img_8617

I have ADHD.

I have ADHD

It’s been almost a year since my ADHD diagnosis.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on ADHD. I try to read a couple of articles a day on the topic to learn more about myself, the functionality of my brain, and a couple of my children. In fact, I was reading an article the other day that I didn’t relate to at all. As I was sharing this with my therapist, I chuckled, “Maybe I don’t actually have ADHD.”

Looking at me warmly and seriously, she dimpled and rebutted, “No. You definitely do.”

It’s been an interesting journey, being diagnosed in my 40s. I used to be one of those people who erroneously believed ADHD was one of those catch all diagnoses used to medicate little boys who shouldn’t be sitting still all day long in a classroom anyway. I still do think that it’s overdiagnosed and overmedicated, but studies back up my belief that ADHD veritably is a real thing. I’m learning to accept that my brain really does work differently than the other 96% of the population.

Unquestionably, being diagnosed with ADHD has given me a lot of freedom, and the ability to give myself more grace. I used to wonder why I couldn’t seem to get my act together or manage life in a way that other people seemed to be able to, or why this way of working appeared impossible for me, when it came so easily to others. I used to berate myself for these perceived lacks. Now I can say to myself, “My brain doesn’t work that way, but I can think of ways to succeed in the ways my brain does work.”

It helps me understand why I approach life the way I do.

Knowing I have ADHD lets me accept how I am, to know that I might do it differently, and to feel positive that my way works too.

It’s harder, because we don’t live in a world that is designed for my way of thinking, but I now can realize that, and accommodate myself.

I can look at all the gifts that come with having ADHD, and be thankful that I know now why I function the way I do.

This is part of a series Jessica is writing for October, ADHD Awareness Month. What questions would you like to have her answer?

photo by Giraffe Photography

Please follow and like us:
img_9519

The Overwhelm Of Mothering

Sunday.

I’m 💯% overwhelmed most of the time.

Waking up to a toddler loudly whinging because it’s not dark anymore and her hot cocoa is too hot and she wants to get dressed but not that one while simultaneously needing to pee and pour my first cuppa and take the dog out. Overwhelm.

Trying to read your Bible with people climbing in or near you and teasing the dog and each other and even knowing that God is close to those with young it feels like failing. Overwhelm

Going through a huge gift of clothes with the boys to decide what we will keep and what we will bless to others while the little girls are simultaneously touching everything and fighting about the fact F wants the same kind of cereal as E. Overwhelm.

Keeping this person on track of loading the dishwasher while simultaneously administering directions to five other people who keep popping into the frame like whack-a-mole. Overwhelm.

Giving Father’s Day presents while simultaneously trying to keep someone from opening the other one and noticing the spilled coffee and the random bits scattered around. Overwhelm.

Cleaning up breakfast while simultaneously assigning this person to make sure that person is clean and that person has shoes and answering questions. Overwhelm.

Thrift shopping for summer dresses for the teen while keeping the toddler from unloading shelves and making a towering stack of chairs to climb up and touch the huge inflatable hanging from the ceiling and repeatedly saying no to the millions and millions of requests from the kindergartener. Overwhelm.

Trying to make potato packets for the grill while trying to remember to find or buy more aluminum foil and delegating sunscreen and help tying shoes and thousands more “needs”. Overwhelm.

Attempting to explain your sense of scarcity and inadequacy to your partner and he responds with more and louder negativity basically berating the kids for “never doing anything!” which isn’t at all what you’re saying and now you feel like you need to rise to their defense and you want to point out all the responsibilities and things you keep track of that he doesn’t help with at all but you don’t and it’s just pointless. Overwhelm.

Sunset Mississippi River overwhelm motherhood moms mothering unseen invisible workload difficult mental health toddler with kittens

Wanting to have a Super Soaker fight with your kids and as you change into your swimsuit one kid is crying about something that is huge to him and two other kids follow you into your closet dripping wet and impatiently hurrying you along and the water fight isn’t fun at all because one kid keeps squirting people in the face and they cry and there are clothes and towels and toys all over the yard and it just is one more thing you’ll have to clean up or make them clean up. Overwhelm.

Feeling guilty because you had an overnight trip to Galena with your bestie and were gone all day three days ago and you had an overnight birthday party with your daughter and her three besties and your three besties and were gone all day yesterday, and even with these much needed respites, you still can’t manage this life you really want to love. Overwhelm.

Sunset Mississippi River overwhelm motherhood moms mothering unseen invisible workload difficult mental health

I don’t know how to make it easier-but there are a few things I try.

Bible.

Knowing God is for me and equipping me.

Exercise.

Positive affirmations.

Laughter every day.

Reading.

Outdoor time.

Lots of kisses and rough housing, especially when I don’t feel like it.

Vodka. (Sometimes.)

Hand-lettering.

Looking at breathtaking photos on Pinterest or Instagram.

Connecting with friends.

Hiding in my room.

Motivational YouTubers.

What helps you when you’re overwhelmed?

Knowing you’re not alone!

Please follow and like us:
img_9519

What I Learned on my First Writing Retreat

What I Learned on my First Writing Retreat

A few weeks ago, the Handsome Husband and I went on a no kids trip to Washington DC. Never having been there before, I thought I could tour the sites in the morning, and then have my afternoons free to write blog posts and read all the delicious books, while he was in meetings.

Oh what I fool I was!

Washington DC is an incredible city. I didn’t realize the depth and breadth of the museum situation, nor the magnitude of all the historical sites. I toured my little heart out until I literally crashed one afternoon into my bed with a blaring headache from all the stimulation and noise and people.

Clearly, I did not open my computer even once.

I was lamenting to one of my besties, and saying that maybe we could get an airbnb for a night or two. In our city, whole apartments are really cheap. She could work on her master’s class and I could write.

To my delight, she thought this was a magnificent plan and offered up her family’s cabin, on a bluff above the Mississippi about a ninety minute drive away.

We went out for a nice dinner Friday night, stopped at the store for mostly healthy grub to keep us fueled all weekend and arrived around nine pm. We watched a movie (well, to be honest I fell asleep halfway through) and woke around eight to a gorgeous snowstorm.

Completely, slowly, and calmly, for the first time in forever, I read my Bible, brainstormed, and posted on social media until about ten. I wrote pretty much all day until about seven pm. We had pizza, lemon crumble and Moscow mules for dinner and stayed up way too late.

Sunday morning, I woke up gloriously tardy, read my Bible, a book, and attended church on-line. I thought I could do a webinar on growing your blog’s reach, but my phone’s internet connection was too spotty.

I wrote eight blog articles as well as the amazingly productive brainstorming session, before we had to clean up and head for home around four pm.

Feeling accomplished, I can’t wait to schedule my next writing retreat!

I learned a lot about what I loved, who I am, and what I’ll do differently next time.

Even with no kids around, I’m highly distractable.

I get preoccupied by ducks and herons. I’m startled by the chiming clock and the thumping furnace. Even with no wi-fi at the cabin, I still wanted to check my social media accounts quite frequently. I was able to put it off until after I would finish an article, and use my social time as a break. Having to wait on a slower cell signal helped me not want to do it as readily as I do at home. I would definitely suggest finding someplace with little to no internet if you really want to get some writing done.

I like to exercise.

At home, I start my day with a jump/jog/walk on my rebounder nearly every day. It really helps wake my brain up. We were here during a blizzard, but next time, I’ll plan to go for a walk in the mornings.

I can get a lot done with a body double.

Having Karen working in the same room as me on her class work helped me stay on task immensely. In the ADHD world, they call that having a “body double”. Another person here with me who doesn’t even have to be encouraging me or saying anything to me assists me to keep my focus on my goal. She served as a physical anchor for me to keep coming back to the tasks I wanted to do. Karen, just by being present, also provided a kind of calm reflection of how I wanted to be, which helped me absorb the message of “I am working. I am focused. I can accomplish this.

I over pack.

On Saturday, I got up and wore what I’d slept in all day. I didn’t really need to bring separate outfits for each day. I brought my pillow, but I forgot to bring it into the house with me. I didn’t want to go out and get it in the blizzard and found I still got two great nights of sleep without it.

And I still don’t have what I need.

Luckily Karen was prepared with extra phone chargers and ear buds. My kiddo found the list of blog ideas that I had left at home and snapped a picture of it to send to me. I will try to make sure I have those with me next time.

If given free rein, I drink way too much coffee.

At home, I make my coffee with half teeccino so it has half the acid and half the caffeine in the mornings and switch to all decaf by noon. I like to have something warm to drink all day. Karen likes fully caffeinated coffee all day. I kept pace with my usual though, and then couldn’t fall asleep until past two a.m. Next time, I’ll make sure I stick with my regular regimen.

I buy too much food.

We had less than 48 hours in which we needed to feed ourselves at the cabin, but I bought enough for several days. I guess some part of me is afraid of starvation, or at the very least, not having just the perfect snack I am craving on hand. Still though, it was nice to have whatever I wanted to eat nearby, and to have a good selection of healthful foods along with the treats we brought. Since we stopped at Aldi, it was still really reasonable. I would probably buy too much food for future retreats too.

I can just write.

Usually, I do the entire process at once: write the article, revise and edit, find the photos, make a picture graphic, add links, and schedule or post it. Doing it this way seemed much more efficient. I liked doing a batch of articles all at once. Then from home, doing the other steps in another session will be a lot faster. I will definitely try to stick to this method.

My first writing retreat was definitely a hit. I would like to do this on a regular basis. Have you ever made a retreat for yourself to get some goals accomplished? What are your recommendations for success?

Please follow and like us:
Depressed mOM WITH DEPRESSION day in the life

A Day in the Life of a Mom with Depression

6:00 Eyes pop open and brain sizzles. Realize that the two-year-old is still asleep and you don’t have a headache, for the first time in two or three weeks. Try to go back to sleep but your brain is on now and you can’t. Try to get out of bed. Lay there. Your neck and shoulders hurt so much you can barely move your head.

7:00 Get up and find coffee. You are so achey you hobble down the stairs like an 85 year old. You know you’re not sick and that it isn’t from too much exercise. The boys are ready to get on the bus and just want their snuggles and love. You just want to be left alone, but you do give the hugs and kisses. Realize that you have some time completely alone and you take advantage of it and read your Bible. Sneak in a little creative verse drawing.

8:00 Decide to work out for the first time in several days. Can’t get the TV to turn on. Try to watch videos to entertain you on your phone. But it’s just not working and you keep getting distracted and get off the trampoline several times to clean this or pick that up and put that away. Grab another cup of coffee. The little girls are up now. Kevin comes in the house briefly and fixes the TV by unplugging it and plugging it back in. Your foggy brain couldn’t come up with that solution. You hug and kiss him in thanks but he’s in a rush and you feel brushed off.

9:00 You feel like you’re moving through a field of molasses in a swamp. Sometimes it feels like you are a swamp walker all the time.  Everything takes such a colossal effort.  The big girls are up and the boys are back home. You homeschool, and you keep thinking that you’ll do school  with the kids but you also want to see if you can get some more walking in and watch motivational videos which improve your mood.  You can’t get them motivated to do their work when you can’t get motivated yourself.  They get their own breakfasts and watch YouTube while you keep walking on the rebounder. Put on some educational videos at least.

10:00 Check your planner and remember that your daughter’s orchestra concert is tonight. Cry, because doing something in the evening seems like it is way too overwhelming. The husband is telling you someone is going to come over and consult about the floor you’re hoping to put in, and you know the piano teacher will be here soon so you get dressed and put on some make up. You play with your two-year-old and watch her laugh, but feel apathetic. You wish you could be so carefree.

coffee mom talk depression day in the life depressed mom mental illness

11:00 The kids’ piano teacher arrives and you walk the dog down to the barn to find your son. It’s a beautiful sunny day and you want to stay outside but the wind is too windy and the wind chimes are to chime-y and the sun is too shiny. You go back inside.  Time passes and you don’t even know what you did.

12:00 Now it is lunchtime and you realize you had meant to go down and get hamburger out of the freezer to thaw several times and never actually made it happen. Let the kids make their own sandwiches. Do some reading and Marco Polo with some friends. Want to support them and what they’re going through. It’s very hard because you don’t have any emotional strength for yourself.

1:00 It is time to take oldest to orchestra. You cry because Finnella cries and tries getting in the car. You go and get your nails done so they look pretty because feeling pretty makes you feel better. And they are pretty,  but it doesn’t really help. You’re reading a book about a recovering drug addict who is in jail and it’s hard even feel any empathy with her and you know your problems aren’t even that big but they seem insurmountable.

2:00 You get home and take a picture of your crabapple trees because three of the four of them aren’t blooming and it really bugs you, as in, you think about the not blooming trees on a regular basis. Bugs you like,  it comes up at random times in your mind, “Why aren’t they blooming?! Why do all the other trees look so good!?”  And you want to post to gardening experts about what you should do.

You try to think of solutions for the things that really bother you because you know it’s not normal thinking. But you can’t help it, and actually finding a gardening forum is overwhelming and several days later it’s still not done.day in the life with depression depressed mental health mom mother mental illnessYou see your puppy lying still in the yard. She doesn’t get up when the car drives into the lane. Suddenly you worry that she’s dead, she’s really dead. What would you do if she was dead?? You feel your heart racing and you start sweating, and you’re breathing rapidly and you can’t think of anything else but if she’s dead and so you start to walk over to her and she lifts her head  and runs excitedly over to you. You thank God she’s not dead and you know that it’s crazy to even have thought that she’s dead, and that logically it’s nearly an impossibility but you can’t help it. You snuggle her for a while.

3:00 The kids are all playing out back and you watch them through the deck doors for a while and marvel at their wonderful creativity even know they’re doing some things they’re really not supposed to be doing, like playing with the fire escape ladder. You don’t have the energy to make them take the ladder back upstairs and have a sneaking suspicion that it will be in that tree all summer, but you can’t even care. You are just glad they are leaving you alone.

You have gotten the new patches for the ceiling in the mail so you apply one.

You go out to the yard to try to get some vitamin D.

depression day in the life depressed mom describe mother mum

When the kids discover that you’re home, you really can’t handle them climbing around on you so you go sit in the living room and they wander off to play outside some more. When the two-year-old comes to ask you to read to her you do, but you are so exhausted that you just fall asleep. You literally just fall asleep on the couch without meaning to.

5:00 The next thing you know your 13-year-old is telling you that it is time to leave for her orchestra concert and asking if you can please do her hair. You do a  pull through braid, very loose  and beautiful. But she doesn’t think it’s fancy enough and doesn’t think that there is enough time to fix it again and she make up. You feel defeated. No one can understand how hard it was to just make yourself braid that incredible child’s hair.

You actually did remember to have someone get the meat out of the freezer. But now there  is no time to make dinner. The kids have to fend for themselves again. Brielle has offered to stay home with Finnella (2) and Elivette (5) so you let her despite your misgivings because it would be a lot easier to not have to deal with the little girls during the concert.

You notice that the spackle on the ceiling is dry so you start to do that, even though it’s nearly time to leave.  You just think you would have enough time while Aviana finishes her make up. She’s annoyed by this idea, because it’s really a foolish move to try and spread spackle smoothly on the ceiling when you have a deadline of walking out the door in a couple of minutes. Your brain just doesn’t do logical sometimes a lot of the time.

6:00 You’ve arrived on time at the concert and save seats for Aviana’s (and your) friends , and the husband and Cadrian (9) who are coming. Denton (7) plays a game on the Kindle and you try to read your book on your Kindle app on the phone. It’s super hard to concentrate because you worry you will miss the people you’re saving seats for. Your legs are aching like crazy and your whole body feels out of control and heavy and fuzzy. You can’t just sit still and enjoy reading.

7:00 The concert is four different orchestras and your daughter gets two recognition certificates. You’re really proud of her, and want to enjoy the remainder of concert, but you also really want to leave. It’s hard to keep in your seat, but it helps to have the boys asking questions and feeling restless too, because helping them behave appropriately and encouraging them, helps you.

9:00 You discover that Kevin has stopped at McDonald’s because he didn’t get supper. You didn’t get supper either. You could have stopped for food too, but chose to get home instead. After getting the boys in bed and talking with Brielle and Aviana, you have some time to talk with Kevin, for the first time in several weeks.

In spite of feeling grumpy towards him, you’re working at flirting with your husband and talking with him about vacation plans and ideas. And everything seems to be going really well when he says some snide things to you. Whether unintentional, or intentional,  you say “You don’t need to make fun of me like that,” when he tries to drive a point home several ways. Then he gets offended and suddenly you’re in a fight, and you’re comparing him to Donald Trump, and he stamps out of the room. Now you’re alone again.

10:00 You apologize for the Donald Trump comment and then sit on the couch scrolling and watching Intervention. You like Intervention because they’re worse off than you are, you know you don’t want to self medicate like they do, and  you do want to learn how to handle your emotions in a healthy way, and learn better coping skills,  and almost all of the episodes are a story of redemption.

1:00 a.m. You take your vitamins and medicine,  go to bed and watch it some more until your eyes are heavy enough and your brain is numb enough to finally sleep. You average between 5 and 6 hours of sleep when the depression is bad. And it’s been bad lately.

Please follow and like us:
img_9519

Stylish Mom on the Go

I don’t consider myself to be a super-chic mom, but, just like you, I am a busy mom on the go, who likes to look the best I can! I like ideas of how to be frugally fashionable, so I share my photos of my weekly fashion “uniform”. Find out why I love it, and what each outfit is perfect for in the never ending daily of mom life.

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking through gives both of me benefits because I get a small compensation and you benefit by seeing cute things! That makes us friends with benefits. 

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Hat: Husband’s

Dress: Casa Lee via Goodwill

This is the perfect outfit to wear to church,  do some errands, (how do I always end up doing errands on Sundays?!), hang out with your two year old while the rest of the family goes to 11 year old’s play,  go out to dinner with some dear friends, stay out too late having too much fun, but feel so relaxed and happy by then end of the night it’s totally worth it.

stylish mom outfit ideas busy active mama real life

Shirt: Banana Republic via Goodwill (similar)

Skirt: Tangerine Trek Skort via Goodwill

Sweater: Wish (similar)

This outfit is perfect for trying to do your best. Forgetting to take your usual outfit photo and doing it in the bathroom before you head off to bed is part of that.

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Sweater: Land’s End via handmedown

Tank top: Walmart via thrifted

Shorts: New York and Company via Goodwill

This outfit is perfect for feeling like you’re constantly failing and reassuring yourself that you’re doing your best and trying to listen to your own positive advice. It’s perfect for having a Hard Day.

Sleepshirt: Zulily

This outfit is perfect for sleeping. I actually wore athleisure pants and a tank this day but forgot to take a picture.

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Shirt: Stitch Fix

Skirt: Goodwill

Shoes: FitFlops via Amazon

This outfit is perfect for exploring and discovering and resting. It’s also good for running around like a crazy person to fit in a massage. It’s also excellent for being perfectly contradictory.

stylish mom outfit ideas busy active mama real life

Shirt:  Eddie Bauer via Goodwill (similar)

Necklace: Target (similar)

Basic jeggings

Boots: Goodwill (similar)

Two year old: homemade

Trashed kitchen: Two year old (and her siblings) (and likely their mother)

This outfit is perfect for doing so many things including  picking up groceries and organizing bins and going shopping with Thirteen and trying to install “easy to install” tile and really wanting to give up and go to bed but you’ve made plans with your bestie to go out and have some Her time. It’s perfect for having a couple of drinks and a scrumptious dinner and then sitting at her house and feeling wonderfully relaxed for the first time in forever.

outfit ideas stylish mom style on the go spring

This outfit is perfect for putting on after spending the morning exercising and watching YouTube in your pajamas and seriously wanting to stay at home but get talked into heading to the mall and interacting with as few people as possible and then spend the rest of the evening hiding lounging in your room.

Headband: I cut off the bottom of the dress because it was awkwardly long.

Sweater: Wish

Dress: Goodwill

Belt: Amazon

Boots: Goodwill

 

Please follow and like us:
Day in the Life of a Farmer

A Day in the Life of a Farmer

A Day in the Life of a Farmer

6:00 Wake up to alarm. Try to sneak out of bedwithout disturbing beautiful wife or two year old who’s snoozing between us. Am largely unsuccessful. Sneaking is not my forté. Grab a cup of coffee to down while putting on my coveralls. It’s 15 degrees on the seventh of April and the cow herd is calving. Dangerous conditions for newborns. The plan is to haul the last month’s accumulation of manure out of the cattle yards and use it to fertilize the fields while the ground is still frozen. It’s a week long job at least with nothing going wrong.

6:30 Check the cows. Discover a half frozen just born baby calf. Haul him in the calf sled to under the barn so I can get him nursing. His mama is not cooperative and keeps trying to charge me. Stupid cow.

7:30 Still having trouble getting her in the head gate. I’m sick of this cow trying to kill me, when all I’m doing is trying to save her baby. Take a break and go check the rest of the herd. Discover two more babies, just born while I was under the barn with the first ridiculous cow.

Drag them in to under the barn as well. Their mamas follow docilely like they’re supposed to. Get the calves all in the calf warmer—a tiny A frame shed with a heater.

Head up to the house for some frozen colostrum. I’m going to have to tube feed them all.

Put 9 year old in charge of warming up colostrum, the first highly nutritious milk. We always milk cows who have lost a baby or have extra colostrum, to keep on hand. Without those precious first few nursings of colostrum, the calves won’t live no matter what you do. It’s a miracle that newborn human babies who’ve never nursed can survive, as no animal will!

A Day in the Life of a Farmer

8:30 Go back out to barn to check on the situation and see that two of them are starting to stand and be halfway normal. The kids all want to come out and watch, so I let them peer through the window so they won’t disturb the mamas. Milk the two cooperative cows and tube feed their calves with their own mama’s colostrum since they can’t nurse yet.

9:30 Go back up to the house, get the warmed colostrum, tube feed the first calf. I don’t think he’ll make it. This is even more discouraging as just yesterday, I had twins (highly unusual for Gelbvieh cows), both born back feet first, both born dead. They’re supposed to be born front feet first. Besides feeling badly for the animal, we’re losing big money every time we lose a calf, and this is definitely not the year to lose any money on anything.

After feeding the calves, I headed up the breakfast operations while my wife was working out. Cadrian, the nine year old can make popovers on his own, but he still needs a little guidance and a lot of reminders.

10:30 Finally start hauling manure while it’s still frozen. I go into the cattle yards with the tractor, load the manure and the straw we use as bedding material into the loader bucket and dump it into the manure spreader. The ground needs to be frozen while I take it out to the field so I don’t tear up the ground with ruts, which then causes compaction, because I want to plant into it soon.

11:30 Take a break from hauling manure when my best friend comes over to get hay for his goat. We shoot the breeze for a while.

By this time, Jessica is gone to write all day at a local farmer owned coffee shop. I go back up to the house to check on the kids and get them to start lunch. They make frozen vegetables and macaroni and cheese.

12:30 The ground is starting to thaw, so I finally start chores. This involves feeding all the cattle in the cattle yards a special mixture of silage, hay and nutrients, and taking bales of hay out to the cattle in the pastures. I mow and bale hay all summer long so out cattle can be grass fed all winter, and I sell some hay to local horse owners. I keep a close eye on the worst off calf.

1:30 The kids are bounding around outside since it’s warmed up a bit. They want to help and be in the way and see everything. Elivette manages to get some milk to feed the half frozen, now thawed, babies!

A couple more calves are born, in the sunshine, which even though it’s still record lows,  makes a big difference so they were fine. After I got the new ones all ear tagged, I poured hot water over that first calf for quite a while, trying to get him warmed up internally.

2:30 Our pet cow Lolly had her calf! She is the smartest cow we have. She had the calf at the warmest part of the day, in the calf shed I just erected yesterday. Really it was probably dumb luck, but I like to credit it to her intelligence.

day in the life of a farmer
My wife with all her sick headache accouterments.

3:30 Jessica has gotten home but she has a sick headache and can’t go to the party with the family.

I get the kids around and we head off to Aviana’s friend’s and Challenge A director’s home for tacos and a sing-a-long. On the way, I meet up with Brielle’s friend’s dad, because her friend Esther has stayed the night and needs to be returned to her family.

4:30 The kids have a great time while I chat with some of our friends. I have to supervise our kids pretty closely because they’re still so young and impulsive. The family who live here with their two teenagers lead a completely different life than us with our six rambunctious rascals ages 2-13.

Our nine year old especially needs to have some quality friends who are boys. We seem to have a lot of friends with girls. He and the host’s 14 year old son love to wrestle and roughhouse.

7:30 It’s impossible for me to round up six kids. You have to start an hour before you’re ready to leave, and then when you finally find them all, and get them pointed in the right direction, someone wants to chat some more and they all disperse again.

Bedtime is the best time of day for this farmer!

8:00 Get teeth brushed and pajamas on. By lying down with her, I get the two year old to sleep. I love snuggling her and helping her fall asleep. Often I fall asleep with her for a little while, and show her how it’s done. This farmer teaches thegreatest life lessons: Bedtime is the best time of day!

9:00 I head back outside and get the calves nursing for the first time. That’s a huge relief! The first one died. I check the cows again and see another new calf born, which brings our total to 7 for the 7th! That’s almost 10% of our herd calving on one day. I have to go out to the field to bring back the tractor I forgot out there because I drove the tractor pulling the manure spreader back and then got busy with the cows. If I had a fit bit I’m sure it would show that I walked 20 miles today.

10:00 Sit down for a rest while Jessica quizzes me about my day for this blog post. I like that she’s paying attention to me, but I’m almost too tired to think! Snuggling with the puppy in the comfy chair is putting me to sleep.

Please follow and like us:
img_3582

Book Review (March Edition)

March Book Reviews

March was a great book month! I read a lot of winners. I rate books on 1-5 stars, but it’s really kind of silly because I never finish books less than three stars, and have trouble even when they are perfectly average. And then when I realized I could use the emojis to make the stars, I thought to myself, as anyone would, “I’m going to rate these books on a scale of 1 to 5 tacos!”

Happy Handmade Home 🌮🌮🌮

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space

I’ve been using A Beautiful Mess’s filters for years, so when I saw they had a book out, I jumped on it. It was easy to read, lots of beautiful photos, much inspiration. If you like home decorating books, check it out! If you don’t like home interior books, this would be a good one to read and change your mind.

Into the Water. 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Into the Water: A Novel

I read this for Paper and Glam bookclub. I was halfway through before I even realized this is the same author as Girl on a Train, which I really loved. I’m a huge fan of quality mystery, and turns of the plot, as well as strong leads. This one was a bit confusing because it had so many different people’s points of view telling the story, as well as many different flashbacks, it was intriguing though, and because I was riveted, I still gave it four stars.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

🌮🌮🌮

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

This book was filled with all of the Kennedy drama and tragedy, but honestly it was pretty boring. It was mostly a litany of day to day list type writing. I wish the author would have helped me feel more sympathetic and compassionate toward Rosemary, or any of the characters. I wanted to feel their pain, feel for them more deeply, but the matter of fact style of telling the story was completely devoid of emotion.

A Wrinkle in Time 🌮🌮🌮

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)

Although it fit the category of “A Childhood Classic You’ve Never Read” for the 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge, I didn’t really love it. My 13 year old said it’s one of her favorite books, so maybe it’s just very much a children’s book, which is disappointing because there is lots of other so-called children’s lit I love to come back to. I’m not a huge sci-fi or fantasy fan either, so maybe that’s part of it. It was very simplistic, with very little character development. It reminds me of a book I would have written in the 6th grade.

The Woman in the Window 🌮🌮🌮🌮

The Woman in the Window: A Novel

Reminding me frequently of the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window, Woman in the Window was filled with plot twists. I loved that I guessed some of them, but not to the extent they were written. I fell in love with the spirit of the protagonist. I couldn’t put this one down. Highly recommended: I almost gave it 4 ½ stars.

Safe With Me 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Safe With Me: A psychological thriller so tense it will take your breath away

March must have been the month for un-put-downable thrillers. This one had me hopping as well. This one had twists I never saw coming, as well as a hard to love, but still adorable narrator.

Night Road 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Night Road: A Novel

In my opinion, Kristin Hanna can do no wrong. I love how every book of hers is a different time period and about a different topic all together, and still hits me in all the feelings, and makes me cry, teaches me something new, and still has a happy ending. When you have to work through a lot of crud for that happy wrap-up, it makes the end all the sweeter. I do so love a happy ending.

Underground Railroad 🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮

The Underground Railroad: A Novel

This is the best book I’ve read all year. I loved all of it—the gritty, hardness of it. The truth of it. The absolute fantastical aspects of it. The spirit of the main character. The heartbreak of it. The beauty of it. Just read it.

Little Fires Everywhere 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Little Fires Everywhere
I will just come right out and say I was completely unsatisfied with the ending, but up until then, everything about this book was stellar. I was riveted the entire time. I loved the backstories by way of explanation of certain characters’ behavior, I loved all the different, yet intertwining plot lines, I genuinely loved the characters. Despite everything still being at loose ends at its conclustion, this was a book I was disappointed to have end.

What were your favorite books in March? I have a never ending TBR (to be read) list; I’ll be happy to add your recommendations!

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you!

Please follow and like us:

Moms Run The World

We moms are like electricity.

I was thinking about this today as I chopped vegetables, intending to put out a veggie tray for the kids to have a healthy snack to graze on every time they passed through the kitchen.  We run everything. Husbands and kids expect us to do all the thinking for them. And for whatever reason, we do.

The other day I was agonizingly finishing up math with my most reluctant learner.  It had been a productive morning, but as is the norm with small people, there was plenty of arguing with each other and push back  to me and interruptions and a lost reading book we just had yesterday, which we still haven’t found, and character training and loudness and touching. I was really ready for a break. The Farmer came in for lunch.  He strode into where we were working,  griping about all the problems he had encountered outside with machinery. It added weight to my inner tension, but I couldn’t really respond, because if I let my attention wander, the math-doer would absolutely follow suit. There were leftovers. He’d be fine.

Suddenly, a small crash and loud faux swearing filled the air, The Farmer emphatically wondering who had left the egg on the stove top and why doesn’t anyone ever clean up around here?! I couldn’t bear it a moment longer and leapt to my feet emphatically answering. Everything else in the kitchen was clean, and I, already at my limit, was furious that he had an accident and was trying to blame everyone else. He didn’t notice that the rest of the room was tidy, just the egg now splattered all over the floor.

Thinking back over the altercation, I realized that I am like the power in the house. We just expect the light switch to turn the lights on when we flip it; we expect the fridge to be cold when we open it; we expect the button to start the microwave when we push it. Our families expect the same thing of us. We only really notice the electricity when the fuse is blown or the storm knocks out the power. We function so well and do our jobs so well as administrators of our homes, that we practically are invisible.

I live in a home built in 1850 and added onto in 1902. The electric in our house is cobbled together, added on in dribs and drabs over the years.  As we have undertaken remodeling projects, we make sure to do the electricity right, and up to code. Even though it worked before, I know that it’s better to completely redo the wiring and connections to make sure our home is as safe as possible.  Despite the fact that I know it’s necessary, and even want to do it, I’ve always railed against this  very expensive, invisible part of our remodeling process.

I’m a little like that with self care too. I want to eat right, want to spend uninterrupted time with God, want to exercise, want to take moments out of the day to read my book or to make my planner pretty. I don’t often make it happen like I ought to.  I know it’s necessary for my mental health and to be fully functional. I know I need to do it to be the best mom I can be.

It’s important to have the electricity of the home be at full capacity.  We moms are the sometimes invisible, usually unappreciated energy sources of our homes. Do what you need to to be at maximum power.

Please follow and like us:
blogger-image-1480821325

Farm Fresh Family Update

Brielle and Finnella looking for books on CD

I haven’t blogged for six months! I have lots of good reasons/excuses, depending on how you look at it. But I miss it and I enjoy it and I am doing it for me, so I’m back! It’s hard to let go of expectations–like how blogging has kind of turned into article writing, and I don’t always (ever) have the brain space for an actual article, so I felt like I couldn’t compete. But with whom am I competing? And why!?

I’m learning a lot about myself and being a better self.
The Farmer: He’s busy with the farm as always. He’s got more cows than ever, and more feed lot cattle too. He’s putting up a lot of forage (hay, rye) for the winter and to hopefully sell. He’s working on spraying now. He does his best to take children with him whenever he can and to be home for dinner, or at least bedtime. As any working parent knows, it’s a challenge to be pulled in a lot of different directions, and with farming, you can’t leave your woes behind at the office, it’s always there. Staring you in the face. Glaring at you.
The Farm Fresh Mama: I’ve got my hands in a lot of different pots. I’ve gotten back into serving my community as a doula and love holding space for mamas so they can see their own power. It’s a beautiful, celestial calling.

I have more than doubled the garden this year. I’m doing Square Food Gardening and trying something new, Straw Bale Gardening. I don’t think my peas are going to make it, and will have to start over with them, but everything else looks good. I’ve gotten a new hobby of “planning”, which is writing my to do list and decorating it, and writing down what we did in quick bullet points in a composition notebook. It’s a fun segue between scrapbooking and keeping track of what I need to do on the backs of kids’ drawings. Writing “water garden” in my planner helps it actually get done. Funny how that works.

Finnella on Memorial Day

I’m doing something new with the boys for school, called Easy Peasy Homeschool. The woman who put it together did a curriculum for ALL THE GRADES, of activities to do with links added. It’s amazing she did this and I am so thankful. It eliminates the problem of never being able to find the book I need. It doesn’t matter how organized I am, there is always a missing book! They like being able to play games and be on the computer. 

I love homeschooling and seeing their successes and the delight for learning gleam.
Aviana: This child is almost as tall as I am and it blows my mind. She weighed as much as a bag of sugar when I brought her home from the hospital and now she’s looking me in my eye. IN MY EYE! She earned Memory Master again this year. I am proud of how she puts her mind to something and attains it. She’s going to be a seventh grader. She plays piano and earned a spot in a special recital for students who have been given a Superior rating three years in a row at festival. She took up violin this year too and we are putting her in orchestra at the junior high. I’m feeling nervous about that, almost like sending a child off to kindergarten!
Brielle: She’s as precocious and adorable as ever. She achieved Memory Master in Classical Conversations this year, as a nine year old. That is a big deal! She plans to do it the next two years and try for National Memory Master, which would put us on a cruise (and makes her my favorite)! I love how much she can do when she puts her mind to it! 
Cadrian; My sweet boy has grown so much this year! He is reading better than ever, helps me garden, and is our chief breakfast maker. He specializes in Toad in a Hole and oatmeal. He is amazingly thoughtful and kind to me (which is why he’s my favorite), and absolutely likes to stir the pot when it involves his siblings. 
Denton: He is learning right along side Cadrian and often feels shuffled in the middle. He’s sensitive and tough at the same time, the tough being a cover up for the sensitive. I wish people could see the sweet and sensitive easier, because it’s so easy to start off going toe to toe with him. I’m so thankful I discovered what Gentle Parenting really means before he ever got spanked (because he’s my favorite). It’s hard enough to figure out how to help him reach his full potential with the respectful parenting tools I DO have in my arsenal. He’s as bright as a brass button and full of his own ideas. 
Elivette: She is talkative and adorable and loves to say “Pwetty Pwincess Pwease”. She sports dresses all the time and often a tiara. She is smart as a whip and as thoughtful as you please. She has an amazing memory and astounds me with what she comes up with. Her three year old year has been so completely different than the older girls’ (probably because she’s my favorite). I can’t help but wonder how much my parenting shift has had to do with it. She 
Finnella (my favorite) has turned one! She has been taking some steps here and there. She loves being outside and in point of fact is sitting right next to me on the couch literally screaming at me because I am not taking her outside. I stood up with her just now and she stopped screaming. I took her outside and put her in the swing and she smiled. She knows what she wants and doggedly goes after it.She likes her swing in the tree the best, but will happily crawl around where ever we are. She doesn’t like the feel of the sidewalk or grass so crawls on one knee and one foot. She waves, babbles like crazy, and lets you know her needs, but doesn’t sign anything yet. 
One more thing that I wanted to mention is how vital my mama tribe has become. I have always had friends, but in the past couple of years, I have been given the gift of people who understand my heart and my very soul in a way I haven’t experienced. It has helped me become more like the person I’ve always wanted to be.

D, F, E, B, A and C and me on a hike at Starved Rock State Park
Please follow and like us:
img_9519

A Day in the Life

I’m always curious about the average person’s daily life. I found an amazing video on Netflix titled Life in a Day. It is a documentary of snippets of people’s lives all over the world. It’s a bit of time capsule. It was beautiful.

It inspired me to make one of my own.

I have done this before in written form, with pictures, but never with video. It took me quite a bit longer to put the thing together than I thought it would, especially because I got sick for several days right after I shot it. I stayed up late last night and now it’s finally done.

I invite you to take twenty minutes out of your day to share part of mine. 🙂

Please follow and like us: