Monday, February 12, 2018

Sweet, Sweet Revenge

I was talking to my mother on the phone last week and she just sounded... different.  Giddy?  Smiling?  Giggly?  Smug?  Perhaps she was feeling a bit of all these things.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Oh nothing." She replied.  "I'm just still smiling from Kenyon's comment." 

Ugh.  Kenyon's comment. 

***

Several Sundays ago was a really nice day weather-wise and was also one of the few days this winter that a majority of our household has not been sick.  Wes took advantage of the situation and asked Kenyon and myself to help him process a load of calves that had come in that morning.  Neither one of us had to think very long or very hard when answering. 

We let Kenyon push cattle up the alleyway while I stood on one side of the chute where I put in eartags, poured wormer and gave a shot.  Wesley stood on the other side of the chute to run the chute controls, brand and implant the calves. 

Wes and I have always been really great partners when it comes to working calves together.  I've never understood the jokes about 'sorry for the things I said to you while we were working cattle.'  (Put me in a tractor with him shouting directions from the ground?  Totally different ball of wax.  I will purposefully try to run him over.  It's terrible, I tell ya'.) 

Things went very smoothly as we ran through the first 10 or 20 calves.  Occasionally I would peer through the pipes of the alleyway to watch Kenyon work and my chest would puff up with pride.  It is so heartwarming to watch your kid become a hand.  He caught me glancing at him once and took the chance to have a short conversation with me. 

"Hey, Mom, you know what?" He asked.

"What's that?"

"You're actually pretty good help." 

With one foul swoop he sucked the air from my lungs, cut me at the knees, ripped out my heart and stomped on it. 

Actually?  ACTUALLY?  I wanted to tell that little punk that I'd worked tens of thousands more cattle than him and I had spent years of my life gaining a post-secondary education in animal science, all to be told by a four year old that I was no longer THE stupidest person on earth when it came to processing cattle.  Thanks, bud. 

So, after 31 years my mother finally had her sweet, sweet revenge.  I finally understood that perhaps she knew a little something all those years ago when Dad would let her come along to work cattle and I would roll my eyes as far back in my head as possible. 

So now I'm adding to my resume that I'm actually pretty good help.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Resolutions, Toilet Paper and Baking Supplies

It's that time of year again.  Time to make resolutions and forget about them in the blink of an eye.  I've made out my usual mental list


  • Lose ten pounds of baby weight  Nope
  • Run more often  In these hills, on dirt roads, while pushing a stroller? I think not.
  • Become more organized.  This one I actually make great strides at each year.  I'll probably never take it off my list of resolutions.
  • Purchase more products locally.  This is where the toilet paper and baking supplies come into play.  
Across the country, small towns are slowly dying off.  People like the idea of raising their families in a small town yet still make a trip to the city to purchase items from a bigger box store.  I get it.  I am guilty as anyone when it comes to purchasing groceries.  I feel rather euphoric when I combine the saving power of my grocer's loyalty shopping card and coupons and see that I've saved $80 each shopping trip.  

A friend recently shared an older article with me that was originally published in The High Plains Journal.  You can read the article in it's entirety here, but I'll give you the edited version.  A small town in Iowa created a 'Buy Local' campaign with a twist.  They asked citizens to 'Buy One Product Local'.  Specifically, toilet paper.  Everyone uses it, to the tune of 105 rolls per person, per year, on average.  Think of the tax dollars that could be generated in all of our rural communities if we were to purchase all our toilet paper locally.  In our small town, the grocery store is one of just a few businesses left.  I need to support it more, and therefore I'm taking the toilet paper pledge.  This year I vow to purchase my toilet paper locally.  

To take this a step further, I decided to pledge to purchase a few more items only from our small town store.  Resolutions are more likely to be carried out the more specific they are, so I decided to add baking items to my list: flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar.  To some this may not sound like much, but I do a fair bit of baking.  Last year I used 50 pounds of flour in my baking and I don't see myself slowing down in that department any time soon.  

I feel confident and hopeful in these few, manageable resolutions for the year.  I will purchase all my toilet paper, flour and sugars locally and feel better about helping out our local economy.  

Will you take the toilet paper pledge with me?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mama Said

Mama said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my mama said.

I realize that our situation is not unique and every parent goes through spells like this; however, it is a special kind of test that God puts us through during times like these.  A friend told me I should write a blog about our current situation and it might make me feel better.  Here goes. 

***

I can handle one child having a bad day.  I don't even blink an eye. 

Two children having bad day?  I get a bit exasperated. 

Three children having a bad day all at the same time?  Stick a fork in me.  I'm done. 

Last week one evening all three children decided to have 'a moment' concurrently.  It was hell.  One child was teething, multiples were in various levels of screaming and crying due to various atrocities and injustices in their lives, there was poop on the concrete floor of the utility room from a diaper that had been ripped off....  I could go on and on.  Wes was gone that evening working on cattle matters so I was left to face the troops alone.  I finally broke down and called my mama that lives two hours away.  Not so much for advice but just to vent.  I think she found quite a bit more humor in the situation than was necessary, but she did advise me to turn on the t.v., pour a drink of choice, fix baloney sandwiches for supper and call it a day. 

Thanks, Mama.

***

Two children in our home are in various stages of teething and also decided to get ear infections at the same time.  Thank you very much.

***

We tried to go out for supper and an evening of relaxation last night.  I got home at midnight to find that my living room had turned into a triage center filled with strategically placed towels, chairs, and puke buckets.  Apparently, as soon as we walked out the door that evening John decided to throw up every last ounce of bodily fluids across the entirety of my mother-in-law's home.  Bless her heart, Grandma Nellie rolled up her sleeves and dealt with a four year old, a two year old that was puking mercilessly, and a six month old that refuses to take a bottle but will eat sweet potatoes like there is no tomorrow.  She never called and I got to enjoy basking in the sweet bliss that is only found when you can cut your steak, and only your own steak, at supper. 

Gold star, Grandma Nellie.  Who am I kidding?  That was a three star kind of effort. 

***

It's not like Wesley and I are totally immune to the germs that float around.  He and I have been battling head colds and chest congestion for better than a week.  This morning I had quite a productive cough that produced more phlegm than anyone should ever have.  I ran to the bathroom and proceeded to choke/cough/puke into the toilet.  Not a life altering event in my book. 

I walked out of the bathroom to find Kenyon sitting on the floor, very emotional and crying.  He proceeded tell me that he heard me in the bathroom being sick and wondered if that meant I had another baby in my belly.  Apparently my morning sickness affected more than just me during all these pregnancies the past few years.

(For the record, I'm not pregnant.) 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Life Lately

Here's a quick and dirty rundown of life lately down our little dirt road. 

We (I) am trying to help Kenyon hone his fine motor skills and learn to cut along straight lines.  What better way to practice than by cutting out coupons for your mama?  Answer: There is no better way.  He cut out LOTS of coupons for me, regardless of my need.  I almost feel obligated to purchase two bottles of Miralax at this point just to use the 75 cent coupon he cut out for me.  What a sweet boy. 


Some afternoons, naptime is great for the mama.  Some afternoons, naptime goes more like this:


...and the mama accomplishes nothing.

Is this Halloween or just a nice, dress up occasion like church or a wedding?  I'll let you decide. 


I think the chinks and spurs gave it away.  It was our feeble attempt at Halloween.  I'm not particularly fond of the holiday and thus put minimal effort into it. The clothes really are some of the boys' nice church clothes and the chinks and spurs were mine from my youth.  Made me tear up seeing Kenyon wear them. 

I dreamed this 'Flapper Girl' outfit up about an hour before we walked out the door to trick-or-treat at three sets of grandparents' houses.  She was also wearing Mary Jane shoes.  Regardless of this dumb holiday, the kids looked sharp. 


If the weather is even close to decent, you'll find the boys down at the horse pen, hanging out with their friend, Honey.  If I had a nickle for every hour I did this during my childhood, I'd be rich.  I love seeing Kenyon and John instinctively do some of these very same things.  I wish every kiddo could spend some time just sitting on a fence, talking to their best friend.  


Again, this little girl and her 'nap time'.  She was such a perfect baby, but now that's she's getting some personality to her, I just don't know about this one.  Too late to send her back and it's a bit too early in the day to start drinking...


Our little, local library has a story hour every week.  This is my favorite craft to date - a bat.  We read a story that talked about swallowing a bat.  

There was an old lady that swallowed a bat.  
I don't know why she swallowed a bat.  
Imagine that!

Later, I asked Kenyon about the little old lady that swallowed a bat.  Why do you think she did that?  His response: "I dunno.  I think she needed to go grocery shopping or something because she didn't have enough food to eat." 

I love that he is so practical and has some critical thinking skills established.  


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

4 Year Old Wisdom

It is a beautiful, rainy morning outside.  There is no wind, no sun, no list of errands that we have to jet off to accomplish.  The windows on the house are opened wide which allowed me to listen to Kenyon's endless older brother wisdom that he was bestowing on John.  

Enjoy the following gems from a 15 minute time span. 

The boys enjoy picking the purple bean pods off my decorative bean vine (not edible). 
I now have a half-bushel sitting on a table for anyone that would like some.



Nobody step in that.  That is my potty.  We need to find a different spot to play in now.  Watch your feet, John.

***

Is that a snake?  If that is a snake, you're supposed to run fast and scream Mom said.

***

Are we supposed to not get dirty?  Is rain dirty?  I can just take a bath again.

***

It looks alive.  We're not supposed to take it in the house if it's alive.

(I have no idea WHAT was alive, nor do I care to find out.)

***

Dad's gonna go work on a pickup today.  Dad's gotta work on a lottttttt of pickups.

***

THAT is a big ol' caterpillar. 

(We are most definitely in a big ol' phase right now.  This particular description fits most anything these days.) 

***

Last night while running endless errands, we walked by a pop machine in a feed store.  The boys have never consumed pop.  The only beverage they identify with coming from aluminum cans is... you guessed it... beer.

John, we cant have any beer because we don't have any coins for the machine.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Decade

A wise woman once told me that when you have children, you lose a decade of your life.  I was a bit taken aback when she first dropped this little nugget of wisdom upon me.  Surely not.  An entire DECADE?  

For all you Lutherans out there...

THIS IS MOST CERTAINLY TRUE. 



This is the decade where we live for naptimes and
 if you can't respect the naptimes we probably don't need you in our life right now. 

This is the decade where grandmas can be paid in snuggles and giggles.*  
(*Not from their own offspring, but from the grandbabies.) 


This is the decade where birthdays are a big deal.


This is the decade where memes like this hit a little too close to home at times. 


The decade where you ride a camel if your kid asks you to. 


...Or ride down a super giant slide, even if you really don't like heights.


 The decade where running snap tests (or any chore) takes 100 times longer than it should because you have so many little helpers. 


The decade where you are eternally stuck in a rocking chair with a nursing baby and random creepers feel the need to check on you periodically. 


The decade where you blink and suddenly your kid can write letters all by himself. 


The decade where you tell stories to your great grandma and she plays along like it's the best story in the history of the world. 


This is the decade where you can sing Tanya Tucker lullabies to make your kiddos grin.


The decade where you can wear a straw hat after labor day, a t-shirt and shotgun your boots and no one asks you if you're from Oklahoma. 


I think my friend was right.  Life is such a blur right now that sometimes it does feel like one day we'll blink and a decade will have passed.  

But what a hell of a decade this is. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Happy Thoughts

Life has been weighing heavily upon me recently.  There are many things in others' lives I wish I could change right now.  Things that just simply aren't fair.

I cannot change these circumstances because I seem to have misplaced my magic wand (it's probably under the stack of laundry on my couch that needs folded); therefore I'll attempt to alleviate my mood by focusing on the good things in life.  Perhaps some of these grins will perk up more than just my day as well.  My apologies on the random photos.  Random is all my feeble mind can manage today.

Kathryn smiles often and just yesterday began to laugh.  Her laugh is one of the purest, sweetest sounds in the world. 

Last Saturday I stepped waaaaay out of my comfort zone and participated in a 5K.  Whatever happened to the 2 mile 'fun runs' of my youth?  This was over 3 miles through a hay meadow, pushing a stroller with a two month old baby and sopping wet feet from the heavy dew.  Not something I think I want to attempt again tomorrow, but certainly an enjoyable experience.  Many thanks to my friend Amanda for the push to participate.  Even if I was the very last person to cross the finish line.  

Very. Last. One. 


It was a beautiful morning for a walk, and by walking insanely slowly I was able to take photos like this one without blurring the image.  That was my real reason for walking so slow.  *cough, cough


I'm in love with my simply squeezable and kissable niece, Madeline.  Even though I have my own baby, I never pass up an opportunity to hug and kiss on another one. 


We've had an abundance of rain lately, and one can't complain about that in mid-August.  The boys have thoroughly enjoyed playing and splashing in the puddles. 


Kenyon likes to prove his manliness by picking up objects both great and small.  All stud, all the time. 


He may be a goof, but he's my goof and I love him dearly for it. 


 I casually asked if anyone was ready for lunch and John came running around the corner of the house and attacked me.  Apparently he was hungry.


Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
-Lady Bird Johnson


He fills my life with good things.
Psalm 103:5


Blessed are they that see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
-Pissaro


To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
-Audrey Hepburn