Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Can anybody else relate to this as their schedule right now?
Can I get an Amen from all the parents of littles out there?
As long as we keep everything churning around here on a predictable schedule (get up, work out, breakfast, make lunches, clean up, catch bus, little kid breakfast, clean up, dressed for preschool, preschool drop off, errands or clean up or both, preschool pick up, lunch, clean up, naps, clean up, laundry, laundry, laundry, school bus drop off, snack, homework, lesson run, clean up, laundry, lesson pick up, dinner, clean up, baths, laundry, stories, bed time, fall in a heap until you do it all over again!!) life moves pretty smoothly for us.

However, blogging and advocating and speaking to someone over the age of 11 (besides Farmer Joe, my mom, and Kathleen--LOOK YOU MADE IT!!) just hasn't been happening lately. It's not that there have been a lack of stories out there. January may be for changes and new outlooks, but PETA is back again, and I refuse to link anything about them because while they can talk about FFA, they're speaking to their choir and are big babies. Who do love animals, and hate leather, but whatever.

Life on our farm right now is pretty quiet. While a few years ago, we'd be in the absolute thick of calving, which is another "lather, rinse, repeat" process (ideally), we only have a few heifers who are ready to go. Having, say, seven heifers as opposed to seventy five or one hundred makes a big difference in one's life.

And our stories.

And plans to do fun things like go with your husband to pick out a new washer and dryer.

Did you notice the presence of "laundry" in my schedule? It has been absent for a few days, but friends nothing says GET EXCITED more than a new washer/dryer combo and the promise of a redo of your laundry room!

Congrats on being an official adult, Emily.

Friends, hear this. I love writing. In fact, I have written a lot lately, just not published. While writing makes me think harder, connects me to the outside world, makes me appear to be funny, it also can make the extremely opinionated and freakishly weird Emily rear her ugly and loud head! So, I turned into Goldilocks this January. This post was too long; this one was too preachy; this one was too much; too this, too that. So, I just let them sit and fester and then realize I haven't shared anything in weeks, sans a Facebook post regarding smartphone use that really made me appear quite judgmental, when I was just making an observation. But, whateves. That explanation post will remain in the dark hollows of "preachy posts," and will never be read aloud above a whisper.

You're welcome.

Back to life as a blogger: When you factor in the twin one year olds who dismantle anything while you're trying to complete a grammatically correct thought, you've got yourself a CRAPPY BLOG POST. There will be a day, I know. Today even, I was told not to blink, they'll be out of the house sooner than later. I reminded this sweet friend that I have had a toddler/baby for now 11 years, so I am going to go ahead and start blinking.

My eyes are dry.

Anyway, I promise there's new and exciting things on the horizon. January may be a time that I feel isolated and life appears repetitive, but I have been in the works with various folks about this blog, my voice online, and all the exciting things that come with it.

Read: Work that doesn't pay for food on the table, but feeds my soul.

Which is important.

Almost as much as a working washing machine.

Monday, January 18, 2016

While I Do Enjoy Seasons, Freezing My Face Is NOT My Favorite

So today's high is a whopping 5 degrees. Factor in the windchill, and you've got yourself some fun times when it's MLK Day, everyone's home, exercise class is cancelled, and you sold your treadmill.

Have I ever mentioned to you that I am a better person when I MOVE?

Couple this with a good ol' fashioned weight loss challenge amongst friends and you've got yourself a recipe for some crabbiness!

No, I'm NEVER that way.

Just kidding.

I'm ALWAYS this way.

Anyway, back to the weather. While we're enjoying this clear, crisp winter season, my parents have just landed in sunny and humid Panama. Humid as in, squeegeeing off the walls for fungus, humid. While I would love to visit the modern marvel that is the Panama Canal, I can't help but think that I would have a Monica Gellar moment with my hair.

My fanciest hair product and my CHI flat iron would be no match to the Panamanian humidity.

Regardless, I am not there, my parents are, and if I can get a moment to actually talk to them about it before I completely ditch my kids to go somewhere alone once they get back, I'll have a good ol' Q&A post for you.

They are with the Corn Growers on this trip. Another couple we know traveled with Pioneer. Friends have just come home from American Farm Bureau in Orlando. San Diego is the destination of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Conference.

And my big question is, "When AM I GOING TO GET TO GO?"

Answer: in 2036, maybe.

Tis the season for farmers to head south for meetings and such. Well, those farmers who don't have calves to pull and pigs to tend to during these wretchedly cold temps.

Commodity groups, seed companies, chemical companies, they all send different folks to different places to represent, inform and entertain. A skeptical onlooker may think that these corporate dollars spent on farmers and trips may seem a little shady, but to these folks I say, what are the perks that come with self employment as a farmer?

Answer: Hardly any.

While a city job may come with a few weeks of paid vacation,  a company car, insurance, self employed farmers have it a little less cushy. I'm not insinuating that folks with desks jobs have it sweet. I realize you work hard for your money and perks, but when we were farming full time, our perks included a seed corn cap, an occasional sweatshirt, a cooler, and maybe, maybe a dinner of appreciation (only to be followed by a plot tour).

So to those of you who represent your Farm Bureau or are headed on a commodity group tour abroad, to you I say, bon voyage!
Utilize your perks. See how other folks farm, govern, live. Enjoy your time away from the bone chilling grind that is farming.

I'll just be here.

Freezing my face off. Dreaming of humidity.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Because I Prefer Blanket Scarves to Blanket Statements

Oh friends. It's January.
Sweet, sweet January in Illinois.
Muddy (currently).
Soon-to-be-cold-as-a-well-digger's-a$$ (Thank Farmer Joe for that phrase!).

And full of new beginnings. Am I right?

While January out my window has the appearance of bleakness, I believe that January is a time when we all try to get our stuff together. Or is it just me? Maybe it's just those of us who are cooped up in our houses in the bleak January weather, but I have seen so many organization challenges, ab challenges, weight loss challenges, Bible reading challenges, even what to wear challenges.

While I tend to do a little more organizing and eating better in January, I detest these blanket statements. Headlines ripped from gripping periodicals such as Better Homes and Gardens (I kid), claiming to organize your house in 30 days and keep it that way. While I consider myself pretty organized, I have seven other people in my house who rarely understand the system I employ.

Then there are the friends who are challenging me to try a new nutritional/energy/vitamin/exercise/mood enhancer/whatever. This latest thing that will give me more energy and have me moving faster and sleeping better in no time.
Again, I have seven other people in my house who don't appreciate that I get up at 4:30 in the morning to workout to increase my fitness when they come in to tell me they need to use the potty, or cry, or have a nightmare and need to sleep in between Farmer Joe and me. I don't know if a nutritional system will help me with my energy until about 2026. I'll talk to you then.

I guess my point is, I really, really, really do not believe in a one-sized fits all anything. Blanket statements are something that I try to avoid. Blanket scarves...another story. Have you tried these?

No this not me, and YES I hold my hair like this all.the.time! Ha!
{image via}


I'm digressing.

Anyway, this goes along with agriculture advocacy and my plight to be more positive in 2016. Is our food the safest in the world? Probably, but the minute you proclaim that to the entire world, something like the Chipotle Food With {whoops} Integrity philosophy comes crashing down. When I state that cattle farming is totally fine and everyone who does it is doing it with the best intention, there's something I see even on my way to drop off at preschool that makes me go, "What the HECK?"

We have to be careful. A blanket statement is as bulky and covering as a blanket scarf, and thus, covers up flaws, draws attention to something else, makes you wonder what's under.

So while I am trying to be a better version of myself in 2016, I refuse to crumble to the trends of January. Similarly, my advocacy tone is trying to be more soft and funny and less accusatory and angry. I'm trying to understand the trends, but not look back at myself in six months, six years or whatever and regret what I said or did.

Maybe I should rethink the blanket scarf.

Monday, January 4, 2016

When You Thought You Had Posted, But Hadn't

So my 2016 is off with a bang.

I have had so many good, witty post ideas, and as I sat down to write one out this afternoon, I looked at my previous post, and HOLY SMOKES it's been awhile, friends.

So sorry.

I'm sure you spent most of your holiday break wondering if I had died of embarrassment of that unfortunate Christmas Card event.

Or sharing with your family at parties about all the funny things people have done on their Christmas cards.


Or maybe you were just enjoying your holiday celebrations?

Probably the last one.

Anyway, we had a great break. Today is the last sweet day of vacation, and while there was a time today (when I wasn't packing lunches and wasn't finding homework and wasn't waking anyone up) that I thought I could get used to my people being home, I have had to break up three giggling crazy wrestling matches in the time I have written this oh-so-eloquent post that resembles a mom who is tired and constantly interrupted to break up wrestling matches.


I'm digressing.

The world of ag was pretty quiet during the Christmas season, which is a good thing. While the Stanford marching band tried to poke fun at farmers during the Rose Bowl, I refuse to make any offended comments, as I have seen the light, thanks to my friend Katie, from Rural Route 2: The Life and Times of an Illinois Farm Girl. She has challenged us to not spent 2016 feeling offended. She has challenged us to find positives in the agricultural realm.

I think that's a pretty good challenge.

A resolution, if you will.

Either way, her post, which you can find here, has sparked me to take a look at how I view pretty much every issue from food to Facebook to farming. I need to calm the heck down. I need to quit worrying about my life in comparison to someone's highlights, filtered pictures with cute captions. I need to quit wasting energy on ways to fight the fight, while it is usually intended to be a good fight, and just continue to tell our story as it unfolds. Boy has it unfolded... why waste energy on seeking drama when I have six kids! I need to view the progress advocates in agriculture have made, friendships it has forged and happiness it has brought us rather than freak out about some extremist's viewpoint who is usually just loud and misinformed.


There you go.

Here's to 2016, my friends. May you keep positive; write the date correctly on checks sooner than later, and remember the good times or storms that were weathered in 2015.

Let's do this.