Friday, April 27, 2012

Future Farmer

Here he is, in all his toddler glory :)  A possible future farmer!  It will, of course, be up to him....but we'd love to have him join the farm someday!

Here is another picture, full body, showing off the matching John Deere tractor socks.  When I put the socks on him, he spent some time sitting down, staring at them and touching them.  Too cute!

I am very proud to be the wife of a dairy farmer.  Mark works hard every day to produce top quality milk to feed the nation.  He is a good steward of the land, carefully following all of the rules set by the state department of agriculture, as well as the EPA.  He feeds his cows a perfectly balanced diet that is constantly monitored and adjusted as needed by a nutritionist.  His farm is clean and orderly, and the cows are healthy, calm, and well cared for.  The first time I visited his farm I remember being amazed at how content the cows were.  The only "mooing" I heard was from a cow giving birth in the birthing pen.  If any worker is caught being rough with the cows, they are fired.  He runs a top notch operation.  I know better than anyone how much thought, planning, blood, and sweat goes into making a dairy farm run.  It's a 24-7 job. 

It's sad to me that farmers get such negative press sometimes.  People who have never been involved in agriculture consider themselves experts on farming practices because they have read some books or articles about it.  They are the first in line to tell farmers how they should run their business, and make claims about the use of antibiotics/steroids/growth hormones/etc. that are not based in reality.  Their suggestions about how farms should be run would cause farmers to go bankrupt.  Still, they shout their nonsense as loud as they can, and there are people who believe their claims, who then in turn shout out the same nonsense, which leads to many misinformed consumers. 

Some people have become so passionate/radical in their beliefs that they've gone so far as to write threatening signs toward our family, and make public slanderous statements about our farm.  Who ever knew farming was such a controversial business?!  Certainly not me! 

There are misconceptions about every career out there.  If we all take a moment to think about it, we've probably all had a very frustrating encounter or two when someone was trying to tell us how to do our job, not having the first clue about what an actual "day in the life" is like.  Also, every career field will have some bad apples that ruin it for everyone.  Same goes for farmers.  I've seen videos of horrendous abuse of livestock, awful living conditions, etc.  I just wish people could balance that with common sense and know that not all farms are like that: Some are, most aren't. 

I plan on periodically writing a post about farming.  I've been thinking about this for awhile, but didn't know where to start.  Luke's new shirt inspired me ;)  My readers most likely aren't the radical oppositionists I'm referring to in this post.  But maybe someday those people will stumble upon it and it will make them think.  We all have to eat, and we should be thankful that there are people willing to dedicate their lives to producing.  It's not glamorous, and it's not always profitable, but they hang in there and keep farming.  Cheers to them.  I'm glad that our children will have such a wonderful example of responsible farming. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mama Bear

I have come to a conclusion about what is the hardest part of being a mom.  It's not any of the things I anticipated -- the sleep deprivation, crying infants, whining toddlers, tantrums, disgusting diapers, breastfeeding, separation anxiety, illnesses, etc.  Those things can be annoying and very frustrating.  But they will never hold a candle to the feeling you get when someone has hurt your child.  It would be hard to find an adult who, at some point in their life, has not been made fun of or teased.  We've all been there, and I suppose to some extent it's just an unfortunate part of growing up.  Still, it's so hard to look at your child and see their pain, but not be able to "fix it" for them.  Luckily, Nolan gets along well with others and has a lot of friends.  However, there's always that one person who likes to be a thorn in everyone's side, and yesterday Nolan was the target.  There was a fleeting moment when I wanted to call the child's mother and just let loose.  Especially since it seems anytime there is a negative experience at school, this child is at the heart of the situation.  But, I know that would not help anything.  It's not a case of Nolan being solely targeted and bullied.  The rudeness seems to be evenly distributed among most kids in the class.  I comforted Nolan and gave him some tips for how to deal with future issues.  After enjoying his favorite meal for dinner and spending some quality with the family, he was patched up and ready to face another day.

There is such a fine line to walk when helping children navigate difficult social situations.  I think it can be difficult even as an adult to recognize good vs. toxic friendships.  We all have bad days when we say things we shouldn't say, and so we have to be flexible and understanding towards each other.  However, when there are more bad days than good, that is when it's time to say adios. 

You couldn't pay me a million dollars to go back and relive the growing up years.  Childhood can be so much fun, but it can also be stressful.  I thank God every day for the wonderful friendships I have in my life.  It feels good to have people standing next to me genuinely cheering during my greatest moments and supporting during the darkest moments.....and who allow me to do the same for them.  Too many friendships get ruined by petty jealousy, insecurity, and competitiveness.  I think that is a theme that persists through the ages, sadly. 

Can you imagine a world where we all treated everyone with kindness and respect?  It would be wonderful!  We could all band together and start a very simple revolution: Be kind to others.

Peace <3

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The season begins!

Nolan had his first official baseball game last night.  They lost, but he had fun and worked hard, so it was a success.  The game started at 7:30pm, so I left Luke home with Mark.  I'm glad I did, because it was COLD!  And WINDY!  When I got home, I had a layer of dirt all over me.  The wind was straight in my face, blowing dirt from the ball diamond right along with it.  To make it even more fun, the sun was blaring directly into my eyes.  I came prepared with my warmest winter jacket, a blanket, and sunglasses, so it wasn't too bad.  The game ended at 9:30, and I took Nolan  out for a hot chocolate.  He huddled under the blanket in the backseat and was in heaven on the way home all cozy and warm, after freezing for two hours!

In other news, Boomer and Jazzy murdered a turtle in our backyard.  It was disgusting.  Nolan went out to investigate the situation, and made sure to bring the murdered, bleeding turtle to the window to show me.  Yuck!

Luke has been a good little partner lately, as I've had lots of errands and appointments to deal with.  I've heard several comments about what a good little boy he is.  I certainly agree!  He is still extremely busy; however, he listens well for a child his age.  As long as I have appropriate expectations for what he can handle, he's pretty easy to drag along to various places.  He's generally full of smiles and giggles.  People always comment on his beautiful eyes/smile.  He seems to know he gets a favorable reaction when he smiles his biggest dimpled grin, because I watch him flash his smile, anticipating a reaction.  Silly toddler :)

One interesting development I've noticed lately is a reaction of fear, mostly to unexpected sounds.  We were in a public restroom the other day, and someone flushed a toilet.  He's heard a toilet flush a million times at our house, but the ones in public restrooms sound different and are much louder.  His face crumpled into fear and he ran to me for safety.  Yesterday he and I were playing in his room, and Nolan came home from school.  He saw us in the monitor, so he started talking to us via the monitor.  That completely freaked Luke out, and he again ran to me for safety.  He didn't know where the voice was coming from, and I could totally see his fear. I think that is pretty normal for his age.

I'll post a picture of Nolan in his fancy baseball uniform soon -- he looks so grown up and professional!

Peace <3     

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lost in translation

Happy birthday to me!  =)  Today I turned the big 34 years old.  I don't get too worked up about turning a year older.  I still feel as young as I did in college, I'm just much wiser now.  So that's a good thing!

It's been a great day.  Tonight the boys are taking me out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, so that will be fun.  I'm looking forward to some time with my three favorite guys!

I wanted to share a funny story about Mark and my birthday cake.  Each year, I request a "joke" cake.  I pick a child's theme - like Barbie, princess, etc.  For the past year, Nolan has periodically asked me what I'm doing for my cake this year, and I always tell him I'm getting a Strawberry Shortcake themed cake.  As it got closer to my birthday, that was still the plan.

About a week or so ago, Mark asked me what kind of cake I wanted.  I told him, chocolate cake, white butter cream frosting, and Strawberry shortcake theme.  His response was one of confusion: Chocolate strawberry shortcake?  What is that?  Me: Yes, Strawberry Shortcake theme, chocolate cake.  He was still clearly confused.  So I clarified again -- Strawberry Shortcake is the theme.  He still seemed confused, but I told him to say exactly what I said, and they'll know what he's talking about.


The person who is usually in the bakery wasn't there, so some young guy from the deli came over to help Mark.  It had been a few days since we had talked about the cake, so Mark forgot the exact wording I used.  All he remembered was strawberry shortcake, and chocolate cake.  Since the person working wasn't an actual bakery employee, he probably had no idea about Strawberry Shortcake.  He was just as confused as Mark.  Apparently the person who got the written order was equally confused, because they called Mark for clarification.  He verified the order, and was certain he was fulfilling my wish for a chocolate strawberry shortcake birthday cake.

When he presented my birthday cake, I was shocked when it was not a Strawberry Shortcake theme!  It was pretty and nice, but not what we had talked about.  When we cut into it, there was some strawberry glaze midway through the chocolate cake, LOL!!!!  That was the only thing the bakery could come up with for this strange Belgian man requesting a chocolate strawberry shortcake cake ;)

So, no Strawberry Shortcake cake, but I did get to sample a new flavor I've never thought to try before, and it was actually really good!  My sweet husband.  Sometimes I forget that we have different cultural backgrounds.  Strawberry Shortcake is not in the vocabulary of a man who never had sisters, and who is not from the USA!  It's a funny story I'll always remember, and a great way to start my year of being 34.

Peace <3

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy and healthy!

Mr. Lukie had his 15 month well check today.  Yep, a few days before he turns 16 months old.  I'm a bit behind!  Poor planning on my part made it end up this way.  No biggie!

He is doing great.  On track or ahead of the game in all developmental areas, growing right on schedule, and just all around a healthy, happy boy.  We are so blessed!  He has settled in to a predictable growth curve....85th-90th percentile in height, and the 50th-55th percentile in weight.  Tall in thin like Papa.  He received two shots today, and surprisingly, that was pretty uneventful.  He screamed initially, but I think it was more because he was being held down.  As soon as she was done, the tears stopped and he was very interested in his Band-Aids :)  I think all his falls, bumps, and bruises have made his pain tolerance very high, so shots seem like no big deal to him.

Here's to hoping that he doesn't struggle with a reaction to his shots.

Peace <3

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Turning a corner!

It's funny how kids suddenly turn a corner developmentally.  Luke changed right before my eyes during the last 48 hours.

First, books.  Luke has always enjoyed books, even as a baby.  However, his enjoyment was mostly looking at the pictures.  He liked books that didn't necessarily tell a story, but had cool pictures.  I'd go through and label the pictures and he loved it.  I even would catch him sitting with a book and pointing to different pictures and labeling them in his babble way.  It was cute.  If I chose a book that actually had a short story, he would sit for a little bit (10 seconds), but generally it was too boring for him and he was off running to get a toy.

Yesterday, that all changed!  We were playing and he brought me a book.  It was a book that had a short story about a scarecrow, and didn't necessarily have awesome pictures (in my opinion).  I didn't think he'd like it, but I figured I'd give it a try.  He sat in my lap, perfectly mesmerized and loved every minute of it.  When I finished the book, I set it down and he promptly picked it up and handed it back to me.  Then he sat back in my lap to hear it again.  We repeated this at least fifteen times in a row, and I am not exaggerating.  After so many readings I couldn't take it anymore, so I picked a different book and the same thing happened. He was in love!  I'm guessing we spent 40 minutes reading different books non-stop.  The only reason we stopped it because I needed to start dinner.  After dinner, Mark picked up where I left off and read several books.  Mark and I turned to Amazon last night in search of board books with good short stories :)  Lukie has 5 new books coming Tuesday!

Second, TV.  I have suffered managed to raise Luke for almost 16 months without the aid of TV.  Think about all the times you need your child to watch a DVD/TV show for 30 minutes while you make dinner, take a shower, do housework, or just need a break.  I never got to do that!  I used to try....and I guess I should say that when he was an infant I'd put him in his swing in front of Baby Einstein and sometimes that was okay with him.  But I couldn't count on it, and he never really liked it.  He just tolerated it.  Sometimes.  Once he was sitting up/crawling, that was completely over.  I just adjusted, accepted it, and found different ways to navigate the day. 

Today, for the first time ever, he became interested in the TV.  He watched about 10 minutes of Bob the Builder!  Then, Sid the Science Kid came on and he was semi-interested in that.  I was amazed!  Now, he didn't just sit down and watch the show....but while he was playing he would stop and watch it here and there.  This is huge for us!  I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can find something he likes enough to keep him entertained while I make dinner in the evenings.

So, not sure what happened to Mr. Lukie, but he's changing!

I'll close with a few cute pics of him playing outside :)  Nolan comes home tomorrow!!!!!  Woo-Hoo!!  It's been a loooong spring break without him, he is greatly missed!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day :)

Our day was very, very low key.  Luke spiked a fever yesterday, and it continued on today.  He wasn't feeling well, and Mark and I are both battling sinus issues again (thank you weird weather!).  This was Nolan's year to spend Easter with his dad, so it was just Mark, Luke and I.  Since no one felt 100%, there isn't much to report about our day!

Life has been much calmer the last few weeks, which I'm extremely thankful for.  I've just been able to focus on my lovely boys and enjoy our days.  Luke has been so happy and silly lately, it's a lot of fun.  I love that I can sit outside and just let him explore.  He walks all around, checking things out.  It's good for him to have a big open area that is safe:  It gives me a break from telling him "no", and it gives him a break from hearing "no"!

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but Nolan had a terrific report card, and he's in his final quarter of the school year.  So proud of him!!!  He will be a 5th grader next year -- which is middle school!  Eeeeeks, not sure if I'm ready for that!  

I already celebrated my birthday with my parents, and they got me an indoor grill.  I tried it out and I love it!  Regular grills are nice, but by the time Mark gets home from work it's too late to start dinner at that point.  We just don't seem to use it as much as I'd like.  Now I can easily grill inside no matter what.  Here is some yummy chicken I made :)

Cheers to a new week filled with good things!