An Autumn Celebration!

Strewn toys, sweet drawings on my refrigerator, empty treat trays, decorations (that aren’t placed just so anymore), and frosting bowls with finger trails in them. Signs of a day well spent.

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Micaiah wanted to celebrate this beautiful harvest season. “A fall party!!” he kept saying.

He planned games, made decorations and wrote his own invitations complete with a handprint turkey.

He was kind enough to let Adriel choose and make treat recipes (with help from Grandma of course).

We practiced welcoming guests, taking coats and offering beverages.

I am one proud mama. I set out one decoration and helped a few mothers understand what the mysterious turkey card meant that their child brought home. Grandmas helped with the cookies. Other than that, this was a kid-thrown fling. How cool is that?!

It was a time of enjoying friends and showing love.

Blessed, I feel. (How Yoda was that? Sorry)

How To Know If He’s a Keeper

This is for all you single ladies, aspiring/new dairy cow owners and anyone else who might want to chuckle at my misery.

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Milking – Thank you Cow Can’t Kick contraption!

Sunday evening I had my new dairy cow “home” for 24 hours. Lambda expressed her discontent at my milking technique by kicking the bucket and dancing around. Finally, for whatever reason (probably something I did wrong because let’s face it: I’m a nube.) she kicked me. We’re not talking about kicking the bucket over and nicking my hand. This was a carefully aimed karate chop that got me in the forehead, the arm and the thigh all in one foul swoop.

I proceeded to holler at my husband, who is currently nearing deaf old man status due to a couple of ear infections. After 5 yells, or something like that, he saunters over holding the baby and asks how it’s going. I don’t even remember what I said, but it was something like, “It’s not going! I just got kicked in the fricking head!!”

I turned into a soppy puddle of emotions. I apologized over and over because I thought for sure I couldn’t possibly milk that monster. He asked if we just needed to get a milk machine. That is after all what she’s used to. My response, “We need a freaking craigslist add, that’s what we need!”

Apparently my colorful language is lacking.

All evening Nic kept telling me I can do this. You need to know that I have a massive propensity to romanticize things. My romanticized version of dairying didn’t really have a kicking cow in it. But even when I told myself it might not be quite that smooth, I pictured a little spilt milk here and there. Go ahead, shake your head. But the Bessie I imagined was much more…friendly

In actuality, I can count more sore spots on my body that the times I’ve spilt milk. (Although I do occasionally have to milk one teat onto the ground when I can’t get the bucket right under her udder.) So I cried on and off all night long. Here I had hunted down a milk cow, dragged my whole family 3+ hours away to get her and she was such a poop!

I was rolling all of these things in my brain-the inadequacy, the bumps & bruises, I felt like I heaped a burden on Nic because I was being a wimp and on top of it we had to get up at the crack of dawn to do it again.

I’m so so so so sorry.

That’s when Nic put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You need to know that I’m not frustrated with you. At all. I would do this by myself everyday for my family.

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And that ladies, is how you know you have a good one.

Just when I thought I was irresponsible, irrational and wussy (Ok, maybe a little on that last one) in swoops my super-husband to rescue me. He reminded me that we made a decision that we felt this was best for our family’s health and he was going to make sure it happened.

God made men and women equal but different. Both in his image, but with different gifts. Even though I smell like cow half the time, I feel like quite the tea cup these days: feminine, fragile, even pretty somedays (you know under the snot and…stuff). But ladies, you know you’ve got a good one when he makes decisions according to what is true and good and stands for them. I’m so thankful for my sturdy thermos and God’s grace which has given us nine beautiful years.

Two vessels, both filled with the Spirit of God, but oh so different in form and function. 

Let me tell you some things…


…about the last few days. I don’t even know where to start.

I haven’t worn my wedding rings in four days.

My body aches. Particularly my back, forearms, wrists, elbow (slightly unrelated to the rest) and fingers. Oh my poor fingers.

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Day 2

Day 4

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I have this lovely bruise on my arm with one on my thigh and a lump on my head to match.

I randomly break into tears. Also spent most of Saturday night crying.

This is starting to sound like domestic violence. So let me just tell you that I am the proud owner of not one, not two but three dairy cows: 1 “broken” heifer who can’t seem to hold on to a calf, 1 holstein bull calf and 1 bossy mama (¾ Jersey ¼ Dutch belt {the Oreo cows}) named Lambda, who is in milk. She just freshened last month. (And all of the country people nod in understanding at my broken body and emotions.)

Today is also my anniversary, which I failed to remember until I went to write the date on the milk today.”What day is it?” I asked out loud. I answered my self “The 16th…the 16th?!” And Nic beat me getting the words out of his mouth, “Happy Anniversary!”  We both laughed because we have a wonderfully enjoyable marriage and that’s exactly why we didn’t remember. We’ve been working hard on this transition to things that we feel like God wants us to do: hard work and discipleship. We’ve been so busy lately we don’t even know what day it is!

Anyways, it’s all my fault really. You could say it’s his fault for being such a good man, but…

I made him read the chapter in Keeping a Family Cow on the differences between Raw and Pasteurized/Homogenized milk. Nic likes to call it treated milk like they do in the UK. It has a nice negative connotation to it. Don’t get me wrong, these are absolutely necessary processes in order to get milk from dairies to milk companies to grocery stores and finally to your table. But they’re not necessary for the family cow’s milk. And most of my family doesn’t do well with processed cows milk. He read the chapter and immediately said, “I’m ready to buy one.”

For those of you who don’t know us personally. We live in a parsonage. You know, the type of house that pastors rent (fo free) as part of the salary package. You know, a house…with a yard. We don’t even have a piece of dirt to our name! (Which reminds me, Suzie-mom if you’re reading this: I’m beginning to seem like some other landless herdsmen we know. We’re not planning on our livestock camping permanently. Love you! Insert cheesy, please forgive my mess smile here. )

Can you say CREAM?!

Can you say CREAM?!

Wow, what a roller coaster.

It turns out this blogger made a convenient list of 10 reasons your cow might be kicking. We have subjected ours to at least 5. So, yeah. Sore hands (and everything else). Cranky cow.

But oh that fresh milk. And cream. And buttah!!!

It’s worth it for my family to healthy. But sometimes…I just have to cry about it.

 

 

Reading Stack & Real Life: Double Update!

IMG_2007I often wonder what future me will look back and wish I had done differently, mostly when it comes to parenting. I wonder what my kids will wish I had done differently. None of us are perfect, and we can all look back and find fault. That’s why it’s so important that we rely on grace, not perfection. I guess I say this as sort of a disclaimer. I don’t claim to be better than the generations before me. I have much to learn.

Over the years of overanalyticalizationizing everything, (thank you Rachel W. in 9th grade for that description of my brain functions) I have noticed some of the effects of the world I grew up in. Today for example, I’m terrified to tell you that I have a dream, because what if I fail. I grew up feeling like perfection alone was acceptable, anything less was not worth my time.

I’m sure my parents never intended for me to feel this way. But I began to stop trying at anything. I only did things that I was pretty sure I would not only succeed in, but be on top. MVP. 4.0 1st place. I felt like I had failed in doing anything less. Because of this, I basically got out of the habit of practicing or studying. I only chose activities and classes that I knew I would do great at. Sometimes, if I had some kind of adversity, I would accept second best. Often, I would hope for an injury to fall back on, just in case.

Nic recognized this early in our marriage, probably around the time I wouldn’t give 100% rock climbing until I got hurt (or angry). Since we started figuring this out early, Nic has always encouraged me to practice different things. He encouraged me to do things that I enjoyed, even if I’m not very good at them. (Ahem, painting…)

So before I show you my newest stack of reading materials, I have to be a little vulnerable.

I think…I want to be…a flower farmer. I love the idea of rows and rows of beautiful flowers. I’m hoping to work towards growing for market. (Flowers for you, flowers for me, flowers for everyone!) I’m not looking for a full-time job, so this won’t be an enormously large-scale thing. But maybe it will help support our endeavors to grow our own food.

That was way harder to type than you will ever know! I’m not exceptional at growing things. I can grow things, but I’m always running into some hiccup and things only grow…so, so.

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So step one: Read The Flower Farmer

Step two: Successfully grow flowers. Lots of them. I’m going to try to grow more flowers than I ever have before! (Yaaaayyy!)

I’ll probably fill out an application to the market, just in case things go really well. Sellers have to notify them when you’ll be there (every week). So if things don’t pick up right away or I don’t have enough every week, I won’t worry about it.

Somewhere between steps one and two I should probably figure out whose property I’ll be using for this adventure of mine. (Since, the hubs and I are basically squatters renters in a parsonage situation.)

Also I am working my way through the other three books (more slowly since my favorite UPS guy brought my flower book). I’ve been feeling (and dragging Nic along too :) like we’re falling into habits we would condemn in others. We are not spending enough time making disciples who make disciples. We aren’t doing a very good job asking people to be a part of our everyday lives in order to set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. So the other books are helping us to delve back into what the Word says about the physical & spiritual care of others.

So there you go, a reading stack and some real life Elicia for you.

Good day!

 

Pants For My Girls

My one and two year old girls are fitting in the same clothes right now so I’m doubly excited to see these new pants on them.

I got the pattern idea from Old Navy. The clothes in their girls’ department pretty much look like my Pinterest board for girls clothes. I wanted to buy everything in the section except like two things. But I couldn’t because 1. I’m saving to buy a field (literally this isn’t some Proverbs 31 wannabe analogy) and 2. I can’t decide whether it’s helpful or harmful to the people growing the cotton or making them in a factory in Bangladesh. Yesterday I was obviously leaning toward unfair.

So I took a picture of every rack for future reference and walked out feeling like I had earned a fair trade shirt and some new fabric.

Anyways, enough about my thought process behind buying one pair of pants. Here’s my copycat alternative:

   

I’ll try to edit when I have photos of them wearing these rockin pantalones!

 

Reading Stack

Well, I guess it’s not really a stack. I didn’t actually finish everything from the last stack, but when this came in the mail they all got shelved. 

  

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of the title. I almost passed it over because I think it’s pretty dang cheesy. 

But I checked out the Amazon preview and it looked interesting. Since I finished it within 48 hours (making this a slightly outdated reading list, sorry) I can tell you that the author slowly earned my respect. He worded well (with Scripture to back it) things that I already thought and challenged me to look at agriculture in some challenging new ways. 

Sorry this turned into kind of a review, but this was a pretty good read!

Fine, Amazon preview. You’ve gotten me this time. Touché 

Let’s Get Real

I’m sitting here at my desk having “alone time”. My super-husband here gives me time every couple of weeks to breathe my own airand supposedly accomplish something uninterrupted (somehow that still doesn’t exactly happen). It’s the difference between doing the things I hate to do and responding with grace to life when it hits me…or hits the fan.

But here I sit, sighing. Having another moment where I wish I could cry, so people know that I’m feeling a bunch of stuff in here! I’m not much of a crier. (I think my Pastor would beg to differ but the poor guy only seems to run into difficult conversations with me when I’m pregnant. Did I say poor guy? Yeah, poor guy.)  

  
These tearless moments of emotion are becoming more frequent. I’m supposed to be sewing. Sewing what? What a frivolous use of time when there are weeds to pull, exactly 137 toys not where they belong and building projects I could be working on. Even in my office there are more than a few things that could use my attention. 
So what’s the matter you say? 

I just feel like I can’t get there. I can’t get caught up. I don’t expect to have everything done. 

I mean I’m not crazy…

Well…

Maybe I won’t go so far as to say that.

But there’s normal behind, way behind and then there’s something else. Like, pour-me-glass-of-apple-cider-mama-gives-up behind.

We’re getting close. 

When I write it all down it looks doable. (I’m a mega list writer. Lists, lists everywhere!) But I don’t know exactly how to get it all done and live.

  
You see, I want to enjoy my children. But it takes exponentially more energy to play (fill in with whatever imaginary venture my children are off on) than it does to do dishes. 

In my over-thinking brain, I think I can take time to show my children that I care about what’s important to them and still get the chores done.

I mean, I’ve never had any high hopes of a perfect house. I didn’t get that DNA, sorry. 

Actually I’m not. I like our beautiful, lived-in look.

What I can’t figure out is: why can’t I just get there? I’m not dreaming of a life of ease here. I’m working toward working more. I just want to work hard so that I can enjoy and be generous with the fruits. But if I can’t get these stupid piles of other tasks taken care of, I’ll never get that beautiful romanticized hard work I’m actually looking forward to.

I keep thinking I just need to get my brain to work like those administrative people or figure out some new system for this or that.

I don’t need coddled, I probably just need some sleep. But that’s where I’m at today and writing is how I sort it all out.

 I’m going to go do something useful. Figuring out what will be 9/10 of the battle. 

And that’s the end of the story. 

Except that two of my favorite grown-ups conspired to make sure I had delicious gluten-free pizza and a fresh bouquet of flowers on my table today. There’s always sunshine isn’t there.

Ok. That’s the end of the story.