October 9, 2017

Closed for Business

Our new preacher and his wife just had a baby girl. Their sweet heart will be an entire week old tomorrow. The FarmHands are twitterpaited. Especially Bitsy. She's taking it rather hard that she will never be a big sister. In fact, she's been a bit kidnappy towards our preacher's older child- a sweet little boy who just turned 1 a few weeks ago. Much to Bitsy's chagrin she cannot:
#1. Keep the preacher's little boy and let him live under her loft bed.
#2. Keep the preacher's new baby girl and let her live under her loft bed.
#3. Convince me to have another baby.

I've tried to explain surgical sterilization to her, but she's not having any part of it. Today's conversation went, "Well, you could just adopt!" I informed her that would take a lot of time and money we don't have to get a baby we don't have room for in our overstuffed house. "How much money?" Thousands of dollars. "Just for a tiny baby?! That's crazy." Guess she thinks they should be cheaper than an older child because they're so small.

She also thinks she can drop out of 5th grade to care for this imagined (purloined) baby while I'm at work. A totally legit line of reasoning in her mind. And when the baby cries in the night Bitsy had declared I can, "just get up and take care of it." Gee, thanks.

Her father, being the smart aleck that he is, has been egging her on. During today's discussion (when she so kindly offered to drop out of school to care for her new sibling), I asked her if she was going to be able to breastfeed too. Husband said, "We can just get formula." *Death Glare.*

For the record, there will be no more babies at chez Funny Farm. At least not from this mama.

October 7, 2017

Long time, no type.

It's been a long time. Like a REALLY long time. Like a really, really long time since I've written anything. I'm not even sure where to start. But I've got a day off, the FarmHands are outside (hopefully doing a rain dance because DANG do we need it), BabyGirl is holed up in her room (where she spends 90% of her free time), Husband is at work, and I've got a new laptop that can actually be somewhere other than my dining room table. Thus, I write.

Well, I half write and half watch Assassin's Creed on the DVR because Michael Fassbender. Right?

Because I can't even remember when I last blogged I shall attempt to catch you up on the goings on around here- or at least a few of them.

Husband took up hog farming. It didn't work out too well as I'm pretty sure we purchased a gay, mentally challenged, possibly sterile boar. Breeding was a bust so we ended up with 3 hogs in the freezer and the rest sent to market. I am officially over pork.

He had moved on to cattle. Our current count is 1 bull, 2 cows, 1 heifer due any day now, 1 heifer ready to breed, 1 heifer turning 1 next month, and 2 calves- one of which is 2 days old. Thus far we've yet to have a bull born on the farm. They just keep throwing heifers. Good for herd building, but leaves us nothing to butcher/sell. Honestly, I can't keep track of them all. I had to ask the kids.

Mini Donkeys and mini horses were threatening to take over our pasture. We bought  some for the kids from our cousins a few years back and they (unlike the cattle) have thrown only males. We sold 2 stud horses a few months back and have one horse and one donkey left to sell. Our mini horse mare is expecting a mule (SQUEEE!!!) any day now and our mini donkey mare should deliver sometime early next year.

BabyGirl and #1 Son are both in high school. A junior and freshman respectively. B.B. turned 13 a few weeks ago and is barreling into his 7th grade year like a champ. He joined the basketball team last week and Bitsy signed up for volleyball making me a sports mom. Last school year B.B. and Bitsy (who's now in 5th grade) joined band. We're a brass family with B.B. on trombone and Bitsy on trumpet. So band mom as well. #1 Son is in FFA and BabyGirl is conquering the art world when she takes a break from Netflix. As ever, we are rolling along and keeping busy.

Back in May we lost Bucka. He came down with pneumonia and spent 2 1/2 weeks before coming home in hospice care. He lasted about 4 days giving us all time to tell him goodbye. The hole he left behind amazes me in it's immensity. Having lost Grandpa M&M four years ago made me foolishly believe that I was prepared and could handle this loss. I didn't take into account the fact that Bucka was part of my daily life in a way that Grandpa M&M was not. Both losses have hurt but this loss has affected me much differently. I still find myself struggling to find a new normal.

I don't want my blog to become grief sounding board but it often threatens to be just that.

BabyGirl has been fighting with MRSA since January/February. This week she had to have a boil on her elbow lanced (EWWWW!!) and is on some heavy duty antibiotics. The doctor keeps assuring me that she will eventually develop a better immunity to it and will stop having recurrences. Right now I think we're at 9 boils (of varying severity) since January. Right now I'm thankful for an attentive clinic staff (they worked her in at the end of a very long day when they really didn't have time in the schedule) and that we haven't had to visit the hospital.

I'm still rocking the Lunch Lady gig- this is my 6th school year. Husband is still working for the Big Box Store's shipping warehouse. We rarely have a day off together so free Fridays are like gold.

Last Christmas Husband suggested we take a vacation, just the two of us, this year for our upcoming 20th anniversary. In the midst of the brainstorming I suggested the USVI. Much to my surprise and delight, that's where we ended up the last few days of March/first few days of April. After the devastation brought by hurricane Irma, I am so thankful we made our trip when we did. It was absolutely stunning. My heart breaks for the people of St.Thomas as they recover from this devastation.

While we were on our amazing trip (really, if you ever have the chance to go- just do it), Husband wanted to take a night kayaking tour. I was less than thrilled but decided I would go since he flew me 1,400 miles from home so I could lay on a beach and look at blue water for days. Surprisingly, my fears (ocean, boat, dark, physical exertion) were for naught and I absolutely LOVED it. A sea turtle swam directly under our glass bottomed kayak as did a manta ray, multiple sting rays, and what seemed like hundreds of tarpin. I even fell in love with the entire kayaking experience. So much so that we flew home, slept for a few hours, drove 3 towns over, and bought 3 kayaks. Our current count is 5 and mine is PINK! The fact that I can't haul them without Husband's help is killing me because it means I haven't been out since school started.

Ahhh, and the rain has come. Thank the Lord! I was beginning to think we were living in a dust bowl. With that I will say ciao for now. Perhaps I'll write again and next time it won't take me 2 years.

February 6, 2016

Oh Pantry, My Pantry

 I haven't posted in more than 5 months. I know this means if anyone stops by here it's an absolute fluke. That said I need to discuss something of great importance...my pantry. 

You see, I love my pantry. 

My pantry is one of the biggest reasons I fell in love with our house the moment I stepped inside the model home. 

In our first house, there was a major lack of kitchen cabinets. It was tough finding somewhere to stash all my kitchen gadgets. We had to buy a separate hutch to put our microwave on and my Corelle Wear in. The little bit of food it took to feed both Husband and I was crammed into a single cabinet next to the garage door. There was no storage but only 2 mouths to feed. We made due. When BabyGirl came along, we only had to add a few cans of baby food to the mix. 

During the tour of the model home, my heart skipped a beat at the sight of the door above. It actually said "PANTRY" on the glass. It was a dedicated place for food. More than 2 boxes of cereal would fit in it. I could actually keep canned goods. And, quite possibly store odds and ends that never fit properly in a kitchen cabinet.

 Now, 13 years and 3 children later, this pantry is a serious necessity. Being 20 miles from the nearest town means we don't make multiple trips to the grocery each week. The pantry insures we don't run out of the necessary cereal, shells and cheese, peanut butter, or canned green beans throughout the week.
Our coolers all tuck neatly away- chest, soft sided, and Gott- along with the Rubbermaid step stool I cannot live without. The shelves in the corner were made by Husband before we had kids. The wooden steps in the opposite corner were the last thing my Grandpa M&M ever built for me. It helped the FarmHands reach their granola bars back when they were too short to reach the third shelf.

At one point the FarmHand's high chair slid into the pantry when not in use. Now it holds all their empty easter eggs in a trash bag under the steps.
In short, I love my pantry.

August 19, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

A few weeks back Go Set A Watchman was all over my FB newsfeed. Review after review talked about the fall of Atticus Finch. People ranted about the shocking discovery that Atticus was a closet racist, Jean Louise (nee Scout) was almost engaged to a member of the KKK, and everything in Maycomb, GA was coming crashing down.

I immediately locked down and said no way, no how am I reading this sacrilege. Atticus Finchis still atop the pedestal he's lived on since I was in 8th grade and I'm not going to do anything that might topple him. Scout, Jem, and Dill live on in my mind in those endless Georgian summers playing in the road, spying on Boo Radley, and reading to Mrs.Dubose as she battles morphine withdrawal. I have no desire to change any of that.

But then QM went and did the unthinkable. She bought the book.

My resolve crumbled like my Grandpa's sugar cookies.

The week before school started, I went back to Maycomb.

I've been digesting Go Set a Watchman for about 2 weeks now and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it. Points in the book seemed like an unnecessary sequel to Mockingbird. But since it was actually written first, I know that's not the case. Quite a few flashbacks to Scout's and Jem's childhood were scattered through the book making the original publisher's idea behind Mockingbird seem like the perfect choice. As a stand alone, I don't think I would have been impressed with the latest book.

Without giving too much away, Jean Louise comes home for 10 days in the summer and has her childhood ideals come crashing down around her. The point is that she needs to separate her personal identity from the identity she's created for herself in Atticus's shadow. She needs to find her own moral foundation and stop living on her father's. For that to happen Atticus cannot continue to live on the pedestal Scout has placed him on her entire life. She has to grow up and therefore grow apart.

The book touches on many of the ideas behind states rights that were still very prevalent in the south; the thought process behind segregation, the notion that equality was a pipe dream, and the divide between urban ideals and rural values. Because the book was originally written during the civil rights movement, I think it gives a perspective on segregation we often miss out on in public school history class. I think I better understand why segregationists fought to keep the status quo and why otherwise compassionate and intelligent Southerner clung so tightly to the idea. That's not to say I agree with their reasoning, it's just to say I understand it a little better.

A friend (who happens to be a retired English teacher/writer born and raised in Harper Lee's South)  stated she was unsure the book should have been published at all. After reading it, and somewhat enjoying it  for the nostalgia it produced, I'm inclined to agree with her. The book is a disjointed attempt at reconciling Harper Lee's Southern upbringing with her later life in New York. It's a book that, without the surety of making a lot of money on Ms. Lee's name alone, probably wouldn't have made it past the Free Kindle Book list.

All that said, I do not regret reading it and I did enjoy the book (even though my review seems to state otherwise). But if you're looking for the importance of To Kill a Mockingbird, I fear you'll be disappointed.

As for me, I choose Atticus Finch to remain a paragon of virtue in my imagination, regardless of his literary evolution.

July 23, 2015

Deeper and deeper in love I fall.

I'm beginning to wonder if I could convince Jennifer Adams to come write my life story. In short, possibly 2 to 3 word sentences. And while I'm at it, I need Alison Oliver to illustrate it...or my entire house. Whichever she likes. I'm not picky.

Ms.Adams and Ms.Oliver are the minds behind BabyLit. And they are lovely minds I'd like to settle in with for a few hours on a breezy afternoon. Let me know before you come over, ladies, and I'll start a campfire and get the s'mores fixin's ready.

Last week good mail came to The Farm in the form of Little Miss Burnett’s The Secret Garden: A BabyLit Flowers Primer and Master Cervantes’ Don Quixote: A BabyLit Spanish Language PrimerOnce again, I am overjoyed.

 First of all, a flower primer? In board book form? How sweet is that? I am clueless about flowers in general. I know roses, peonies, lily of the valley, and a few other odds and ends, but get past the basics and I'm over here like, "The pink one is pretty." Now, thanks to a primer for littles I know what Canterbury Bells look like. Not only do I know what they look like, but if asked by a small child, I could doodle an approximation of one.

Secondly, I know that as parents we're supposed to be over the moon when something teaches our children a second language, but there is only so much Dora The Explorer I can handle. Luckily Don Quixote is here to save me from The Map, Backpack, and The Grumpy Old Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge (seriously, is Dora still on? I don't even know). I now know, that should I ever find myself in Holland with a desperate need to identify a windmill in Spanish, I can now say, "Los molinos de viento." And thanks to the dual pronunciation guide on the back of the book, I'll even pronounce it correctly.

Now if only my children would survive long enough to give me grandbabies I can read to! Until then I'll just have to practice on my amazing nephew PG and THE NEW BABY ART IS HAVING IN MARCH!!

Yeah, there's that, too.

So if you are in need (and really, who isn't in need) of the sweetest board books ever to come from classic literature, run right out (or sit right there in your pajamas because Amazon) and order all of these. And while you're at it, I still need copies of Emma, Treasure Island, Wuthering Heights, and all the rest. Email me and I'll give you my shipping address.

June 23, 2015

When they hurt.

My brother Bubba and his wife Beck need prayers.

Just before school let out Bubba called. I was outside and #1 Son answered. He came out with the cordless and said, "It's Uncle Bubba {yes, they absolutely do call my brother 'Uncle Bubba'}, he says it's 'extremely important.'"  I knew immediately. Beck was pregnant.

She had literally just peed on the stick. Minutes before. I was the first phone call they made. We don't wait to share news like this in our family. When I found out I was pregnant with B.B., I was on the phone with QM when the 3 minute timer went off. How Princess kept her mouth shut until HT's t-shirt came in is beyond me.

Bubba's phone call came the Friday before Mother's Day. I remember because he swore me to silence until Sunday. They were going to tell Beck's parent's first and then tell QM and Daddy on the way home. It was supposed to be a Mother's Day surprise. I agreed to keep still but got a message from QM within 2 hours. They had already been to QM and Daddy's and told everyone they've met since kindergarten. They did manage to keep the secret from Beck's folks until Mother's Day- but they were the only ones in the dark.

Bubba and Beck surprised us Friday when they showed up at the door just before lunch. They were going to family reunion on Sunday and to see Grandma M&M on Saturday. We spent most of the visit chatting about the baby, pregnancy, and doctor's appointments.

Today was their first ultrasound.

Today they found out January won't mean bringing home baby.

There was no heartbeat.

They are crushed. My little brother was over the moon at the thought of being a father. Princess called me with the news and said he couldn't even talk when he called QM.

Please pray for them. For all of us.

June 16, 2015

BabyGirl is a freshman. Isn't that the most revolting thing you've read in months? Once they walk through the line at 8th grade graduation, our kids are officially labeled "Freshman." How can that be possible? I'm pretty sure it was just last week we were wrestling her into a pair of capris and a ratty tank top to drag her kicking and screaming out the door for 1st grade. There's no way she's 1 semester away from drivers ed. I reject your reality and substitute my own.

The week of her graduation was a tough one. We had VBS at church every day immediately after school. Miss T and I were busy trying to pack up our kitchen for summer break. One of our walk-in freezers died 2 days before school got out. I was trying to pack up so we could leave Friday immediately after I got off work so we could go to TN for Art's wedding. I was going to get to see PG (Princess's baby boy) up close for the first time that weekend. Hormones were raging. Mommy feelings were raw with BabyGirl moving on from the school she'd been in for 10 years. The house was a hot mess. The FarmHands were dragging home everything they'd ever made at school. And husband and I were having a breakdown in communication that was leaving me a weepy mess.

Graduation was Thursday night. QM was coming to town on Wednesday afternoon but Daddy couldn't make it. Wednesday I had to run to town to get BabyGirl a graduation present. Then I ran home to start scrubbing bathrooms and doing laundry. I was beyond exhausted and only 1/2 way through a very long week.

Daddy called to chat and I had a full on bawling meltdown on the phone. I was tired, angry, stressed out, and there was no end in sight. He kept telling me it was all going to be OK. He told me to take a deep breath and that no matter how things went I'd be done in just a few days. I hung up the phone and cried like a baby.

QM had told me she was nearly here but wanted to stop by Busha and Bucka's house first. Since I was in mad lady cleaning mode and had to pick the FarmHands up from VBS at 5:30, I told her I'd see her then. She told me she wanted to drop off BabyGirl's graduation present since it wasn't wrapped.

I met QM on the road home after VBS. She turned around before we got to her and was parked in my driveway when we pulled up. I hustled everyone inside and only had a chance for a cursory greeting before BB went into full on meltdown over a stye on his eyelid. I was trying to calm him down while washing his hands and fixing a hot compress while telling QM about my earlier meltdown on the phone with Daddy. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice say, "Hey, Aunt FarmWife?"

I didn't have to turn around. When I heard HT I knew QM had brought Princess and the boys with her. Deep sobs were instant and I fell on my mother while my sister was slipping her shoes off at the back door. When I turned to greet her, Princess just held out a sleeping bundle to me. "Here, just take him," she said.

The pictures of me meeting PG for the first time are of a bawling mess of an aunt and the sleepy smile of a tiny curled up nephew.

That was a good day.

The days that followed were also good.

Husband and I ironed out our communication issue. I finished my 3rd school year as a lunch lady. BabyGirl successfully (honors society gold cord and all) and beautifully (when did my little blonde with clothing issues become a stunning young lady) graduated from junior high. Art married her best friend in the most beautiful and touching ceremony I've ever witnessed. I spent 3 1/2 days in TN loving on my nephews, laughing with my family, and enjoying the hills I miss so much when I'm home.

Days have been good since. They've been long. They've been lazy. Summer has been simple. And it's not half over.