I looked at him and he responded, “what, are you afraid to drink out of a bottle that a mexican drank from”? I took the bottle, filled it, and drank from it. I thanked him and started back down a new row. He followed me for a bit and we talked about his babies and my recent past life. My second example is when I was in the packing shed making watermelon boxes. I had my earphones in listening to music. Roque came up behind me a pulled one of the earbuds out of my ear as he walked by me. He was such a turd, but I enjoyed his company.

The first date.

The time finally arrived. Roque asked me out on our first date. He asked me where I would like to go. I listed off the very short list of decent places to go in town and we settled on a steakhouse. I dressed up super cute and put on make-up. The date went well and we went back to his place after. We were hanging out on the couch and I could tell things were moving in a direction that I knew was not going to be good for me lol. Let’s just say we were not just interested in being “friends”. The night was magical and I will never forget the feeling from that evening. I was hooked and falling in love. We could just hang out with one another and enjoy each others company so well. Many nights down by the river, hanging out at each others place, and of course the late night phone calls/text messages.

There are so many more details I wish I could share with you all, but I don’t want to get too detailed!

beautiful bed bedroom book
Photo by Burst on

So where are we now?

1 baby girl 8 month’s old and a bun in the oven! We have started our own little family while adding siblings to his 3 other babies. I only have 1 remaining pooch due to losing the other from health issues. The little tiger (kitten) is now an adult who constantly believes we are poor hunters so she brings us rabbits, birds, and field mice. I couldn’t picture my life any differently and feel blessed to have such a beautiful family. Oh, and incase you are wondering…his mom Norma is a great woman who cooks awesome mexican food. She is not so scary once you get to know her.

Thank you for your attention through this blog! Lessons learned: You never know where and when you will find true love, People are not always who they seem to be, and how much of a blessing people can bring into your life. So if you are out there wondering when and who will be your soulmate. Don’t worry about any longer. You will know when it is your time. Put yourself in new situations and be open minded.

-Erica R.

“What do you feel like you are having”?…past and present.

20180629_085145If you are like me, some of you may have experienced this saying by people around you. When I was pregnant with Penelope, before my boyfriend and I knew what the gender was going to be I “felt” like I was going to be having a boy. As time went on and the gender was revealed we discovered Penelope is a girl! With the new baby growing inside my womb I have already reheard the famous question: “What do you feel like you are having”? Well, to be honest…I feel like I am having a boy. Here is why. I was extremely sick during the 6 week mark up until the 15th week. With Penelope I remember being sick for most of the 1st and 2nd trimester. I just don’t feel as sick with baby number 2. I do have 1 little curveball thought on the gender. The heartbeats sound very similar in pace; therefore, my physical body maybe deceiving me. To put all of this at rest the gender of baby number 2 will be identified on September 5th! I will be creating a blog for this event. Penelope and baby number 2 will be around 14 months apart. My desire is for them to share such a close sibling bond. So, with this being said. Have you ever heard this saying? What did you “feel” you were having, and were you spot on?

-Erica R.

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my new blog! I am excited to share my life journey with you. Penelope’s Footprints Blog is created for the reader interested in real life events of parenthood/childhood, product reviews, breastfeeding, clothes, jewelry, food, and more. I will be sharing things I love and hate with no filter. Becoming a mom has been the best thing that has ever happened. It like I have a new lense to look through.

jetty feet sign wooden
Photo by Mabel Amber on

Thank you for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton