Soft soled shoes

On Thanksgiving morning I had some time to help the girls with a craft. Their good friend Ms. Lisa from church gave them the kit one Sunday morning…and their slacker Mama is just getting around to helping them with it.

Cute little thing, isn’t it?

I used the glue gun and the girls put the pieces together. They did a great job, and giggled a lot doing it.

Over the course of the creative process…one of the shoes for the figures went missing.

Trying to appease my distraught children I made up a lie. “Girls. Back in the olden days Indians didn’t wear shoes” (my girls get emotional about ALL THINGS. So. Many. Feelings.)

Apparently they teach more in Kindergarten now than they did back in my day. Because Caroline was gravely offended by my story.

She raised an eyebrow and sternly said “Mama! The Indians often wore soft soled shoes called Moccasins! ESPECIALLY in cooler weather! It protected their feet from stones and other objects.

Claire widened her eyes and nodded seriously at me in agreement.

It struck me funny…and once I quit laughing we all agreed since these particular indigenous folk would stay inside the house they could go barefoot.

Y’all pray for me!

The longest harvest

Last year with the depressing drought I wished for the harvest to be plentiful and for the bins to overflow.

This year my wish was granted. The abundance of perfectly timed rain produced corn and soybeans that neared record yields for our farm.

There is not enough room in the grain bins to store the harvest and some had to be sold out of the field

That is a good problem.

Grain has to dry on the plant to a certain level of dryness. If the moisture level isn’t below a certain number it will spoil. To dry, dry weather and sunshine is needed. We’ve not had a lot of that…and once the grain has dried down and the farmers get started in the field then it rains and again they wait for it to dry.

While my husband and father-in-law wait, they don’t take time off – they catch up on work they might have let slide. Mechanic work, moving cattle around, planting winter crops… they’ve not sat idle.

If all goes as planned, today Lynn will finish the frenzy of fall work. It’s been almost two months of hectic farm work since we’ve spent much quality time with Lynn.

He is thankful for a good harvest, and the girls and I are thankful to have our farmer back.

Career plans

Caroline says she wants to be a veterinarian…

But maybe she will design cattle sale catalogs instead. (

Have a good week friends.

Helicopter mom

I struggle with the balance of letting my kids learn on their own, and making sure their projects are perfect.

I never would have pegged myself as a controlling perfectionist … But here I am fighting the urge to “help” my kids with everything.

It’s especially hard with Caroline. She has all these cool projects that her teacher sends home and they tempt my creative side.

This weekend she got a “Disguise the Turkey” art project sent home in her backpack. Friday night she told me how she planned on decorating it….like a “milk cow”. (A Holstein cow to be more specific if you know about dairy breeds)

So I thought and planned and figured out a way to make hers super cute and impress everyone with my…I mean HER creativity. I told her we would work on it Saturday morning.

Saturday morning she got up at the crack of dawn and quietly completed her project before I was up at 7:30. Saturdays I try to sleep in.

She woke me up and proudly displayed her creation.

She did a great job.

But it was nothing like I had in mind.

I wanted to fix it. Use all my great ideas. Make it MINE.

Then I realized it was not my project.

I am not in Kindergarten. I don’t need to learn these skills…but she does.

So instead of “fixing”, I praised her responsibility in completing her project by herself. I asked her to explain it to me.

And I watched the pride she showed explaining the thought she put into every “Cow Spot” that she drew in pen and colored in with crayon.

And I was so thankful I didn’t take this particular project over. Her perfectionist self needs to explore doing things on her own. With this particular child, me jumping in to make her projects different than she has planned will not encourage, it will tear down her confidence.

Hopefully I can wait till she asks for help before I excitedly jump in.

I am in no way saying anything negative about parents that help their kids more than I do with projects. Maybe Claire will need me more with school-work. I kind of hope she does, because I WANT TO HELP! She isn’t quite as fiercely independent as Caroline is…at least not yet.

I’m just making up this parenting thing as I go.

Have a good week friends.

Fall encouragement

Sometimes life wears you down.

The daily grind of our work schedules is tiring. Transporting kids, parenting, home upkeep, cooking, cleaning, just trying to keep up…well you know. You do it too.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to be refreshed. Dear family has made the effort to travel some pretty far distances to visit me.

From North Carolina my Aunt and Uncle came and stayed entirely too short of a time. They loved on the girls and encouraged Lynn and I. Even the dog got attention and fell in love with them. They fit seamlessly into our home and lives, and went to church with us. All of us felt thoroughly loved by them, and at least three of us cried in the driveway when they pulled out to go home.

From the “far away land” of Washington State came my cousin Carla. We laughed, had constant great conversation and laughed more until we couldn’t breathe. When she flew out I felt like I had gained a sister and a trusted confident.

I was able to take my leave from work to enjoy these visits.

And then more leave to spend fall break with my girls. Almost two full weeks in total.

The girls are fortunate enough to have doting grandparents they see nearly every day. They are crazy about their Memaw and Papaw…and coconspirators in a whole lot of mischief.

With time to breathe we were able to enjoy good friends every day and went to the zoo, to the mountains, rode horses, went out to eat, swam and went hiking.

The girls have so many people that love them, and I had time to look around and notice all the friends I am lucky enough to have.

Of course Lynn has been busy with fall harvest and hasn’t gotten a break…but when Mama’s happy…it makes the house run smoother.

It’s been a beautiful break. I’m a little sad that tomorrow we go back to our regular lives, but I’m refreshed and ready to tackle it with enthusiasm.

The girls are missing their friends at school and daycare and ready to “go learn”.

Have a great week friends. Remember to take time to enjoy what is important.

Pride goes before a workout

A local facility recently ran a special. For less than $20 you could have unlimited access to a gym and exercise classes for a whole month, including bringing the kids to swim.

Swimming is magic when it comes to wearing kids out, and even if I only take them 4 times total, that’s less than $2.50 per kid, per swimming, which equates to at least 4 really good naps for me. That’s less than $5 per nap!

I’m exceptionally good at rationalizing things like that. Obviously also in desperate need of sleep.

Since there was a class that looked easy on the class calendar during my lunch break today I decided to try it out today. After all, it was included in the price.

I walked in and noticed the teacher looked to be 30ish years my senior. Mentally congratulating myself for my obviously younger physical condition I pulled out a mat for the Yoga/Pilates/something-or-another and joined in.

At 36, I’m the baby here. Piece of cake. A little less toned than the others, but younger. No problem.

The class started with familiar yoga positions. I’m not at all shabby, I thought to myself. I had taken a class very similar when I was pregnant with Caroline. You know, over 6 years ago. When I could sleep as much as I wanted.

5 minutes in, I noticed I was a little winded. Hmm. That’s odd.

15 minutes in, rivuels of sweat were making their way down my face. I pretended to not notice. The A/C must be broke in here or something.

20 minutes in I had to skip a few repetitions, while pretending to fix my shirt so I could catch my breath.

25 minutes (by now I’m watching the clock and not even hiding it) and I hear someone moaning while they breathe. I am shocked and horrified to realize that person is me.

30 minutes in, I skip some more stuff. The other ladies are carrying on not even looking ruffled.

35 minutes in I noticed my reflection in the mirror…it was obvious I was sweaty, red-faced and struggling. The teacher remained poised, elegant, relaxed and not at ALL sweaty.

40 minutes in I was praying I could just survive the last 5 minutes of class and NOT DIE.

45th minute, I collapsed on the mat. Panting, sweaty and in desperate need of a shower. But I survived!

The nice friendly class ladies welcomed me to the class and said things like “Please come back”. I might have grunted my response, because I was still catching my breath.

The teacher who STILL HAD NOT BROKEN A SWEAT graciously introduced herself and asked me to come back. I blurted out something like “I’ve got kids and a job and a husband and I don’t get to work out much but I used to be in shape a long time ago and yes I’d like very much to come back”

I’m betting I’ll be pretty sore tomorrow. I’m also a bit traumatized to realize just how out of shape I actually am.

Just a friendly warning…don’t be snooty. It will come back to bite you in your tender hindquarters.

The reason I shop online

The grocery store…with well rested kids.

Claire was terrible.
This is how it went today.

The whole entire time.

I tried to make it fun, I gave boundries then disiplined, I tried to assign her jobs so she would have a purpose, and I spanked her. But like a wild animal possessed, she only wanted two things….to climb shelving units or to drag behind the shopping cart.

She crawled on the floor twice. She dramatically fake-fell on the floor 4 times.

She pretended she needed to go potty, then refused to go once we got in there.

She tried to open a bag of cookies on the shelf.

She slapped her sister in the back of the head for no reason.

She tossed random items in the shopping cart.

She tried to run away and hide behind other shoppers while laughing like a tiny maniac.

She grabbed the shopping cart and rammed it into my shins.

She threw a bottle of pine-sol over her head backwards so it busted the cap on the floor.

It’s not at all ideal, but she finally defeated me and I gave up and just drug her dangling off the cart.

I totally cried a little in the checkout line out of frustration. At that point I was no longer speaking as kindly as I ought to my children. I saw people giving me the side eye for being scary mom. (Or maybe because I looked unstable)

Just when I could not handle any more, like an angel directly from Heaven a sweet friend was waiting in our driveway when we pulled in with fresh-handmade-from-scratch cinnamon rolls for us. And she helped carry groceries in. And she wanted to go see Caroline’s puppy. So treats, help AND kiddie distraction… EXACTLY what I needed.

Lynn stopped by on his lunch break and put both girls down for their nap. He must have been stern because I just now walked past Claire’s room and she is loudly fake snoring, but not moving a muscle.

Y’all pray for me.

First full school week of the next 13 years

Sweet Caroline started tearing up at home this morning.

I used my one superpower (which is distraction. I can distract with the best of them) to help her hold it together until we got in the car.

I frantically whispered a prayer as I walked around the car to get in the drivers seat… “Lord help me. Lord help her!”.

As I backed out of the garage, I heard a little quivery voice “Mama?? Can we listen to bad music and drive slow with the windows down?” (She is of the opinion that I have poor taste in music. Too bad she’s WRONG.)

I smiled. “You WANT to do that?”

“Yes Mama.” She nodded.

“Ok Baby. But today instead of driving slow with rap music, we are driving FAST with ROCK music”

She giggled. “Why”

I answered “Because THAT is how my crazy is leaning this morning”

So I cranked it up (to a safe decibel level – remember I have a crappy sound system in the mom-car) And drove FAST. (Aka, the speed limit)

I looked back. She was doing the dance I showed her last week on the way to school. To the song Born to be wild.

“Mama! Shoulder, other shoulder and shake it!”

So I joined in. And we shook it. We sang. We tossed our hair.

ALL the way to her school.

She laughed the whole way.

It was almost as invigorating as coffee. Almost.

A schoolbus turned in by us at the stop sign. I turned UP the Whitesnake on the radio, rolled DOWN the windows and me and my reserved, appropriate child waved and cheered at the kids on the bus. A few waved and cheered back.

As we turned onto the road her school is on, a slow rock ballad came on. So I changed the station and it was 2-Pac Keep Ya Head Up YES I know he is/was not in any way, shape or form a role model for children. The hook of the song goes like this

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things’ll get brighter

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things are gonna get easier

Keep ya head up, ooh child

Things’ll get brighter

So those are the words my kid was singing as we drove up to the school.

As we went in the classroom we saw the teacher had laid out each student’s name on their assigned desks to copy and work on handwriting.

To keep Caroline’s jovial mood going I turned to her, and a little too loudly and a touch dramatically said “LOOK! You get to pick out a new name today! Which one do you like best?!!”

Caroline laughed “NO Mama! We each find our OWN name!”

Me as I pointed to a random desk “Are you SURE???! This name here is beautiful! Do you want to trade names?”

She giggled and asked for a kiss. So again today, I blew a big, wet, loud raspberry on her little dimpled cheek.

She trotted to her REAL desk, and started on her work. “Have a good day Mama! Please be good!”

“Have a good day baby! Have a lot of fun! Don’t work too hard!”

As I walked to the car, I realized that God had answered my desperate whispered prayer this morning…and he used 2-Pac to do it. And that thought made me laugh out loud. The parents entering the school looked at me. So I waved to them and grinned. I think its safe to say I’ve cemented my status as the crazy parent of the kindergarten.

But today, the crazy kindergarten mom is what my girl needed. And it just so happens that THAT is exactly how I was made.

There have been many, many times I have wished I had a more subdued outlook on life. That I was quiet, meek and full of sweetness and grace. But today, I am incredibly thankful that by nature I am NOT those things. Perhaps when God made me, he had this exact moment in mind. And that has had me smiling all morning.

I’m starting this week full of gratitude for the things I don’t control. I am also appreciative of the chance to bond with my little “Type A / perfectionist” daughter.

Have a fantastic Monday friends.

First full day. Also (Braggy McBraggerson alert) I TOTALLY sewed her dress. *Pats self on back*

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