The Village

Besides my kids, I’m not genetically related to anyone in the state.

That made me lonely for a long time…I wanted to raise my kids in a “village” by which I mean looked after and loved by many.. And by loved, I mean loved enough to be corrected when they aren’t living up to their potential.

I prayed about the situation, felt sorry for myself, and tried to make friends. (Mostly felt sorry for myself)

Recently I had a chance to look around  and I noticed.
Friends that will correct my ratbabies firmly, gently and guide them the right direction.
Grandparents that love them fiercely just because. If my girls learn to see themselves through their eyes they will never want for self esteem.
Daycare/Preschool teachers that encourage and support only the best behavior, and my kids are learning to rise to that challenge.
Church friends that encourage, support and love on us, and teach Caroline and Claire about God’s love.
A warm, caring and loving father that loves them more than his few words can ever fully explain. Luckily his patience and good nature shout love, and it is visible how safe and special they feel when Lynn is around.

I realized this week, I’ve got my village. My girls are surrounded by kind souls that show them love, guide them and spoil them a little. As they grow, I feel so encouraged that all these people and all their collective wisdom will be helping us navigate the future. It makes being a mom a little less daunting.

AND I know that if they ever act a-fool in public when I’m not there, somebody is going to call me and report.

So thank you my not-genetically-related-to-me village for being my family. You are there when I need you most!

Thanks friends for reading.

Wild child, diva Claire. Lord help me.
Sweet, dramatic and meticulous Caroline

My shameful secret

My husband said some pretty terrible things to me before he left this morning for work.

Things like “Please do some laundry, no one has clean underwear” and “Will you wash some dishes, they are starting to smell”

On my day off! Can you imagine? What a terrible way to talk to your spouse. My solution was everyone go commando (except Claire who wears disposable diapers) and to buy paper cups and plastic forks….but I decided to submit to his unreasonable demands JUST this once.

I hate folding laundry. I know I should be thankful we have clothes, a laundry room, etc…but sorting and folding is soul killing work.

So here is my shameful secret….are you ready for the horror of it?

My laundry room. Its ok to judge me for it. I probably deserve it.

Caroline is quite helpful with laundry. Claire is NOT.

Eating cheesy crackers and letting them crumble into the clean towels. *Sigh*

Despite Claire’s best efforts, we got everything cleaned up.

I can hear the angels singing.....or that might be my kids fighting. I can't tell.

AND I ran the dishwasher. Wife of the year award belongs to ME! (But then again, I fed the kids lunchables for lunch….so maybe not)

Cow update

Going through the last couple days in reverse….
The cattle are ok. (Last post) They are past the waiting period the Veterinarians said to be in alert and all is well. The fence building/county and city worker stuff seems to have been worked out, so we shall see about that.

It was the kids last “official” day of daycare though they will keep going part time this summer, cause Mama’s gotta make some money!

Kids. No longer babies.

Caroline is enjoying her very first sleepover with my in-laws. So far I’m ok. (I’m more than sure she is fine!)

Last, but not least mornings aren’t my jam. But the kids are pumped…they have started having parades before school. MORE COFFEE PLEASE.


Farm Drama

I had an Ag Committee meeting at work tonight and didn’t get out of it till 8:30.

I called Lynn expecting him to be starting the bedtime process with the girls.

Instead his terse voice came through “Can you come get the kids at this rented farm? We’ve got problems, the City left out bentonite clay and the cattle have been in it”

Well, crap.

So out to the farm I go in my new work dress and only nice pair of comfortable sandals. (If you know farm life, you know stepping foot on a farm in nice clothes is a death sentence for those clothes to be nice and not stained anymore)

The City is installing a new sewer line, and parts of it go through this pasture. Since we (by we, I mean the family farm) have signed a contract with the owner, the City said they would let us know of anything being done before it happened.
Well, someone dropped the ball on that and apparently cattle like to eat bentonite clay. Lynn estimated that the small herd of about 30head ate about 800lbs.

You can see the pallets of the bags. The cattle gave torn into the bags, and if you get closer you see more is gone than you can see from this distance.

To put it in perspective, that herd of registered cattle is worth a lot more than three times my annual salary. (State job, 12 years experience and a M.S. degree…albeit I am a bit underpaid)

We didn’t know about the toxicity of what they had eaten having never had any experience with large amounts of bentonite ingestion before and called three Veterinarians. It being almost 9pm One didn’t answer, One said she was optimistic about it and One looked it up and called us back and said in small amounts it would be fine, but no one knows about such large amounts…keep an eye on them. (Thanks awesome Vets for calling back)

Lynn was in such a rush to get out there when his phone rang that he threw the pajama clad children in the truck barefoot. After they had got the cattle moved away from the clay, I brought the yawning (but thoroughly enjoying the adventure) kids home while Hubby and Father in law waited for someone to come move the pallets.

We don’t have a tractor there right now or we would move it….they don’t want to move a tractor down there at night because they might get hit by one of the vehicles that fly down that backroad. The keys to the equipment that is parked in the pasture was in the pocket of a worker who was two hours away. So the men are waiting for him.

I’ve got to be in Knoxville tomorrow morning for a 4-H event, so no sleeping in for my poor tired babies.

Grump 1 and Grump 2

We will wait, watch and pray all the cows, calves and the bull are fine. I’m encouraged by what the Veterinarians said.

Goodnight friends it’s past my bedtime!

Friday the 13th

In the time it took to put on my pants this morning Claire painted her feet and hands with nail polish and drawn on her hands and arms with a magic marker.

Lively that one.

After work Lynn had Caroline so I took Claire to the grocery store.

While at the store, we crossed paths with a mature lady wearing a tube top that was headed in a southern direction.

Of course Claire noticed. She ran towards the lady (I’m estimating Claire got about a yard away) and pointed. At the top of her healthy lungs she yelled “Boobies Mama! She Nakkey! Need CLOTHES! Nakkey! Boobies! Mama! Get her DRESSED!”

Lord help me. Humiliated doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The lady looked around confused, I can only hope she didn’t understand Claire’s baby-talk. I apologized and grabbed my precious angel-baby and scurried away like a roach scurries from light. I felt exactly like I imagine a roach feels too.

Just when I think I can’t be humbled more than I am….I go to the store with my children.

We spent a long time petting my father-in-laws new to him, secondhand farm dog. Caroline loves him. His name is Seymour.

Photo cred to my mother-in-law

Then I tried to help Lynn figure out how to switch the conductors on a plug in a tractor, but we ran out of daylight.

Any ideas friends?

While we were busy, the girls locked themselves in the cattle trailer.

It is kind of like a big aluminum playpen, with a certain aroma

Happy Friday friends. TGIF!

The Budweiser Truck

Driving the girls to “school” this morning, things were quiet and I was deep in thought, when Caroline suddenly screeched “Look!! YUM! My Favorite”

After I recovered from the minor heart attack she gave me I asked her “What?”

She pointed.

Caroline says this is her "favorite"

Can you tell what it is? (Traffic was weird this morning, and the car was stopped when I took this)

We aren’t beer people. So…what exactly are they teaching them at that high priced church daycare? (Kidding. We love all those ladies)

Then she giggled and chattered on “Ice cream man, Ice cream! I looove ice cream! It’s my favorite!”

Whew. She thought it was an ice cream truck. Dodged the bullet there!

After work I took the kids to a store to pick up things for a 4-H Ice Cream Social tonight (such a tough life I lead) The checkout lanes are killer. So many temptations for the girls, but they did really well….I had to let them look though.

Walmart us always an adventure with these two

Lynn was working late tonight so the girls went to the 4-H Ice Cream Social at the park party. They had a splendid time.

And tonight I got their “gifted to us”- “painted by me” chalkboard up. They LOVE it. And it’s mostly in the kitchen so maybe it will occupy some of their time when I’m working.

Pink seemed an appropriate color.

Sweet babies.
Have a good hump day tomorrow.

Good night friends.

The whining tree

So – my Caroline has random freak-outs.Think if you are being held hostage, except instead of a gun the bad guy is screaming, kicking, growling and gnashing while making unreasonable demands..but you can’t just “walk away from it”..and that’s pretty much it.

She can scream and fake cry for literally hours, until one of the following happens

A. She gets her way (I don’t want to encourage this rottenness so I make my best attempt to never let this happen.)

B. She gets distracted (very rare)

C. She decides she is finished.

I don’t know what to do. Punishment, bribes, and removing privileges don’t work. Neither does hugs and snuggles.

Typically she is demanding that Lynn return home from work. So…I can’t make that trigger stop because farmers gotta farm.

Sometimes, she throws fits over say ” I want ice cream”.

The only strategy I know to do is send her to a cool down spot to give what shreds of sanity I have left a break, and to let her mellow and decide she wants to stop.

Unfortunately I can’t handle angry screaming right next to me for long-drawn-out-amounts of time. It makes my heart rate fly up, my head pound and my patience die a painful death.

Enter: The Whining Tree.
It’s a part of the fenced in backyard that she is banished to where she can scream to her hearts content. (Sorry neighbors) She can climb it, dig in the dirt, throw sticks or kick the tree. Whatever. Just stay there until you finish, and quit screaming before you rejoin the family activities.

Caroline celebrating Mothers Day with a robust temper tantrum.

I am doing my best – and right now, this is the best idea I’ve got. If you have a better idea, I am all ears.

Obviously I don’t send her there in bad weather or after dark, or while I’m not monitoring her… but since it’s 75 and sunny with a light breeze today…well…you have to make use of your resources.

I love my sensitive, high strung, intelligent and Sweet Caroline. I don’t really like screaming though.

Have a wonderful Sunday friends.

Horse Show Saturdays

I worked this morning at our county 4-H horse show.
It was a smaller than usual crowd, but everyone was happy, efficient and worked hard. I enjoy watching the kids have good rides, reminds me if all the BAD show rides I had on my crazy mean horse growing up. Good times. (Word of wisdom: Life is too short to ride a bad horse)

I was impressed with the hard work the 4-H kids put in, but even more so impressed with all the volunteers that made the show happen. I didn’t hear an argument or complaint all day. If you think there is no good in the world, come to a youth event and watch those volunteering.

Claire has apparently been working on a special art project here lately. SURPRISE!
I didn’t even bother fussing at her this time. I’m tired people.

Such a rascal. I don't know what to so with her sometimes.

Lynn got me some mulch.

Plant sale plants in a new flowerbed.

I’m so excited. I love it when the yard is pretty. Happy plants in fresh soil or in mulch are oddly peaceful to me. I was so excited about the mulch that I lost track of time (I’m pretty time-blind anyway) and missed the Kentucky Derby.

Mulch is a girls best friend.

After their baths, I made the girls stay on the concrete to stay clean-ish. Since their secondhand Jeep was dying, they took turns driving and pushing. They make me laugh.

Have a great Mothers Day friends. Tell those influential women in your life you appreciate them!

I woke up this morning cuddled between two warm snuggling girls, who had quietly slunk into our room during the night.

I love snuggles. It snuggles was a drug, I’d be an addict.

Lynn dressed the rascals and fixed their lunches. The kids went to school with no complaints.

We had a much needed evening at home, with early showers and cartoons in pajamas and Tacos for dinner.

Caroline enjoyed several long stints alone in her room working on her new to her desk. (Lynns childhood desk from his parents basement) Claire snuggled me when her sister was occupied.

She loves "working" alone

Much much better day.

So thankful for that.

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