Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I don't know that I've been more excited to see what a year holds than I am for 2019.

So many projects, visions, and dreams for this place we can now call home.

I can honestly say that the past three-ish years have been the most pure form of craziness for our family. They've been full of excitement, frustration, sleepless nights (the good kind and the bad kind), grace, fumbling, learning, growing...

Not to mention we've moved 3.5 times. In three years. (Yes, and a half.)

Uh huh, it sure did age me 10 years. And, no, I do not ever plan to do that again.


Turns out building a house is very much like sky-diving. In a storm. With holes in your parachute. Oh, and with no pilot.

In the voice of Tom Petty (or John Mayer, if that's your thing)
And I'm freeeeee, free fallin'
Yeah, I'm freeeee, free fallin' 

Sounds fun, no?

Let's just say that I'm so happy to be here, now. No way in this world would I want to do that again.

Never, thank you.

Since, however, we're on *this* side of the whole thing, I'm gonna stay there and not bore you with all of the loooong, drawn-out details. Just trust me - it was a thing. A mighty whirlwind of a thing.

Oh, and not only did we move a zillion times and build a house, we also built a baby. The most precious baby, if I do say so myself. I mean, c'mon...

He's so sweet and cuddly, I can hardly handle it. Between his shy little duck as he nuzzles into my neck when he meets a new friend, to those fantastic lips. Ugh. He's just perfection.

And as for our now six year old little lady? Well, she's just as smart and sassy as ever. (Some days a little stronger on the sassy, for sure...) Not to mention, the lovey-est (most lovey?) big sister a baby brother could ever want.

These two spend their days playing, exploring, trying to truly give their momma a heart attack...

But the love there is sooo big. And somehow growing more and more everyday.

The whole sibling thing is not what I thought it may be (or maybe what I was afraid it may be). There's no obvious jealousy or malice. Just a beautiful relationship that seems to be all marshmallows and butterflies. She protects him and he gives her this "I couldn't love you more" gaze. It's too much and about makes me teary just thinking about it.

See what I mean??

While I want them to stay little (most days, anyway), I also can't wait for each stage - each phase - and what comes with it. So far, my favorite thing about having two is when they see each other for the first time that day. She greets him by scrunching her nose and slowly tip-toeing to his crib and he gives his "good mornings" by squealing in delight. See - big love. They cannot wait to be together. Every. Day.

And we've already had our share of adventures with these two: taking walks, cooking, cleaning (yes, that counts as an adventure most days...), chopping wood, making forts, going to plays, reading books, milking cows...

Tiny Baby R was cozy while I milked. The coolest experience EVER.

Plus, I try to get in all the cuddlin' I can possibly get while he (kinda) enjoys it...

Now that we're here and two kiddos in, my mind is always a bit foggy and my body a bit tired, but my heart is so full. I don't know that I've been happier and cannot wait to see how life unfolds. And with a little more time to breathe and stretch our wings, I cannot wait to share with you the journey ahead... 

Here's to being settled! :)

it's donuts for dinner.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"P, do you even know that my leg is dirty? That it's been in a chicken coop and probably has doodie on it? Do not lick it."

Yep, today's been one of those days. Not that anything crazy happened, but it's been our normal...and worth noting and remembering. 'Cause one day our "normal" will be totally different and I'll look back on days like today as precious and miss them. (And hopefully not like you miss a stomach bug or a temper tantrum, but something a little sweeter...)

Right? That'll happen one day? Surely, because right now things seem permanently hectic (and just plain maddening sometimes).

We woke up nice and early. P and I watched a family's farm vlog on YouTube (side note: wish I were brave enough to do those because they would totally be worth watching...), then we carried on with our day.

We fed the animals at home (including ourselves), then we headed out to do more feeding and watering.

We took care of the chickens and whatnot, then noticed one teenage chick didn't make it through the night. She'd somehow gotten injured (slipped tendon) a few days ago and apparently had reached the end sometime during the night. Jason got a shovel and scooped her up to bury. He disappeared for a bit for the burial, so P wouldn't see.

Before I go any further, I want to explain our family a bit. Jason and I are super careful about what P is exposed to. Though some folks whole-heartedly want their little tykes to know the real, hard side to life and owning animals, we try not to take it very far. She knows that we take care of and love our chickens, but that the time will come when we will eat some of them (or a coyote may beat us to the punch). And she's okay with that. But, even further, none of us are to the point yet where we're actually comfortable with doing the dirty work, so the processing of animals will most likely not include us (and if any of us will be part of that day, it will be me and only me). But that matters not just yet, so on we go...

As we were finishing up our morning chores, I noticed two other teenage chicks were looking kinda sad - slow to eat, sluggishly moving around, with their wings all droopy. So I did what any good chicken momma would do - I put them in a bucket and carried them home.

Once home, I arranged a nice little "hotel" for their day/night inside, then (and I know this is weird...) I bathed them, blow-dried them, then gave them some yogurt and honey water. (Don't judge. You can't tell me that if you were cold and wet and didn't feel so good, you wouldn't want a good spa treatment to give you a pick-me-up...) Then we put those clean, less droopy looking little chicks in the hotel suite for the day and started the next task at hand.

The next thing on the checklist today was to set up and move the newly hatched tiny chicks from the incubator to a brooder. I got the brooder, a heating lamp and the food and water containers ready. The only problem was that we were out of chick feed and the new shipment was at the post office. It was waiting to be picked up.

So off we went to our tiny downtown, in pajamas and muck boots to get the chick feed. (And if you saw me at the post office, it was a pleasure! But don't think I live in my pj's - I swear I own real clothes. And a hairbrush. Oh, and a mirror. Eek!)

Long story short - we got the new babies all warm and situated. And, again, we carried on to the next task...

We headed to K-town to pick up some farm fresh milk and get a late lunch. Lunch was fabulous, but the traffic was a little over-the-top, if I'm being honest. Just another reason to love a small town with the max speed limit being 30mph. Slow. It. Down. People!

While we were out and about, we loafed and talked about projects that were coming up. Before we knew it, we had worn ourselves out from all of the conversational stress that is our lives and settled on an *easy on the wallet/easy on the kitchen/horribly bad for the teeth/but oh-so-fun* dinner - Krispy Kreme Donuts. Hot and Fresh, to be specific. And their name lived up to every hope I'd had for them.

After scarfing down three of those bad boys (again, don't judge...), we headed back to the farm.

There, we gathered eggs. This is a task we do daily, but recently it's been a little different. You see, we have broody hens.

What's a broody hen, you ask? 

Well, let me explain to ya! It's a lady-bird that's danged and determined to sit on and hatch every egg in sight. Even if that means defending her nest to the death. And when you need to get an egg from under one, you're gonna get the wrath. They'll hiss and puff up and peck you soon as look at you. It doesn't sound too crazy, but it's kinda scary (especially for little P, who is always eager to collect and count every egg). They have no patience for you or your bare hand - and are quick to show it.

Also, while a hen is broody, they do not lay eggs. So here's the tiny loot from today...

While we were at the farm, we decided to check on the guinea nest that was tucked away in the woods, under some brush. It was the cutest little nest. Full of a zillion eggs and lots of little polka-dotted guinea feathers decorating its edges. is no longer. Something had a feast - ate the momma guinea and around 40 eggs she had been diligently sitting on. And even though I curse those hateful, loud guineas daily, it was a little sad. I was excited to see that strangely hideous, yet beautiful ol' guinea momma raise some babes! But, alas, it wasn't her time. Sorry, momma! By the looks of things, you obviously fought a good fight. :(

See what I mean - kinda gorgeous, but still somehow not at all and clown-ish instead? 

After coming home, we got P ready for bed and all tucked in. Now it's quiet in the house and I'm done. Done as in "out, trout". I'm heading to bed. At 8:00p. (Yet again, don't judge.) I'm exhausted, both mentally and physically. 

But, even through the exhaustion (and haze and nausea brought on by eating donuts for dinner...), I will say that I am thankful. 

For this day and many more just like it. 


a dream come true.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dreams are funny things. They come and go; changing with the seasons of life. A dream today may be a reality (or maybe even a nightmare) tomorrow.

I'm sure you already have figured it out, but I have lots of dreams. I have short-term dreams, and also too many larger-than-life dreams to count. In fact, I should call myself a "pipe-dreamer". Not that they are that far out there, but they are (at least in this phase of my life) very much out of reach.

For example, I'd like to live in Australia for a spell. Swim the Great Barrier Reef, cuddle with a koala, and maybe even meet the Irwin family (#1 Steve Irwin fan, right here!). Or totally be a surfer for a quick minute in California. (These two, however, are dreams that are possibly full of my worst nightmare - sharks. Love me some Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but that's where my fluffy relationship with the toothy predators ends - on the television.)

See what I mean? A nutty, irrational dreamer. (But, if not for being nutty, what are dreams, really?)

Besides travel dreams and my pie-in-the-sky wonderments, however, my dreams are mostly pretty simple. You know - to have a happy, lively life full of cooking, sewing, watching movies and listening to music, decorating, being a good mom and wife... Basically, normal stuff.

But, in the last few months, a new dream has been ignited. Not a pipe-dream and not even a crazy-out-of-the-question dream.

It's simple really, and something I think about every single day...

Basically, there has been a void at the farm. Though lots of work has gone on, and we've even had an event (or three) out there... There's been something missing...

As you know, we started excavation on our land in July. Well, about the same time, my GrandPaul had a little "hiccup" in life and has been unable to come visit.

Even up until now, he's been dealing with the same health issues (though we are hopeful there's been a recent breakthrough!). Though we know he is improving, progress is slow (as we were told to expect). But, even with progress and him being tough as nails, his pain has (temporarily!) made it difficult to leave the rehab facility.

And though he'll eventually be well again and able to visit the farm as often as he pleases, right now it is imperative that he receive daily therapy and much needed pain medicine around-the-clock.

Are you wondering where all the dream talk is going to lead? Well, wonder no longer, my friend. Because here's where all of this talk is relevant...

Since we've bought the farm, I have passed every decision we've made by him. I want and need his advice and approval. Our land is just as much his as it is ours. He has memories there. His roots and heart are in that soil. It is as much a part of him as it is us.

Understand that I know he will soon be strong and mobile, and back to his happy and full-of-information self, but his focus now is on healing. As it should be.

But that hasn't stopped me from wanting nothing more than for him to come out and see the progress. And therein lies my dream... A visit...

Even though I so badly wanted him to come see all of the changes for himself, I knew that would only bring wishful thinking and, therefore, sadness to request such a thing to happen. After all, if moving around for therapy is difficult, traveling to another town is down-right ludicrous, right?

But then, with a simple text a few of weeks ago, a path for this crazy dream to come true began to form...

My step-grandmother had to come to town for an oil change and, seeing how she hadn't been able to see the land for months either, asked if she could drive down the new driveway. "Sure!" I replied. And with that drive down our winding driveway through the woods - in the middle of a gorgeous Tennessee fall day - she realized that a little "farm therapy" would be just what the doctor ordered for GrandPaul. This therapy wouldn't involve pain or nurses, machines or insurance. It would simply be a drive and a picnic. Nothing fancy, but something she knew he'd jump at the chance to do.

Little did she know that I'd jump, too. And maybe even higher...

Though the trip would be therapeutic, it would have to be timed precisely between medications and just after having therapy. That way, the schedule would be clear for a few hours and his pain would be at a minimum so he could just hang out; forgetting about the temporary health struggle.

And so, a couple weeks later, my dream started to unfold.

My step-grandmother, Glenda, and I had texted back and forth for a couple weeks, trying to wait for me to get over an illness and GrandPaul's schedule to allow a short trip out.

Then, just like that, she made the proper arrangements and the day was set!

The thought was to have a picnic, so P and I started cooking that morning right after breakfast. We were like chefs in a restaurant - there was constantly something on the stove or in the oven and a timer seemed to be sounding at every turn. Though we didn't know exactly what time they'd be able to make it out, we just knew that we needed the food to be done as early as possible, incase we got the "we're on our way" call.

I don't think I've ever been so giddy about a picnic in my life. I'm sure if you had seen me at any point that morning, you'd have not seen anything but a smile on my face. There was too much excitement for anything else.

Then, at 3p on the dot, I got a text from Glenda signaling the start of their trip to the farm. My heart almost burst with excitement. It was actually going to happen!

When they arrived, I was overwhelmed with emotions. As I fought to hold back tears (which didn't work...), the reality that he was finally able to visit and see everything for himself was almost too much for me. We had been sending pictures and videos, but it's just not the same. I wanted him to understand it all. Really know what all of these changes mean, ya know? A new driveway. A new house. A new plan. Things that are all impossible to feel over cellular waves.

Though the farm is still a work in progress and the house is far from complete, I couldn't have cared less. It was a moment - a memory - that I'll always keep. Seeing him enjoy the sun, the amazing fall weather, the driveway, the house site, the chickens, the food, and busy little P showing her gymnastic moves...

Not only was I over-the-top excited to see him and show him so many cool things, but the "therapy day" ended up being on my late Grandma's birthday.

Happy birthday, beautiful lady!

It was a day to celebrate birth and changes - both in life and in the grand scheme of things.

And the day was perfect. Truly, as far as I'm concerned, it couldn't have been more fabulous. No how, no way!

As we sat there eating lasagna, my dream came true. Such a simple dream - with good food, beautiful scenery, and the best company there is. And, in that moment, there were no people on this earth I'd have rather been with...

So, GrandPaul, what we all thought was therapy for you turned out being not only a dream day for me, but one of the most memorable days of my life. And though I'm sure that was a hard day for you, know how much I so needed that. Simply your presence at the farm brought a light that was unexplainable. And your kind words about the direction we've been going is worth more than gold. But, even more, your constant encouragement and love, even through the pain, is priceless. Thank you. And I love you.

And, Glenda, you have no idea how thankful I am for all of your efforts to make such a day possible. The stress and exhaustion isn't overlooked. I know the finagling was difficult, but thank you for it all. It was chicken noodle soup for the soul.

So, until next time, I'll dream about having another picnic, maybe even inside the new house. Heck, I'll even plan out another menu. That way, at the drop of a hat, I'll be ready. Ready for another dream date with some of my favorite peeps.

After all, who said dreams only happen once in a lifetime? Nobody. So get better soon and come on back out - we're ready when you are!

a whirlwind of a week.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hello and forgive me. I've been thinking a lot and writing so little. But, no worries, I'll get you up to speed on us...

We've moved to a new rental, started excavating for our new house (!!), and had P's 4th birthday. And that's not all, that's just one week of events.

To say that it all was a whirlwind wouldn't do that week justice. It was *rough* for this ol' lady.

And during that insane-o week, my aunt and I pulled a nearly 72-consecutive-hour move to the new house. All without a wink of sleep.

(And, just incase you've ever wondered if you could survive life as a teenager in an adult body, the answer is easy - no. You'll not spring back like a rubber band and your kids won't think you're cool. In fact, they'll still wake up at the crack of dawn requesting gravy and biscuits, and give you no grace when you don't even have enough energy to turn on the stove. After all, you're old and you know better.)

Speaking of being old, let's get on with the birthday of my sweet P-diggy. We had such a fun party and celebrated with many friends and family members. I was so grateful to have everyone come out to shower P with love. It was amazing!

And now that she's four and sassy as ever, things have changed. She no longer wants me to dress her, help wash her hands, or even attempt to make a decision on her behalf. She's practically a teenager and wants to be treated as such. "I can do it all by myself" has become her signature phrase...That is, however, only until she realizes that four is still too young to do many things, in which case I'll hear her growl and pass the task onto me. Yep, you read that correctly - growl. Apparently this is something I do when I'm frustrated (and probably have my entire life...), but didn't know until my little shadow decided to copy me...

In other news (but still on the topic of P), she has finally finished her first season as a soccer player. She had a blast and very much enjoyed having an audience every week. (And watching tiny people run around after a ball that's not much smaller than shorts that hang past their knees is pretty much the best way to spend an autumn evening.) 

P and her best buddy.

Soak it up, little one, soak it up.

(And thank you for always reminding me to slow down and count the stuffed animals. <3) 

tea and a toast.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today, I'm needing some extra energy. Not as in "Dude, I need some good vibes", but more like "Tea! NOW!"

This was just the beginning...

Know what I mean, Vern?

I have more things to do than I have the energy (or time!) to accomplish... Piles of clean clothes that need to be folded. Dinner that needs to started. Business stuff that needs to be completed. Chicken projects that needed to have been started weeks ago. Acres of grass to be mowed. Plants that need to be planted. A new venture that needs attention. Oh, and a messy house. (No way to forget the toy-ridden, unorganized, ain't-got-no-time-for-it house.) Plus a family (and farm!) that seems to need every ounce of attention all day, err day.

Fresh butter in the makin'.

And, let me just throw in the fact that we're about to move and start building our house.

Oh, yes, our house...

You remember the dream house I told you about? And how you'd been so kind and reassuring? Said that everything would work out and all would be fine? We even drank some Koolaid together? were wrong, my friend. Wrong by around 12 months. Don't worry, though... I know you had good intentions.

(Wait, but what's that they say about good intentions and a hot, fire-y, brimstone-y place? *I kid, I kid.)

And here's where I'm gonna tell you the same thing I've been telling myself - It's okay. It's oh-kay.

...and even though this is so true, panic is starting to set in a little.

Not so much that we just might have to move in with my mom, but that through all of these changes, we have a family to hold steady. I want to do everything in my power so that my little lady never knows instability... So we're trying to focus on the fun of it all and how we can paint her room "regular blue", drink fresh lemonade on our new porch, and hear our eager roosters crow every morning. And, thus far, she seems unfazed and up for whatever. (She's a rockstar like that.)

I keep reminding myself that with each passing day, my family is getting closer and closer to our dream house. And for that, I'm so thankful. I'm thankful for this sweet, sweet life and all that it brings. And even though I'm up to my eyeballs in this adventure and feeling all of the effects of its roller coaster-ness (the thrill of the hills and the nausea of the valleys), I've been trying to soak it all in; knowing everything is short-lived and life is fast-paced.

So let's have a cup of Earl Grey and *toast* to land that perks and a basement that doesn't leak. Cheers!

thirty is flirty. (not)

Friday, May 6, 2016

I'm feeling old. And reflective. And emotional. But mostly just reflective.

Why? Because I'm 30. 

Yep. It's hard for me to swallow too. I mean, I still get those looks like "Aww naw, you can't be no older than 14; 16 at the most."

And I still get stopped at least 12 times to have my ID checked when we go to a casino.

And don't even get me started about me looking too young to have a kiddo...

So, of course, my mind just cannot wrap around how in the world I've gotten so old, so fast.

(I know 30 is not old in the grand scheme of things, but it feels a whole heck of-a lot older than 29. So, knowing that I'm aware of that, let's precede with this old lady's thoughts...)

And, I mean, I still have nightmares about high school. 

You know the ones - you're late a final, but you make it somehow...only to find out that you cannot even understand the questions on the test. I mean, they're total jibberish. Then you remember that if you fail this one test, you can't graduate. So, basically, your gonna be stuck in high school forever. 

And a nightmare like that couldn't happen to someone who's 30, right? 

Wrong! It can. And it does. All.Of.The.Time.

So, back to my birthday...

I was up in the middle of the night, thinking about what the day would bring. You know, because the first day in my 30's would have to be different than the last in my 20's. And that made me a little ill.

I kept thinking about my journey and how I got here. I mean, I'm okay with this new year I've added. (Kinda.) And I'm sure age is like a fine wine - the older you are, the more...well...fine...Right?

Plus, the 30's are where it's at. It's the cool age. 

No? See, that's what I'm feelin' too. 

I actually told a friend that 30 is not the new black - it's the new grey. Because, as luck would have it, 30 has ushered in a wave of grey hairs. And not just a few - a whole tuft of greys; right in the back of my head. And that's just the cherry on top of this ol' cake I'm already chokin' down. 

But before I just throw in the towel and embrace the fact that life as I know it is over and it's all downhill from here, I'm trying to think of all of the good things that elderly life will bring (because there has to be a couple, right?)...

The first difference I should tell you about is my musical taste. Just a few weeks ago, I was happily driving with my windows down, not a care in the world, listening to Taylor Swift. Now, I prefer to clean my kitchen to the sounds of instrumental folk or Cat Stevens, stopping every few minutes to sip my warm, aged Earl Grey tea.

See?! Old lady behavior. It came outta nowhere and slapped me right in the face.

And with every day, I've been taking more and more notes (which is totally not like me), so I can know what I've been up to and keep my thoughts straight.

I know life's just begun and it's gonna be great and all, but sometimes it all seems so fleeting.

One day I'll be truly grey and laugh at myself for being young and dramatic. But today I'm devastated.

Okay... maybe not devastated. But definitely a tad bit uneasy about the whole thing... ;)

So, on that note, let's all raise our Earl Greys to this new decade, watch a little of The Lawrence Welk Show, and take a good, long nap! 

one chick, two chicks...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ever heard of chicken math?

Yeah, I hadn't either...

...until Spring sprang and I was caught in it's deceptive little web. It's sticky and tangly and just pulls you right in. Before you know it, you're elbows deep in baby chicks and being called a chicken lady.

P's teaching the cats how to have patience...and balance...

And, if you know me at all, that's the furthest thing I could have ever imagined being called... Birds in general have never been my thang. I was totally like Eww! Those nasty things - peckin' and poopin' everywhere...

And here I come to you, asking for understanding as I have turned a corner somewhere and now fully and completely get this so-called "chicken math".

Georgie and her new babe 

I'm calculating and recalculating...and they are adding and adding...

But, rest assured, I do have a plan. Or plans. Loads of 'em...

Some of them are obvious (eggs and meat) and others being more creative (like compost help and garden tilling). But let's not get ahead of ourselves; right now they are just tiny little peepers without a care in the world.

(Don't tell them that we have high expectations and will be putting them to work soon. Let's just let 'em bask in the constant warmth and coziness that is my garage...where the food comes easy and the pace is slow.)

So, until next time, don't count your chickens before they hatch...or you might get a little "math" lesson of your own...