Life Cycles

Life Cycles

On a farm you see life run full circle at a faster pace it seems than in a suburb. For the most part I love this, other days, it’s hard. Recently you have seen we have added to our farm in multiples, 3 new goats, and 2 new lambs (you can read it here if you missed the cute pictures).

This past weekend was both heart ache and joy. We lost a member that has been with us for over 7 years. Jemma was our great dane – a great play mate, pillow, friend, companion and baby. Though I would definitely consider her a gentle giant, I don’t think the mail man, UPS driver, FedEx driver, or any other delivery person would agree hahaha. She would stand up on her back legs and look down through the window at anyone she didn’t know, use her biggest bark and make sure they  knew they were being watched. I watched her turn a large bone into shards within seconds, and yet, she was as gentle as could be with the family.

The average life span of a great dane is about 6-8 years so we were aware and enjoying this past year. Since moving to our Dayton farm she had turned into a puppy again, climbing rock walls and chasing rabbits. She definitely lived each day to its doggy fullest.

The hard part is the kids. My oldest does not remember a time without her and she has been his dedicated movie night pillow since he was 2. He took it the hardest understandably. Our toddler is still trying to understand which leads to lovely awkward toddler conversations.

Toddler: “My dog died”

Mom: “yes”

Toddler: “Isaac died”

Mom: Yelling to down stairs – “Isaac”

Isaac: yelling – “yes”

Mom: “no, Isaac is not dead”

Toddler: “but dog died”

Mom: “okay new topic”

The house is adjusting, but the lab (another old man) is getting spoiled out of family sadness and he’s mopey so it makes everyone feel better to give him a scrap here and there. Jemma was his gateway dog before and without her he can’t get scraps off the counters or tables anymore.

Of this past weekend, the hardest part for me was that it was not a smooth process. In my head, knowing this day would come, I never thought about how to take care of the situation. Jemma was around 100 pounds and if standing like a person, over 6 feet tall. Her bed was upstairs. Hubby was out of town taking care of business, but had a friend come help me get her outside. Our home isn’t that large, and the kids were curious what was going on, as much as I tried to send them down stairs, it didn’t work for the youngest, and both ended up seeing the fiasco of me and another trying to carry her outside. My humor turns dark in bad situations and I felt guilty thinking how I could never get away with murder – and how the F do people move bodies!   To top it off, we were not the only family to think a good resting place would be under this large tree on the property. I don’t think the kids noticed, hubby was pretty discrete, but quickly had to expand the site the other direction.  – Needless to say, we needed a family outing distraction and went for root beer, beer, and wine.

However, where there is sadness there comes joy, and this weekend was no different. The following night 2 new lambs were born, a boy and a girl.

These two are pretty adorable, so that is an improvement to the weekend.  Mom is healthy and happy. Though they could not look anymore different, white mom, red boy, multi color girl. Looking for more names, so far we have suggestions of Honey for a red girl, and Whiskey for a red boy. Any votes or suggestions?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

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Log Christmas

Log Christmas

When we started our relocation journey, I never considered a log home. For one, there just aren’t that many and none were on the market, and above that, I had pictures of a traditional Gone with the Wind type farm home in mind.

However, where God leads, I try to follow, and our log home was a gift from God. In a market where a 6-7 day old listing had either started a bidding war or had major problems, we were watching our standards drop drastically, and options still not get any better. One day a local contractor told us of a couple considering moving, the home had everything we were looking for and wasn’t officially on the market. My husband is braver than I and literally knocked on the door. Turns out it was a perfect fit and the couple were looking to sell their landscape business to boot! Well, we were in the market for a home and planning to start a landscape business, so the rest is history.

Now I love Pinterest like many do. I had a “home” board where I pinned all kinds of lovely farm home décor ideas. Well now those have all mostly all been “unpinned” and it’s been replaced by “cabin”. A log home has a different group of challenges, you’re not painting walls, and you’re not hanging nice wood art pieces… It’s been a slow process to decorate. I have lots of art work and yet, can’t seem to find a way to hang them that doesn’t look out of place. So with Christmas, I took to Pinterest again, and became a bit more excited about the prospects. Turns out, log homes look quite festive with no real effort! However, my decorations in my boxes are still more targeted toward sheet rock walls, so I will now slowly start trading pieces out.

 

If you ever think of buying or building a log home, here are some things I didn’t know:

  1. I now have to dust my walls – regularly. The Swiffer things on the pole work pretty good, but I got cheap given I have serious square footage to dust when we’re talking walls. The off brand left puffs of white anywhere there was a rough spot. Did I mention I am dusting logs!!
  2. I had to google chinking. I’m still not real sure our log home is the style that has that. It’s on my spring list to figure out – a.k.a. Honey do list
  3. We need to stain our home regularly – I think that means every year or every other year – either way, our house is TALL
  4. We have a tin roof – the storms sound 100 times worse and on an extra windy rainy day you’d think you’ve entered Wizard of Oz.
  5. Large-ish open areas in a log home swallow sound. We used to keep our TV volume at around 18 – its now regularly in the 30s-40s depending on the show. I’m pretty sure it’s not yet age related. Ha-ha
A Hallmark Christmas

A Hallmark Christmas

You know how every year Hallmark channel has a string of cheesy Christmas movies? Well I will admit, usually I love watching them, cheese and all. Now the maid marrying a prince is a bit far-fetched, but I’ve always felt like there has to be a place somewhere that actually has those cheesy Holiday seasons. I’ve thought, maybe it’s a mindset. If your anything like me, Christmas always looks magical in October or November when you still have time and no real plans made yet. As the actual day gets closer, you go from counting days until that magical family time, to counting days until it’s over.

FYI I found the town from the Hallmark movie, and yes, a good portion is the mindset. I’m new to town so for me, it’s Hallmark, for those that have been here 20 years……maybe not.

Let me tell you my Christmas story.

With moving from one small town to another, we knew one thing, to become part of the community you have to try to become part of the community: Join groups, attend activities, do things. This small town DOES THINGS – If you want something to do, you need only to be open to a busy schedule. The town has bingo every Friday night at the Eagles (yup we even became members), around Easter is Ham Bingo, Thanksgiving has Turkey Bingo, there is a dinner auction for this historical society, a social & auction for one of the city auxiliary groups, more and more, but this story starts with Christmas Kickoff.

The town has an event called Christmas Kickoff – the town that still believes.

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It starts on Friday after thanksgiving, and the town turns into a Christmas wonderland.  Hayrides, reindeer, Santa, bazaars, shops are all open, historical sites are open and decorated, and families are out together. Once the sun goes down it just gets better! There was a living nativity, camel and all. The story of Christmas for all to see – no politics, no drama, just some wise men, a camel, and the most famous new mom in history (yes the others were all there too – Joseph, angels, sheep, etc.). After watching the living nativity, we ducked into the Eagles to warm up and snack; we had about 30 minutes until the parade. It was an added bonus, the place was packed, and we found a table with some friends for a few minutes of socializing and snacks. Even some fun conversation on famous crushes that are a bit older than our spouses – I believe there was Sam Elliot, Reba, Tom Selleck, and I forget the other women’s names thrown out – haha.

The parade started and that’s where the real magic and the Hallmark movie peaked – Oh there were lit tractors, and firetrucks, teams, and 4H. With every new lit entry my toddler would literally say “oooo – ahhhh” and then cheer as loud as he could. My older son’s face was lit up like the kids on the sandlot during the fireworks scene. That’s where the magic was. As the last entries in the parade came by they held big signs saying “follow us!” and the town filed into the street to follow the parade to the town tree decorated by the grade school. Once everyone had gathered there was the countdown 3.2.1… and the tree lights up. You hear kids all around pointing and squealing with delight to show the ornaments they made and the ones of their friends and siblings. We filed back into the Elks for a few warm up minutes and then made it back out just in time to gather around the court house for the fireworks.

So, yes, I have found my Hallmark town, I’m not trading it for anything of this world. It has helped give me happy children who sparkle in the magic of a small farm town, and we are blessed to have been welcomed in with open arms just like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Maybe next year I’ll remember to take pictures (or better pictures ha-ha)- this year I was too preoccupied and in the moment.

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Work Mom Farm Mom

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Its been awhile since I last posted. My life took some crazy twists and turns. I accepted a promotion with my company that has made me a Tolling Opperations Manager. Basically, I will be overseeing a new relationship with a company that took over my plants operations. Real life is messier than that. Its almost like overseeing a new branch startup.

However, I’m excited and optimistic about the changes. We have relocated to a sweet new town in the heart of wine country. We purchased a 12 acre turn key farm just outside of town. We inherited roughly 4 sheep, 5 lambs, and 10 or so chickens. We also have a couple additional sheep and lambs, and i’m not actually that sure which ones are ours and which ones we are holding for the neighbor until he finishes his pasture fence haha. We also inherited a great relationship with another neighbor who apparently will be growing hay and barely on some of our acreage and we will be collecting part of that in trade.

I’ve been able to set my work hours to go great for family, I still have to work a bit extra above and beyond the standard 40, but for the most part, I’m holding my own. I’m able to start my hours at 7, and leave at 3 to grab the littlest one from daycare, getting home in perfect time to catch the oldest getting off the bus. I then pull a few more hours after the kids go to bed, but i can’t complain. My commute has dropped from about 40 minutes to 10. The extra time in my day is amazing!

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The farm has made life more interesting though. I followed my youngest around outside one day and ended up having to take a business call. luckily it was my closest working colleague, because as i’m standing there on the phone try to chase the youngest from going into the sheep pen, the rooster lets out the biggest call I’ve heard. Said colleague was entertained, so I had that going for me, but I’m pretty sure I was blushing. haha.

I think anyone who has tried to talk to a mom on the phone understands the entertainment that is life of mom. Talking to my sister on the phone the other day in a 30 second span I yelled at the dog to stop peeing on the hay, & yelled at the youngest to get out of the chicken coup.

But so far, life on our little farm has been heaven. wp-1489629946963.jpgwp-1489630028235.jpg

Working Mom

Working Mom

The other morning my son asked “why don’t you make stuff like my aunties”?

Dishing up my breakfast I responded confused “what do you mean?”

“Well Aunt A makes syrup, and Aunt R makes apple sauce, and ….”

And key knife twisting. In the most positive voice and a smile I could muster I explained that I did make apple sauce, and I don’t like homemade syrup, plus I use it too fast.  We discussed the benefits of stay at home mom’s and working moms, and how we need to do what works best for our family. We also talked about how we try to make sure he is still able to get as much quality time with each parent as possible.

I am part of a circle that many families are quite blessed in their ability to have the flexibility of a parent home or available most hours for the kids. My son can’t see that most of those moms work in one form or another, and only a couple are not working from home, but we talked about that too.

This really got me thinking though. Sometimes I think as moms and humans in general we really struggle with comparing ourselves to others. Social media has really amplified that too: Amazing moms posting amazing cakes and crafts on Pinterest. Fun family vacations, and perfect Christmas pictures on Facebook. We rarely stop and realize we are comparing our real life to the highlight reel of others.  When we see the perfect family with the perfect portrait pose, rarely do we think or realize that the photographer was bribing the kids with candy, or that husband and wife may have been arguing 20 minutes before over finances. Looking at the perfect birthday decoration ideas on Pinterest how often do we think about how perhaps it’s that perfect because the blog writer is paying bills by making others see perfection?

I find that from time to time I get so caught up trying to make up for working that I waste time on the details that probably won’t be remembered in 10 years.

Perfect example, I tried to earn mom points with cool shaped sandwiches in my son’s lunch. What a waste of time. By the way, you have to cut the bread before you make the sandwich – would have been smart to read the directions.

For my son’s 6th birthday he had a perfect Army Transformer’s cake, with a party at an arcade, everything looked planned and perfect. What wasn’t seen was that I forgot all about how close it was, and suddenly it was the day before and I had no cake, no decorations, no birthday gift. I had a reservation and invitations out. That was it. Late the afternoon before I was calling around like a mad woman trying to find a cake. I got lucky and Walmart had one the right size, and even sort of fit what he wanted. Birthday came, and my son thought I was AWESOME. But I knew I was a wreck.

It’s life. Life is a rollercoaster.

My life is not always perfect, and somedays I feel like I’m a wreck just barely getting by. In the end though I know my kids will look back and think “mama did her best, and loved me unconditionally”.

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Baseball Birthday

Baseball Birthday

This past weekend my baby turned 1. I avoided thinking about it as long as I could , but at a certain point I had to accept that my baby is getting to be a toddler and let him have his day. Hubby’s mom was up from out of state, so the family would all be at the house, and that alone is a full house.  Just hubby’s family made a house of 9 little ones and 8 adults. We kept the party limited as we expected to need to be indoors, and I’m not sure about you, but that basically maxes out my home especially having that many kids running around. However, we had a great surprise in the form of an 80 degree sunshiny day.

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Thinking back it turned out great, but I really do owe it all to hubby. You see, I decorate, and plan, and fuss over the minor details. He on the other hand implements.  He’s the one that remembers the practical stuff; the things I wouldn’t use personally and therefore don’t think to buy, pickles, tomatoes, extra chips. I also don’t seem to understand how much food kids eat. The family gathered at our house the night prior too, the chips were eaten, the veggies were eaten, dinner was eaten, and popcorn was eaten. I was out of ideas, and one of my snackers was gluten and dairy free. I was in a bit of a panic for the next day. All I had planned was hot dogs, popcorn, and cracker jacks. Hubby to the rescue! He picked up all the practical stuff and no one was hungry at the end of the night.

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And since he took care of the real party needs, I got to set up cute baseball theme decorations. Baseball invitations (sample pic below) which turned out perfect!

Vintage Baseball Ticket Invitation - Baseball Birthday Party Invitation - Boy Birthday Party - DIY Printable

I ordered those here. Baseball toddler photos curtesy of me. Thank you. Baseball baby smash cake, I’m not a cake decorator, but I think it turned out pretty good. Baseball themed party supply table with a couple pictures of the guest of honor. And my awesome sister hooked us up with slip and slide baseball.

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We couldn’t have asked for a better family evening on the farm.

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Spring Top 5:

Spring Top 5:

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.1.           Fresh green growth – Living in a desert I love the new spring green fresh look and smell. Trees are getting their leaves back, grass is growing, and plants everywhere are starting to wake up. Gone is the death valley of fall and winter, and back is the fresh feeling of a new start and a new year.  By the end of January most snow has gone, and left in its wake is a gray drizzly landscape that screams seasonal blues. April brings the rain and wind, but with that the color comes back too.

.2.           Jeans and sweatshirts – When winter is here I look like the little boy on A Christmas Story. I’m bundled to the max and cold all the time. Spring comes and I get to be outside in jeans and sweatshirts or sweaters, and sometimes I can skip the sweater. I would live in summer wear if I could handle the weather, so when I have to bundle up….blah. Hubby dreams of Alaska while I dream of Texas. Washington is a compromise with its 4 seasons, negative winter temps, and summer days that reach 100+. Spring and summer are my months.

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.3.           Spring Sports – This year my son will be in his first year of rookies baseball. As much as kid sports test my patients, I love them. I love sitting on the side lines, chatting with other moms, and soaking up the sun. The kiddos get to burn off some energy, and I get to soak up some sun.

farm-land-love-baseball (this little cutie is 7 now, this is a pic from his first season, my baby was 4)

.4.           BBQ – It’s the season of cooking outdoors. I love the smell, and the natural draw to hosting friends and family. We live in cattle country, and with that comes flies. I absolutely hate files so that’s inconvenient, but during the spring I can open the doors and windows and we’re usually bug free.  After having the house sealed up all winter, the air flow is a great change of pace.

.5.           Sweet Tea and porch sitting – This is really my number one, but its hit and miss in the spring and is more my summer past time. In my opinion there is no greater peace then relaxing in a chair with a glass of tea watching the kids play. If you’ve never made your own sweet tea, let me hook you up:

Sweet Tea:

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil, and 1 cup of sugar, and enough tea bags to brew 1 gallon of tea. I usually use about 8 regular tea packets. Mix for about 1 minute while boiling (be sure to keep the tea bags upright, sometimes the grinds seem to fall out). Remove from heat and let brew about 5 minutes. I wrap the tea bag strings around a large wood spoon and lay it across the pot. Next pour the tea into your container(s) and add enough cold water to make 1 gallon. I usually use 2 large mason jars (I think they hold about 1 liter), I split the tea evenly between the two jars and finish filling with cold water. Makes the perfect Tea.

DSC_0118Sun tea:

Fill a large Jar (grandma used to use a giant pickle jar) with water; add appropriate number of tea bags for the amount of water. Holding the strings of the tea bags outside the jar put the lid on and set it in the sun. Once it looks the darkness you like, it’s ready!