Is this for you?!

This is for you, if you have the following: a sense of humor, understanding of sarcasm, if you aren't easily offended by what is reality in my world and if you like to follow someone else's life so you don't have to think about the pile of laundry, sink full of dirty dishes, overflowing trashcans, unkempt lawn, dusty surfaces and unswept floors at your own house! Oh, and if you can handle this girl referring to herself in the 3rd person...(see, not for everyone!) This is not for you if: you can't handle all of the above (and more). For those of you who can, welcome to my world friends! Enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

We clearly need to establilsh some rules around here...

(WARNING: No photos...sorry)

OK, when the sheep and all the stuff that goes with them was at my in-laws, I could really get in to this sheepin' business. Yeah, go out, play with them, vaccinate them (well not me, but I'll watch), even draw blood (OK not this either, but I can shake the vials so the blood doesn't coagulate), shear (I draw the line at bathing them-I don't even like to bathe my 13 pound dog).  It was fun.

Fast-foward a few years and now on OUR farm, this weekend...

My husband put sheep blankets and towels and other washables in my washer.  The washer that is in the house, that I wash my babies clothes (and mine) in.  And my sheets.  And my dish rags and other kitchen linens.  When I figured out what my husband had done, my mind raced.  Will bleach kill diseases like ring worm and sore mouth and scrapie and whatever else (I don't even know if scrapie is contagious-I need to do more research on that, but that is not the point here...)? How about those washer cleaning packets? There is no way those are cut out for this task. Eugh, can I just put my washer in a pot and boil it for 10 minutes?  Will my clothes ever be clean again?  Or am I destined to have that tangy smell of poo following me around forevermore?

I realize that this may sound crazy to some people who live on farms, I've never noticed it on any of our friends, but still in the back of my head, I cannot get over this.  It's the City Girl coming out in me.

So back to my story, my husband opens the washer and the smell of poo, slowly begins to creep deeper in to my house down the hall to our bedroom, toward the kitchen.  Then, [GASP!] he turned the load pink (this would not be the first time he's dyed a load) and decided to wash it again.  Sheep laundry run through twice?  I could hardly breathe.  Seriously.  So we decided to put some Oxy Clean in the load (I mostly thought this might help my washer recover from being violated, I didn't really care about the sheep laundry).  We washed again. On Hot.  This morning, he opened the washer door and again, the smell began permeating our home.  So maybe my washer doesn't work?!

Then (I know, how could there be more?!) he hung the sheep laundry in the garage to dry.  This is MY garage. Where MY car is parked (because his enormous truck won't fit in it), where my treadmill sits collecting dust (I'll be honest,  I don't use it much, but it's still there).  This is NOT a place to hang sheep laundry to dry.  My husband must have noticed the smell on his way out as there was a tick of cinnamon vanilla air freshener looming in the air when I went back out to get the kids in the car to take them to school.  It works about the same (except worse) as when you use it in the bathroom...I'll just leave that there.

You have no idea how fast that sheepin' smell creeps up and engulfs your skin and hair.  It's truly remarkable.  Crap, I wonder if I smelled sitting at my desk today?  Anyway, I got home, pulled in the garage and wham!  There it was again! And it will remain there until my husband gets home and does whatever he needs to do with them.

So, here is the start of my Sheepin' Rules:

Rule #1 If you are washing sheepin laundry, you must use a washer cleaner packet AND run a bleach cycle after.

Rule #2- We do NOT hang sheepin' laundry in the garage

That's as far as I've gotten, because as I am writing this, the washer is making a terrible grinding noise instead of spinning and my laundry is locked inside soaking wet-all I can think about is MOLD. Who knew I was such a clean freak, anyway? [This will shock my mother.] I fear my poor washer is headed to the washing machine graveyard. Excuse me while I continue to try to get my wits back about me and processes the violation to my laundry room and the subsequent breakdown.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Eagle Has Landed...

To begin, I would just like to say, the people that we bought this farm from were amazing to deal with. They were so accomodating and we truly appreciate all they did to make our experience a good one.  They took good care of the home and shop/barn and there were only minor things we chose to update upon moving in, at this point, mostly paint, kitchen backsplash, cupboard pulls, etc.

However, they were big in to eagles-I think it had something to do with their affinity for Harley Davidson.  Anyway, there were two large statues of eagles that needed to be removed to make the home ours.  The first, was mounted over the stone fireplace.  That one was gone before we went to bed the first evening we spend here.  The other, was a 600# lawn ornament (complete with up-lights to accent it at night).

The latter was a bigger 'fish to fry'.  As it turned cold, we accepted the fact that we were not going to be able to deal with it right away, plus, we had no place to deposit it (other than to ding-dong ditch it to a deserving party).

Well, lucky for my husband, we were at his holiday work party in January and I found it a home!  I was describing it to a co-worker of his and her eyes were lighting up (I'm gathering that if you like eagles, you gotta have this one...).  I decided to offer it to her, I'm pretty sure at first, she thought I was joking. I was not and neither was my husband.

Problem solved.

Today, it finally got nice enough to get the kids outside and do a little prep to get this place ready for the spring/summer.  Priority #1, move that eagle!  Nevermind getting pens ready for the sheep that will be arriving here next weekend...

My brother just happened to be here, which was good, because I wanted no part of this moving the eagle business. So here's how it a nutshell.

Attach strap to tractor and lawn ornament (this took longer than I had expected out of these two)
Holy smokes!  Maybe it's top heavy, or bottom heavy, I don't know, but we almost lost some feathers! That was close!
Air traffic control.
Sayonara Sucker!  In the coming days, it will be loaded on a trailer and deposited at it's new home.

It's a win/win for everyone.  Now I just have to figure out what to do with the enormous hole right next to my front porch, but trust me, I'd rather have that problem, than the eagle. 

End note: The entire time all this is going on, Graham is inside the tractor sitting in the 'Buddy Seat'.  Before he went to bed tonight, he asked his dad if he could 'move the parrot again tomorrow...'  I think he spent too much time with his Grandma down south!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lean In? I think I'll just stand tall...

In the end, this is where my heart is...At home, with my family.

This blog is meant to be light-hearted and fun, and though I have not blogged in what, maybe 2 years, I decided to resurrect it.  However, for today only, I am diverging from it's main purpose (poking fun at a city slicker-who now lives on a farm...) I have something on my mind and someone needs to say it for everyone. So after today, I'm back at it and off of my soapbox.  Here goes:

I was gifted, Sheryl Sanberg's book, "Lean In" for Christmas. I read it and I am glad I did. I agree with some of what she says, most is simply not for me. But it did help me learn a lesson about myself. 

I think instead of 'Leaning In', I will choose to 'Stand Tall'.  We all make decisions in life-and at 31, I'm starting to feel like I am finally comfortable and confident in my own skin.  Yeah, I could have married someone that hadn't already been married.  Sure would have make life a 'heck of a lot easier', right?  I could have kept that high profile career and been making tons of money, but how about taking a day off with a sick kid, like I did yesterday? I could worry that women still only make what, $.71 on a man's dollar and protest this, I could have fought harder for more of a raise this year.  Heck, I could do a lot of things differently, I suppose. While many things that my mom says resonate with me, especially the older I get, two standout especially:  'we all have our own cross(es) to bare' and 'you need to pick your battles'.  And you know what, I've found, my Mama is a wise woman.

I would like to encourage my friends and family, especially the women, to not look down on someone because they may or may not have chosen to "Lean In". 

For me personally, I'm going to 'Stand Tall' I specifically chose to take a position at a public institution because unlike my former high-profile sales/marketing job (which I loved at the time but was days on end of traveling-however, I do credit for my visiting many places in the beautiful country I may never have seen otherwise and many good times), I could count on the 8am-5pm and very few 'after-hours' events. After hours, is reserved solely for my family or personal enjoyment.  I also went in to the position with the attitude that if I changed careers, I still needed to make myself virtually irreplaceable.  And I did.  Now, I truly believe for me, I have the best of both worlds, I am on a 70% appointment at the office and I spend the rest of my time with my family.

For our household, I am not the breadwinner-just a little gravy on the top. I have been blessed to be able to make the decisions that I have because I have this fantastic opportunity.  However, don't be fooled, it doesn't come without sacrifice of other things. But it is what is right for us, right now.

At this point in my life, I'm not interested in "Leaning In".  But let's not confuse this with I have no idea what is going on in the world-or that I only know what facts my kids' cartoons impart upon them.  I pride myself on keeping up with current events, news, books, magazines and otherwise, my home stocked with groceries and home-cooked meals are on our table almost every night.  I believe that both stay-at-home moms and working moms have good heads on their shoulders and we're all just trying to do the best that we can, are we not? For me, I know I should be better at keeping up with friends, but the good ones, they love me whether we talk twice a year or twice a day.

I'm going to 'Stand Tall', because you know what, there is something rewarding to my heart in nurturing a sick little guy back to health, making those home-cooked meals for my family, crafting for them and being there for them as much as I can.  I'm going to 'Stand Tall' because I truly enjoy the work that I do at the office. I enjoy assisting families through the process of finding a university that is right for them and getting them on campus as an admitted student.  And I'll be honest it, I also like dropping my children off at 'school' (daycare) and letting them interact with others their age and learn and play-it doesn't mean I'm not thinking about them. It's what's right for me.

I guess for me, I'll be leaning in to my family because, after all, making the little people is the easy part, right?  Teaching them to be productive members of society takes a village and includes those working in and out of the home, and somewhere in between, too.

So maybe the message here is, do what is right for you and try to be respectful to others. I know in my heart, I'm right where I need to be.  And I sincerely hope that you are too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

TGTWIO- (aka Thank God The Weekend Is Over!)

I have been dreading this weekend for a long time, not only because it meant my baby monster was growing up (turning 1) but because I had little/no time to prepare for his party since I've been decorating and we committed to go to the Iowa/MSU football game on Saturday.  So I had to prep for Tailgate, make all the food, (with the exception of the Veggie Bars provided by my mother-in-law) decorate the cake, clean the house, etc.

Here's a VERY brief photo recap

Time to make cake!

Finished cakes, went to the freezer on Monday night to be thawed and decorated Sunday morning.

My baby monster was playing 'Gladiator' while I was cooking.

On Friday, I rolled out fondaunt to add to his cake.  It had to dry for 2 days.

My arms hurt from rolling all these stupid little balls.  Someday I'm going to take up working out... Someday.

Baby Monster's finished cake.

A new snow sled!  Can't wait to take this out and use it!

Some MSU gear after a big Victory Saturday.

A very fortunate boy who will have lots to keep him busy in the coming year.
 And then his mom fell in to bed exhausted at 945pm.  Shortly after, the baby monster awoke crying and did so periodically throughout the night.  He ended up in her bed, mule kicking her in the stomach until 6am.
Then, I dragged my butt outside after work today to get the garland and bows out before it gets any colder.  I've not even plugged them in yet, but this looks to be the last reasonably warm day for a while.

Yes Mom, I realize I need to get my garland hoops even... I will, when I get some help...Next week.  I'm also short 2 bows-I'll pick them up Friday on 'errand day'.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Call me crazy, because I am clearly nuts...

We moved in to our beautiful home, 2 weeks before our wedding, which is going on 4 years ago now.  We found a beautiful home in a small town between Ames and Des Moines.  We don't live on an acreage, but we have an acre.  Our home features a beautiful wrap-around porch and it happens to be it may or may not draw attention to itself.

For the past 4 years, I have been ducking a local charity group that organizes a holiday home tour fundraiser.  First, we had just moved in to our home and were not unpacked, then, I still didn't have the Christmas decor worked out the next year.  Last year, it was held 2 weeks after the birth of my monster, 1 week after I almost died (OK, that might be a little dramatic, but still) and this year, I had NO excuse and they cornered me at work...  I had to say, 'yes'...well, I felt obligated to say, 'yes'.

Please, for God's sake, can I add one more thing to my plate?   I AM crazy.

So this year, our home will be decorated for an annoying amount of time.  I usually don't decorate until the Sunday after Thanksgiving (AND you're looking at the blog screen of a girl who rips the decorations down and puts them ALL away on December 26, every year.  This year, I might have it down by Christmas Eve with all this early decorating nonsense).  

So, I am challenged to make my home completely 'Christmas-ed out' by 4pm on December 4th.  Our home is beautiful, and I do love it, but we live here!! There are baby toys, my sewing and knitting stuff that will all need to be put away, that sticky stain of who knows what on my kitchen floor to clean, the windows to wash-we haven't taken them apart to wash since we've lived here.  My life is clutter, we live clutter...and I'm going to have to pick it all up.  Where's my mom?  WAH!  I hate picking up!  The though of all the cleaning, picking up, making and decorating, it's just too much!  It makes me want to cry, it's keeping me up at night... I won't go on.

So, the next few weeks, my blog (and I promise to stay on it) will be devoted to this project.  Oh, and in the meantime, preparing for a tailgate at Kinnick Stadium that my husband will be entertaining clients for, my baby monster's first birthday-complete with homemade Sesame Street cake, balloons, the whole she-bang, all while working and supervising Guyface, making 7 carseat covers I have on order and knitting my brother mittens). After December 4th, I'm hybernating until my Mama comes some time around the 21st of December.

Many of the things, I am making myself, using ideas from magazines, Pinterest (which I am still struggling to figure out) and my imagination.  Some of the things, my gracious neighbors are lending to me-thank you neighbors!  And the other things, I have collected along the way, or my mom has passed down to me when they downsized last year.

But still, I could really use some moral support and prayers for this one.  I've never done anything like it, and really want to make sure I do this lovely structure justice.

[I'm blogging while my baby monster is throwing scented pine cones all over my living least he'll smell like cinnamon for the rest of the night]

Here are a few things I have been working on since Friday night.

I bought several different kinds of greens and some wired ribbon to make these.  There will be 4 of them on the spindles of my bannister.

Here's a closer look.

Shh!  Don't tell my husband, but most of the stuff you see here I bought-can we write this off on our taxes?!

My baby monster has been enjoying himself in here messing with all my stuff.  He turns 1 Friday =(
 Here is what I'm dealing with in terms of clutter...
This was an office when we bought the house, it has turned in to my catch-all room, literally.

Sadly, I will be making lots of trips up and down the stairs.  My booty will be tight by the time I'm done taking all these things to the basement!

See, cluttered mess, including girls drawing/art supplies... You can see I have already added a few Christmas things.

The living room, see my monster's cage? =)

My kitchen is FAR too small for my liking.  Too little counter space!

I cleaned the windows on the left and right, the center one is broken and won't open...can you tell?  Awful, cloudy mess, I sure hope Pella calls me back to set an appointment to fix this.  How embarrassing!?

My silver candlesticks are polished and my everyday knick-knacks are stored away.  I'm rolling up my sleeves and ready to get to soon as I retrieve my monster from the dog's water dish!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My heart hurts and then made babyfood

This weekend and every weekend until the second weekend in January, we have something to do.  Traveling, weddings, football games, family in, birthdays, holidays, etc.  I looked at my calendar last week, noticed this, and about fainted.

This morning, we didn't have the girls, but they had two soccer games in 2 different towns.  Fun game.  So we took Guyface to both of them, in the 50 degree weather.  He was a good boy.  Biggest Sister's game was first, then Big Sister's.  Biggest Sister sat laughing at Big Sister's team and their ability (this is where I am going to need to remember to get video in the future, I'm pretty sure, three years ago, we found ourselves watching the same little girl, except her hair was red) she needed to be distracted.

In an effort to provide a distraction, Grandpa (known as 'Flash)  decided to 'race'.  He's trouble.  So he races her, then she rests, then her dad races her...then she starts harping on me to race her.  I couldn't resist a challenge.  So I did, I gave her a head start and let her win like I was suppose to, it wasn't fun for me.  I think I pulled my left quad and twisted my ankle and I am sure my heart has not had that much blood pumping through it since high school soccer-yeah, I'm getting old.  The whole time I'm thinking, why don't you bug your mom?? And then I decided I was happy that she wants to play with me, even though it's her mom's weekend.

So after we raced, there were a few things that I wanted to work with her on after watching her game.  Now, let's be clear, I was on the team, but I wasn't good.  I played because my friends played-did I enjoy Greg making us run our asses off at practice? No. I didn't, but you know what, I had a great time and have great memories from those seasons.  I feel like if I would have had a little more instruction as a youngster, I might have been better when I was in high school.  And even if that wouldn't have helped, I'm going to do my darndest to make sure I pass as much knowledge and skill to the children (all the children) as possible.

[In the back of my mind, I'm thinking, I'm only 22 years older than Payton, what is it going to be like when Guyface is 6 and I'm (gulp) over 30????  I can't even think about that now. ]

So, I took her over to an empty field and we worked on a few things.  And I may have knocked her down a few times and played rough with her and you know what, it didn't hurt her a bit to fall on her bottom or have someone kick her in the shin guards.  We played for about 30 minutes, what I would consider (at this point in my existence) hard.  She kept calling to her dad to come help her because I was beating her...and of course her mom kept turning around, once when she bit it on her face, but you know what, she was fine and she was having fun.

Sometimes, throughout my journey as a step-parent, I've found it very hard to find my place.  I'm not 'Mom', but I have a lot of mom-like characteristics.  I'm not just another woman in their lives, I think I'm more important than that, and I think they'd agree.  It's kind of tough to find the place you fit with each child, because where you fit with one, isn't always where you fit with the other.  I've found it a little easier now that I have a baby of my own.  He's mine and he's getting me and only me as him Mama whether he likes it or not, he has no other options, but the girls do.

So after I sacrificed my body in the name of step-parenting (sheesh, maybe I should start working out), I came home to make my monster some more baby food.  His daddy, of course, was off to have fun, playing in a golf tournament.  He liked the food so much last time and I had a number of things in my pantry and refrigerator that needed to be eaten and are great choices for a little monster, that I thought I should probably make some more.

I know there are some recipes out there for baby food, but I kind of look at it like this, if it tastes good and has good things in it and he'll eat it, it works.

So today, with the extra things I had around including tofu, peaches, butternut squash, and spinach.  We had made 3, sort of different dishes, in 1 food processor bowl.  Handy, isn't it?  Actually, it's laziness and a shear disdain for doing dishes. (is disdain the right word?  Anyone?  Mrs. Feeney? Are you there?)

So, here's how it started:  Put your baby monster down for a nap, because you know he is pesky, he'll be under your feet and whining at you to pick him up so he can stick his fingers in the food processor...while it's running (which is actually impossible, but you get the point).  Then put squash in the oven with a little bit of water in the bottom @ 350 for about an hour to get it cooked.
Do you like the nice picture of my oven, and blurry squash?  I know, I am a great photographer, thank you.

While you are waiting for it to cook, put the peaches and tofu in the food processor and mix.

Then take out a few spoonfuls for a protein packed fruit serving.

Then add in spinach and a little bit of squash.

Mmmmm, yum!
Mix again and fill the other 1/2 of the initial tray.

It looks good, right?
Fill the rest of the tray...
Then find a place in your very organized freezer where the tray can be level so your cubes don't get lopsided.  I'm glad my freezer was so organized so I don't look unprofessional while I'm showing you this, because that would be SO embarrassing!
Then, add another can of peaches, and the balance of the squash (now would be a great time to add brown rice if you can remember...I didn't remember.  I knew I was forgetting something).  And mix. Then grab a taste, because if you won't eat it, neither will he.

Surprisingly good, but I just happen to like all these things anyway.
And just when you are enjoying your creation, your baby monster will start to cry upstairs because he was awakened by the sound of you dropping the top of the food processor on the floor, and you have to go get him. And of course, he will see you making food and politely ask if he may try a bite, 'please Mama, oh please?'.  Then, he does this:

'No, I was just kidding Mama, it's green...No fank you'

'Well, what is it I taste in there? Is that peaches?'

'And a touch of spinach...'

'This is so embarrassing, stop taking my picture...'

I guess, I could stomach it.

Hey Mama, that's pretty good after all!

Then you load up a mini muffin dish because you made too much for the ice cube trays that you had to borrow from your mother-in-law because you had none... (Thank you Gloria!)

...all with this guy under your feet looking for a handout.

And then he went and made this mess and now, when it's time to clean up, he's no where to be found... =)
Thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Warm fuzzies and wonderful people

Today while I was off from work, I saw a Facebook post one of my 'friends'-who is probably, actually more of an acquaintance, and maybe always was.

To provide some background, I met this individual in college.  We were in the same sorority-I guess I should probably say 'are' because as I recall, being a member of a sorority is something you take with you to the grave...but anyway.  She was a nursing student, I was in agriculture.  Other than the sorority bringing us together, I'm not sure our paths would have crossed.

We served on an executive board in the sorority and I can recall at least one heated argument we had during a meeting in the 'date-room'.  I remember feeling bad after that, but I never would have said I was sorry at that point in my life, even if I knew I was wrong.  I should have, I know that now, now that I've had a few years to grow up and live life.

She and her husband live far away from their family (I think), she did end up becoming a nurse, I think she works with babies.  And her husband is a firefighter.  I don't know him that well, I vaguely remember him from 'date-parties'.  From what I have seen and what I keep up with on her Facebook page, I think that they may be some of the most selfless people (besides my mother-in-law of course) that I know-or am acquainted with.

Both of them are spending their lives helping people and saving lives.  And on top of that, they have recently been taking in foster children. I watched (more like stalked on Facebook) them take a little boy in, they took him out and about, they fed and clothed and played with him like he was their own.  Then the day came, where he had to go somewhere else.  I think a family member wanted him with them instead of these lovely people.  I read this on Facebook, and cried, and cried and cried and cried (are you getting the point?).  It wasn't even me and it was SO SAD to think about it. I can't imagine my little guy having to go away, and I know (again from Facebook) that it wasn't easy for them. 

I cannot imagine the strength it would take to be a foster parent.  It has really opened my eyes.  You hear horror stories of foster parents in the news, people only doing in for money, abuse, etc.  I can assure you, this little boy was (and is) loved more than most children in their own homes.  He could not have been placed with better people, who would care more about him than these people. 

It is so nice to know that I know (or I guess am acquaintances with) such wonderful people.  I hope they know what a great job they are doing and the impact they are going to have on this little guy (and future children).  They probably did more with the most recent baby they had than we did with Guyface in the first 4 months. 

Next week, they will get two more children and her post (and where I was getting to in my opening paragraph) was about needing things for the newest two.  Again, two at once, that is A LOT to take on with two full time careers.  Not that I can do much, but I decided that I would make 2 burp cloths and a 'taggie' blanket to send and I may or may not have picked up some 'Hot-Wheels' while I was out and about running my errands this afternoon as well.  Below is what I'm sending, the least I could do for such great people.  I hope that they have another great experience, and I hope it ends how they want it to end. 

I'm not real sure what the desired outcome is, if families that have foster children have them forever, or if they expect just a short time, I just don't know enough about how it works.  But whatever happens, I hope that it ends the way they want it to, they deserve happiness. 

Anyway, I needed to share that today, because I think she and her husband are very special and have (and are going to) impact countless children throughout their lives.  I think we just don't hear enough 'happy' stories about children in foster care.