Christmas day

Church this morning.
She felt all grown up with her new shoes and her new necklace
Claire has her own funky freespirited style

While his mama ate feed and licked up some minerals, this Christmas eve baby was brave enough to approach the girls. He let Caroline pet him and scampered off when Claire thundered up in her too big rubber boots to see.

This isn’t the best cowherd we have by any stretch, but I’ve always liked this pasture. And the cow-personalities who reside here.

Lynn and the girls got in the cab tractor with two seats and went to feed hay in another field. I checked this field to see if they needed hay, and they did. I was instructed to wait here and open this gate so the tractor would not slide on the hill. So I sat here almost half an hour, in the nearly 70 degree sunshine listening to the sounds of birds, the stream gurgling and cows lowing to their calves. Occasionally I would see a flash of silver in the sky from a high-flying airplane. I needed this few minutes of solitude and peace today.

I hope you have had a great day today. Merry Christmas Friends.

How to cook for a farmer

Step 1: Ask him when he wants to eat

Step 2:Since you already know he is going to be late (because cows hate for you to eat a hot lunch) have the food ready 30-45 minutes after his stated time

Step 3: Check the time and realize he’s an hour late

Step 4: Answer the phone and hear what farm problem is making him late. (Today a heifer had a calf in the cold rain and is refusing to mother it or even acknowledge it. Apparently carrying a 90lb wet calf a long distance in the rain through a swampy marsh doesn’t do much to add Holiday Cheer to a Farmers heart. Imagine that.)

Step 6: Feed the kids…And go ahead and feed yourself. No need in having two hangry spouses. (That never ends well)

Step 7: Make him a plate and put it up of of the kids reach (or, if you aren’t feeling fancy just put the pans in the fridge)

Here is there terribly unhealthy Christmas Eve lunch I made today. I know it’s not healthy, but it’s his favorites…And it’s Christmas eve!

Merry Christmas Friends!

That fabulous mess of a Caroline

Caroline has been in need of some new church shoes.

I’ve always said I’d not let my girls wear heels until they were teenagers. (You know where this is going)

We went to the mall and her eyes landed on these patent leather delights. 

Oh Mama. I’m a big girl now.

She tried them on and “Oh Mama. I feel fabulous” while practicing walking. (Much better than me in heels) 

I texted Lynn and he gave the OK and I told her she could have them. She’s been really nice lately, and very helpful today.

I asked her to pick out a few presents for people she knows well.

She was a shopping machine…Selecting items carefully and precisely.

When I made a suggestion of something I thought would work she politely but firmly said

 “Oh, no this will not do. This is not her at all. Please. You told me I could do this. Please let me.”

I laughed out loud, but backed off and trusted her to shop. (Obviously I was closely watching her so no child snatchers would take her)

She did an excellent job. She is very thoughtful and detail oriented.

If I can teach her to retain her assertiveness but to also be kind and caring, I will have accomplished a lot. 

And she can be a little fancy, and a little farm girl. That is the best of both worlds.

Pony brushing
This mainly gentle, but kind of bratty pony is the perfect match for Carolines personality. Just challenging enough to keep her interested, but not frustrating.
The bottle calves are weaned now…but are still pets.

Mary and the Donkey

The girls have heard the Nativity story a lot. I didn’t realize how much until they invented a new game called “Mary and the donkey”. 

It goes like this

Sometimes the donkey throws Mary off. Which isnt historically accurate, but whatever. 

Now they’ve switched to “Going on a journey”….Each is carrying two backpacks and they say they are headed to Bethlehem.

Sitting in the couch, drinking coffee in my bathrobe, watching the strangest Christmas “play” ever. It’s a great way to spend the morning.

It’s raining on Sunday

It stormed last night…enough that Lynn didn’t stay for sunday-school after church and went to go check fences for damage caused by falling trees in the wind.

Since it was cold and wet we stayed for Sunday school.

The girls and I had a late lunch, put on our sweatpants and cozy flannel and took an exceptionally long nap all snuggled up. (Three and a half hour nap in case you were wondering)

When we woke up, Lynn was home (the fences were mostly in good shape) and we’ve lounged around the house for the remainder of the afternoon.

Lynn made some fudge with Caroline as his assistant while I started hanging up some shelving units in the bathroom for all the girls stuff that is always on the counter area. (OK, OK. Some of it is my stuff too) 

For quality control purposes, the chocolate fudge and peanut-butter fudge had to past the “Four Waters taste test”

Contrary to traditional gender roles, Lynn is pretty handy in the kitchen and I love DIY home things so we do whatever we are in the mood to do. Being well rounded is something we want to teach the girls as well…It’s my theory that being capable in several different areas lends itself well to developing self confidence and independence.
It wasn’t adventurous and exciting Sunday but for me and the ratbabies it was a much needed restful retreat. And Lynn may or may not be dozing off on the couch with a football game playing.

Have a great and peaceful week friends.

Sunday at a glance

The kids used my word supply all up today…and part of tomorrow’s word supply as well.

Claire likes machinery, and unlike Caroline doesn’t appreciate animals. She made me hold her so the cows couldn’t lick her. (They wouldn’t have licked her anyway)
These girls!
Caroline leaps at their heads and tries to pet them. We told her  that you have to move slow to not spook them.

Caroline enjoys calling the cows like Lynn. 

They found some ice in a bucket and had a great time taking turns poking it

Four Waters in a tractor cab headed to unroll hay
Driving advice from a 5 year old
She just told me “I donwanna get out with the cows”
We told her she could ride in the tractor all day.
First order of business when riding with Claire…lock the door
This one has been giving up some sass lately. Note the “Caroline stink-eye” look
Switched tractors to get the one hooked up to the feed wagon
She took the sass down a notch
This new heifer calf got a new ear tag which she didn’t seem to notice and Caroline got to pet the new calf.  The cattle are so used to Lynn, a lot of times he can just walk up to a calf slip the tagger in its ear and tag it without restraining it. Very low stress on the animal…just a couple ear twitches and they wander off.
The feed is spread on the unrolled hay.
Patched a fence
This pasture of cattle didn’t need hay, but they got feed.
Milestone. She can open and shut gates by herself now.
Thanks to the rain, the winter wheat is sprouting.

Thanks for reading friends. Have a great week!

Claire Grace says grace.

Typically at our house at dinner time, Caroline says grace. 

Claire has been wanting to participate as well. 

Since it seems like terrible parenting to prevent your child from praying, we oblige, and the girls take turns.

Last week, she folded her hands, closed her eyes and said…

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Lynn and I looked at each other and tried not to explode laughing. 
It was exactly like the scene from the movie National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

(click here for the clip) Claire reminds us of a movie star….Aunt Bethany in Christmas Vacation.

Priority check

​After everything that has happened with terrible fires to the north of us in Sevier County/Gatlinburg and devastating storms to the south in McMinn and Polk counties, sad news of loss of life, sickness and yet other friends dealing with the death of dear ones..the rabid consumerism that has tried to taint the Christmas season has an especially hollow ring to it. 

It has lost its sparkly, light up, blinged out luster. (I say as I finish online ordering the plush unicorn with the light up horn that my kid wants for Christmas. Hey. I’m not perfect.)

I am especially thankful to hug my healthy-except-for-snotty-noses family tonight. 

I know its a fuzzy photo…but it makes me want to sing “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly and Kenny every time I see it….and THAT makes it an awesome photo
I know yall have probably already seen this…but I love those three.

I am thankful God loves us and sees all of us as valuable, even those who are especially hard to get along with. (That needs to influence my thinking more than it does now…HEY LOOK. I made a New Years resolution EARLY. It’s a miracle! *Patting-self-on-back*  ) 

I’m thankful for friends, and for the kind strangers that I am continually running into.

I’m thankful to have been witness to thoughtfulness, generosity, and people putting the needs of others before their own wants. That has been a breath of sorely needed fresh air.

I’m so thankful to be starting out the advent season feeling so thankful…

Ok. I’ll stop. But, really I am so humbled by all the things I have to be thankful for. 

Next time I promise to tell you some of the wild/funny/horrible things my kids have done and not be so boring and serious.

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