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 
“STOP IT RIGHT NOW AND GO TO YOUR ROOMS AND-DON’T-COME-OUT-UNTIL-YOU-CAN-BE-NICE”
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.
HAPPY WEEKEND FRIENDS!!

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.

“HEY! WHY DAT LADYS BELLY SO BIG? IT BIIIG! HEY MOM! LOOK AT DAT! I BET SHE GOT BABIES IN DER!” 

(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. 

Saying prayers 

Last night as I was tucking my sweet girls into their beds.

First, Caroline. She says special bedtime prayers. First she prayed (she’s very thorough in her prayers- I’m so thankful for this kid who a lot of the time is absolutely nothing like me) for people who might be sick, and thankful prayers for all she had done that day. The. She prayed for Sierra Leone and all of Africa.

After she was done, I asked her what was happening in Serria Leone.

Patiently to me she said “Oh Mama. Their country has had a war. It is very hard. Then the people got sick.”

Me. “Oh, ok, thanks for explaining. ” (Figured I’d Google it later to find out what on earth she was talking about)

What a sweet kid she can be.

Then I go to Claire’s room. 

She squealed softly “Mama! Snuggle me!”

I laid down next to her to snuggle and asked her if she wanted to say bedtime prayers. 

She ignored my words and used her hands to make chopping motions at me. 

Me “Claire. What are you doing?”

Claire “I chopping your head off with my scissor hands” (wild laughter)

Probably not normal threenager​ behavior.

Me “Claire that is NOT nice. Do not ever say that again.” I looked as stern as I could.

Claire “Ok. No problem. Look, I cut your hand off!” Making chopping motions at my hand.

Me ” If you cut my hands off, who is going to change your diaper?” (Yes. STILL in diapers. *Sigh*)

Claire “Hahahahah. I just tickle you then. No more chopping!”

These two opposite children. They keep my life interesting.

Only moderately crazy.

Today I felt crazy. Even crazier than normal.

For the past 4-5 days Claire has been belligerent. 

Every single thing I have asked her has gone like this.

Me- “Claire, would you rather take your frog (toy) to your room or put it on the shelf?” (Trying to trick her into thinking she had a choice)

Claire- “No! I will not do EITHER.” Foot stomp. Pint sized dictator head tossed back squint-eyed-glare with defiantly crossed arms. 

Me- “Claire. I need you to choose a place to put away your frog or I will put it in my room until you can earn it back”

Claire- *falls dramatically on the floor, screaming, crying and kicking…Looking up just often enough to see if I am looking*

I try to not be looking. 

After much cajoling, threats, discipline and bribing she will finally do what we set out for….An hour before.

Then she frolics off and the happy place of Claire-Land is all games and giggles.

Anytime anyone else (anyone on the face of the earth but ME) asks her to do something, she smiles and pleasantly complies. 

Either something is wrong with this formerly delightful child, or she is trying her derndest (successfully) to drive me batty. 

Maybe it’s her ears. She had an ear infection a couple weeks ago and finished her antibiotics recently. 

I kind of hope for my sanity, that it is her ears. (I know. That probably makes me a horrible person.)

At the Pediatrician today, the nurse was going through the usual.

So what brings you in today? “I think Claire has an ear infection”

Any Cough? “No”

Fever? “No”

Runny Nose? “No”

Has she been complaining about ear pain or  has she been tugging at her ears? “No. Actually she tells me they don’t hurt when I ask.”

I realized then what an hypochondriac-parent I am sounding like. 

Claire is giggling to herself, looking exceptionally healthy and puttering about the room, doing her best to touch every germ-laden surface….No doubt we will be back here soon. Gosh I hate germs. 

“So, I realize she is three, and some of this is normal threenager behavior…But she has been belligerent. And she refuses to listen. And the whining…”

I trailed off, realizing how I sound. 

The nurse, kind as always smiled. 

“I just want to know if this is behavioral or if something is wrong physically so I know how to address it”

There. That sounded less emotional. Much more like  something a sane, level headed logical parent would say. Feeling more confident, I grabbed Claire. She pinched my nose HARD and yelled “HONK”….And went limp laughing.

The nurse smirked. “Oh I know. I’ve got three boys. If you are hard on them and they are sick, the mom guilt is bad”

I agreed. Mom guilt is the worst.

Turned out after the Doctors inspection, kid DOES have another ear infection. We got a prescription which will hopefully will take care of it.

Some ibuprofen and Claire’s mood was much improved this afternoon. Poor kid has been in pain. I’m glad I wasn’t hard on her. She’s tough, and has a pretty high pain tolerance- it will take a lot to completely throw her off her game.

As you can see, the little Daredevil was bound-and-determined to make it down the driveway first. Caroline wasn’t so interested in racing.

I am slowly learning that maybe you should still do what you think is the right thing, even if you look and sound like a lunatic. (Which for me is most the time anyway) 

Anyway. Have a great rest of your week friends, I hope you get some of this beautiful sunshine we did here.

Fashionistas 

We’ve got to go to the grocery store. Yuck. I told the girls that we would go to the store and then watch our new copy of The Little Mermaid.

8:15am. Claire “Mama, help me get dressed”

Me “Can’t you just dress yourself?” She always dresses herself.

Claire, looking pitiful and doing the eye-batting thing at me “No Mama. I need you” Her little hands patted my face pleadingly.

Ugh. So I caved and laid out an outfit for her. When I started to dress her she threw an elbow at me. “Stop it. I do it myself”

Fine. Whatever. Just get dressed. I don’t even care, just put CLOTHES on your body already.

8:30am Caroline’s turn.”MommmEeeee! I can’t find any pantssssss. Can you come hellppp mee??!”

Me (ohmygosh why can’t they put clothes on this morning?) “Ok Caroline”

I get to her room, where every dresser drawer is open and clothes are strewn about. It looks like my room used to whe I was going on a date during college. But Caroline is not in college, and she is NOT going on a date…So I made her pick it up. 

She picked each piece up painstakingly slow, knowing I am in a hurry. I caught her giving me a smirky-smug side eye. 

Infuriating.

9:00am I didn’t lose it and shout at her. Good job me. I must reward myself for that. Brownies during naptime maybe? It’s a date.

I then found her some pants, and laid out and outfit for her. Which she didn’t like. 

Her majesty does not feel like wearing purple today.

Her majesty doesn’t like the fabric in that shirt.

Her majesty doesn’t feel like that outfit “makes her look fabulous”

Her majesty does NOT wear stained socks. (Her majesty rolled her eyes with hand on hip at this point. Obviously I should know this.) 

OBVIOUSLY Her Majesty does not know how dangerous eyerolling is to her social calendar.

Stifling a crazed scream, and the strong urge to pick out the worst-most-stained-and-scratchy outfits possible and force her to wear that, I took a deep breath and walked out.

Pretending to be an adult “Ok, please pick out your own clothes. I’m getting myself dressed.”

I passed Claire in the hallway. WEARING A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT OUTFIT. And like 10 hair clips which she screamed bloody murder when I tried to remove a few. So I left them in.

Quite the hair designer

It’s little wonder that I’m crazy. 

9:30am (An HOUR and FIFTEEN MINUTES after we started) Both girls flounced in to where I was feebly trying to dress myself. 

“We READY!” Claire announced with her arms flung wide for dramatic effect…Quite similar in style to a circus ringmaster

Caroline had a turn, her style more regal and composed. “Yes. We are dressed. We are ready to go grocery shopping and then watch the Little Mermaid and YOU (she puncuated this with a finger to my chest) can make us popcorn ”

Oh no she didn’t. 

Me. “Well, it’s taken you much too long to get dressed. We have to go to the store, but I don’t think we have time now to watch a movie”

BOOM. Trump that kid. 

Two sets of eyes widened. Two little mouths quivered.

Ok now it’s no fun anymore

Claire squeaked out “Maybe after nap then?”

Me, feigning unconcern “We will have to see how you behave at the store”

THE STORE

Y’all pray for me.

Springtime on the farm

It’s springtime on the farm. 

Yes, that means baby animals for some species, the calving season is well underway here..so it’s time to vaccinate the winter and spring calves to protect them from preventable diseases. 

The girls favorite TV show is “The Incredible Dr. Pol” (www.thedrpol.com   that’s not an affiliate link, we just like the show) which is a reality show about a veterinarian and his clinic staff. They talk about it many many times a day. Since they’ve both expressed interest and don’t seem to be bothered at least by basic animal procedures on TV at least I decided to brave it with both girls. I’ve not taken both of them in years past. 

Lynn and the others corralled the cows and calves then ran the cows through a chute so they could be carefully looked at and medicated if needed. Then they ran the calves through. They separate them while they do this so the small calves will not be injured by big heavy cows pushing and shoving. For the most part, everything looked really healthy.

That white cow with horns is mean. We girls stayed away from her.

First things first- right after we arrived, the STARVING children needed a snack. You know, because breakfast was almost a WHOLE HOUR AGO.

Lucky charms makes a breakfast bar. Claire ate 4 in a row when I was distracted. Wow.

Then Claire played on the parked 4-wheeler and I took the opportunity to reclaim my “pre-baby job” of drawing up syringes. Only now I have a quick-learning protegee. 

Caroline is good with numbers and being precise, so she was a quick study. This bright blue stuff is a vitamin/mineral shot that Lynn is using to try to help those who might be feeling a little puny. Not given to all of them, just the few it was needed for. Take a look at Claire and Papaw in the background.

Caroline loved being helpful. In only short time I bet she will totally be “farmgirl-in-charge-of-vaccines” 

She got good at her job by the time we got to the end of the calves and was drawing up medicine independently. Obviously I was closely supervising.

 Claire was enthusiastic in her assignment, which was to shoo the cows away from the area we were working. She stayed on the 4-wheeler and waved a switch to startle the cows to make them move to one of the other haybales (or the plentiful nice green grass)

Hollaring things like “Hey cow. Get away” this is a job Claire FULLY embraced.

After a couple more things, it was past time for a late lunch and then feeding at a different farm. 

Food tastes better when you’ve been working outside


Both girls tried to help shovel gluten feed to the edge so the cows and bull could reach it. You’ve got to learn how to work at some point. They are still at the point where they fight over who gets to use the shovel, and to them it’s just a big fun game. Hopefully their enthusiasm will not ebb.

Claire has claimed “dee white one” as her friend

Caroline’s pet is “Mister Bully” This is as close as she is allowed to get to him.

Have a good weekend friends. We’ve enjoyed our time together this spring break.