When your parents are a 4-H lady and a farmer

Today was our County 4-H Horse Show. The expected high was 91 degrees. I don’t know it it reached it …but it certainly felt like it did.

Also, it was a day when the conditions were finally right for Lynn to plant corn. 

Since being trapped in a tractor cab until dark-thirty tonight didn’t sound appealing to the girls  – they came with me. And beyond some normal kid behavior (and excessive snacking – MAN those kids can eat) they were great. EVEN past their naptime. It was hot, and we got a little too much sun – but zero complaints in that department.

In appreciation for good behavior- I bought them a shaved ice from a food truck on the way home and spent their naptime getting the stock tank ready for swimming. 

The great thing about this little setup is that I had time to clean it out, hook up the pump, plop a chlorine tab in the floating “chlorine duck”, have it mostly filled with water AND a little extra time to put my feet up and drink a nice tall ice water before they woke up.

They woke up estatic about “swimming”, and streaked down the hall into their rooms to dig out swimsuits. Then it was out to the backyard for Caroline to fling herself into the cold water. Claire took a slower approach.

It’s been a good day – I’m glad I got to spend it with the girls.

Have a good Sunday friends.

Convictions from kid-fights.

Now, when I don’t like something I typically grouch about it. So this isn’t a sermon. I ain’t no preacher yo.
Last night my girls were griping and fighting about doing the easy tasks I asked them to do. (think, set out paper napkins and pick up trash they just threw on the floor)
Tired, with a headache and having enough of the squealing, fighting, and whining I bellowed (you know, like the graceful southern belle I am) at them 
Left to finish shredding the crockpot pork for BBQ sandwiches in relative quiet – Bible verses I memorized (which I only memorized because I was bribed with candy) in a church program popped into my head…made more relevant since these days I am both the one asking people to do things, AND taking “orders” at work.
This one from Phillipians 2, verses 14-16 (NIV version)
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
Grumbling and arguing. Just like my ratbabies I tend towards that. Oops. Might ought to try to do better there.
And this one from Colossians 3:23 (Again, NIV)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Well. Lunch break is about over. I need to adjust my attitude and get back to work. Pray for me please. It’s going to be a hard thing to work on.

What does a clean room look like?

If you ask Claire Grace what a clean room looks like, this is her answer..

Next time I will check rather than take a 3 year olds word on a job well done.

After they said their rooms were clean, I asked them to put on some clothes to run to town… they got all gussied up.

I felt underdressed, in my T-shirt, jeans, Chacos and real messy (as opposed to the stylishly messy) bun. Kind of like maybe I was a (really old) college nanny to some fancy family. 

Oh well. They DID look cute.

Seasonal farmer spouse

If you are married to a farmer, you know this – we have seasonal spouses.

Fall- kiss them everytime you see them, because you won’t seen them much. Fall is harvest time, the time if year where literally you reap the rewards of a years work in the fields. On our farm that means corn and soybeans are being harvested, and a cover crop of winter wheat is being planted.

Winter – you see them more often… No crop emergencies, fewer equipment breakdowns and less calving problems to attend to. Most nights you can get through dinner without a farm emergency phone call interrupting – this is MAJOR, and fabulous, and I get too used to it every winter. They still work a lot (7 days a week, a lot) but not excessively so, at least for these workaholics we call farmers.

Spring time – as soon as the daffodils bloom, give ’em a big hug goodbye because the steady stream of 12-14 hour days is just beginning. Typically dinner is interrupted 3-4 times a week with urgent farm business. (I DO NOT like the inturrupting dinner part) Typically Lynn starts with vaccinating calves and doctoring the herds.Then he moves on to spraying fields to kill weeds. Sometime in there they sell the weaned calves. Then spraying the crop fields. When my Iris beds bloom, Lynn has started getting corn seed and working over planters readying them for the busy time of putting seed in the ground. 

Going with Daddy to “help” work on the corn planter…even
farm girls have to be fancy.

Every spring all of us have to readjust to the annual normal of Lynn working longer and harder. Because we have young children, every year is different developmentally for them, and it’s new parenting territory for us. As they get older, I think they will understand it more…And maybe the parenting gets easier. (I know that last bit isn’t true. All the experienced parents have told me that parenting never gets easier. But let me believe the lie that smooth sailing is ahead!) Since I am also a working parent, family logistics are kind of a mess during the spring time.

Without so much as a day off, spring rolls right into summer. As soon as the corn and soybeans are planted, the wheat is harvested and straw is baled.

In the middle of all this I finally get my garden in the ground…Which (despite my AS, BS and MS degrees in Agriculture) will not look nearly as good as the field crops. 

As soon as the straw is baled, then it is time for hay to be harvested. There is a first, second and if the weather is good a third cutting of hay on each and every hay field. The girls and I ride in the (air-conditioned) tractor with Lynn some because that is just about about the only way we can see him awake.

Towards the end of summer, if we are lucky there is about two weeks of a break. Cows still need checking, but the hay is up for now and the fall harvest hasn’t started. I try my hardest to get my farmer away from the farm for a few days of relaxation during this time. Because he rarely gets breaks, he will not relax at home. He doesn’t know how to. I’ve found if we get him far enough away, he will unwind a few days…And that has to be good for him. Without question it’s good for me, and the girls enjoy adventures as much as I do.

So that’s our schedule in a nutshell. That’s why you won’t see Lynn at a lot of things that families typically do together. No, we aren’t fighting – yes he really does work THAT much.

Have a great week friends. Stop and smell those flowers! 

Never going back to town

It can’t be my parenting, it just can’t. Maybe it’s my genetics…Perhaps it is the full moon that happens this week. 
It just simply can NOT be that the children are taking control.

Our toilet seat has been broken for a while. And our front door needs painting. So in the name of responsible home ownership off we go to the home supply store.

Minding her own business across the store is a perfectly fine looking lady….who happens to be bit plump.

Claire decided this needed to be remarked upon, and does so at the very top of her extremely healthy lungs while (of course) pointing.


(In her defence, on the previous nights veterinarian reality show episode there was a goat with a giant belly and there were multiple kids in her)

Everyone in our vicinity stopped and looked at us and to where Claire was pointing. 

Glowing with shame, I apologized and grabbed Claire’s arm and drug her over behind the stack of concrete pavers. Caroline followed closely, not wanting to miss watching the drama unfold.

I lectured Claire that we don’t say things about people that might make them feel embarrassed…And that we really needed to be saying NICE things TO them.

Caroline nodded sagely.

We picked out our paint. We selected our toilet seat. 

A man with long hair pulled back in a ponytail and purple converse tennis shoes came down our eisle in the “toilet seat section”.

Remembering what I had just lectured them on, Caroline took it upon herself to say something kind. Except she made a big mistake, understandable since she doesn’t know any men with long hair….

She pranced up the the fellow

“Excuse me Miss Lady. I LOVE your purple shoes!” She smiled brightly, expecting to be thanked.

I apologized over my shoulder​ (I’m sorry getting good at that) and moved out of there fast – kids in tow.

I explained to Caroline that it was a man she had talked to and she shrugged her shoulders “Oh well. He still had nice shoes” 

Point taken.

The final hurdle before paying and leaving was to get a new toilet handle. While I was reading the back of the boxes I hear giggles and it sounds like the girls are singing songs into a bucket.

Nope. It’s not a bucket. 

I wish it was a bucket. 

I would pay money if it had only been a bucket.

It’s these sweet little germ-monsters with their faces squished up on the bottoms of TOILET PLUNGERS. 

They are singing “Jesus Loves Me”

We are never, ever in a million years coming back to town again. Except for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will need groceries.

Mourning Dove Therapy

Sunday afternoon, Caroline and I saddled our horses for some slow, laid-back riding. 

It is the best time for conversations.

While our horses eased their way down a dried-out muddy hill, we heard the call of a Mourning Dove.

Caroline, who is really into nature and animals right now looked at me “Mama! Did you hear that? Why is an OWL out in the daytime!”

Me “Baby. That was a Mourning Dove”

Caroline “But….It’s not MORNING”

Me “Well no. But Mourning in this case is spelled differently and means something different”

Caroline “What does it mean?”

Me (so much for relaxing, gotta engage the ole brain now) “To Mourn is to suffer a great loss, like if someone you love at lot dies, and you will be sad for a long time”

Caroline thought about that. “Mama. Have you ever mourned?”

Me “Yes Honey. When your Grand-Mema died, I mourned. I am still sad about it sometimes” (more than sometimes) 

Caroline said gently and oh so sweetly “Mama. I remember her and when she died. It made me sad. But, we still have her picture. And when we die, we will see her in Heaven.” 

Me (my throat was feeling pretty tight by this point) “Yes, you are right”.

Caroline, confidently continued “Even though we won’t see her again here, we will see her in Heaven. And in Heaven we will all be healthy and happy. And we will have a big reunion! We will see her, and anyone else we know that has already gone to Heaven to see Jesus! Won’t it be fun?”

All I could do was nod and try to smile…feeling thankful for my dark sunglasses and this wise old soul of a 5 year old that has been somehow entrusted​ to me to raise.

The issue in her head completely settled, Caroline turned around and grinned at me. “Hey Mama! Watch me trot up this hill!” 

Oh, my heart. 

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