Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Did You Know?

Did you know…

Every time I sit down to try to type a blog post, my son has to go to the bathroom? It's like that theory I learned in my ed psych classes…the one I cannot remember the name of for my life today…whenever he hears me start to type, he has to pee.


Did you also know…

that my dear friends, Holly and Deanna (who each have great blogs here and here) get together every now and then at my house and PODCAST????

Did you know that?

We think we're pretty cutting edge.

Did you know that?

So, if you're interested, driving, cleaning, running, or just want to hear what my lovely voice sounds like, you can clicl and listen here.

We're talking about things a little less agricultural on this episode, as you need to know us and our lives to know where we're coming from. I announce over the airwaves about the twins, and DeAnna shares honestly and wholeheartedly about her struggles with PCOS. She also wrote a really great blog here about it.

So, if you are out and about, take a listen! I don't think you'll be disappointed!!

And now, I have to pee.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Picture of Father's Day

Since our first semi-official Father's Day in 2004 (I called Joe as he was en route to California for business to tell him I was expecting Anna), I have been hyper aware of Father's Day. Maybe it's because I am hyper aware of roughly everything that has anything to do with anything with my kids, or maybe it's just because I'm a hyper aware person.

Either way, that's a lot of hyper.

Anyway, I always had a heightened sense that Father's Day should be more than just a nice lunch out and a card. Thanks to TV, magazines, my Coach online email reminders (did you know you're supposed to get your dad a man purse, according to them? Seriously.), I always feel I fall short in the "strike up the band, it's Father's Day!" department.

This year, especially.

I didn't remember to even get cards, and I was at Target twice and Wal-Mart once.


Anyway, the good news is, I'm the only one in this operation (I hope) who has this false sense of awesomeness when it comes to plans on Father's Day.

Enter Joe.

He's a great dad. Sure, there are times when I wish he was more aware of what I need him to do before I even ask, but the poor guy is a husband and a father, not a mind reader.

Anyway, I am so happy that Joe is the dad our kids need him to be, and that was most witnessed last weekend at Anna's first cattle show.

Showing cattle was a big portion of Joe's teenage years. His good, good friends did and are still showing (just with their kids, now), and the lessons he learned about teaching and sharing were best learned, I think, from that show ring and in the barn.

Last week, when Anna stepped into the ring, I couldn't find Joe at first. Thinking he would be right beside her as she waited to walk in, I was surprised when he showed up by my side, in the bleacher area. As we watched our little girl lead her animal with such confidence, smiling at the judge as he walked by, I couldn't help but burst with pride. Not just for Anna, but for Joe. He has worked so hard to help Anna be confident in herself in the ring. He instilled in her, in just the short year they have been working with these animals, that this was her deal. He wasn't going to be the dad who spent a ton of money on an animal, work with it himself, and then hand the halter to her just as she walked into the ring. He wanted her to feel the joy and confidence and satisfaction for her hard work. While he was spending those early mornings with what she thought was just brushing and washing and leading, Joe was really teaching Anna how to succeed, herself.

Doing it all herself.

That's pretty amazing, really. In a world where moms and dads are accused of being helicopter parents, Joe is exceptional at teaching the kids a skill and walking away to let them do it. "Figure it out," is one of his favorite phrases, and our kids have all become more and more independent because of this skill he has instilled in them.

We have a lot of kids, so there's a lot of chances to learn. Similarly, there are probably more learning opportunities out here on the farm, but the manner in which Joe allows our kids to have age appropriate success and failure makes him a great dad. My hyper sensitivity to the materialism of Father's Day is simmered down by the fact that Joe wants to just be a good dad, and doesn't need a Coach Man-Purse to celebrate. However, the recliner we did get him seems to suit him well (and I was able to pick out the one I wanted, not the cup-holdered marshmallow-y, armchair quarterback number that may or may not have come home, should he have been with me! Ha!).

Thanks for being my partner in this endeavor, Farmer Joe. My hope is that when we're 54 and 57, and our final kids (notice I said FINAL?) are 18, we can look at our kids and see all the great qualities you have helped instill in their personalities.

Happy Father's Day, my dearest.
On the first day of second grade with Anna.

Three generations of Webel men.

Joe and Jack watching the combine.

Two of his favorite helpers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Well, look at that.

I've never started a blog with a hashtag.

Does that mean that I'm increasing my youthfulness? Am I more hip?

Nah…we're just starting a new adventure!

I have mentioned that my grandma is 100, as in 100 years old. The amazing thing about her, is that besides a hip replacement due to a fall and a few minor illnesses, the woman is the epitome of health. Seriously. She is 100, friends, and doesn't take anything but an Anacin once in a while for a head ache.

However, I think the secret to her success is a wide variety of good, nutritious food. She's never been one for fad diets. Although she probably knows of Dr. Oz, she would disagree with his extremist beliefs: her favorite piece of advice, "Everything in moderation." However, they would agree on his eating philosophy: breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

But that's it.

Never trendy, always delicious, her lunch time meals were a rainbow of color. Her table, generally set with her signature red checked table cloth, was always full of choices. Not only did you have a source of protein, but you had a starch (typically a potato of some sort), at least two vegetables, a fruit choice, slices of bread and butter, and dessert.

Always dessert.

But not much of it. Portion control was key too.

She always, always served a vegetable. And, when I was younger and she was a little more spry, they were, in season, from her own garden. I never knew until I was in college the corn could come from a can. It came from a frozen tupperware container with a masking tape label from Grandma.

She never made a stink about how they were grown. She doesn't have the personality for over debate, because there was no debate: Eat Your Veggies. Period. Wash them, make sure there's nothing crazy going on with them, cook them or eat them raw, but eat them. Always.

However, this is not a post about my grandma and her fountain of nutritional youth. It's the inaugural post of our #EatYourVeggies campaign. Thanks to the lovely folks at safefruitsandveggies.com, the word is getting out, the big secret about veggies.

Guess what that is?


Who cares if they're organic or conventional. Wash them off, prepare them as your family likes, dip them in ranch dressing, drizzle them with olive oil, but JUST EAT THEM.

I have some friends who are joining me on this plight, as I'm not an expert veggie grower, but I do prepare them for my family…sometimes to great success (asparagus!), sometimes to no avail (brussel sprouts…Pinterest, you LIE that they will gobble up roasted brussel sprouts!!). So, I'm going to glean from these other bloggers to learn how to best prep and potentially grow (after the babies grow…after our house grows…so probably in about 15 years), and will pull in one of my local gardening experts for a Q & A.

If you want to join us, please do! Link to this initial post, and I'll add you to my list.

Otherwise, enjoy this summer as we walk through learning how to make the truly nutritious, truly delicious.

Bon appetite!

Check out these blogs who are joining me in the #EatYourVeggies campaign with #Bayer4CropsUS:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sprinkles and Sparkles and Other Important Things

When you're celebrating your fifth birthday, such things as sprinkles and sparkles are of the utmost importance. Today, our Amelia Jane turned five, and there was quite an abundance of these necessary things for our five year old.

We are blessed by Amelia, not just because she is our sweet little sparkly girl, but because despite a rainy day for her birthday, an excruciatingly early meeting for me this morning (enter Mommy Guilt), and a party for my grandma's 100th instead of one for just her, she took it all in, appreciating it all. 

She is low maintenance.

She was sad to not open her presents immediately this morning, but as I tucked her in one last time as a four year old, I explained (in a pretty dramatic voice) how exciting it would be when I got back after lunch to open all her glorious presents, and how the special day could be stretched out. She bought it…I mean, she got it, and sure enough, when I got home, we promptly opened up all the presents, from a set of sparkly lotion and lip gloss to a password journal. All things this five year old desperately needed.

See? Low maintenance.

I need to learn from my sweet girl. I have been grumbly lately. Life has thrown us curve balls. I don't feel well. I'm short tempered. Shuttling kids back and forth to ball games and camps and the pool has worn my patience thin. However, my sweet girl, just five years old, is with me always, greeting me with a kiss and a smile. Her laugh contagious, the way she says her "r's" incorrectly makes me laugh, despite myself.

I'm so lucky to have Amelia in my life. We are so blessed to have this little bundle of sunshine around us. All of our friends comment on how sunny Amelia is, how our Silly Millie is like a jumping bean when she greets the babysitter, running towards her cousins as if she hasn't seen them in months, waving like mad and hugging a dance friend at Subway (her birthday meal choice…guess she likes to eat fresh, too).

Rarely is our girl anything but sprinkles and sparkles, and I think God placed her in our life to remember not to take ourselves too seriously. Although her silliness gets on her sisters' nerves and may cause some issues at school, wouldn't we all benefit from being so low maintenance, so happy just to be alive?

I'm blessed to be her mom…I reiterate. She is a joy to be around, and my hope is that her sprinkle and sparkle will continue as she grows up.

Happy 5th birthday, sweet Amelia Jane. We love you so much.
Her first day home
Because one party hat is not enough for this two year old!

Serious about cupcakes at age one
A big girl bike for a big 4 year old

Age three, courtesy of Kara Kamienski
Today, with her birthday doughnut

Friday, June 6, 2014

Well, This Is Embarrassing to Admit

This weekend marks the 8th anniversary of us living in this house. At that time we were not farming (Joe was still in his job that had him traveling all over the country), however, we hoped to some day. Six years ago, we were offered that opportunity, and in the span of these years, we've added to our family, changed jobs, lost loved ones, enjoyed country life, despised it, and, ultimately, embraced it.

However, the other night, as I was just settling in from a long day, Joe came in and announced that I was going with him and Jack to check cows.

I was?

But I was just getting ready to intercept the remote and watch House Hunters.

Anyway, in my lovely Sages Track Sweatpants (ca. 2002) and old sneakers (real farm attire, friends), I hopped on the Ranger to check cows. While I know where our pastures are (kind of) and have been fishing back in the lakes of this pasture across the road as a little girl, this is a little embarrassing to admit:

I have never been back there with Joe in the six years we have had cattle there.


I know?!

And you call me a Farmwife?

I'm an advocate for livestock farmers, for heaven's sake! But, I bumped along in the Ranger as green as a city girl, gripping the safety handle when we got too close to the strip mine lake's steep edge, bouncing on the rough terrain, hoping my youngest (so far) wouldn't fall out. Once I got used to the roughness of the terrian, I started to relax and began to take it all in.

And you know what?

It was and is a really pretty place.

I was surprised at that.

Well, that's embarrassing, too. Don't I always wax poetic about how pretty it is out here? Well, my view from the kitchen window, the swing set, or our upstairs is really nice, but this place, friends, it was beautiful. Full and lush, thanks to the blessing of a two inch rain the night before, and the cattle, my goodness. These huge animals are so calm thanks to Joe's excellent herd management and laid-back demeanor (they would NOT be this way if I were in charge…thus the first time check in six years). These mamas were caring for their calves, just hanging out and eating this delicious treat. While the terrain is rough, as we sit on former strip mine land, the lakes and ravines and gullies formed years ago from this activity have grown up in this back pasture to be interesting. If I were a photographer, I'd want to take a picture or two back there. Plus, we were so high up, when I didn't know where I was, Joe pointed to our closest town, which I could see the entire layout of it.

I now know why my kids want to always hop in alongside their dad.

This is a kid's dream…a mother's nightmare with all the twists and turns and scarily deep strip mine lakes, but a kid's paradise to fish and hide and roam and just be.

Why did it take me six years to get out there?

Well, considering I had a major allergy attack once I returned, that's one reason…see? Green, town kid. And, in a span of six years, we've had all these kids who have occupied the buddy seat in the tractor, the four wheeler and now the two seats in the Ranger. I never was not interested, just never had the time or the room in the inn to get to go.

Next time, I'll take my camera and snap some pictures, or maybe the time after that…my grip hardly released. I'll snap a picture of the edge of the lake that could have had me plunge to a watery grave, and then you decide if it was wise for a pregnant 36 year old to snap an Instagram picture for the sake of education.

I'll choose life. Always.

Anyway, if you find yourself around our neck of the woods, ask Farmer Joe to head out to the pasture. That's the stuff, friends. A field of green corn and flowing wheat has nothing on a breathtaking view of cattle lowing in green grass.


And that's NOT embarrassing to admit.