December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas From the Farm

December 22, 2015
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Ahhh, Christmas.  My not so favorite time of year.  The stress level around here is off the charts.  Everything is off the charts.  The kids are greedier than ever.  They are constantly fighting and the expectations are ever so unreasonable.  Like you, I have a flurry of things to do and not the time or energy to do it.  The demands our culture has put on Christmas has left me defeated yet again.  Coffee:30 anyone?  No? Vodka:30?  Okay.

Aren't they cute?  Just the perfect picture of Christmas right here! Mason prefers "Boxers Only" attire these days.
If you really want to get me worked up just ask me my views on Elf on the Shelf.  I highly recommend we don't go there.  My heart tends to shrink just thinking about it.  Here is a little ditty that goes down in my car upon after school pick up Every. Single. Day.  From December 1st until the last day of school before the long awaited Christmas break begins I get punched with this:

"Mom, Ricky Bobby's elf left him pajamas!"
"Mom, Ruby Lou's elf takes baths in marshmallows!"
"Mom, Bessie's elf zip lines from chandelier to chandelier!"
"Mom, Dicky's elf plays house with Barbie!"
"Mom, Sally Sue's elf baked cinnamon rolls and iced them too!"
"Mom, Jessie Mae's elf toilet papered her bedroom!"
"Mom, Big John's elf poops chocolate chips in his potty!"

We have the lamest elf ever.  Look at him.  Nothin' to see here. He's not even the true Elf on the Shelf.  He's stuffed! How lame is that?   He's just chillin on the ladder where he's been for the last three days because Big Dog has forgotten to move him.  No Mission Impossible positions here. 
Really!?!?  How do I explain that our elf is totally lazy and boring?  I mean, who has time for the Pinterest inspired creative, over the top, you are amaze-balls mom of the year shenanigans anyway? Never mind that at least one of our five kids is up at any given golden moment throughout the night.  They either catch us moving the despicable elf or notice that he's already moved before they fall asleep. I feel like a total liar all Christmas.  "Oops! Elfie fell and since I'm a parent it's okay if I touch him to help him up." or  "Gee, honey.  I don't know why Efie didn't move last night.  Maybe the flight pattern was a little too crowded and it wasn't safe to fly." X three nights in a row!  I think I'm having a hot flash.  It's really hot in here.  
Do you suffer from Elf-itis?  Is the Elf on the Shelf causing you to lose your ever loving Christmas mind?  Has Elf-itis created tension between you and your partner?  
You are not alone.

Some common symptoms of Elf-itis are:

unintentional aggression towards the innocent elf
chronic Pinterest browsing
elevated instagram and facebook envy
nightmares involving you and the elf in a shoot-out outside Santa's workshop
loss if interest in where the little $%*&@# lands each night
elevated heart rate just thinking of your next plot
sweaty palms when restraining yourself from strangling the little *&%$%#

If this is you there is help.  No judgement, just help.  Please call

And then there's the crack.  The Christmas crack that comes wrapped in gold boxes, shiny tins and cute containers.  Christmas crack gets me every year.  You know, the chocolate covered peanuts crack, peppermint infused cookies crack, the salty mixture crack, peanut butter ball crack.  Crack, crack, crack.  And the 10 pounds it leaves you with.  Dear Mom, if you're reading this, I'm still waiting on the Rum Balls crack.  

Speaking of crack...these are the crumbs I left behind to "share" with my tribe.  
Now to the farm part.  Knock on wood....we have yet to experience the joy a busted pipe leaves us with this winter.  Would you mind knocking on wood for me? Thanks.  I need all the superstition I can get.  Our four goats that are expected to birth any day now....since October, are STILL pregnant.  There's nothing quite like watching and waiting for a milk sack to drop.  It may take a Christmas miracle.  My friends are pretty sure I've made the whole thing up.  And then there's the pasture gates situation.  One more gate goes down and we will have ourselves a livestock-nado.  A chicken lost an entire wing before going missing.  And our well.  Well, let's just say we don't have water more than we do.  The scattered and random sink holes have me convinced we live on a sacred cemetery.  But the pigs are fat and happy and I have 25 baby chicks in the barn that promise to increase the egg production near the end of spring.  Life on the farm is better than ever.  Not really.  Ok, so I may have asked Santa for a house in a neighborhood with a no animal law and only ten square feet of yard. 

Just a wing.  No chicken.  No clue. 
To sum things up, here is a sample of our Grand Year in Review:

Henry (7) loves football, soccer, and basketball but refuses to eat anything but Ramon. (Henry is also lucky to still be living with us after he affectionately described me as "squishy" read about that here)
Susie Grace (7) has a serious addiction to television and refuses to eat anything but candy.
Mason (11) continues to amaze us with his intense ability to play video games 23.78 hours a day.  He eats everything, non-stop.
Parker (13) is extremely helpful on the farm and is involved in competitive robotics (competitive robotics is serious business).  He eats his weight in Ravioli daily.
Lauren (18) joined the Army and will graduate high school this year.  She eats three square meals a day.
Carol (39 forever and always) is homeschooling and has no idea what or when she eats.
Big Dog (40 and furry) is sporting a beard past November, duck hunts and prefers to eat beer.  

Despite the crowds, Christmas crack, and cranky kids, I try my best to stay focused on what Christmas is truly all about.  Beyond all of the half lit/pre-lit trees, broken ornaments, glitter (I hate glitter), Elf-itis, sticky candy cane hands, Christmas card paper cuts, and financial hemorrhaging, there is a Savior that stands for us, reigns over us and His grace is more than enough for us.  He came as a babe, as a precious lamb. He came to redeem us.  To draw near to us.  To call us his very own.  He is the one true gift wrapped in the light of unwavering love and grace. May you receive the gift that is the one true meaning of Christmas! Amen!

Hallelujah, Merry Christmas everyone!

PS: My lashing out on the elf is of personal struggle and strife.  I admire all you elf enthusiasts out there!  You are creating memories for your family and adding to the magic of Christmas.  You go Elf advocate!  May the red and white force be with you.  

December 9, 2015


December 9, 2015
soft, not firm

flabby, mushy, pulpy, spongy, squashy, soft, squooshy

I had been away from my children for 24 glorious hours.  I came home and was rejuvenated. Distance made my heart grow ever fonder.  My seven year old grabbed my hand as soon as I had stepped through the front door and declared snuggle time.  Perfect!  I love snuggle time.  It involves my bed (one of my top three favorite things) and quiet moments with my children.  Snuggle time?  Game on!

Henry hardly gave me a chance to put my bags down.  Before I knew it, I was nestled in my bed with my youngest.  Snuggle, snuggle.  We talked about real Christmas trees vs. fake Christmas trees.  We were solving the problems of the world.  Here were were, sinking in real quality time sprinkled with sweet intellectual conversation.  And then he said it.  He said, "Squishy."  

Squishy.  The word squishy makes me cringe a little.  A friend of mine can't stand the word "moist".  Well I can't stand the word "squishy".  Ew.  

"Mom, I just love you!  You are just so SQUISHY!  I wish I could have a stuffed animal like you.  I'd name it 'Squishy' and snuggle it all the time".  Um...a stuffed animal of me?  Now, there's a vision.

Clearly I haven't taught my boy that the word "squishy" is not a flattering word to describe a female. 

Well, this fond adjective did come minutes after eating what might be considered my last meal at a Mexican restaurant on top of 24 hours spent eating pasta and cheesecake.  Squishy.  How endearing.  

What goes around comes around.  I remember crawling in my mom's lap and telling her with great affection just how "comfortable" she was.  Squishy stings a bit more.  

November 24, 2015

Colonial Day or Bust

November 24, 2015
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Colonial Day.  An opportunity to let my "I've got it together, mom of the year" side shine came bursting out of my child's Thursday Folder.  Details, details, details.  I love details.  But there was one particular detail that etched itself in my mushy brain.  Tuesday.  Tuesday was the day my child needed to go to school dressed in colonial attire.  

Tuesday.  Check.  I got it.  The costume search my head.  Somewhere deep down in my mushy brain memory I remembered seeing a social media post.  My friend snapped a picture of her son wearing the perfect colonial shirt and I was going to track her down and get THAT shirt.  I "text stalked" her and declared I needed that shirt for TUESDAY.  

With Colonial Day on my brain I got the shirt from my friend, starched and ironed it.  Sign Up Genius haunted my email asking for items to help make the Colonial Day Fair as realistic as ever.  I confidently checked the boxes asking for wash bins and firewood and delegated the task to Big Dog.  Problem: it had been raining and our stock of firewood was wet.  Solution: go to the grocery store and buy dry firewood (because who sends their kid to school with wet firewood?) and get it to school ASAP.  

Tuesday arrived and it was time to dress my ever NOT willing eleven year old in his colonial attire.

Mason:  "Mom, it's not this Tuesday.  It's next Tuesday.  I'm NOT wearing this!"

Me:  "You WILL wear this and tall white soccer socks with your black gym pants stuffed in them cutting off your circulation around the knee and like it!"  

Mason:  "But mooooooom!  It's not today.  You don't know what you're doing."

Me:  "I am your mother.  I do know what I'm doing.  Today is Tuesday, AKA: Colonial Day at school.  You look great!  Now, off to school with you."

Mason:  "MoooooooooM!"  

Me:  "Go!!!  Bu-bye!"

Nike pants and Converse shoes are totally colonial, right?  And that hat.  I should have been a costume designer.
Twenty minutes rings...

Mason:  "Mom.  Today IS NOT Colonial Day.  It's next Tuesday.  Why did you force me to wear this?  I'm so embarrassed.  Why did you do this to me?"  

Me:  .....crickets....  "But it's Tuesday.  The paper said Tuesday.  Today is Tuesday."  

I do a quick search and rescue for the Colonial Day flyer to prove that I am completely sane and know exactly what I am talking about because I am the mom and I am always right.  Wrong.  

Me:  "Oh Mason.  You're right.  It is next Tuesday.  I was sure it was this Tuesday."

My tail tucked, my head fell, and shame and guilt punched me in the stomach.  My child just walked into a sea of school children dressed in colonial attire that I had "forced" him to wear.  I could feel his humiliation through the phone.  

Forgiveness.  Oh, would he EVER forgive me?  Of all five kids for this to happen to! This child deals with teasing and feelings of inferiority enough as it is and I just magnified it. 

Me:  "Mason, I am so sorry.  I messed up.  I hope you can forgive me."

Mason:  "It's okay, mom.  Bye."  

So, there you have it.  My "Mom of the Year" resume just grew a little longer.  Oh, and I had to make the  frantic "abort mission" call to Big Dog who was kindly obeying orders to get firewood.  I muttered the words, "It's next Tuesday.  You don't need to get the firewood today." and hoped he too would forgive me for my hasty, know it all, orders.  

**I'd like to give a shout out to Mason's teacher.  She was quick to react with sheer genius consolation.  She convinced Mason that everyone was so glad he came to school a week early dressed in his colonial costume because now all the children knew what to wear.  She totally helped him play it off as though he was doing everyone a favor by modeling the perfect and idealistic colonial attire.  Teachers like her make the overly tired and stressed mommas' world go round.**

October 29, 2015

Ode to Blue Apron

October 29, 2015

Oh how I miss my mindless Target shopping, buying fringy booties, scarfs and fall scented candles.  Unexpected bills came in and stopped me in my frivolous spending tracks and let me tell's been GREAT!  It really has.  A harsh reality check has actually been quite humbling and liberating.  In fact, it's just what this family needed.  However, I am ashamed to admit that when the kids asked for money to buy books (aka: crap that is also available for purchase) at the book fair, I may have been a leeeeettle dramatic when I acted out Renee Zellweger's part in Jerry Maguire. 

Not even Big Dog found my rendition humorous.  I apologized to my children for my sensational Oscar losing performance.  Now, let me share with you the best part about being grounded from spending.  I took the advice from a friend  and signed up for Blue Apron with positive intentions of getting my kids to try new foods and get me out of the processed food cooking rut I'd been stuck in.  I love that Ramen is cheap, don't get me wrong, but seriously my kids are young and eating like college students.  It had to stop.  So on to Blue Apron.  Ever heard of Stitch Fix or Wine of the Month?  Well, this dinner(s) of the week club is delivered to your door in a refrigerated box.  Why is the box of tasty nutrition so great?  Because unfortunately for Target, I'm not spending a ridiculous amount of money on things we don't need or even really want.  If you can go to the grocery store and walk out with ONLY the things on your list then you are a super-human with tunnel vision or you are a man.  You are amazing and disciplined.  But as for me, "Hello.  My name is Carol and I am a Target-oholic."  I've found that wondering Target and putting things in the cart has proven to be more effective than psychological therapy.  That is until Big Dog floods my phone with, "Where are you? Are you ever coming back?"  NOOOOOOOO!  NEVER!!!!!!

Blue Apron provides me with a Home Economics "class" for my homeschooler
Blue Apron has also tempted my children to pass on the Ramen and Chef Boyardee for CAULIFLOWER.  People, I've never even eaten cauliflower. The ingredients can look a bit intimidating but the directions are super friendly and the meals are crowd pleaser.  

Who in the world has EVER heard of celeriac?  I hope it is tasty and doesn't taste like...brain???
Scraping by has been challenging but it's taught us a lot.  Home cooked meals from fresh ingredients is a bonus.  As long as Blue Apron keeps me from making over indulgent trips to the store it's a win/win!   I wonder how much money I've saved from NOT going to Target 3-5 times a week to get "stuff for dinner".  Wouldn't Dave Ramsey like to know. Without being hired by Blue Apron (although wouldn't that be cool) to profess my love and adoration for them, I encourage you to check it out.  That's right.  Go on a Target detox, eat healthy food, AND save!  It's not as painful as you think. 

I was told that you can't cook dinner from Blue Apron without wearing an apron.  Duh!

PS: I miss you Target.  That is all. 

September 30, 2015

The Gathering Place

September 30, 2015
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If you have reached this recording, I am either away from my computer or dealing with another matter that leaves no time for blogging.  

I've been away and dealing.  Dealing with a pool house that is FINALLY FINISHED! Oh, and then there is this little, tiny, well sort of a big deal, Farm Girl Fair that has had my undivided attention.  Not to mention settling in four new nanny goats that will soon deliver more goats, acclimating to homeschooling one of my five, shuttling kids all over town, fighting with our pool that is all but swim-able and somehow burning dinner in a crock pot.  Who does that?  I digress.  Back to the pool house.  

Did you know that the gestation of a goat is 150 days?  Now you do!
When we remodeled our ranch style fixer upper we lost or garage to our master bedroom.  The plan was to build a detached garage in the future.  The detached garage idea grew and grew into a guest/pool house with an attached garage.  Big Dog now regrets giving me the green light on my building project.  However, with a dedicated builder, skilled architect and patience I never knew I had, we are nearly finished!  Nearly.  Thou shan't speak too soon.
How about this blank canvas of a "before"!
This project has been just what I needed to take me to the next level of "crazy". And people, I am there.  I have arrived exhausted and grayer with a few years shaved off my life expectancy.  Worth it?  Obviously!  Because I adore the little house that "crazy" built.  Because I now have a place to take refuge, catch my breath, and dream.  Oh, and entertain guests and store pool toys (which won't be necessary if I end up filling in the pool with dirt first).  Yes, I live in a fantasy world.  I am aware, deep down, that I won't actually EVER take refuge, catch my breath or dream in that cute 'lil house.  But the idea was fun.
These stairs will take you up to the "dreaming bed"

I've yet to even sit on the "dreaming bed".  My momma made that darling quilt.  And those red at first sight.
Pinterest got the best of me with this built-in,  chalkboard, and scissor swing sconces.  
Clara Belle the Cow added just the right touch to the 'lil kitchen.  *retro refrigerator coming soon*
This galvanized tub was a vintage find destined to be a sink.  
And this shower...I may put a red velvet rope to close it off.
Little details make cabinets pop.  Or moo and oink. 
So, now that "project detached garage with an attached pool/guest house" turn "pool/guest house with an attached garage" is finished Big Dog says it's time to take a break.  No more projects for a while.  I give him a week.  
Pillows from Etsy Shop, Sunny Lemons, top it off with the perfect "Farm Charm".
The after canvas
Well there she is.  I can't wait to entertain and host guests at...
This sign was designed by my good friend, Lindsi, who quickly put it together because she knew I was super anxious to put on the final touch.

August 27, 2015

Just Another Manic Farmday

August 27, 2015
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Tuesday.  It was a manic Monday a day late.  I actually wished for it to be Monday.  Tuesday was suffering a bad case of the "Mondays" and the farm was yet again the victim.  There is aways a lot going on out here.  Aside from the normal, we have a garage/pool house under construction and our pool was Witch Brew Green.   I had a morning full of appointments for my 12 year old and I was actually looking forward to leaving the farm life behind for a few hours.  I mean, what could go wrong while sitting in doctor's offices?  

There I sat, in the cozy waiting room of our dentist office while Parker was getting his teeth rearranged.  Flipping through Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I was lost in the latest paint colors, decorating trends and recipes that I could smell and taste right from the pages.  And then my phone vibrated me back to reality with this...  

Not exactly the text you want to receive from your pool guy.
My pool guy was trying to cast a spell on our pool to take it from green to clear but he was interrupted by a bloody scene straight out of National Geographic.  Sheep vs. House Dog.  You know it's bad when someone asks for a rifle.  There was a rifle but the bullets were nowhere to be seen (That's standard gun safety.  Gun and bullets in separate places). I insisted on going back to where Parker was so I could quiz him as to where the bullets were.  I found him with his mouth gaping wide open, unable to speak.  

Me: " Parker, raise your hand if the answer is yes.  Are the bullets in the barn?"
Parker: "Uh huh" and raises his hand
Me: "In the cabinet?"
Parker: "Uh Uh."
Me: "In the drawers of the workbench?"
Parker: "Uh."
Me:  "In the gun safe?"
Parker: "Uh..."

Okay, enough of that.  I wasn't getting anywhere and the looks I was getting from the dental assistant were beginning to make me feel like a criminal.  Meanwhile my pool guy, turned animal euthanizer, had no choice but to take matters into his own hands.  And I'm all like, "Excuse me nice dentist lady, can we hurry up, tighten these brackets, slap the rubber bands on and go?  I have a farm emergency and my pool guy is having to deal!"

How did I go from reading Better Homes and Gardens to this?
While the dental assistant was very sorry about the situation, getting blue and orange bands on the teeth seemed to take precedence over a sheep bleeding out.  I get it.  Rotating the requested color pattern was more important.  Obviously.  

Maggots.  Did he have to include that part?
Yes.  One sheep because my other sheep had fallen prey just the week before.  I was sick to my stomach and mad.  Mad at my darn dog.  BUT ever so thankful that my pool guy stepped outside his job description and handled a vicious situation.  Above and beyond.  I'm thankful for people that fall under that category.  Above and beyond are people that every farm needs.  Thank you pool guy.  Thank you for taking care of it and then getting right back to your day job of getting our pool back to "normal".  Normal.  There is nothing normal out here.  We live on a farm after all.  

PS: While typing this post I had to stop and break up house dog vs. chicken.  I declared "Done with Dog" and took him to my mother in laws.  I've had enough predator vs. prey for a few days.   

August 18, 2015

Grief and Fulfillment: PART B

August 18, 2015
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Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of getting married and starting a family.  She smiled and blushed at the thought of meeting her Knight and Shining Armor and kept a record of all the names she wanted to give her babies.  It was a wonderful dream.  And one day it came true!  But soon the mother of five became exhausted, couldn't think straight, couldn't sleep, and suddenly forgot her very own name.  There was no time to be a wife and go on dates with her husband.  She could barely keep her eyes open to watch her darling children play.  Her hair started to turn gray and was messy and sticky.  Dark circles caved her eyes.  The poor woman was lost and desperate.  

The destined bride at the age of 5 on Halloween
Just four weeks after the twins were born the lady became delusional.  She forgot where she was going upon setting out to run errands.  She would go to the grocery store not remembering why she came.  The world seemed to be spinning out of control but she was standing still, unable to move.  She couldn't make sense of the simplest of thoughts, actions, demands, requests, instructions, or tasks.  Motherhood. It had completely eaten her alive like a ravaged boar.  

Like a hand coming out of the grave to scare a movie audience, the lady reached out.  She needed help.  She needed support, encouragement and assurance.  The weary mother put the word out as if a beloved dog went missing.  Not before long, while she was sifting through a rack of clothes at a consignment shop (she refused to pay full price for new clothing until she was back at her pre-pregnancy weight....which never happened), her phone rang.  On the other end of the telly was a young and vibrant college girl offering her life, I mean help.  The young, naive, but brave girl accepted the mission.  In just a few days all seemed right with the world.  There was hope.  The woman crawled out of her hole and navigated the map of motherhood. She spread her wings and flew with her co-pilot by her side.  
The End. 
(insert sunset here)

Bethanie.  Her name is Bethanie.  Or "Befamie". Or "B", as we like to call her.  She showed up wearing an invisible cape with an invisible wand.  She came armored with patience, peace, and kindness.  Picture Nanny McPhee but beautiful.  She showed up and I ran.  I ran out the door with my husband and Mason.  We were dashing off to the zoo for a "Special Day With Mom and Dad" (AKA: we feel guilty that our kids don't get us one on one so we spoil the ever livin' daylights out of them with us, time and candy). Off to the zoo.  It was freedom with the exception that we had one kid in tow.  It was magical.  It was glorious.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced as a mother.  All fears aside, everyone was alive when we returned, the house hadn't burned down and the BEST thing of all is that she agreed to come back!    She came back for more!

More moments. B fit right in with our river rat family
More trouble.  We even managed to sink our jeep together
More laughter.  She loves them they love her
It seemed that B became part of our family over night.  After all, she had seen it all.  Exploding diapers, projectile spit-up, tantrums spewing from a three and five year old, a spousal spat, family drama, and me naked in the shower as she handed me my baby covered in diarrhea.  Yeah,  she saw it all.  By this time I had lost all sense of modesty and worried more that she was covered in a bio-hazard substance over seeing me in my birthday suit.  She became part of our family and we became part of hers.  If not by blood than by affection, nicknames, sleepovers and celebrations, we were family.  

B traveled all the way to Bolivia with me so I could be there for my God Son's baptism.  This is a whole other story for another time and a few good cervezas.  Lets just say we were both lucky to make it back.  Alive. 
She's one heck of a gal.  B took Henry to a Monster Truck show!
B provided me with mental support during Susie Grace's one and only year of dance.  
From Halloween to birthday parties, shots at the pediatrician's office to Family Vacation Travel Officer of Support,  serving as Family Christmas Card Picture Children Briber/Mother of Family Christmas Card Picture Children Voice of Reason to the Queen of Nanny 911, B was there and not a moment went by that I wasn't thankful. 
B.  She was there.  Like really there.  There in a way that was more than showing up to referee my tribe, take some cash and leave.  B fell in love with our family and we fell in love with her.  She would come over for dinner, never miss a birthday party or celebration, and went above and beyond even after she clocked out.  Talk about a serious relationship in the fast lane.  We were hooked and knew it was meant to B.  Get it?  Ha ha!  

After taking my children to the zoo by myself and having one too many potential "caught on camera" incidents, I vowed never to leave my house with ALL my children without B.  
Meant to be.  So many things that we have experienced are #meanttobe.  Like the time B and her boyfriend broke up and I schemed a plan to get them back together because I believed it was destiny.  Okay, so maybe I invited her to her favorite concert under one condition...that she bring the ex.  She fell for it and cupid checked one off his list in a matter of days.  Mitch and B.  Eventually, he got on one knee and popped the question!  She said yes.  Obviously. 
First comes love
I took to the wedding planning as if my best friend AND sister were getting married.  And you know what?  Apparently, you can never be too old and haggard to be a bridesmaid.  I slathered on the wrinkle cream, bought a girdle, dyed my grays, logged a jog on the treadmill and was honored to walk down the aisle to the beat of the sweetest ceremony I've ever witnessed.  Our whole family played a role.  It was magical.

Then comes marriage
Today, B still has our family wrapped around her finger.  We hardly do anything without her.  Well, sort of.  Along with getting married she got a real job and moved to Egypt a house too far away for daily visits.  But distance is the only thing that has changed.  Our kids adore her and we adore her and her man.  They are our "Framily".  I look back on the last seven years and there is hardly a memory that she isn't a part of.  We have a treasure chest of "rememberies".  

Big Dog and I like to go to concerts with B and her man.  It's like we are 20 something but we aren't.  Oh well.  They keep us young and we try to keep them wise and we have fun doing it.  
It's hard to know how or where to end this.  I guess it's because there isn't any ending.  Our families have grown and experienced life and there is so much more.  Like a lot more.  Like double the trouble more.  As in dos mas.  You see, I believe in the divine plan, destiny, things written in the stars, the impossible possible, and endless #meanttobe moments.  For example,  that one time B called to tell me she was having....
Then comes babies in the double stroller/car seats/bouncers/high chairs/cribs.
 I know!!!!  The possibility of this happening is cray!  She had been prepared in the most realistic way possible.  I've seen the way this couple loves on others.  It's unconditional without limits.  I mean if she could handle ME and my tribe she's got this double trouble thing down.  And come on, her man signed up knowing that B comes with a package containing a family of seven that holds her high.  Her man.  He loves my kids almost as much as she does.  

The proof is in the picture.
Yeah.  They will do just fine with two at a time.

So there you have it.  The Story of B.  She's pretty legendary.  Just ask my kids!

August 4, 2015

Sheep. And All That Baah.

August 4, 2015
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Oops.  I did it again.  I had a thought.  I thought about getting some sheep.  I thought about getting sheep so I could shear them and have lanolin.  How easy would that be?  So, after searching far and wide a friend notified me of a sheep man that would sell me two of his sheep.  Before I knew it I was the proud owner of two sheep, Memphis and Mavis.   At just eight weeks old, I trailered home two sweet baby girls.  They were exceptionally adorable. 
Bah Bah Brown Sheep Have You Any Wool???

Just as these two new fluffy babies were getting settled in their new home, Big Dog had a trip.  If you have followed my blog you will know that if anything baa-aad is going to happen it's going to happen when he's out of town.  I was once again left as a damsel in distress on a farm that I can't manage by own girly self.  So as luck would have it, tragedy struck.  One of our sweet, fluffy girls was attacked!  A vicious wound left her to die.  But not on my watch by golly.  There was a life to save so I bucked up and... and... and cried.  I cried out on Facebook and two of my friends showed up.  They had no experience with such matters but thought a big hug and hand holding would help. Still, Facebook didn't disappoint.  My distress call was answered by another friend.  Enter a number guys by day, cattle man by choice and you have a guy who felt the need to do what he could.  The Sheep Surgeon (his new title) came to my rescue with full determination to save the 'lil girl.  My two hand holding, huggin' friends helped wrangle the sheep and hold her down so The Sheep Surgeon could go to work.  And work they did.  And I'm so thankful they did because before they showed up I called Big Dog and asked where he kept the pistol.  I couldn't stand to see her in such pain and just knew I had to "handle it".  Big Dog didn't want me to be the one to pull the trigger so he called a few friends who would come do it for me.  Just as I was about to add another badge of courage to my farmer's wife resume I surrendered and begged for her life to be spared.  

*The following photos are graphic and not intended for those with weak stomachs*


The odor stench.  Oh the stench.  The smell was h-o-r-r-i-f-i-c. It was the kind of smell that sticks to your nostril hairs and hangs around for a while.  The sight was...was...unsightly.  And just when I didn't think it could get worse...IT DID.  MAGGOTS!  Maggots.  Maggots.  Maggots.  And more maggots.  Have you seen the movie Poltergeist?  Well I did at a very young and impressionable age and the maggot part came back in full real life reality.  I'll fast forward to the after part of the hour spent flushing out the maggots to the silver part.  Silver is so cool! (Dear reader, I don't care that maggots are actually good for wounds.  I don't care that in the Civil War maggots were a life saving agent for the wounded.  I don't care that they eat the dead flesh away.  I DON'T CARE!  Maggots are absolutely, positively, 110% disgusting in every slimy, icky, nasty, deathly way.  That is all.)

Just a typical Barn operating stall. Nothing to see here.

You see, The Sheep Surgeon didn't come unprepared.  He brought with him the magic bullet.  A bullet of a spray can containing silver nitrate.  Seeing as how there was actually and gruesomely nothing to sew together he concluded it best to spray silver over it in hopes of covering the gaping would.  Poor little girl.  She had been surgeon handled no doubt.  But The Sheep Surgeon and my friends didn't stop there.  No sir!  They came up with the genius idea to fashion a Tupperware container around her head to keep her from agitating the... the... the area.  

The Terminator Sheep
Now for a little back story.  My oldest daughter was preparing to leave for Army boot camp the very next day.  She had bravely decided to join the Army and become a medic.  What a gal!  (Yes, I'm in shock. Yes, I'm anxious for her.  No, we didn't see it coming. Yes, she is amazing.)  As we locked up the barn, said adios to our friends and The Sheep Surgeon, Lauren and I headed to the house to put the horrific day to rest.  On the way back to the house she said quietly, "Mom, I don't think I'm want to be a medic anymore".  Shocked, (just kidding) I turned to her and said, "Gee honey, why not?".  Gagging through her response she said, "I don't think I will ever get past what we just saw and smelled".  Right on daughter.  Know blood, guts, stench, and maggots when you see it and go the other way!

What a superb evening!  And just before I hung my hat on what we call, "just another day on the farm", The Sheep Surgeon's wife sent me the image above.   Pretty much!  Yep.  Thank you Sheep Surgeon's wife.  Oh how I love a good visual.  

Anyhoo, since then the sheep has recovered.  So much that we were able to shear both  of them.   I'm cautiously hopeful I'll get lanolin and felt to sell at Farm Girl Fair!  I'm sure that will be an interesting, no thrills process to tell you about.  Until then...

Following careful instructions from a "How To" site we begin the lanolin process.
I'm super excited the dying process is going as smooth as silk.  NOT!  I should have known it would take more than a
You Tube video to be a pro.
Screech!!!  I'll put the blog breaks on the "Until then" right here and now. That pending post about boiling, combing, cleaning, and dying to create pure lanolin and bright felt balls will NOT be coming soon.  The process was an EPIC fail and had me wishing I was back living the life of a neighborhood wife and mom.  I think I'll stick to growing tomatoes and cucumbers.