Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Sea of Possibility


Those first few glorious days when there's all this time on the calendar, although ours still is somewhat patchworked with ballgames and meetings and camps, the possibility of sweet, sweet summer is right here.

My kids were out of school last Thursday, and HOW is that, you ask, thanks to our crazy weather? Well, our calendar committee is genius. Rather than a spring break, we took a little time off during Easter, and built in those "emergency days" into our May calendar. Every Friday in May would have been a day off, but as snow days were had, those Fridays were added back in, and once we reached the magic number of 5 days, the rest became "Act of God" days, and didn't have to be made up, so we always knew that we'd get out on the 22nd of May.

Genius, right?

Anyway, we have been enjoying time. We had a great weekend, complete with friends and parties and a podcast and swimming, and we even had a shower that you could just feel the corn growing. Our north field looks like a sea of possibility. Hope in the form of corn.

My hope this summer, in all its glorious sea of possibility, is to form a more reasonable, less smarty, eye rolling opinion on the GMO debate. I have to take a step back when I see all the "We hate Monsanto" posts. I have to quit being so darned smarty when I read yet another label on MINI cucumbers that claim to be non-GMO. Is this possible? Please, vegetable experts, weigh in? Are cucumbers naturally mini?

I have become jaded to this debate, and it's because crazies will be crazies. Zealous about everything that is supposedly evil, crazily wary of "big Ag," as they punch out their feelings on FACEBOOK (ahem, a HUGELY successful business) on their MacBooks (HELLO?? Apple is a MEGA BIZILLION DOLLAR SUCCESS STORY!). Isn't this hypocritical? That's why I need to bow out of the argument and read and research a bit, because I could go on and on about these hippies…and most of them are just nice people who need to understand our operation and how we're not all evil pawns of some bigger company, just people doing a job their passionate about. I even had a thought as I drove to town last night and watched a sprayer in the field. I considered what a non-ag person may think. I may be wary, too, not knowing why or what. But when your rebuttal (read: my rebuttal) is, "Well, I don't have a third eye or cancer, so the spray must be okay," one needs to step back and do some more research.

My standards are low, and I have too many kids to have a truly poignant response. I'm just trying to figure out how to survive this summer, in all its possibility…of craziness.

So, the sea of possibility around here is three sided: wide open days of fun, fields of lovely grain waving in the summer breeze (please let it rain, but not too much and be breezy, but not knock-down crazy windy), and research on issues I need to form a less simpleton opinion.

Sounds like a great summer, huh? You add in some pool time, incubating twins and a home remodel, and you have yourself a PARTY!

Happy summer, friends.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our Boy

Our little guy turned three today. So far, we've celebrated with a big family party, and by opening a Big Buzz Lightyear and a Big Wheel. Sense a theme? He enjoys things that are big, for big boys. Not babies, because he's the first one to tell you, he's NOT a baby…which is good, considering the future of his "baby" status in our family. Check in November to see how that's going.

Anyway, it seems cliche to even mention this, but wasn't he just born? When did my little guy, our boy, become this big kid who pedals around, speaks in clear, direct sentences, voicing his opinion, and quoting lines from the 1962 Batman movie like, "No time to lose!"

Cliche or not, these three years have gone by fast, and I am trying, as any mother of multiple children so close together in age and thus so lacking in sleep, mind, and iCloud capacity, to remember all his milestones, memorable quotes and memories.

Right now, our boy is obsessed with superheroes, particularly Batman and Buzz Lightyear (is he really a superhero? nerds, I implore you to debate.). You'll find Jack in a cape about 12 hours of the day, and, thanks to Grandma, a gold utility belt. Once in awhile, you'll catch him humming the Batman theme song as he does various three year old things…unloading folded laundry baskets to get inside and hide, dumping all his toys to find the exact right one for the exact scene he's playing out, prepping to fight crime via the Cozy Coupe Truck and swing set. It's really impressive…the boy can carry a tune, friends.

Either way, our expectations upon having our boy have been exceeded. Superheroes, big wheels, climbing on things…he's done it all. However, Jack is sweet and kind and still so little, even though we'll send him off to preschool next fall. Never meeting someone he couldn't talk to (a genetic trait he receives from BOTH sides), I know he'll be fine, but a little part of me wonders what the next three or thirteen or thirty years will bring for Our Boy.

If I had a magic mirror, I'd love to see what our little man will be like in those time frames, but for now, I'll just enjoy the present. And the presents. The squeals as he takes off on his first ride on his Big Wheel. The begging to go with Papa Ted in the Big Red Semi. The innate way he checks and reports on the calves across the road every. single. time we drive anywhere or are outside, or looking out the window. Our Boy is one of a kind, and while there are days I would prefer a pedicure and a moment of peace over playing the Batman Jail again, I should remind myself that these days are fleeting, and his little boy-isms will fade, just as the cheesy theme song fades to silence in the Batman movie I have watched no less than 9000 times.

What a cake, huh? My sister in law is amazing.
Happy birthday, sweet boy, Sweet Jack. We love you and know that you're a big boy, but you'll always be my little boy. Our boy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

And Just Like That...

…we're done!

Yep. Planting is done.

Why is it that I kind of dread planting, and then realize that it doesn't really take that long? Sure, the guys have all hands on deck, two planters (one big, one little), and work long hours, but I still kind of dread it.

The guys put in long days, and we had cooperative weather, so I didn't have too many whiny, alone moments…which is a good thing, right? However, I am rarely alone, so there's that.

Just last week, I read a blog post about ten things you'd have to endure as a farmwife during planting, however, hardly any applied to me. During my time as a farmwife, I have just been the car seat toting, toddler carrying, kid run arounder, so I rarely get a chance to hop into the tractor and enjoy a solo ride with my husband. Plus, our guys are not huge fans of the ride-a-long, as it's a focused endeavor. They don't even stop for food, people, so the list hardly applied to me.

However, whether you're a farm wife who identifies with this list (read it here) rides along or one who drives the kids around, the true punctuation on the end of the actual planting process and the growing season is the waiting game. Wait for rain. Wait for it to stop. Wait for the crops to grow. Wait, wait, wait, and watch.

Right now, you can row the corn in our backyard. This is the time when I like that we're farmers. The promise of it all. I have written about it before, but this is the time when we can really see the growth of the plants, set beside a pasture of mama and baby calves who are of the right age to frolic and play, and our grass and plants are finally green and not dead looking. It's exciting and rewarding…and I don't even plant the seed!

We're hopeful for a good, normal growing season, but the seasoned (ha! me? seasoned??) farmer in me says, "Yeah, right."

There's always hope, right, my friends?

So, stay tuned for pictures of yet another year of the Corn Growth Journal…it's chocked full of surprises this year, as Farmer Joe will be taking the reigns on this project.

Get excited!

Happy growing, everyone!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Season to Grow

Happy Mother's Day weekend, friends!

In light of my recent, annoyingly cryptic blog posts, I am happy to say that all cats are out of the bag, and I can now share with you some changes, growth opportunities, and exciting news with all of you.

Please, however, if you're on a mobile device and standing up, you may want to sit down.

First of all, if you have seen me lately, no, I haven't been in the kids' Easter candy. Yes, I have had to give up my running for a while as we are …honestly…sit down…expecting again, and it's TWINS.


As in two.



Two babies.

I told you. It's kind of a big deal. Like a get a different car, add onto the house out of necessity and round up the baby stuff I gave away big deal.

We are pleasantly surprised, happy to share our news, and have heard all happy congratulations and a few that maybe needed social training. I'd like to answer a few questions that people have asked, once in for all.

Yes, we know how this happens.

No, we don't have enough room, but are making that happen.

Yes, I will keep working.

Yes, I have a GREAT support system.

Yes, we were surprised.

Yes, we are happy.

And, yes, we know that we will have a) a basketball team with a sub b) an entire infield of a baseball team c) half an egg carton and d) six kids to put through college.

But thanks for the congrats, anyway.

Anyway, despite overcoming exhaustion and feeling yucky, I am embracing being pregnant for the ABSOLUTE LAST TIME. I will enjoy Blizzards from Dairy Queen, having the close parking spot at the mall (thanks to whoever developed the "reserved for expectant mothers" spot!), and will be utlizing help from who all are willing to give it.

I'm the ultimate multitasker, and this set of twins will absolutely put me to the test.

So, we're growing, alongside the crops, I'll be growing little farm kids to help out around here…because we're going to need it.

The other test we're going to enjoy this fall is Joe's new opportunity. He's headed back to the classroom this fall as our high school's agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor. This was Joe's first career and first love. His life changing times were often times had during the opportunities ag education and FFA offered. We are thrilled. It's a great fit, and will be good for Joe's soul…and those six kids who need to go to college. And eat.

We are hopeful that the farm we have helped to make thrive will go on under our watchful eye, with some adjustments, of course, but times need to change, we need to grow, and be fed as professionals as well as people.


There you go.

You may get up now, go about your day, and when you're thinking about the one, two, or maybe three extra mouths you have to feed, remember our brood. We just continue to grow.

And grow.
And grow.

Prayers appreciated.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Two Choices

So, it's 6:15. Josie is at her first softball practice with Joe, who was fresh (and by fresh I mean, not fresh, but dusty from loading seed, working with cattle, etc., etc.), and the rest of the kids and I have just finished dinner.

6:15, and we're finished? Why, Emily, you must be some sort of galloping gourmet! You must have had your meals planned, prepped and presented by 5:15, gobbled up with seconds of fruits and no dessert by 6:00, right?

Oh, heaven's no.

There's this thing, called meal planning, and I stink at it.

For real.

I'm terrible. I'm the queen of defrosting meat in the microwave very, very last minute, only to realize the recipe I'm making takes 20 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cook/bake time.


And then…


My kids won't eat it.


There are days that I want to just give up. Want to just give into their mac-n-cheese, Nutella sandwiches on white bread whims with Doritos, and just serve that without worrying about vegetable intake or fruit sides.

On occasion, I do. We eat cereal for dinner (honestly, who doesn't remember doing that often in their college/young adult years?). We have Nutella on toast with eggs. However, six meals out of seven are not random. I do put some thought into them, even if the thought is 15 seconds before I realize Josie has practice at 6:00, and I didn't turn the oven on, just put it in without thinking (Kathleen…it's your fault. We were recapping our week…I was distracted.).

Anyway, on the days I get to pick, we eat it. Or don't. I refuse to force my children to eat (I won't tell you about the Easter dinner I force fed Anna mashed potatoes, and she promptly barfed them up on me. Wait, I just did.). I also refuse to make them a PB&J when we have a perfectly nice, nutritious meal in front of them.

So, they have two choices:

Take it. Or leave it.

Maybe that seems harsh, but if you look at my children, no one is starving. Everyone is just testing the waters. Testing my limits as a parent, and testing their developing taste buds. We all have meals our parents used to make when we were kids that we may or may not have spit out in the toilet during a "may I be excused to the bathroom" during dinner. Spaghetti pie was my nemesis as a kid. Meatloaf was my brother's. Joe had something they called S-H on a shingle. We all have it. However, my mother never said, "Oh forget it," giving me Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch instead. She gave me two choices:

Take it.

Or leave it.

And so, the legend lives on in my parenting with food.

Life around here is full of good food. We have the best beef around. We are blessed with fresh produce, whole grains, meals prepared with love (and the help of speed defrost). However, my kids are still kids. They are still picky some days, and eaters the next. They hate Mexican Lasagna (Happy Cinco de Mayo) tonight, but will probably like it the next time.

They crave the familiar.

They want the same.

But I refuse to cave. I will continue to expand their pallets. I won't give up.

Except for maybe tomorrow…when we have Eggo waffles and OJ, because, let's face it, I'm tired.