Monday, December 28, 2015

Milk and Cookies 2015

Well here we are with me writing this blog after Christmas again! I thought about just changing to sending a generic card for 'all' of the holiday season, but I am afraid my procrastination would be even worse and we would end up with Christmas in July like last year every year. But as long as I get Mark to sit down and be in one family picture each year than I have accomplished something.


He continues to grow the dairy farm by keeping us all busy painting the barn [in the colors of white and chocolate milk]  and having close to 30 calves to feed this summer. All the girls took turns combining with daddy this fall and the bigger girls said they got to drive for one pass of the field.  He gave the girls some more animals to love when he said it was okay for me to give two kittens a new home on the farm this fall.  He is still on the hunt for that big buck he caught on the trail cam this fall as he decided to save his buck tag for late muzzleloader season with the new muzzleloader he picked up as an early Christmas/Birthday present. We continued our annual get away to Country on the River where Dierks Bentley was the show that rocked the stage this summer and we took a trip down our country music concert memory lane with Alabama on the first night.

I am on my second year as Reading Specialist at AHS. With construction to the high school mostly finished, I was able to move to my own room this fall. I have really enjoyed arranging and making my room student friendly for all the kiddos who come through my doors. I wrote and received grants from Wal-Mart and Dollar General to add some fun seating in my room with exercise ball chairs and hokki stools - sometimes I even get random kids in to check out the chairs which makes it fun for me to meet more students than the ones in my reading program. My co-workers continues to amaze me with the work we are doing to help our students achieve their goals after high school and had a boost to this work as we bonded together this fall to win our school $100,000 from State Farm in their Celebrate My Drive contest. Outside of school I keep myself busy reading, crafting, and ‘just’ being a mom and farmer’s wife.

Even though she wouldn’t touch the crayfish in Science she was able to pass 3rd grade and started 4th grade this fall. We are very proud of her for getting above the fluency mark in reading! She learned that mommy might know a little something about teaching reading as when she listened to her and read aloud more at home her scores went up ;) She is taking 2 dances classes this year with 3 types of dance so is learning how to tell the difference in steps for tap, jazz, and hip hop plus she made her up own dance routine at home after being inspired by the song “Better When I’m Dancing” She is also trying out 4H this year for the sewing, crafts, and cooking so we look forward to that adventure this summer at the county fair. And she is continuing her 3rd year in Girl Scouts so be ready for cookie sales in February again.

2nd grade continues to grow her skills in learning. She loves to read and learn about new ways to do math. Our little farm girl continues to learn more about helping her dad on the farm. She can even tip a bucket over to stand on in the parlor and milk her favorite cow #605. She even tried out hunting by spending some time in the blind with daddy this December, but even though there was a doe close enough to shoot she worked on her patience skills by not shooting it because daddy said it was too small. Daddy found her a pink BB gun for Christmas so she is excited to practice some more shooting with it. She is busy learning new moves in hip hop and tap and decided to try out Girl Scouts this year too. She is quite the sales girl so it will be interesting to see how she does selling cookies the same time as her sister in February.

Our sassy youngest gives her spunky middle sister a run for her money. She is not afraid to let you know what she wants and sometimes finds herself in time out as she continues to learn the best way to express her feelings. But her excitement and giggle are contagious and if you ever need a laugh she is the one to go to as she can always find the best thing to say. She loves to read before bed and has Pajama Time memorized to read with mommy every night! No chair or blanket is safe in our house as she can turn them over and cover them up in no time to make a house to play in. It is so fun to listen to her imagination work overtime as she plays and grows.

What has been the best part of time with your family this year?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bushel of Blessings

I set out to start writing this post at the beginning of November and add to it each day as I thought of new things I was thankful for each day until I made it to Thanksgiving, but each day was over before I knew it and here I sit on the day after Thanksgiving with a blank page in front of me, but I realize that is what I am most thankful for - a life that keeps me busy.

There was a day just a few years ago that I would have told you that the thought of busy day made me pull the covers over my head and hide. When I truly believed I was not good enough to do those things that were ahead of me. When I wondered why a person with a cloudy mind deserved to have a body that worked just fine. Those thoughts are still in the back of my mind, but the things I have to keep me busy and be thankful for are able to be my focus now.

So I did not make my goal of writing down what I was thankful for each day and even if I did it would never be a complete list, but I would like to try to come up with a list of 11 [you know me and my odd numbers and since it is the 11th month we will roll with it] to share with you here -

11. A messy house - I am sure you have all seen the quote that says - please excuse the mess ~ we are busy making memories here, but I saw a sign online the other day that said - please excuse the mess ~ the kids are being jerks - which I think is a little more true to what life is really like. There are times at home when I think I talk to myself as I try to name off the things all over the floor that need put away. I even caught myself sounding like my parents the other day when I told my girls everything on the floor when they went to bed would be thrown away and this was not my mess so I was not cleaning it up. I guess it must be something about being a parent that makes a dirty house annoying. But as the quote hanging in my kitchen says 'no one notices what I do until I don't do it' so with no mess how would I know they needed me.

Gretchyn crashed our data night @ the creamery banquet & we had to make some funny faces to show her sisters!10. Giggles - in a house with three little girls and a husband that considers making girls giggle a second job - we rarely have a day without giggles in the house. Even after an express ride on the scream train from a super angry three year old a giggle can be found deep down to make a quick u-turn. With all the moods in this house, I think laughter will be the best medicine most days.

9. Hard work paying off - I was so lucky to watch most of the students, staff, and community at the high school I work at pull together and reach a goal that was set out for them. And the pay off will be more than just the $100,000 prize from the competition. We will be able to make our school a place for students to feel at home and learn together.

8. Students who complain but care - I have to smile on the inside and keep my face neutral when I hear students complain about school. It must be the teenage brain that has a bigger capacity for complaints and I find it fun to make comments to make them think and it used to bother me to hear them say they didn't need to learn, but I have learned they only complain because they care and even if they don't know they are learning despite their complaints. When they stop complaining, then I will wonder if they are learning.

7. A family at work - I have heard "if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life" I think having amazing co-workers to help with that journey is the key to this. I have been lucky enough to find this not once, but twice. I cannot say enough about all these people that work so hard each day to make sure the students get the best experience at school, but I am so glad to be a part of it and have these amazing people available to help me grow as an educator.

6. Young Adult Fiction - Loving to read clearly took me down the road I am on today and I love that there is an entire genre of books dedicated to try and hook other teens into that love too. I have read so many books I could not possibly remember them all, but I do know they can make me laugh out loud and wipe tears from my eyes. I also watched close to 50 students celebrate that love for reading  this month at the Dystopia Duels Bring a Book to Life Challenge - pretty amazing!

5. Open Windows - It did snow last week, but until then and even looking into next week we may be able to open the windows and get the germs out. We have had plenty of germs slithering around this house the past few weeks so open windows can only help kill them off before they sneak in to hide and avoid the cold of this wonderful midwest winter.

4. Laundry in drawers - If anyone ever creates a machine to fold and put away laundry they will make millions - the biggest G says this is her goal to create someday so I hope she can make it happen. By the time I sort, wash and dry the clothes I have little energy left to fold and almost none to put it away. So around here laundry baskets usually stay full until I run out of them in the basement. I look forward to getting them empty this weekend and have all the clothes tucked in their drawers until it is time to do it all over again.

Look at these two jumping beans! Gwyn was so excited to play with Emmalynn today❣3. Fun with family - The best part of this season is time to spend with family. A time to slow down and enjoy the time together. As I watched the girls bounce up and down on the trampoline with their cousins, run around chasing their uncle around the yard, beg to play BINGO and search for prizes when they won I know these are the times to just sit back and be thankful it is here.

Took a break from running errands to find a park!2. Growing girls - I am so fortunate to have three girls to snuggle, run to dance, Girl Scouts, 4H, friends houses, scold, and love. The biggest G turns double digits in a few months and I can hardly believe it has been 10 years since I first held her. Her and her sisters change and grow each day and this is the best show to be a part of.

1. A husband who supports me - I may not always tell him and some days I may even wonder why he spends so much time outside the house, but I really could not imagine being on this crazy ride with anyone else. It can be hard to see at times, but we do compliment each other to pick up the pieces one of us may leave behind even if at times it seems like our pieces do not fit quite together.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

My heart belongs to a farmer

I have been thinking about writing this post all summer, but I have sort of slipped off of the hit and miss routine of writing my blog to only one post at Christmas time when I went back to teaching full time. I thought I would have more time in the summer, but then I took an English class, shifted back and forth between being the fun mom and a mom ready to pull her hair out because her girls seem to not know how to listen, and of course as I learned early on in my relationship there is always something to do on the farm. Which is where the idea for this post popped into my mind.

Over the last 12 years I have really perfected this look from a picture at our wedding that is one of my favorites and have probably given it to Mark over 830,012 times since August 30, 2003 when we officially started this bumpy tractor ride of marriage and family on a dairy farm.

I give him a lot of these looks when he calls me out to feed calves in the rain, expects me to hear him yelling to stop the trailer in just the right spot to put a round bail of hay on, (over the diesel truck, skid loader, and three girls fighting in the back seat) drive the loader to jump start a tractor on a 20 below Iowa winter day, or trying to keep up with our three year old when she is ready to go to the house after chores and he says it will be late tonight....

But there is no one I would rather bump along the field with and help navigate the rocks and weather that pop up and change our plans with. I can never thank him enough for loving me through hormone changing causing 2 1/2 battles with postpartum depression and pushing me to get out of bed each morning when I would have rather pulled the covers back over my head and disappeared from all my awful thoughts and feelings. And even when I  think I am so mad at him I could scream he can say something to make me laugh so hard I cry because I am happy. Like just yesterday when he said our anniversary would yet again be spent chopping corn, but it had to be done because he planted the corn on his mom and dad's anniversary so  chopping had to begin on ours I couldn't help but laugh at his logic, because it is something I would have thought of too.

We may never agree on the amount of time he spends on the farm or why the girls don't always listen to me, but change their actions as soon as he says their name. Marriage is not about changing for each other, it is about finding that sweet spot where you can both exist. He keeps me moving when I feel like sitting still and I help him take a step back and relax when he wants to keep moving. For that I know we found our match as we vowed to love each other through the sunny and rainy days 12 years ago today.  I am glad we can continue to twist and grow our roots together for many more planting and harvesting seasons to come.

And without him I would not get to be the mom of these goofy girls that fill up my heart and make us a family that can tell you 'tails' from our funny farm.

What does your spouse do to balance your relationship?