Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm a Pastor! Again!

Life has changed in our household. I've gone back to work! It's a temporary, part-time, interim call.  A church near me is looking for a new Sr. Pastor and I am there until they find the person who is  called there.  I'm not acting as lead pastor, thank goodness, but I am covering some of the ministry areas that a new pastor will cover.  Primarily, visitation and some transition committees. I work with a great collegue, we've known each other since she started here, so it's fun to colaborate with someone.
The transition to working has been more difficult this time. Even though it's 30 hours a week, there is so much more to balance. It's been a challenge. So, while the job is great, the home life is having positive and negative effects.

1)Ian is going to preschool two mornings a week at the preschool in the church.
2)The kids are getting some good time with Daddy and grandparents.
3) I get some time away from home with grown-ups.

Negative effects:
1) I miss the kids (and they miss me!)
2) Less time with Dustin.
3) Laundry: It's never done and if it is doesn't get put away. I don't dislike lots of things, but one thing that drives me crazy is living out of laundry baskets.
4) The nutritional balance of our family has taken a bit of a hit. (more premade, more take out or eat out, inconsistent eating schedule.

I didn't realized how much I would miss being home and I don't think I realized how much work I did during the week. So, now being a working outside the home mom, I'm struggling a bit. I don't think I'll take another interim call after this one, for quite awhile.

I'm thinking about making an appointment with my therapist in order to talk it through. I think I need to get some better ways of dealing with the stress and the change. I think it would make my health better and I think that would make my family health better too.

It's actually interesting that I see more negative effects than positive in our family life, and yet...I'm convinced that I was called to serve in this way right now. I am enjoying myself, even if it's a bit complicated when it comes to balance.

I'm home today and the kids are enjoying some time watching TV, while I'm getting my grocery list together. I was going to start confirmation today, but I've lost my voice from allergies and trying to teach confirmation seemed like too much for my voice. So, we'll postpone starting one week and begin with a fun event that was already scheduled.

So, there's the jist of it. I'm so very thankful for the opportunity, but now am very much praying for the patience and ability to start balancing life effectively.
More to come.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pigs! We have pigs!

Monday night, we got our two new pigs. Hmmmm, odd that my last post was about beef and now, I'm moving onto pork, "The other white meat." Which isn't true, but great marketing.
Sunday night, Dustin and I put up the pig pen fences and Monday night, a red and white hog appeared. Ian is having a blast with Orville and Stan.
I realize that naming them is a dangerous thing because they could become pets in Ian's mind, but he loves to feed them and he wanted them to have names. I am not sure when it comes time to take them to the butcher how much we will tell him. Probably not a lot. He may be over them by then, they will no longer be cute pigs and instead will be ugly hogs. It's possible.
I may tell him what I told him when one of the calves that he named Dolly was taken to the sale barn. (For the record, if you have kids, get them attached to a good looking heifer that would make a good replacement and therefore, won't be leaving.)  Anyway, when he asked about Dolly, I told him simply that Dolly had to go to a new home. I just didn't tell him the the home was someones freezer.
I don't want to shelter my kids from the truth of ranching and growing our own food, but I do think we have to be careful not to traumatize them in the process. There is plenty of time for them to understand the whole process.
Dustin was raised with this and it's a process of understanding. And as you get older, you start to understand what is involved.  I don't want to scare my kids, but I do want them to understand that this is where their food comes from.
Of course, I love the idea of our own bacon, pork chops, and roasts and I will know exactly what went into them.  So, let the new adventure begin. We have pigs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Silver is on his way to Streeter!

This morning my MIL and FIL agreed to take Silver the steer to streeter to the meat processor. Silver is a steer that from the beginning hasn't been afraid of people and he looks really good. When I say that, I mean he's fattened up nicely, was finished the last few weeks on oats and looks delicious!  So, he made his way down the road. Silver was almost getting tooo familier with people. He didn't know how big he was so it was almost aggressive.  I'm excited to see how the meat is. I know the meat cutting will be wonderful, they do a fantastic job, just want to see what he's like.
We've kept back about 5 steers for butchering. Some of them have been spoken for by friends who are buying the meat. I'm sure one will be for us. There is something very comforting about knowing where your food comes from and how it was taken care of and raised.
I also have a connection to the food. I helped raise it. I bedded his barn. I helped feed once in awhile. I named him. Okay, the fact that I named him might be a bit morbid for some. You name pets, but it was a great way to identify him beyond, #84. But, while I'm invested, from the beginning, I've understood the investment. I am taking care of you so you can be eaten. I'm very proud of that. I like being part of that process and chain.
I'm pretty careful with the kids though. I try to only get them attached to heifers because we have been keeping a few for replacements. So, they'll stick around awhile. But, I also know that my kids will be raised with the reality of having cattle. We have them to eat, to sell so other's will eat, and while I didn't grow up with cows, I was raised knowing this and it was just part of the process of life. We take care of animals, so they can take care of us, and in this case, we take care of them for food.  It's a very cool tradition to be a part of in North Dakota or anywhere.
We are actually going to get a couple pigs this summer too. We'll fatten them up and slaughter them as well. It's hard to find people with market pigs, so getting our hands on them has been harder than we thought. I'm glad I'll know where they are coming from.
Eventually, I hope to have chickens again, but I'll only raise for eggs, not for meat. I admit, I have raised for meat and I hated the day we have to pluck and butcher. It was a pain. I just don't have it in me to do it all. I realize I'm being a big baby, I don't care. I hate butchering chicken, so I won't do it.
We've cut our own beef in the past, but it's a lot faster for someone who knows what they are doing and has the correct equipment and facility.
In addition to the garden, I'm excited to see how much food that we won't have to depend on a grocery store for this fall and winter. The amount of money I saved because I canned all my own tomatoes last year has got to be pretty high. We canned close to 200 pints and I use about 2-4 per week. Add that my MIL and my mom also use from the stock and I gave 20 to my neice and I should still make it until I get more tomatoes from the garden. Very cool.
Well, I have work to do, so I better get at it. The house needs a serious go over...It's not dirty, but the toy clutter has got to go.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spring and Plateaus

Dustin's started seeding soybeans. Corn is done, except for a little silage corn (35 acres) left, but the planter had a breakdown and parts aren't in until today. Silage corn won't be a big deal. So, life is beans, beans and more beans.
It's very different not being out in the field as much as I use to be. It's not a bad different, just strange. I also have found that I can stay busy even without doing field work. There's plenty that I need to do in order to keep things moving.  Bookwork, field lunches, and the normal stuff. Laundry, kids, house...And now gardening. I am excited that I am enjoying gardening. It has always been something that I need to do after I have a long day in the field and the truth is that I've just wanted to go to bed by then...When I have the time to be out there and keep up with it, it's quite relaxing for me. I'm having fun showing Ian the things that are coming up. I've also yelled more than usual because he tends to walks on the plants, but hey, mother of the year I am not. It's getting better and the older the kids get, the better. Ella prefers to just find a spot with a shovel and dig, so that works too.

I've hit a weightloss plateau, which sucks. So, I'm hoping to start getting up at 5:30, then I could walk and get home and showered and dressed before the kids get up and if they did get up, Dustin would be around.  I am hoping that helps. I've been stuck at the same weight or losing and gaining the same half pound for about 6 weeks. So, with gardening and walking, it should go better.

So, there's the news...Beans...we live, eat and sleep beans.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Seeding, Farm Safety, the Garden and Why I Can't Wait until June

I know I have been missing for awhile. As soon as seeding starts, I have things to do. Although this year is a bit strange, I'm not planting corn. This year brought us to a new place as a family. We now have a hired man. My father-in-law is not able to really do much on the farm any more and truthfully, he shouldn't. With two kids, it was getting hard for Dustin and I to do it all on our own. I'm not as available as I use to be and it was going to be too much for Dustin on his own. Having extra help is wonderful and B has become just another member of the family. He's also doing a great job planting corn, the rows look straight and he's getting the planter figured out. But, I admit, I'm not use to sitting on the sidelines in the sping.  I still have plenty of things to do at home and I'm hoping this may be the best garden I've ever planted and that I will be able to keep up with it, so that has been fun. All I have left to get out is one more row of carrots and then get the vines planted. Cukes, sqash, zuchinni, and pumpkins.  I also have to get somewhere to get asparagus roots, raspberry bushes and stawberry plants to put in another bed. I'm so excited to have space to put some of those things in permanently!

If I can keep up with a vegetable garden this year and we get the deck this summer, I'm looking forward to starting to add flowerbeds this fall (at least get them ready with a few perennials for the spring). I want to take it a little bit at a time so I can keep up with everything. There's a lot to keep up with in the vegetables alone this year because it's new breaking and to get grass and weeds under control is a chore.

In the realm of farm safety...everyone is fine! That's good news. Dustin and I were also given the oppotunity to speak at an event sponsored by our local John Deere dealership. The topic this time was farm safety and it was an event for women, which was supposed to be taught by women. I wanted Dustin there to do some of it and it worked really well. I was happy with how it went. It's amazing and sad how much we know because of our own accidents, but they happen.

There is only one day left of corn, so hopefully, baring a breakdown, by tonight, we will have all the corn in. We'll start beans the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll get the alfalpha  in and some orchard grass for hay. Then...beans, beans, beans.  The adjusters came to look at the winter wheat yesterday and said it looked really good. We are happy with it, so glad they thought so too. We'll have that sprayed by air as soon as the wind goes down. The rest of our spraying we'll do ourselves, but want to keep seeding and avoid tracks in the wheat. We'd like to get the rest of the crops sprayed before they come up.

So, then we should be into June...and then time for some fun.  We go to Ron White in Fargo. Then we will be going on a Farmer's Union trip to MSP for a few days. I'm so excited to get a few days away with Dustin. It will be fun, a chance to get to know people on the TAG team, and a fun get away. I'm so excited. I can't wait...

Now to plan a little family vacation. I'm thinking Medora and/or the Black Hills. We'll see what we can figure out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Picture Post

This is the cake I made for Ian's birthday party. I'm pretty proud of it! Obviously! I've shared it with so many people becauswe I'm so excited. It is the Octonauts, which is on Disney Jr. and Ian loves them and asked for an Octonaut cake for his birthday.  I delievered. It took quite a bit of time. I made the cakes on Friday, and put them together and carved them and crumb coated them with buttercream. I then made my modeling chocolate. (I did all this with Ian and Ella around, which I don't recommend and will never do again, it was chaos) Saturday, after kids were dropped at Grandma and Grandpa's in Jamestown (Have I mentioned how cool it is to have my parents 17 miles away!?) Starting at about 1:00 and going solid until 6:30, I put the cake together and then transported (well, Dustin transported) to my In-laws so Ian wouldn't see it.
So, in addition to the cake. We moved the party to the shop because of rain, which was the best and allowed for Ian and Ella to play on the new swingset, which was made for Ian's birthday. It was the best day! Good friends and family, good food, and great kids! What a wonderful time we had, but I'm still partial to the cake being the highlight!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Boy is 3!

Yesterday, my dear son, Ian, turned 3. Now, don't think I'm terrible, but we haven't told him it was his birthday yet. His party isn't until Sunday (when all the friends and family could come during the day) and so he just wouldn't understand that he's three, but not celebrating yet.
But, I know, and I'm amazed at my little man. For some time now, I have realized that he is a little boy intstead of a baby boy. He's also developing the defiance and limit testing that this stage and age bring.
I am amazed at how much he now knows. He really is a quite bright little boy and I don't think I'm just saying that, I'm not the only one that notices. Although, there are a few sayings that he says that I have to laugh at...It sounds so funny. They are:
1) "This won't do mommy."    What? Really. This won't do? Where do you come up with this? If I figure out what show he has picked this up from, I will report, but so far, it seems to be from somewhere else, possibly me? No, I don't think I talk like that, do I?

2) "Oh Mommy, this just makes me so upset." This is what he says when he is not getting his way. I admit, the attempt to make me feel sorry for him is a bit lost because of the delivery of this line. It cracks me up, which is not the desired effect.  But, sometimes it does break my heart. Sometimes, he says this when his dad goes out to the field in the morning or when grandma visits and then has to leave. He says, "I miss him/her...this just makes me so upset."  Then, I melt.

3) "I don't think so, Mommy." This may be the statement that gets children beaten in some households. Not this one, so don't worry, but when you tell your three year old to pick up his toys and you get a defiant..."I don't think so, Mommy." You will definitely try to figure out if he knows what he is saying or wondering how your three year old became the home of a 16 year old's attitude.

So, while these are the ones that make me laugh, there are others that make me glow and shine with pride.
1) "I like you mommy." Recently he has gotten big on saying this instead of "I love you." I actually take it in a wonderful way. I always love him, but on some days...I don't particularily love my toddler. But, on the days that he says, he likes me. I realize that some day, this is what I want my teenage and then adult children to be able to say about me..."I don't just love Mom, I like her"

2) "Can we read another book?"  I am thrilled that my son likes to be read to and knows so many of his letters by sight and knows their sounds. I'm thinking he will start reading early and I'm so proud of this.

and last, but not least.

3) "Mommy? Can you hold me?" Independence has brought less of this, but I still get to hear some version of this once in awhile and I cherish it every time.

So, these are my current thoughts on my eldest. He's growing up so fast (I know, everyone says that). He will be able to start preschool next year. How did that happen? 

So, hopefully, you will get party updates on Monday, or so. At least a picture of the chocolate Octonaut cake that I'm going to attempt and the swing set. The swingset is turning into a ridiculously large thing...It's more of a castle for kids with a slide and swings and a sandbox, but I'm sure they will love it. Dustin and Ben designed it themselves and because the lumberyard was out of 10 footers, they had to buy 12 footers, so instead of everything scaled at 5 or 10 feet, it became scaleds at 6 and 12, which made a huge, crazy difference.   I can't wait to see his face.

So, happy birthday Ian, Mommy loves you! and Mommy likes you a lot too!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A night out and an interesting opportunity.

It's Ella's naptime and since I've got an Octonauts on for Ian, I am invisible and thought I'd use the opportunity to share my excitement.
Tonight Dustin and I are going to a dinner meeting, I know, not exactly date material, but I'm still excited. This get together (rather informal rather than meeting) is part of an agricultural organization that Dustin and I have belonged to, but not been extremely active in, until recently.  The organization has started up a smaller group for young farmers and when Dustin learned about it, he volunteered, thinking I'd be perfect. Of coure, they wanted both of us, so he was voluteered as well. Tonight is our first get together.
I truthfully not sure what to expect yet, but I am excited about what the group supports, and this dinner specifically because I see it as an opportunity to meet some young farm couples.
I've recently started having coffee, about once a week or so, with another SAHM that lives about 3 miles away. It's been so nice and I think both of us like the interaction and get cramped being at home all day. All these things coming together have made me very excited.
I love my friends, but it's hard to get together as often as any of us would like and some from college are really far away...So, to find some right in my back yard has given me a new vitality and meeting some couples just seems cool. Currently, we have one couple the same age as us that we hang out with often, and it's been a long time because our schedules don't mesh often. So, adding to the pool is nice and since this is part of the organization...well, our get togethers will be scheduled with some regularity. It's a chance to socialize, but it also has a positive purpose, which I absolutely love!  So, while the kids are with our neice tonight...I'll be starting another subsection of life and I'm excited.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

National Registry: I'm glad I'm an EMT, I don't like the website

I am currently taking a little break from entering my continuing education for my EMT recertification. I have done all my hours, now I'm just doing the job of putting it in the computer...The question? Why, Oh Why? Didn't I just do this as the years continued, not in one swoop at the end. Grrrrr. I've got it written down and all documented, but it sure would have been easier to understand my notes the I wrote with it, if I had just typed it in right away...So, truthfully, this is my own fault. It's also my own fault that I'm entering it on the website at the last minute along with the rest of the country who is also updating their certification, so the website is slow...I'll say the same thing I said last time. I promise to keep this updated this's a nice thought, but let's face it, I'll wait until the 11th hour next time too.
I am glad that I have been able to sit in classes in order to keep my certification current. It's helpful knowlege, I constantly learn new stuff. It's kinda cool. I don't work as an EMT, but, at least my foundational learning is good and I'm able to keep that part up.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's 3:30 a.m. and I'm awake...AGAIN!

This seems to be a theme lately. I wake up and can't get back to sleep, so I give up and just sit in front of the computer in an attempt at productivity.  The culprit tonight, the big dog and the little girl. In that order.
For any of this to make sense, you need to know of the big dog's trials. Gracie, our sweet, (and slightly stupid) Great Pyrenese cross. She's crossed with not only Golden Retriever, but Lab, so I believe this explains the stupid thing, but it's happy stupid. Gracie got in an altercation with either a cow or our horse. We are waiting for calving to start any moment, so we are pretty sure it was a cow, expectant mothers are kinda bitchy, at least I was when I was that close.
Now, Gracie has a bad habbit of chasing the cows and we knew as calving approached they were going to get sick of it. We were right. We actually thought that a small encounter would cure her of cow chasing. While we have had Gracie for over 3 years, this is the first year we have lived on the main farm with the cattle, and this has caused some issues. Since she has not taken the friendly persuasion of not chasing cows, which has been a lot of yelling. Oh, and I threw a hammer at her (it wasn't even close to hitting her, I wasn't trying to hit her, so don't start thinking I abuse my dear puppies). She chased the heifer calves and steers in the feed lot and I yelled and since I was using a hammer to fix a gate, I  threw the hammer out of frustration, not exactly at her, just because of her.
Now, back to Gracie's cow run in. None of us actually saw it, but Dustin came back to the shop after doing something in the yard and there she laid waiting for him..She got up, the leg was dragging terribly. So, off to the vet we went for x-rays. She had a mid-saft femur fracture and our vet Dawn informed us that there was one vet in town that does the necessary pinning if we wanted to try to fix it. So, we went to him for consultation. Yup, surgery needed. Well, we had three choices to be exact. 1) Put her to sleep. You can see why this was not an option for us, Gracie is part of the family and she is so good with our kids. Dustin couldn't come home and explain to Ian why Gracie wasn't coming back.
2) Amputate the leg. Of the three options, this was the most cost effective. Dawn said she could get use to it really easily and it was considerably cheaper than option number three. But, this time, I couldn't imaging my dog with only three legs and I didn't want to explain to Ian why Gracie was not sans a leg. So, choice number 3) Surgery. I haven't yet received the bill, but let's just say that my dog is now worth more than my horse. WAY MORE!
The damage was worse the the X-ray even showed, so she had her bone pinned, plated and then all that was wired around the bone. So, it took a bit longer, but the vet was happy with how it went. She was high when she got home (love those opiates!) But by last evening, she was starting to gingerly walk on it and return to her same personality. Lovable and silly! 
Now, all of that, just to tell you why I am awake now. She woke up and peed on my floor, she came to get us, but apparently only made it to our bedroom before she could wake us up. So, I heard this, freaked out slightly, let her outside, but had to turn the entry light on, which woke Ella up. Ella refused to go back to sleep, instead insisting on her morning milk and mommy cuddle time. Which is usually wonderful, but not at 1:45 in the morning. So, by the time I got the dog and Ella situated, we had approached 3:00. I laid in bed for 30 minutes and now...Here I sit. Trying to decide if I can get the Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter bulletins for church done. I would like to have them finished before this Wednesday. We'll see what happens.
While I often like this time to myself. Right now, I would have preferred the sleep. But, I guess bulletins it is. Or more likely, I'll get distracted by how to design Ian's birthday cake. Either way. Hopefully something will get done.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Everything Isn't Enough

I have always been in awe of how incredibly blessed I have been in my life. I was raised in a good family, although, I will admit, my mother and I still have our issues and probably always will. My parents love me and helped me in more ways than I could ever imagine to tell about.
I have had wonderful careers. I loved being a pastor, while I was a pastor. When I stopped loving it, when I knew that I had to get out or I was going to be in trouble, I had the opportunity to move to the career of stay at home mom and also a stint as an interim pastor, which gave me back the love of ministry that had all, but dried up. And now, I'm fortunate, that once again, I have the career I enjoy, stay home and be a farm wife. I have realized that I make a huge difference and am a huge part in our farm operation. In a world where we so often define ourselves by what we do and what we bring to the table, it's not always easy to remember what you do is important when you are a SAHM.
One of the biggest struggles for me has been that I felt that I was less important because I didn't bring in an income. I've never thought a SAHM was less, I always admired them and hoped that I would get to stay home if I had the chance, but once I stayed home, I struggled with my identity because so much of my identity has been wrapped in what I had done and even though I believe raising children is the most important job we do as parents, it doesn't always feel that way.
So, in light of all this, I had to really start looking at my value, not just to my family, but to myself. I needed to wrestle a bit with what my "job" is and see how I felt about it. I also had to ask myself a question that I have been asking a lot lately and still don't have the answer to it that clears it all up. The question: When it seems that you have everything you want, why isn't it enough?
I suppose the question is partially answered by the Old Adam and Eve that are inside of us. Inherently,we are all sinners. It seems that for all of us, sometimes we want to be like God, and sometimes we just want to prove that we don't need God. It's two bites of the same fruit (possibly the tree of knowlege of good and evil if you don't mind the pun).
It was the oddest thing that sent me on this answer quest. Our kitchen sink...Yes, you heard me, our kitchen sink.  I hate it. I hate it with a passion and I find my dislike of this sink pathetic and embarrasingly selfish. We have been in a brand new home since last July. Now, because we did not get to choose the fixtures or appliances, it came just as it is. Over 2000 sqare ft. Three bedroom, plus a bonus room. A master bath with a tub that I can practically swim in. And my almost perfect kitchen. I have decent stainless steel appliances (I did not pick them, they came with the model house we bought). I don't have granite and that stuff, but those finishes aren't that important to me. It's a great kitchen and I love it...except, it has a white, composite sink. It mars, it never stays clean, it looks stained and did after the first month or so and while it does everything a sink is required to do, it does hold water after all. I can't stand it. I want a new sink. I have tried to convince my husband to get me a new sink every time we have been in a Menards, Home Depot, Lowes or our local building center. And while he doesn't like the sink either, he continually reminds me that this isn't something we need. And...I know he is absolutely right. There are a great many things that people don't have in this world and I am not one of the people that has ever wanted for anything. I have everything I could need and a lot of things that I just want and yet, I now wonder, thanks to my stupid sink, that I still hate, why isn't having everything you want ever enough, we will always find more things to want and we will convince ourselves that we need them.
And, why do we think our value comes from how many possessions or jobs or honors we can attach to ourselves?
I still have a ridiculously strong desire to change the kitchen sink and I admit...I will probably beg enough that my husband will change it to shut me up...But, I stuggle with what this says about me. I don't want to be this person and I hope I can change it. I want a person who knows that she has what she needs and she is grateful for it...And yet, when things are good, that is when we don't see how clearly God's blessings are right there in our lives.   So, I pray that God will teach me that I have enough and on that same page, I hope God teaches me that I am enough.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm awake. Why I hate it and love it at the same time!

Wide awake in the middle of the night, or so it seems. I've been awake tossing and turning, since about 3:AM. After I woke up, I couldn't get back to sleep and then Ian woke up and I took him back to bed and even though I usually fall asleep with him when i have to bring him back to bed, this time it was not to be. So, at 4:30, I gave up, got dressed, brushed my teeth and did what all mom's do when they have a few moments to themself. Checked facebook and my email! Didn't really find out anything new, but that's the habbit.
Today is a busy day, so on one side of things, I wish I could have slept. I will be desperately trying to keep up today, feeling like I'm foggy and three steps behind everyone. Yet, I can't help but enjoy this quiet time in the house. We have to be out the door at about 7:AM today so we can return some carpeting supplies and we have a meeting with our banker at 10:AM, so if I would have slept, it would have been wake up and dash, right now, I feel a bit more settled. I'm yawning, but I know that as soon as I lay down, I will be plagued by a list of things going through my head, so why torture myself. I'll just stay awake and deal with the day. 
Today is my WW weigh-in day and I'm a bit curious. I wasn't able to keep a good journal this week and so I'm not sure what happened with my points. A few people have asked me how much I have lost and for awhile have been saying about 13 lbs or so. This week, I realized, I've actually lost a bit over 20! That seems amazing to me. My clothes are fitting better, but while I'm not down a size yet, I do notice that things are shifting in a positive way. So, I feel like that is a good start.
I think now that we have Stepper, I very well will likely find that horseback riding is something I will do 3 or 4 times a week and it takes a lot more energy than I realized and it is actually exercise, which is cool as well. It will be good for the horse and for me!
That's all for now. Signing off...Is 5:18 in the morning. Wow.

Monday, March 12, 2012

An Addition to the family...NO! Not That.

It was a great weekend. I'm glad because since it was mostly just me and the kiddos, I was worried if I was going to be that entertaining. But, thanks to mother nature, I didn't have to be. Saturday was in the 60's! So, we were outside most of the afternoon and they still cried when it was time to go in for the day. It was amazing. Yesterday was sunny, but the wind made it a bit colder and not very plesant for taking the kids outside, but I still had a second day of all the windows open.

Now for the addition. After Dustin got back from paramedic refresher last night. We went and looked at a horse and brought him home for a trial. He's awesome. I had to go out to get him fed and such this morning and was nervous since my house experience is...NONE! But, I came in the barn and he ran right up to me. What a sweetheart.  Kids haven't met him yet. Better be sure he's going to work out before we tell them. So, there's the news from the weekend.

This week the plans are:
1)To make a new master farm list so we get a clear  picture of what needs to be done and prioritize it.
2) Take a load of stuff to good will. I have three bags ready to go.
3) Farm loan stuff.
4) Farm bill stuff.
5) make some meal plans for the next couple weeks. It seems to go better if I plan meals out instead of this panic at 11:30 thing.
6) Laundry, because it isn't a day without that on the list.

Oh, in completely unrelated to any of this news. Down another 1.4 pounds this week. I've now lost over 20 lbs, which is amazing to me. There's a long way to go, but 20 pounds, that's a great start.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Update and Should I get a "Real" Job?

I am a single parent for the second weekend in a row and I hate it! I have a great respect for people who have no choice and do this on a day in and day out basis. Especially since they are probably working full time and making it work as best they can and to do that without a partner is something I am not willing to try.
Dustin is at his paramedic refresher again this weekend, like last weekend. The kids are watching TV right now (sometimes mommy needs a two dimensional babysitter!) and I'm taking a blog break from cleaning up my office, especially cleaning up 2011 paperwork and receipts and I'm also shoveling Dustin's crap in a bin and he can deal with it. Did that sound bitter? It was.
I'm a bit protective of my office or as I prefer to think of, my playroom. It holds way more than I want it to already. I really should try to get this desktop moved to the shop and then figure out how I can get me a Mac. Hmmmm. I'll have to scheme on that later. The desktop is only a year old and needs to go in for some "technical issues" or stuff I've tried to fix, but for the life of me can't figure out. So, to the shop it will have to go. Eventually. I am having a hard time parting with it, even when it is annoying me. I do so much on the stupid thing, including payroll, which is why I'm most unwilling to give it up. If he can't get it back to me by the next pay period, I'll have to calculate...I shudder...with a calculator. Ugh. Nope, not for me.  I'd even have to write the check out by hand. Perish the thought. How did I become this spoiled? Is this really how pathetic my life has become? Bothered by doing my own payroll when there are people who would love to get a paycheck? Hmmmm. I have become quite a pathetic office manager for the family farm.
Today is beautiful! After Ella's nap and lunch, not sure which order those will happen in, the kids and I will venture outside into the mud. Usually snow still this time of year...but, not this year, there's some left, but not enough to do anything fun with it. our snowman we made has fallen over and the head fell on the ground and broke and Ian was very matter-a-fact about it. "Mom, snowman broken. He tipped over." No tears though, thank goodness. My tenderhearted boy gets a little bit hurt of the slightest things. Even a melting pile of snow...
I am hoping to also get some filing done, bills written, a church bulletin done (oops, that's for tomorrow) and of course, laundry, the primary focus of my existence as office manager of the farm.
Yesterday, I talked to Dustin about being home v. going back to work. I'm glad that I don't have to right now because I realize that right now, I have no desire to have a full time call. I'm not willing to sell my soul to save someone else right now. That sounds a bit cruel and heartless, I know, but I think it would be how it would transpire.
The kids are thriving, I love being a partner in the farming decisions, I love that I can have intellectual conversation about when we should sell and at what price and from time to time, I've sold it myself because we reached the goal price and Dustin wasn't home, so I called in and sold it anyway. I work full time, but I'm not ready to do it anywhere, but home. I enjoy teaching confirmation and preaching about once every two months. It keeps me interesting. I have started to find time to read again and not feel like an intellectual slug. I think I may begin reading some classics that I haven't read and should have or haven't read in a long time. Right now, I have been veracious in my reading appetite. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Help, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, (which I will right on more, sometime because I ended up loving this book that I picked out of a cheap bin somewhere. It was an interesting look at WWII occupation and the aftermath.) As well as some Jennifer Weiner, some new, some rereads, and various other books that don't involve rhyming.
I have gotten my share of that too, the kids are really into Dr. Seuss lately. The Foot Book is in heavy rotation as well as a few others and the "Spark" Bible from Augsburg Fortress, which has been great in teaching some basic bible stories to my kids. 
Life is too good to ruin it with a "job" especially since I'm loving my current vocation so much. My kids are amazing. They are also messy monsters, but that's a whole different category for another time. So while a call might come someday, it isnt' going to come soon, that's for sure. My call is being filled, just a different sort of congregation.
I hear the babysitting show is ending and it is getting quiet, that is never good.  Better get lunch ready.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ella's growing up...and the clean house did freak out the kids!

I was right yesterday. Cleaning the house made the kids a bit nervous, especially looking for things they had left in the middle of the living room. But, not to fear, they have returned quite a bit of it with a vengence to get back at me and Ella made a huge mess in my kitchen.
My little sprite Ella turned 18 months yesterday. I'm not sure how this happened so quickly. It seems like yesterday when I was staring in one of the easiest textbook births with epidural in the supporting category.  And after Ian, I deserved it! 
When Ian was 18 months, I was already pregnant with Ella. I'm a bit relieved that as I type this, there is not another Lien on the way. I can handle two close together, but three seems like a stretch...Besides, they outnumber me already, I don't think I could keep up.
Yesterday for Ella's 18 months. She went to grandma's for the piano tuning and after we walked home. For over an hour. Ian, Ella and I first went to look at the calves in the pen. Which was a huge thrill for them, they are willing to come pretty close and that makes it all the better. Then we went to the shop to visit Daddy, where we proceeded to get dirty in less than 30 seconds, because they had to go to the only spot in teh shop where they could get grimy. After that, we walked to the house and got a slep and took a ride (I didn't I was the horse, of course). Then we made a snowman. Ella lost her shoe and got really cold and wet. I didn't really think we were going on an outside adventure when this all started, so they didn't have their snowsuits on. When it was time to go in, Ella was ready and as usual, Ian kicked and screamed for an hour, even after we came back in...But, it all was pretty fun except for that part.
Today, the adventure continues with a trip to the ND Winter Show and the winter show tractor pull. The whole family is going, which means, I'll entertain Ella, while daddy and ian enjoy loud tractors pulling heavy stuff.
More updates on the tractor pull tomorrow.  Ian's so excited, I'm sure this could be priceless. I also said he could have cotton candy, so we'll see.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Clean house and other ways to freak out the children!

The piano tuner came to work on the piano today, so I sent the kids to grandma's so they wouldn't try to "help" him. I stayed home and worked on cleaning up a bit of the house...I believe the kids may freak out that their toys are in their rooms and the house looks like maybe a few grown-ups live here too. I better not take too much time writing. I just have a little time sans kids, but I'll try to update you on their reaction to the house.  Shock or just a challenge to get it back to how they left it?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday (Why I am Not at church and not sure how I should feel about it)

It's Sunday morning and while I would normally be going to church, today, the kids and I are staying home. Dustin has another day of Paramedic refresher and trying to figure out a way to get the kids and I to church when I'm on my own, seemed a hill that I wasn't ready to climb. Sadly, my week won't feel quite right now. Sunday morning worship seems to be my "reset" button on the week. On the other side of things, I can't exactly explain why with any clarity. I think the best explanation would be to say, the community ministers to my soul. Our pastor is a great storyteller, which makes for sermons that are very meaningful because you can find yourself in them, outside of them, and find God working through them. This is good, but if I'm truthful, I've only heard a handful of them since Ella was born. I've been to church, more Sunday's than not, but I'm also working on keeping two children occupied or quiet (hopefully both) and that seems to take up most of my attention.
And as hard as it is, I still seem to crave the time, we sing hymns, I hear scripture, I get little bits and pieces of word proclaimed when I can pay attention, but mostly, it is wonderful people that remind me I am loved and that God has created our family. The time in coffee hour is as much church to me as the hour before. I know part of it is because I don't get as much social interaction as when I worked. Adult conversation is like cool water when I've been in the desert of "ABC's" and "This little piggy."
Our pastor is always very gracious and laughs when I say, "I'm sure the sermon was great." He's been there, done that and knows where I'm living right now.
So, I'm a bit sad that I will miss communion today and the time in church. But, I'm also O.K. with the excuse...Today, "I just can't do it." The snow, the arrangement to get a vehicle arranged when Dustin took the 4 wheel drive, it was proving too much for my brain. Getting the kids ready by myself was going to be a miracle and it is one I am much more equipped to handle in good weather. So, I nestled into my excuses a bit too easily...This life of faith is never clean cut, that's for sure. On one side of things, I think I made the right decision to skip this morning. On the other side of things, I feel like I took the path of least resistance and I worry that it will become a bit too easy to fall into a pattern of, "I'm too busy, I've got so much to do, It's easier if we don't have to take the kids, etc. etc."  And the truth is, the kids look forward to going to church too and it won't get easier if we don't bring them and help then learn about the life we confess to believe and stuggle to live in every day, not just Sunday morning.
So, there's the morning. I'm a bit torn...Yet, I got some great snuggle time with my usually very busy daughter. Ian told me about the songs he likes that we sing. I also learned from him, "Mommy, popcorn is my favorite treat." So, we'll make popcorn later and I can't help but think, there's blessings at home too, but those are easy to miss too. 
Lord, I pray, today, help me find you in the little things...Help me hear your word in the things my children say, and give me patience and help them hear your love in the things I say to them. Give us a sabbath, no matter what the form. Amen.

Friday, March 2, 2012

First Post of 2012! IN MARCH! OOPS!

I've started writing so many times, but time really has been escaping me since the end of harvest. So much has happened and yet...not much at all. So, here are the highlights, or at least highlights to me...
Kids continue to grow and amaze and bless us. They are truly amazing. Yes, I know, I'm a bit biased.

I have lost about 18 lbs since Thanksgiving and think that is pretty good progress. I'm feel good and clothes are fitting better. I get frustrated because I sometimes wish it would happen overnight, but truthfully, for me to have a healthy life and achieve the health and life I want, I need to do this the right way.

I have a new vehicle, it's new to me. An Avalanche. With the move, it was going to be difficult to maintain driving a rearwheel drive Lincoln Towncar, go figure. We have been looking for most of the fall and winter and finally the right thing came along. Ironically, since we really didn't get snow until this last week, we could take our time and I had been able to drive the Lincoln. Last winter, it was parked for about 3 months. The winter has been crazy...such little snow and only one blizzard and it was not much of one, they kinda missed the mark. Yet, today, it's horrible out.

I did not EMT-Basic refresher last weekend. It gets long, but it's only once every two years. I learned quite a bit and reviewed some good things too. Dustin now is spending this weekend and next weekend at his Paramedic refresher and I think he has another class to get in too, but I'm not sure when at is scheduled for, but it must be soon.

I turned 36 in December. Which means I'm now closer to 40 than 30. This really doesn't bother me, but it did usher me into my first mamogram to get my baseline. Not has horrible as I thought it would be, but getting that friendly with the X-ray tech was interesting. She was very good at making me feel comfortable, which is really no small accomplishment.  Thankfully, all was good and I'm clear until 40. It made for a funny time at my EMT refresher. We were doing patient trama assessments and kindly, when I was a patient, my classmate asked if I was comfortable being touched, because let's face it, assessment is pretty personal. I said it was fine, but I appreciated him asking. He then said, he didn't know my well enough to just start assessing me. To which I responded, "I had my first mammogram last week, I have no modesty left!" It was pretty funny and did lighten the mood. I am also happy to report that I still am capable of doing a fairly competent patient assessment. Good news.

Ella turns 18 months on Monday. I'm not sure how that happened, but the time has flown. She is our climber and since she has no fear, I have used my patient assessment skills several times. It amazes me how she has managed to climb so quickly when I leave the room for 30 seconds to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. She can be sitting in front of the TV when I leave, perfectly content, and when I get back, on the counter and usually in the process of trying to get down and falling on her head. No Fear! She doesn't learn from these escapades, but she is awesome and talking more and more, but not very clearly. This could be delay, but since Ian can understand her often, I'm guessing it's because she has a translater in house.

Ian has become quite the conversationalist. Which really means, he never shuts up, but I love it. It's a very tenderhearted little boy, so it's an interesting combination with his little sister Rambo. He's been going through these fakey tantrums lately, they are starting to stop fairly quickly because we ignore them and probably a bit rudely, laugh. I hate to hurt his feelings, but sometimes it's just too funny.

Our new hired man started about 3 weeks ago. He's a great guy and it is going to make a huge difference this year. There is just more that we have to do on our own and my in-laws are not capable of helping like they use to help. We needed more help and the right help came along.

The biggest news is related to me, but not about me directly. My parents are moving from 3 hours away to 17 miles away! YAY! It has taken quite a few years to get to a place in which I would be excited about this, but it will be wonderful. My dad turned 80 last summer and they wanted to make sure they were leaving their farm on their terms and moving to a house that eventually they can live on one floor if needed. They found a great place. They close at the end of the month, they are busy packing and a real estate agent comes to look at their current place, this week, so they can work on selling it.

I have changed my background to tomatoes because the seed catalogs have arrived and I am excitedly going through them...I can't wait to get out to the garden and get my hands dirty. We have planned our farming acres, so that is exciting to have planned out and we have our seed purchased for the year, with the exception of a little wheat that we will put in so we have straw for cows. This year we will plant soybeans, corn and sunflowers. The cows will begin calving at the end of the month.  We have some beautiful steers we have held back for people for butchering, we'll take them to the butcher and will then be able to get people whole, halves or quarters of beef. We also have some nice heifers we are holding for replacements for cows. I try to get out with the steers and heifers to make friends, but I don't get out as much as I would like. I do enjoy the cattle more than I ever thought I would.

I feel like I've written a lot of paragraphs of nothing, but maybe something exciting will happen in 2012 and I'll have more to write about.  You'll get more about the crazy life on the Family Farm.