Being Mama, Family, Farm, Kids

Fair?

This week is fair week. That might mean nothing to many people. But for us that means we are hauling our selves and our goats ( along with all necessary food and gear) to the local fair grounds so our animals and kids can show their stuff. It’s fun, dirty, hot and exasperating all in the same dry and windy breath.

As a show mom it is my primary responsibility to have all kids ( human and animal) fully prepared to do their best. Well, surgery kinda laid me out this year so I was a little weak on the giddy up. No matter, here we are – we made it! We stuck it out and are ready to compete. Saturday will be the auction and it can’t get here fast enough for this mama!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the very essence of animal husbandry and 4H has my whole heart. But, … let’s be real- it has me wanting to kick all my kids out and hide myself in a dark closet where no one can find me. Except maybe the Schwann’s man…and only if he’s delivering those silver dollar bars.

Let me introduce you to the cast of characters for fair 2019 starting with the 4 legged kids:

*Spike* if you could imagine a laid back Cali cool surfer dude in the form of a goat that would be Spike. He loves everybody man! He’s chillax to the max and loves hugs. He’s my favorite and I don’t mind admitting it. My only regret is that market animals have a short life span. Sorry dude, you will be missed!

*Fighty* Mike Tyson who? Fighty has entered the ring! Got food? He’ll fight you for it! Got hay? He’ll fight you for that too! Opening the gate? You guessed it! He’ll fight to be first out….unless, of course he doesn’t want to go out and then he will fight you to stay in. The winner for most consternating attitude goes to Fighty! Yup, everyone is a winner here! 😝 Good thing you’re cute kid!

*Skidder* This is the first time I have encountered a goat with anxiety. Skidder prefers to be restrained in a stall. The more secure the better. In fact, he will voluntarily jump on the grooming stand to be strapped down. It’s the only time he stops hyperventilating….drama much? Oh Skidder…. He also got his name from his habit of falling flat on the ground when you walk him and then going completely bezerk when you try to lift him back up. Skidder won’t be missed😏

Now for the 2 legged kids-

*Boy child of 16 years* Headstrong and physically strong this young male specimen is showing signs of independence and a distinct parting of ways from the matriarchal system. (Read: won’t listen to his mother) in all fairness he is maturing and growing daily. We have had many talks …. a few lectures…. and have learned a lot about each other this year. I’m taking the win here and leaving the goats totally out of the equation. Boom, #winning

*Girl child of 14 years* This lady is observant and able to get by nearly on her own. She sees what goes on and learns from others without much instruction. Which is good because she is also teening out on me at times and not always so receptive to mother’s suggestions *ahem!* I’m pretty proud of her and all that she is learning. Again, win.

*Girl child of 10 years* Um…..well, this one is a first year 4Her and acts like she’s got this thing. She was giving the big kids tips and reminders. I had to remind her that she had never done this before. Didn’t faze her. She is a cocky little bugger. My greatest task with her will be to point her in the right direction and keep the reins in hand.🙄 For her performance really isn’t a concern. Life is her party and she gets freebies from all the booths and candy galore. She’s thrilled. Win.

The problem is….. I am highly competitive. And a perfectionist (albeit I have been somewhat reformed). And I came into this deal with zero experience. Like, I had a cat for a few months once when I was a kid. So, all in all the deck was entire stacked against me. Add to that an antsy teenage son who spends a lot of time out of the house on odd jobs, a major surgery (mine), and 2 out of 3 animals that were impossible even on their good days. 🙄 And have I mentioned that I live in a small town and I know my friends kids are also our competition. It’s tough to smile at your friends successes when your pride is wounded. But we do because we are beyond proud of “our” kids. In this community we consider those who live here our own. And my children honestly don’t care. They see their gains and are content. They humble me and teach me each year that the goal is growth. Gosh, I’m a blessed lady!

So, while I maybe going prematurely gray and legally insane, we are growing, learning and making gains with each new project and venture.

So if you asked me:

Is it hard? Yes.

Does it make me want to run away and hide? Yes.

Is it worth it? YES

Put your kids in 4H folks! You won’t regret it! (Mostly)

 

Being Mama, Family, Kids, Life, Love, Marriage

Where Have All The Housewives Gone

We just had our yearly chat with the gal who does our taxes. I have been contemplating working a few hours in the summer. Something very part time. I asked if upping our income a bit was going to help or hurt us in the long run. Funny thing is if I make over $10,000 annual ( which I probably won’t) we up our tax bracket and lose some of the return we are now getting. Essentially, it’s a wash.

My kids are teens now and looking for work of their own. I love this age and yet I yearn to just be out of the house. They don’t need me as much now anyway. I love home but I’m not thrilled with staying there all day, ya get me? And yet, I hear my mother’s voice saying how she wished she had not gone to work when my baby brother entered his teens. He had a very troubled adolescence and she still feels a bit guilty.

And if I’m being honest, there are days when I’m not really up to the task. I’m working on myself this year to improve that. After chronic pain had become intolerable and migraines ate up the hours in my days I stepped back and made few changes in order to better myself physically.

I’m sure this all sounds like I am justifying my choice to remain out of the work place ( at least for now). I guess it is but it’s so much more than that to me. It’s a calling. I’m made to nurture and to love. I don’t understand how being a housewife has gotten such a bad rap. No, we are no longer living in the 1950s but there is truly something satisfying about providing the best for your family.

On any given day I am a driver, a cook, a teacher and tutor, a cleaner (NOT maid), a mentor, a help meet, a friend and lover, an encourager, an organizer, a planner and appointment maker, an economizer and financial assistant, a dreamer and reader, a prayer warrior and a keeper of the home. It’s a big job.

I was purging paper work recently and found stacks of report cards and college applications. Among these were several letters of reference from various mentors and teachers. I read them and was amazed at their kind words. They were chock full of sincere praise and promise. How did I not realize I was a golden girl? I was one of the few that would “amount to something”. I was just now seeing what my teachers must have seen in me then. A bright future. A world changer. Someone destined for more.

Did I squander my life? In the world’s eyes, maybe. But as I sit here writing this my 10 year old is bringing me her school poster to inspect, my 16 year old is explaining his newest dilemma with his vintage motorcycle and I am nagging my 13 year old to feed the goats. I know this may sound like your definition of crazy but this is my little slice of heaven and I wouldn’t trade a second. I’m here for my family and that’s right where I want to be.

I may be in the minority on this one but that’s ok. I’m proud to be a mother and housewife. And, if you ever need a cup of coffee or a hot meal there’s a good chance you will find me in my kitchen and I will gladly bring you in and make you feel right at home.

Being Mama, Kids, Life

Growth

The fuzz free boy holding one of our monster icicles

Yesterday was not a holiday and I was actually feeling pretty decent so off we went to Walmart for some post Christmas clearance. Seems we were not the only ones who had the same idea. Normally this is when I buy cards and treat bags as well as a few baking supplies and small gifts for birthdays and such. There, now you all know my secret.  Extra frugal tip: use a gift card that was gifted to you and then you can get a years worth of items for nothing! Hey, when you live on a budget you gotta pull every punch sometimes. Anyhow, I was cruising along and I made 2 purchases that kinda made me want to turn back time. I bought my son a shaving kit….and showed him how to use it. That peach fuzz kept getting fuller as the days went by. You are all welcome. Secondly,  I bought my youngest a bath set with deodorant. Yes, she is little but she is mighty….mighty stinky! So I’m reaching new mommy milestones every day as my kids grow ever close to the adults they were meant to be. Well, this house has fresh faced and clean smelling kids in it and I am forever grateful to be called their mother. Now if they would just quit wasting all the dish soap!

Happy Wednesday!

Extra little fun side note: those charcoal sheet masks are EXCELLENT for scaring your kids!

DIY, Kids

DIY Kids

Sunday afternoon my youngest was begging me to make lip balm with her. If you know our Sunday schedule then you probably also know that I was much more inclined to take a nap than craft. She had been eye balling the lip balm kits at Walmart for a while. (Don’t you just love how they put all those things down the CENTER aisle? ) I refuse to buy her the kit as I already have the ingredients at home. I just lacked the motivation! She was undeterred and insisted on knowing my recipe. I mumbled off the basic ingredients and general process – double boiler is a must! I was amused to see her jotting down notes in her mini notebook. How cute.

Next day… I come in from a walk and she presents me with my very own tube of her homemade chapstick.  Yes, I’m a proud mommy! She made 6 total and they are pretty good quality too. That shea butter really helps moisturize.

Passing on the DIY life to the next generation; )

Being Mama, Family, Kids

Raising Little Ladies

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I took this picture one day in early spring.  It was a quick kid photo shoot so I could update our pictures. Often we fail to get our own family pictures done (yes, my husband is a photographer) so I fill in the blanks with my own shots.

As I go back through photos this one always stands out to me.  My little girl peeks out at me and I see the woman she will become.  It is both a proud and frightening moment frozen in time. If I can do anything good for this gift of a child I hope to give her what I did not have.  I pray she is confident in herself and wise in her choices and that she puts God at the center of her life.

I know the time will come soon enough when the things I have taught her will have to stand on their own.  She will decide the direction of her life.  But for now I hope that the time I have with her will stand still just a little bit longer.

Kids, Life

Making a Difference 

I am a teacher. I have a small first grade class. They are few in number but have plenty of personality. I find myself thinking of all the kids that have come through my classroom.  My son was in my very first preschool class when he was 4. He’s 15 now so I’ve seen plenty of kids come and go during that time.

For most of my students I am the rule keeper, to motivator and cheerleader. I am the one who presents the task and guides them through the process. To some I am a constant and a routine that they take comfort in. To others I am the smile they crave and the only “good job” they will hear that day. I don’t take it lightly- although I have relaxed significantly as time wears on and I lose the spunk I once had.

It is an important job. We teachers shape the future. The kindness we give and the effort we put forth can make their day and influence their lives.

I’m not tooting my own horn- so often I feel as if I should be doing something more productive with my time. I just get a bit contemplative when I consider the fact that to one child I might be the difference maker. That is what keeps me going.

Kids, Random, Things I find funny

The Sillys Save the Day

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This is my dad. I learned from the master. This guy has the fine art of silliness perfected!

So my 12 y.o.  daughter has been wanting her own room for a while.  We did have a room available but the flooring was questionable. There were some soft spots so we put off housing a kid up there until we were sure it wouldn’t fall through.  Well, its holding strong and her desire for a bit of independence is ever so much stronger.  Let the switch begin!

In unearthing some of the things found stored up there I came across a short story I had written for my kids and my nieces and nephews.  I am the story-teller.  The calmer of fussy toddlers and the one given the task of regaling everyone under the age of eight at family gatherings.  It’s my gift to the world, lol.

Without further ado, I give you a tale of complete and utter nonsense.

THE SILLYS OF TOWNSVILLE

Once upon a time there was a family of Sillys.  Mr. Silly, Mrs.Silly, Sister Silly, Brother Silly and Baby Silly.  As you can imagine they were quite a silly bunch!

For breakfast the Sillys always ate a sweet dessert followed by a steak diner.  That way nobody was late to the table.  For lunch they invited all of their neighbors over for sandwiches on the rooftop. That’s because, as you may know, the every best sunshine is to be had at noon and the Sillys had no intention of missing it.  Dinner was always enjoyed while sitting snuggly around the fire. Even the Sillys didn’t know why it had to be so but Mr. Silly supposed it was the proper thing for a Silly family to do.

If you think the Sillys were strange about meals, you should see their home.  Wonderfully wacky and quite unique, it sat high up on a hilltop with a crooked stove-pipe two stories tall.  (the stove pipe, not the house) Even the windows were placed so as to appear like a smiling jack-o-lantern face to those who may have passed by at night.

In spite of, or maybe because of all their silliness the Silly family was instantly loveable. They welcomed anyone into their wild little home and always had loads of fun.  Perhaps that is why the Silly house always had company.  Even stray cats and dogs made their way to the Silly household. Sister Silly loved to leave trails of food for all kinds of creatures and as sure as cornflowers are blue, critters would find the Silly house by way of the treats.

One dark and dreary afternoon the lights flickered once, twice and then the power went out.  Mrs. Silly was just stoking the fire so she hadn’t noticed the lights go out.  The two Silly children were walking home from school and Baby Silly was napping.  The whole town was without power of lights.  As  you already know, the Sillys never used lights for the evening anyhow.  They were always huddled by the fire at that time of day.

This particular day the pound was entirely overcrowded with stray animals. Dogs, cats, iguanas, rabbits, guinea pigs and even a small donkey.  The power flickered once, then twice then darkness fell in the animal shelter.  (which really resembled a small zoo) The locks, being electric, all gave a chorus of clicks and quick  as lightning fur, feathers, yips, yowls (and a small hee-haw) erupted from the pound. Before you could say ‘shivering polecats!’ all those critters flew the coop!

The animals weren’t the only thing running amuck. The local grocery store was having it’s fair share of troubles.  Mr. Arugula had been managing the Veggie Emporium for twenty years and had never seen anything like it.  “Sizzling sour kraut!” he cried, as a store full of customers bumbled around like a food filled game of blind man’s bluff. Only they weren’t playing and they weren’t bluffing!  They were crashing carts into one another and knocking over towers of oranges and boxed crackers in the pitch black store.

After forty seven and a half nerve damaging minutes Mr. Arugula had managed to maneuver each customer out the door into the somewhat dim (and quickly darkening) evening.  Disgruntled and ungroceried they returned to their poorly lit homes to dine on leftover meatloaf and canned beets.

With the Veggie Emporium now empty Mr. Arugula began to take stock.  He stared ruefully at the freezer section where the raspberry ripple ice cream had melted into an elegant pink puddle and blended with the butterscotch truffle supreme on the floor.  It would have made a lovely paint color but under the circumstances he was not impressed.

The bakery down the road, Bozo Breads,  wasn’t doing much better. The power had gone out right in the middle of baking the mayor’s birthday cake.  I was to be the center  piece for the grand celebration as well as a feast for the opening of a new aquatic center.

Actually,  the celebration was meant for the grand opening for The House of Bellyflops but the mayor was never one to let the spotlight drift too far and claimed that it was “An honor to share my special day with the House of Flops grand opening!”

Now the cake could not be finished. The inside of the cake ran like lava while the outside was just beginning to firm up like a lovely golden sponge.  ‘”Fiddle sticks and funnel cakes!” cried the baker Mr. Baklava. “The celebration is tomorrow! Whatever can I do?”  Dismayed and disheartened he threw down his baker’s hat in disgust.

Thinking a bit of fresh air would do him some good he stepped out onto the sidewalk, the bell over the bakery door ringing behind him.  I sure wish something would ring a bell he thought as he pondered over his dilemma. Not seeing the light, Mr. Baklava walked blindly along hoping a bright idea would dawn on him.

Slowly, the downtown area began to fill with shopkeepers closing down for the day.  The butcher, fondly nicknamed ‘Captain Cleaver’ had to jumpstart his emergency generator to keep the meat in the cooler from spoiling at The Meatery. The air was thick with a dense fog and their was a gloomy overcast in the night sky.  The generator added an eerie buzz in the background.

All seemed desperately unhappy.  All that is, except the Silly children as they skipped up the walk into the front room. Mrs. Silly had the fireplace blazing merrily by then and had a bowl of hotdogs to roast for dinner.  Baby Silly with downy brown hair looked like a little bird perched merrily in his high chair.  “Gaa!”  He exclaimed, happily tossing Cheerios into the air.

As the Sillys sat down to roast weenies for their supper, there was a knock at the door. The baker, Mr. Baklava, stood on the front step looking a bit rumpled a forlorn.  Mr. Silly kindly welcomed him in for a s’more and the baker told his tale of woe.

“No problem!” exclaimed Mr. Silly.  “We will just create a new dessert! A fantastic, unbelievable and worthy of the biggest belly flop dessert!”  As Daddy Silly and Mr. Baklava sketched out a plan there came a scurrying, scuffing and pawing from outside.

Sister peeped out the window to find that most of the animals from the pound had indeed found a safe home on the Silly’s front porch.  The Silly children gathered the leftover hotdogs (and some oatmeal and lettuce) and went outside to feed the wandering critters.  Mrs. Silly called the pound and left a message to let Mrs. Woofmier know the animals were safe with the Sillys until the power outage was over.

Shortly after, there was another knock at the door.  It was Mr. Arugula from the Veggie Emporium.  He was headed home but stopped by to say hello to Mr. Silly.  He too began to share his troubles.  Soon, Mr. Silly, Mr. Baklava and Mr. Arugula locked themselves in the kitchen as “Operation Super Dessert” really began to take off.

In the morning, the sun shone brightly over the town.  Mr. Silly shone twice as bright for he had hatched a brilliant plan for the celebration of the century! The Sillys quickly got ready and hopped into the car.  They drove downtown zippity quick and parked under the statue of Townsville’s founding father; the great and honorable Mr. Good Founder.

Mr. Baklava hurriedly waved Mr. Silly over to a curtained off area.  Mr. Arugula was there too.  The whole town of Townsville turned out for the celebration.  Everyone waited with giddy expectancy as the mayor, Mr. Chatterboom, took the stage.  “People of Townsville, I would like to invite you to celebrate this very special day with me! My BIRTHDAY!”  The townspeople coughed, one or two gave a feeble clap.  The mayor continued,  “It also happens to be the opening of the..um.. what’s it?  Oh yes, the Flop House!  Wait !  No, the ah… the Aquatic Center!  To celebrate this momentous day our town baker has created a delectable dessert! I’m sure it will be just the thing to honor my …ahem, OUR special event today.” With a flourish Mr. Chatterboom waved his hand to the curtain.  Suddenly it pulled back to reveal a giant slip and slide covered in ice cream with a chocolate fountain in a pool below.

The Mayor looked quite befuddled to behold the strange sight.  The children, however, knew exactly what to do.  They dove in face first!  They were gobbling, slipping, smiling and squealing with glee!

Mr. Silly, Mr. Baklava and Mr. Arugula clapped each other no the back and shook hands as they looked on.  It was a moment the people of Townsville would never forget!

Farm, Kids, Life

What I learned from keeping critters

I write a lot about animals but the truth is there is a lot to be said.  I like most critters that are feathered or furred.  I’ll admit it can be stinky business at times.  It just kinda happens so you have to expect it. Animals are messy. Also expect the unexpected.  They will do the craziest things and get into the strangest predicaments.

I love keeping animals.  There are some obvious bonuses to the business.  Our sweet bunnies are cute, furry, cuddly, etc.  Our chickens give us eggs and have interesting personalities. Beyond that they are calming.  They are dependent on you and that is both humbling and encouraging all at once. They don’t talk back so you can say whatever is on your mind and they just go about their day.  They are always happy to see you- because you feed them.  Aside from providing our daily meat (or at least a portion of our meat) our animals teach us so much more.

Responsibility.  It’s a good word.  It gets you up in the morning and gives you a daily opportunity to look past your own needs.

Work. Positively occupying our bodies is a must.  What would we do otherwise? Answer: probably squander time on things that we shouldn’t.

Nurturing.  It’s pretty amazing to see my drama queen daughter dutifully care for her bunnies as tenderly as a loving mother.

Science and Health.  I love watching my teen son learn how to nurse a sick goat back to health and try to figure out how we should alter its diet for optimal growth.  They just don’t teach this stuff in school.

I really can’t say enough good things about farm life.  Have I convinced you yet?henneke farm SUNSETPhoto credits on this pic go to my friend Carolyn.  She captured the farm at sunset one evening when it was looking its rosy best.  Love!