Sunday, July 24, 2016

On a Happy Note . . .

I'm wearing jeans for the first time in probably half a year!

Friday, July 22, 2016


We have these pigs.

My family had a few animals when I was growing up, but they were mostly the responsibility of the older kids (or Dad and Mom, most likely).  I never really learned how to raise animals.  

The girls are raising 4-H pigs and, although they are doing most of the care on their own (cleaning the pen, feeding, watering, exercising, etc.), there are some things they cannot do without a parent's help.
This is where I come in.  I picked a seller on Craigslist (the ad seemed so promising), I made decisions about food, I have to transport the things and I have to try to guide the girls through 4-H booklets, paperwork, and fair prep.

Tiny baby piglet trying to nurse off of it's older pen mate.  I don't think that's normal.

I leave every 4-H meeting not necessarily in tears, but frequently on the verge of them.
We were sold terrible piglets.  They were WAY too young to the point where, in one case, I don't think the piglet had been weaned an hour before we arrived to take her home. Only one of the three has any chance of making weight before fair time.  You don't need every detail about how ignorant I am, but you can know that I am ignorant and constantly feel like a fool.
Raising pigs is fully outside of my comfort zone.

Anyway, I've been pretty hard on myself and ashamed at how I was taken advantage of.
Until I watched this:

The re-framing of failure is a pivotal idea for me.  I am still mightily ignorant, but I know more now than I did two months ago.  When we raise pigs again next year (which we will in order to take advantage of our new, hard-earned  knowledge), I won't make the same mistakes.
Did I fail?  In some ways, YES!  
But I did TRY
and that counts for a lot.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A New Fairy

The big news this week is that our baby has discovered her laugh.

Later that afternoon, our eight year old came running excitedly into the house.
She had seen the new fairy, born on Baby Girl's first laugh.

  • "When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.  When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies."
  • - J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mom, Dad, Look!

My wildflowers are blooming!

That makes us all SO happy!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Never Again

I just did something hard.  To another, it may not seem like much, but to me it is the first step toward a different life.  It is symbolic of the end of an era, a thing I have loved with my whole self, in fact a thing to which I've dedicated my life for the last 18 years.

Tonight, I put a large bag of maternity clothes into this bin.

And then I cried and cried.

Nine times, I have read the two lines on the test.
Twice, I have said goodbye too early.
Eight times I have felt those first, tiny movements and felt my heart leap with joy.
Uncountable movements thereafter, sometimes shared with someone else,
but most of the time, a secret communication just between me and my little one.
Night after night, laying in bed after everyone else is long-since asleep, the two of us, falling in love.
My baby, listening to my heart, becoming familiar with my rhythm.
While I learn his and her patterns, personality, energy.
Eight times, I labored.
Eight times he blessed me and cheered me on.
Eight times I overcame.
Seven times I expressed that discombobulating emotion of laughing and crying all at once.
Seven times, I held the newest baby on my skin and felt complete.
Once, I just cried.
They each helped me prove my strength.

I have had the privilege of providing a vessel;
I partnered with Heavenly Father to create
in a most miraculous way.
For 18 years.

And now, no more.

Even as it is time, even as it is right, even as I am ready,
right now, I am grieving.

I gave away my maternity clothes.
I will never be pregnant again.
And that makes me sad.

Field Trip Summer: A Tow Truck

This week's field trip was supposed to have been to a working ranch that is still run the way it would have been 100+ years ago.  They use horses to pull wagons, plows, threshing machines and more. We were supposed to go on a wagon ride, visit with cowboys and try chuck wagon food.  We were supposed to tour the old ranch house and barns.  We were supposed to see a lot of cows.

Instead, we got to ride in a tow truck.

Six in the back, two in the front (plus the tow truck driver)!
All eight of us.

About 85 miles into Montana, the gas pedal on the Suburban stopped responding.  We limped along until we could pull off of the freeway and found ourselves waiting for the tow truck on this pretty roadside meadow.  The kids were super good, playing and eating their sack lunches.  The temperature was lovely, so besides the fact that we now had an expensive fuel pump repair bill ahead and we were missing our field trip, things could have been much worse.

 Two hours later, we piled in and drove the 25-30 miles into town.  Mercifully, the rain waited until we were in the cab of the truck!  The rain waited, but the baby could not.  Let's just say, I needed about fifteen baby wipes to clean up her diaper (and my lap)!

Ample room in the car being towed!
For two more hours, we messed around in the weeds behind the mechanic's shop.  Dad was a champion, playing running, jumping, and spinning games.  We stayed busy chasing grasshoppers, telling stories, and creating makeshift tic-tac-toe boards out of gravel and twigs.  The mechanic patched us up enough that we were able to get back on the road, with the promise to keep the gas tank full and not to go over 60 MPH.  Done.

We turned around and camped for a night in a very pretty little spot.  By this time, we were glad for a more family friendly location.

A nice fire, relief at having gotten this far without further car troubles, and the peaceful campsite was welcomed.  What is it about a forest that so quickly calms my nerves?

Playing in the creek.
It takes teamwork to keep this little one happy.
Centuries old cottonwood tree.
For the fairies.
I'm goin' fishin'!
The next day, we packed up, said a heartfelt prayer, and headed out to finish our journey.  We made it home, unpacked the car and took it immediately to the mechanic to finish the work started in Montana.

It turned out to be a very expensive field trip, but there were many things for which to be grateful:  no one was injured, we have roadside assistance through our insurance, the weather was nice, the kids were great, we had food, the mechanical trouble is repairable, we made it home safely.

And now we can all say we've taken a ride in a tow truck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Exercise Experiment

The other day, one of my daughters was expressed frustration in exercise.  "I want to exercise, but I don't know what kind of exercise I like!"  Since I am now two months postpartum, it is time for me to start exercising again.  I know what kind of exercise I like, but in my continuing efforts to be an encouraging mother, I decided to make a goal with my daughter to help her find "her" kind of exercise.

We are trying out a different form of exercise every day for two weeks.

The first day was yoga.

Because it's my favorite.

And I knew I could do it.

My life is crazy enough as it is.  I like exercise that calms and soothes.  Yoga strengthens my parts that most need strengthening, without making me feel frantic.

Ahh, calm time.
But, the goal wasn't to exercise every day, the goal was to try new things.

Ug.  Why must these kids be always busting me out of my comfort zone?!

The second day, we decided to try out kickboxing.  I will sum up that experience by saying I'll likely never do it again.  My daughter called it "A tongue twister for my body."  It hurt.

I did not look like this when I was kickboxing.
After yesterday's kickboxing torture chamber, I requested that we go back to Sooth Me Land.  Today, we tried out Tai Chi.  You know, the beautiful synchronized martial arts dance done in serene locations around the globe . . . in flowing garments.

Oh, good.  I can do old people exercise!

Tai Chi is the gentle workout recommended to those who suffer from arthritis and digestive issues.  Also, senior citizens.  I'm not sure how many calories I burned, but it sure was lovely! I may incorporate this into my life.

We have many more days of this. I will continue to make my report. Stay tuned!