Family

Faith for the Long Haul Involves Trust in Your Path

This morning on my drive into work, I started to reflect on some of the big changes that have happened in our life in the last year, and how much faith plays a part into success.

These past six months have been difficult for various reasons. It is a season in my life that I’m sure one day I will look back and see it as a small stepping stone and a time of profound discovery about my strength as an individual, a wife, a mother, and as our own little family unit.

I have quickly learned to adapt to changes – to rework – to think on my feet. Part of that is probably why I have enjoyed my roles in project coordination, management, and events, as there is always a fire to put out somewhere, a misstep to fix, or tasks to plan ahead on as part of an effective prevention plan. I continue to be convinced that hard work will win over a handout any day, and that work ethic plays a stronger role in the success of business deals, connections, transactions, and negotiations than anything else.

We will have been living in our little farm site for a year when May arrives. I sometimes forget how far we have come when I think about where we started with it. The big things that weren’t so fun that we did were a new roof, a new septic, new electrical, some new plumbing, and spray foam insulation throughout. I often forget about those major things we had to do first, when I see all that still needs to be done. I often catch myself wondering what our neighbors think of our poor yard or the weird front part of our house that we had to fix foundation on and remove a tree that looks so ridiculous…which it will for a while. I also tell myself, we can only do so much, especially when we are paying cash for all the updates, including the major ones. Uff-da. It definitely slows down progress. I see some beautiful renovations done in a month, and I’m just getting a finished kitchen ceiling a year later…not to mention the countertops still waiting to be installed.  It can be easy to feel discouraged when it seems as if we take one step forward with the house and then two steps back, but I try to tell myself, we are making small baby steps towards progress, and someday, all the trim will be finished…hopefully.

Where we started – no walls, completely gutted – and where we are today – a toilet, shower, tile, trim, and cabinet (and we do have a full sink top on now too!)

Our upstairs bathroom has undergone a significant transformation in the past month. I even had to remind myself at where we started with it. We completely gutted it and installed new walls, a new shower, new toilet and a new floor. I redid the solid oak cabinet that was in the bathroom – a good scrubbing and some paint later and it looked completely different. We are still searching for a few items to complete the bathroom (like a mirror and light fixture), but hopefully in a month or so it will all be tied together. Harper really loves having a big bath again needless to say!

We have been working to develop a plan for our farm-site that exists in 5, 10, and 15 year time frames. That often seems like forever when we could use it all right now! Our major things happening this summer are repairs to our shop and burning down the barn. We finally got the official “go ahead” with the fire department to use the barn for training. It will be interesting as my husband is already throwing out things like “water curtains,” “tanker stations”, and other firefighting terms. We are rearranging some of the critters to new homes to protect them from the smoke. Luckily, we have some amazing friends that will take the horses in temporarily during it all, and another friend busy building a small hog shed for us. The chickens will also be moved into a new building as we arrange the driveway a bit differently in the future. The plan is to reach some bigger goals of an office addition, some fencing for livestock, and reworking another shed for livestock in those 10 and 15 year plans. We have some amazing people on our team that believe in what we are doing, tell it like it is, and definitely build up our confidence that we can make it all work when there are plenty of days that seem to tell us differently.

I have really started to refocus my trust in Him. Sometimes it takes an infinite amount of strength to realize that He has a reason for what is going on in these various seasons of my life. When I seem to be saying, right now…He tells me to pause and wait. After a phone call to my sister a few weeks ago where she really stressed that I needed to give it all to God and truly trust in His plan, because later on, even though it may not seem like it now, it is the right path, and the right steps to take. Her words hit home. That I needed to remember who was in control of this crazy mess of a life I lead.

This is one of my favorite songs – Trust in You by Lauren Daigle – and I listen to it often.

Our journey has never been easy – we’ve had plenty of people tell us we should write a book with as much stuff that has happened to us before the age of 30, but like so many, we just keep plugging along. Hard work matters, even when it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. So when you feel like throwing the towel in, like you are getting nowhere, remember where you started, how far you’ve come, and all the hard work you’ve put in. That fire, that passion you first started with, is still there, it might just need some rekindling every once in a while. So for now, I won’t forget where to put my trust, and let Him fan the flame – it will all be just fine.

-Sara

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Field Meal Recipe Ideas

Field meals are something that has always been important to my family. My mom always made sure there was a hot meal taken out to the field, or if we were at a field close to home, a big warm meal would be on the table for a quick 15 minute break growing up. There was always roasts, biscuits, casseroles, warm sandwiches, homemade applesauce, and so many yummy desserts floating around during harvest season at our house. She never packed my dad a cold sandwich, because well, he hated them. My husband, isn’t quite that lucky. She always made sure he would have something hot while working long hours in the tractor. We also had a custom harvester growing up, and Charlie also always ate well at our house during those times too. My mom even likes to make sure now that the hubs has warm food if he is in the fields near her house. She also keeps candy corn (his favorite) stockpiled during the harvest season to run out to him! Lucky man!

Looking back now, these times either out in the field set up around a card table she would bring out, or around our kitchen table for a quick 15 minutes, are some of the best memories I have of harvest season. Food can easily bring a group of people together, and warm food during harvest season does just that. My mom always ensured there was a home cooked meal either ready or delivered.

I can’t always get a meal out to the field, but I try to at least once every week. I depend on a few key items in my arsenal to ensure it is warm when we have field that are 30 to 40 miles apart some times – a crockpot, heated seats, an insulated casserole carrier (I use this one from thirty-one), and plugins in my vehicle. I also keep a plethora of disposable coffee cups, containers, Ziploc baggies, tin pie plates, etc. on hand.

Most times, the meals looks like this...sandwiches, granola bars, chips, gatorade...

Most times, the meals looks like this…sandwiches, granola bars, chips, gatorade…you get the idea.

I’m going to link some of my favorite recipes that I take out to the field below. All of these have been approved by the hubs, so I keep them on a rotating basis during fall and spring. Some of these I don’t follow to a T, or I’ve adapted to be more crockpot friendly, etc. I don’t always measure spices, so use what you feel is appropriate. I go for easy. I go for warmth. I go for cheesy factor and if my non-veggie loving husband will eat it. I always keep refrigerated cans of biscuits or croissants on hand during this time to make with a lot of these.

Spices I always keep on hand to substitute the “real thing” – Onion Onion and Garlic Garlic from Tastefully Simple. These two almost always end up added to any dish in our household. I don’t typically keep actual onion on hand, because the hubs isn’t a big fan, but the onion onion seasoning gives me the flavoring I want in the dishes.

Crockpot Meals

  1. Cheesy Potato Crockpot Soup – This one is perfect for those chilly fall days. I will usually bake biscuits to go with it and bring along. I love the spicy kick the andouille sausage gives it, but use whatever meat you have.
  2. Crockpot Chicken Spaghetti – I don’t use cream of mushroom or mushrooms because I don’t like mushrooms. I use Cream of Chicken soup, and will often only do one can, and then add a package of cream cheese. I also use a can of diced tomatoes and chilies because I often won’t have them separate. I wait and cook my noodles right before heading to the field with this one. I then put them in the crockpot with the chicken so they aren’t soggy.
  3. Cream Cheese Chicken Chili – I don’t usually follow a recipe for chili unless I’m making this chicken chili. Otherwise ground beef, tomatoes, a few cans of beans, corn, garlic, cumin, chili powder, onion, paprika…it all gets thrown in the crock pot for a hearty chili. I will try to make garlic biscuits or corn bread with this one.
  4. Chicken Alfredo Tortellini – Super easy because it uses jarred Alfredo sauce and refrigerated tortellini! I will also use canned chicken with this because I always have it on hand.
  5. Pulled Pork Sandwiches – Pulled pork in the crockpot is so simple! I will either use Dr. Pepper or root beer with mine. I will also bring along the BBQ Sauce so those working can add as little or as much as they want to their sandwich.
  6. Cheesy Turkey Sandwiches – I put all of this in the crockpot as one. My mom will tell you to add a can of cheddar cheese soup, I just struggle with finding it in the store sometimes. And like I mentioned earlier, onion onion and garlic garlic go in too! I will often use turkey breast tenderloin or the fully-cooked oven roasted turkey breast from Jennie-O.
  7. Breakfast Scramble – we have chickens, so I am always trying to use up eggs. I am planning on taking this casserole out to the field for supper this year…so breakfast for supper anyone? I’ve made it a few times just for us, but it makes a lot. I will add chilies sometimes for spice, use ham, etc. to doctor it up.

Casseroles/Sandwiches

  1. Million Dollar Spaghetti – This baked spaghetti is always a crowd pleaser, and is one of my favorites.
  2. Doritos Taco Bake – This is one of my husband’s favorites because he loves Doritos. You can cook the crust before if you are worried about a mushy crust. I’ve never had an issue with it, but some people do.
  3. Funeral Sandwiches – You bake these in a 9×13 pan so they are nice and warm. My husband loves hot ham and cheese sandwiches, and the flavor in these is amazing. A warm sandwich makes up for the cold ones I usually send J
  4. Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole – I always say use whatever cheese you have on hand!
  5. Bacon and Cheese Muffins – I will usually make a batch or two of these for the weekend, so the hubs had something to take out in the mornings with him. These are simple, and could easily be used as a “grab-and-go” option for lunches or supper.

Desserts

  1. Pudding Cookies – they stay soft which makes them delicious! I like the cheesecake pudding cookies myself, but you can use any kind of pudding.
  2. Butterfinger puppy chow – my husband loves butterfingers, so I will usually make a batch of this for him to munch on.
  3. Chocolate lasagna – this is one they have to stop and eat, and isn’t made for taking in a tractor. I will bring it along with usually another meal that they truly have to stop for.
  4. Carmelitas – these are very rich bars, but another favorite in our household.
  5. Christmas Crack/Saltine Toffee – Whatever you want to call this, it is so simple to make and so delicious. I like that I can break it up and separate it into snack baggies so everyone gets some.
  6. Revel Bars – the hubs loves these bars and again, simple and they make a lot. Helpful when you have a lot of people to cook for!

Things I always bring out to the field when delivering meals:

  • Garbage bags
  • “farmer” napkins aka papertowels
  • Forks
  • Serving utensils
  • Wet ones

And some days, it’s pizza from the local Casey’s because lets face it, this lady runs out of hours in the day.

I hope all of you have a safe and blessed harvest season! May we all find a few fleeting moments of time together with our families during these busy times, even if it is 15 minutes around a card table and a crockpot.

-Sara

 

To the Farm Momma Doing it All

I belong to a group on Facebook for women in agriculture. I often see posts or questions pertaining to children on the farm – how do you keep them occupied while doing chores? Do you baby wear? What carrier do I get? What creative ways do you have for strapping them in a tractor?

Lastly, how do you still make sure you are giving your child your most precious asset, time?

I have been struggling with figuring out this new role on the farm. Am I farm mom? A Farm wife? Am I farmer? Am I a full-time employee? Am I a student in agriculture? Am I a mom? Am I a wife?

Needless to say, I am all of those things in one form or another, and finding the balance among it all has been a tricky one. I have been having a hard time accepting that I am in a new season of my life, and as such, a season of my role on the farm. Things are more difficult (but fun!) when you throw a kid in the mix.

Last fall, Harper spent a lot of hours in the car seat in the tractor with Dad. I had taken on a second job because we had bills that needed to be paid, which meant Dad had to step-up his game and besides working full-time, farming, and being a Dad without Mom while she worked 2 jobs was part of that. He did beautifully. We only lost 1 toy and 1 changing pad, and had one feeding mishap in the 2 month harvest season. No tears over any of that.

Time with Daddy in the tractor. He drove grain cart most of the time so he could stop for bottle feedings!

Time with Daddy in the tractor. He drove grain cart most of the time so he could stop for bottle feedings!

This spring was not as easy. Especially with livestock chores. Packing up a kid in a car seat, to move her to a stroller for chores, to pop her back in the car seat to go back to where we were currently living since we weren’t at the farm full-time yet, was an interesting predicament. I quickly realized that I can’t just hop in a tractor anymore or  run a supper out to the field when bedtime is at 7. I felt a little isolated. A little disorganized, and out of sorts with my “normal.”

This fall, I chose not to pick up my normal second job. Could we use the income, oh most definitely yes. It seems like every other day something goes wrong with this renovation…not having a working air conditioner and a softener we are pretty sure just kicked the bucket a few days ago. Some projects are on the back burner…that new garage roof is going to have to wait another year. Strapping Harper into a tractor is a little different as an almost 1 ½ year old. I won’t be as easy for Mark to just take her a long if I had to work, and he is also traveling for his full-time job on top of it. I chose to focus on taking care of my family this fall. It may mean I get to run more meals out to the field, or it may not, if Harper has an early childhood class instead. It means I probably won’t be spending much time in the tractor, but instead attending Halloween parties, feeding the pig and chickens at home, and selling honey. Will I still strap her in her Tula for some tractor driving? Most definitely!  However, I am also recognizing that she’s little, and a mover, and hours in the tractor won’t last as long as they used to. A second carseat that was a little easier to remove and transfer in vehicles was purchased in preparation for picking people up, transferring equipment, etc.

Harper in the Tula while doing horse chores with me. This is how we get chores done now.

Harper in the Tula while doing horse chores with me. This is how we get chores done now.

It is strange, being in this new season of my life. It is strange trying to figure out my role as a mom, a wife, a farmer, a business owner, and so much more. But I also know these days won’t last forever. Before I know it, she’ll be learning to drive the tractor herself, feeding the livestock herself…these days are precious. I don’t want to take this time for granted.

So mommas struggling to do it all on the farm, here’s what I’m saying…Go easy on yourself. You are doing SO MUCH.  

I once got told that the most important job you can do on the farm is to raise the next generation. What an undertaking we have.

It can be really hard some days. When your baby is crying, and somehow you are still supposed to do laundry, feed yourself and your husband and the dog, write out checks for seed and fertilizer, and schedule the veterinarian’s next visit.

It can be really hard. But mommas, it is so worth it when you see those little munchkins checking fields with their daddy or riding next to you in the tractor or showing their first calf. You are not alone in your struggles, your feelings, your excitement, your celebrations, or the long, exhausting days. We are a strong group of women, raising the next generation. What an undertaking it is.

Mark with Harper checking bean fields earlier this year.

Mark with Harper checking bean fields earlier this year.

-Sara

When Life Gets Crazy

How many of you sometimes feel like you are sinking? Surviving on coffee? Your hair has been dry shampooed for the 3rd time this week?

I’m raising my hand right there with you.

When Mark took his new job, we didn’t realize it would take him away from home so much, but with a company just breaking into the US market, his territory has been GIGANTIC. I mean, 4 states worth gigantic. It has been a daily, weekly, and monthly struggle with never knowing if he will be home one night or gone mid-morning for a week-long trip. It has been frustrating, challenging, and frankly, very lonely. It probably hit home the most when Mark wasn’t able to make it back for Easter. There are days where I feel like I’m barely surviving between chores, trying to renovate a house, pay bills for 2 places, take care of selling our other house, and making sure Harper’s needs are met, all while still being a solid employee at work. I am thankful for my boss who has been very understanding as my schedule has flexed to accommodate our crazy schedules.

Our house renovation has been as slow as traffic on 494 during rush hour. There are days where it feels like we will never get anywhere. We made the decision to box up all of our stuff and move to our camper to live until our renovations are complete. Camper living is a game changer that I’m not sure I can fully describe unless you have actually done it with a 1 year old. We have all the plumbing fixed thanks to one of Mark’s talented friends, the roof is done, walls are ready for new electrical, and waiting for drywall. Tile has been purchased, a new shower/tub unit is waiting, and the vanity top is ready to go on the cabinet. I have the paint color picked out for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. Still working on paint colors for the rest of the house. Paintable wallpaper by the way, is my saving grace for some of this house. We have “new” to us appliances thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who graciously gave us their set waiting to go in the garage. We do have to do a modification to the ceiling in the kitchen, and are debating if we just try to refinish all the hardwood floors at once and pull up all the vinyl. I also still need to paint all of the kitchen cabinets and get new hardware…it never ends. If you know anyone that likes to paint, we pay in honey!

Speaking of which, we started a really awesome new Pollinators Superhero program with our honey! We  know not everyone is into keeping bees, and frankly, we all shouldn’t be due to lack of forage out there and disease, but we know people like to help pollinators and learn about honeybees, so in 2016, you can actually sponsor a hive. You will receive a photo of your hive, details about it, a 1lb jar of honey, and a chance to come visit us during extraction! There’s even an opportunity to be able to paint a hive the color of your choice and engrave it! What a unique gift idea for that hard to buy for person in your life! You can find out more here.

There have been plenty of days of craziness in our household. I have also realized that it is okay to go to bed at 8pm if you need it. Really. It won’t be the end of the world if the laundry stays on the couch for the week unfolded. I swear it. If you don’t have a chance to shower in the morning because your husband is on a fire call and the baby is up, just use the dry shampoo. No one will notice. If you have to wear boots covered in dirt and plaster dust into a restaurant to have a quick lunch because you forgot to pack sandwiches, just do it. No one minds. Don’t feel bad if you need a Dr. Pepper at 8 at night because you have to stay up late finishing your own homework. Be proud of yourself for continuing your schooling.

Hope anchors the Soul

At the end of the day, my prayers are often for strength. Strength to get through each day, and strength to be able to find contentment in what we are physically able to accomplish at the house, rather than the lack of what is getting done. I also try to pray for faith in my future and not fear of the unknown. Putting it all in God’s hand at the end of the day, but also knowing he has given me the ability to work and work hard, to provide for myself and my family, and with that comes hope. Hope for the kind of future we want for Harper, as well as for our personal farm plans. That things will come together, slowly but surely. It might not always look pretty, but we can say at the end of the day, we did it ourselves. We didn’t have anyone giving us it. Someday, we will probably look back on this time in our life and say, man did we survive on a shoestring. Surviving sometimes seems like all we do in the midst of chaos and living in a camper. In the meantime, I reflect on this verse…

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

May you also find that hope anchors your soul in the midst of the chaos we call life. May we still find time for snuggles and bedtime stories, 8pm Dr. Pepper’s, and still be able to laugh at each other when all is said and done. Hope anchors the soul, and you were made to thrive…

-Sara

 

A Farm Animal Birthday

As my readers know, Harper turned the big old 1 in April. I am still in denial. It was like someone flipped a switch after her birthday party. She went from wobbling to cruising, her vocabulary expanded, the tumbles got bigger (um, chipped tooth and a whopping goose egg on her head are just 2 examples), and all of a sudden things like mom signing her up for swimming lessons started.

In true Harper fashion, being the little farm girl she is, a farm animal themed party was in store. We couldn’t have just any farm birthday though, it had to be a PINK farm animal theme party. I wanted to share some of the photos and ideas we used at the party for any other farm mommas out there, or if you just want to host a farm theme party! My Silhouette Cameo and I became best friends the month leading up to her party – I did cut outs, HTV, and more with it for the first time ever!

Harper's farm animal themed invites!

Harper’s farm animal themed invites!

Let’s start with the invitations. My friend Mallorie who has an amazing Etsy shop, designed Harper’s birthday party invites for me. I told her I had found adorable pink paisley napkins and to go with a farm animal theme. How cute is that little piglet? And a few days later, she had created this cute custom invite for us! Mallorie is on Facebook too so check her out!

Next, let’s talk decor. As I said, I became very friendly with my Cameo, but I also enlisted the help of Pink Tree Papers from Etsy for cupcake toppers. The rest was up to me!

The adorable cupcake toppers! We had to have cowprint tablecloths and pig cookies too! My mom made pig cookies in honor of Harper's heritage since her Grandpa Marvin ( my dad) was a pig farmer.

The adorable cupcake toppers! We had to have cow-print tablecloths and pig cookies too! My mom made pig cookies in honor of Harper’s heritage since her Grandpa Marvin ( my dad) was a pig farmer.

I printed out all of Harper’s monthly photos that we had taken over the course of her first year, and hung them in between these 2 cute garlands. It was so fun to see the changes. Poor thing was so skinny her first 4 months of life!

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I adore tissue paper garlands – so easy to make! Also…fireplace doors make your legs look awkwardly stubby.

I also made a Happy Birthday Banner for the wall. I realized I forgot to take a photo of the barn welcome sign I made that was hanging outside the front door too. I’ll be putting that in her scrapbook at some point. I made the banner just general – this mom will be reusing it every year there is pink or gold involved.

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My tulle lights I started before Harper was born, and have yet to actually finish them. I used them at her baby shower, in her room, and now for her birthday. If you ever decide to make tulle or rag lights, make sure you find the shortest strand of lights known to man kind. I was using a set that was extra from our wedding.

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I decided to try something new – a time capsule. Can you believe it will be 2033 when she is officially 18? I thought it would be fun to have guests write her a note or memory for her to read when she turns 18. I designed it, printed it out, framed it, and used pink paisley paper for note cards.

time Capsule.

The time capsule for her 18th birthday.

The time capsule all set up.

The time capsule all set up. The pink gingham tablecloth is from  Oriental Trading.

The drink station included cow-print and pink stripped straws. The punch is just “bridal shower punch” – 7up, Hawaiian punch and sherbet. I have 2 of these big punch jars that resemble canning jars, and I use them at every part. Best purchases I have ever made!

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I picked up this cup for Harper at a random Holiday gas station that I stopped at. I had been saving it, and it was perfect for the occasion. She loves normal adult straw cups, and Little Miss Bossy Boots enjoyed the cup at her party.

Harper with her custom cup.

Harper with her special cup. Headband is from Julia Grace Designs. 

The cute bib I made her for her birthday!

The cute bib I made her for her birthday!

We will never speak of the difficulty I had cutting that darn  gold HTV, but her onesie and bib turned out so cute!

Harper with her cow cake, custom onesie and cute little ribbon skirt I all made for her!

Harper with her cow cake, custom onesie and cute little ribbon skirt I all made for her!

And what farm birthday is complete without a cow cake? Okay…I seriously love all of those amazing custom farm birthday cakes. I remember telling Mark, lets just spend the money and get a cute barn cake. I showed him pictures…we were so close to doing it. I was all like, no, I can make cupcakes, and I can do a cow cake. I’ll just buy the pre-made fondant stuff, I can do this. I can do this! I made a tractor cake once. This should be easy. Note – don’t ever attempt fondant for the first time, 11 at night, when your rolling-pin has already been packed in a box for your move. BAD IDEA. Just buy a cake, any cake…it won’t matter 10 years from now, and your sanity will be intact.

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And one outfit change and one nap later…a first birthday party was complete.

-Sara 

 

A Letter to my Daughter

Wow baby girl, we made it a year.

Becoming a mother, was something I had prayed, and prayed some more about. You were a hope daddy and I had over the span of 2 years before we finally knew about you. Our faith wavered at times, but we trusted God’s timing and his plan.

You were put into my arms, and my entire world shifted. A place in my heart that I didn’t even know existed opened up. I fell in love with every single inch of you, from your tiny toes to the head of hair you proceeded to lose in the first weeks of your life. You stayed wide awake almost the entire time of your first day in this world. I guess you didn’t want to sleep when there were so many new faces in the room to study. You stayed that way for the first  few months, and even now a 30 minute nap is all you take most days.

Hewitt, Harper #35 Copyright

Baby girl you have stretched my limits to the max, and then stretched them some more. Patience has never been one of my virtues, but you have taught me all about it.

I have rocked you to sleep at night, snuggled you in my arms in my own bed during sleepless nights, and I have snuck in on you after you have fallen fast asleep just to make sure you were still breathing, watching you dream and every once in a while, talk in your sleep.

I have watched you reach milestone after milestone, cheering on every roll, every crawl, every word, every clap, and every single wobbly step.

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I can remember thinking over and over that I was going to be a bad mom, and there are days where my frustration mounts like when you have been told no repeatedly for shaking the microwave cart, and there have been days where you have scared me half to death like crawling up a tote bin and standing up on top of it. There are times where I crawl into bed so exhausted at the end of the day, shaking my head, telling your Dad that I wish I could give you more of my time; that having to work and having school made me feel like I was inadequate. He just holds my hand and tells me what a wonderful Mom I am, and that you know no different.

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You say mama, dada, ball, baba, and uhoh like it is going out of style. Despite our intense efforts, you will only offer us a tractor when and if you want to say it. We’ve worked hard on high-fives, and you sort of have blowing kisses down, but we are pretty sure you like the noise you can make with your hand more than trying to blow a kiss.

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You have an attitude a mile long, and while I was gone to Vietnam, Dad said you perfected tantrum throwing. I guess that was my punishment for leaving you for two weeks. Ignoring you while you lay on the floor and cry when you don’t get your way seems to be the only way to resolve the issue.

I have relished the last few hugs, snuggles, story times, and trips down the slide this week as your last official week as a baby. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone.

You make me want to be a better mom, a stronger woman, and a better example for you. I hope I can teach you things like having a strong work ethic, taking care of your own family first, to not spend money you don’t have, to stand up for yourself, to make exercise a priority, to take pride in what you do, to depend on yourself, and to also realize that inevitably, loving someone will lead to disappointment, but how you deal with that disappointment will say so much more about you than anything else.

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I hope I teach you to find the wonder in a new baby chick and the miracle of life. I hope I can remind you to slow down and enjoy the everyday moments even if it is just a walk to the woods or a ride in the tractor. I hope I show you to always say thank you, to hold the door for someone, and to give the $5 to the man with the sign begging for money without judging if he needs it or not.

I hope I can teach you to chase your dreams, to truly find out what you love to do. I hope you know you will always have roots with us, but I hope I can support you in the choices you make, even when I don’t agree with them. I hope one day, if you want to, you can come back to the farm and we will be able to make it happen if you choose to do so. We all know girls drive tractors better than boys anyways. I hope you bloom where you are planted, and know that life isn’t about things, but moments. I know already with your attitude and smiles, you will light up a room wherever you may land.

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Baby girl at the same time you are teaching me to delight in the simple things like a new, colorful balloon, repeated trips down a slide, or swinging higher. You are teaching me that at the end of the day, I need to depend on me to get us through the day. You are showing me how discovering something new like petting a dog for the first time or feeling the spring grass on our feet can be so, so good for the soul. Smiles can light up a room, and momma needs to smile more. I hope your smile never waivers little girl.

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Know that no matter what, your momma and daddy love you to the moon and back. You will always be our little girl. Don’t you ever grow up.

Happy First Birthday Harper Louise.

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Love, your momma. 

Mom Fails…or Truths

I’m 5 months, almost 6, into this whole new mom thing. There are days where I feel like I have my life together, and others, like today when I have 8 piles of laundry on the floor and dishes in the sink that I am completely overwhelmed. I also have made promises to myself this won’t become a mom blog, but being a new mom is kind of what has taken over my life right now…well, that and studying for my chemical applicator license!

Mark and I were talking the other day about the crazy stuff that happens to you while being a parent that no one tells you about or you never would say out loud. Well, I’m going to chime in with some of my “mom fails” or a I like to call them “mom truths” because let’s face it mommas, we have all had those crazy times even IF we don’t like to admit it! So here’s to motherhood!

  1. When I told my husband “She’s getting to big for the swing,” I should have phrased it “Do not put the baby in the swing.” Chaos ensued with Harper hanging upside down for about 3.7 seconds before we rushed to grab her out of the swing. She laughed. We looked at each other horrified.
  2. Diapers on backwards. I don’t know what it is with Luvs but every time I go to put them on they are backwards, and then I have to do a quick switcheroo. It could be because I’m lacking sleep, either way, this problem has never happened with Pampers.
  3. Lansinoh Lanolin. This crap stains like none other. Why is there not a big fat warning on the tube or giant flashing letters on every mom website out there about this?! I have just about given up trying to get this out of any of the shirts I wore while using it, and all of my nursing bras and tanks shall be stained forever.
  4. Thinking I needed a bassinet. This is what cribs are for. And Swaddlers. And Sleep Sacks. And monitors. Your sanity and bedroom will thank you, the sooner you get baby used to sleeping in a crib. I’ve heard transitioning a baby from one of those Rock ‘n’ Plays to the crib can be excruciatingly brutal. Although, the bassinet stayed in the room and made a nice storage unit for my books and tablet! I kicked it out around month 2 to storage.
  5. Beware when sniffing a baby’s bottom. You never think that sniffing a baby’s butt will become routine to you while you are pregnant (there are many times you will say to yourself, “I will never do that!” Oh, but you will!) but it is a daily occurrence to determine a dirty diaper. Just beware…babies CAN and WILL fart in your face while doing this, which will result in your husband going into hysterics, falling to the grass, and laughing for 10 minutes. True story.
  6. Freaking out over what we thought was a temperature. Harper was around 3 weeks old, when the hubs took her temp because she was cranky and freaked me out because it was 100 degrees. Holy crap, a baby with a temperature! The end results was lots of googling, repeated temperature taking, a call to the nurses line, and finding out that a normal temp for baby can be a range from 97 degrees to 100.4.
  7. Forgetting burp cloths. #1 fail when you have a child with acid reflux! I forgot a burp rag once when we went to church. End result – the extra pair of clothes  I packed were used. I forgot a burp cloth while we shopped at Hy-Vee one day. Her toy bee became said burp cloth. We do a lot of laundry.
  8. You know that old saying “Never wake a sleeping baby?” There is a reason that it is a saying. We made that mistake one evening thinking she wouldn’t sleep through the night since she went down so early. No folks, she needed her beauty sleep and she wanted it now!

    Our little chunky monkey keeping us on our toes!

    Our little chunky monkey keeping us on our toes!

So there you have it a few of my funny “mom truth” moments. What are some of the fails you’ve had as a mom?

-Sara