Great news! My husband Chuck and I are expecting our first child in June. We're very excited and happy about our future ranch hand. This will be a big adventure for us and signals the start of many changes in our world.

Because we're a family ranching operation, the birth of our baby is a huge event for the entire family. My baby will be the eighth generation of our family in Florida and the fourth generation working on the ranch.

I'm happy that I can bring a child into this lifestyle. There aren't many kids today lucky enough to grow up on a farm or ranch. It's important to me that my kids get to have fresh air, green grass and animals around them.

So many kids grow up on concrete and never have the benefit of these country treasures. Yes, there is hard work involved, but a little hard work never hurt anyone. It sure taught my brother and me a lot.

One drawback is that my doctor has forbidden me to get on a horse. She says that gravity is rough on expecting mothers! I promised her I would not to fall off, but she wouldn't hear of it.

The doc also says no-go on vaccinating. I told her I am quite good at not sticking myself with a needle, but again she said no way. I understand her concerns, but I don't have to like them.

My parents tell stories about my mother riding to help gather bulls when she was seven months pregnant with my brother. I jokingly argue if she could do it, so can I. But she uses that all-too-familiar quote, which I am sure to soon learn: “Do as I say not as I did.”

So, the first big change has been my job description. I have been in the office quite a lot since my grandfather passed away last May, and pregnancy has me more office-bound than before.

Bookkeeping is definitely a necessary evil in our business today. However, I truly miss the fresh air part of our business. I get frustrated being tied to a desk all day, but I admittedly have enjoyed learning even more about the accounting portion of our operation. Without a thorough understanding of the financials, the decisions made in the pens and pastures may not harmonize with the bottom line.

One of the best changes is that I get to work with my mother and grandmother more. They've been the financial wizards behind the scenes for years, and I like learning from them. I am hoping their bookkeeping skills and maternal skills are genetic traits that I carry.

I really miss doing some of the hands-on part of my job. I know, however, that these few months of extra precaution and office work will be worth it in the long run.

Mary Anne Cruse, brother Wes, their parents and grandmother operate Ru-Mar Inc., a large commercial cow/calf operation in South Florida. Her e-mail address is mccruse@msn.com.