Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pausing in the Rain

It's raining today- off & on -and it should be. Now I can sit wrapped up in my quilt & listen to the rain with some hot cocoa. (I have the a/c turned up so that it matches my memories of Oregon weather). The reason I want to sit like this is because my Grammie died after her body succumbed to liver cancer, so rain-like in Oregon, the quilt she made me for graduation, & hot cocoa like she would make me while camping as a kid are all part of my plan.

I knew it was coming. They sent me a text last week. When you live thousands of miles away from your relatives, Facebook is the greatest for communication but completely insufficient when it comes to saying goodbye to your grandmother. I don't know if it makes it easier to live far away or harder. I get to remember her as she was not as she was at the end, but I didn't get to hug her. I haven't hugged her in more than 3yrs.

How do you say goodbye to a woman that was so integral in your childhood that even though you only lived in the area as her for 10yrs, you still feel very close to her? Well, my way is to remember all that I can about her & share that with my children. I contacted all my cousins & collected some of their memories to put together & that was fun. I hope that when Aunt Marci read them to her, they brought a smile to her heart just like she brings a smile to my heart when I hear about her.

I have to go now. The rain started again. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Live In The Moment Occasionally

Have you ever just sat down & watched your kids? Noticed the little things that others might miss in the hurried pace of life? When I was a young mom I was so excited to get my babies to the next step in their development. (I may or may not have actually been checking it off of the list the pediatrician gave to me while simultaneously marveling at the sheer intelligence & physical prowess of my babies as they exceeded almost all of the important milestones. Now I've been told I'm an old mom-can you believe that! I guess with age comes a hope of maturity & I've noticed that I do some things a little differently than when I was a "young" mom. 

One of the major changes has been that I no longer jump to check things off that developmental list. I celebrate each milestone but I now enjoy each tiny little thing they learn. The utter joy in their face when they accomplish something new is something so easy to overlook. Here's a list of my "joys" I've been noticing lately:

 * the tiny slap of my 10mo old's palm on the floor as she crawls along with her cute little diaper bum & the wonderfully varied facial expressions she uses.
 * the way my 2yo cocks his head to the side when he's observing something he's never encountered before & the hilarious things he says. I love how he tries to join in our conversations by telling us important things about his day or just quotes a movie line that usually makes sense to the situation.
 * my 4yo wants so badly to be just like her big sisters & is trying to emulate their styles now instead of only wearing pants & any old shirt like last year & her tiny fingers as she grasps pencils & crayons to "do school" just like her older siblings.
 * my 6yo looks for the beauty in every situation, listens before she enters a conversation, & her eyes are gorgeous to watch. I love the way she moves her hair back behind her ear with her hand when she's telling me something she's excited about.
 * my 8yo is caught between wanting to be a big & the familiarity of being a little so he is feeling frustrated most days. He holds his bangs in his palm when he concentrates really hard.
 * my 11yo is so fast to learn things. She started playing the flute 3 months ago & amazes me that she can play so well already. Watching her fingers move & her mouth shape as she plays is so interesting.
 * my 13yo has made some big strides since joining the public school crowd. I've seen him start to figure out how to put himself in other people's shoes & his ears turn bright red when he's excited.
 * the biggest thing I know about my 14yo is that he's bigger than me. I have to be on my toes to rest my chin on his shoulder. He's just realizing his strength (which is now stronger than me! I know, it's hard to believe!) His heart & sensitivity to all parts of life around him is something I'd like to encourage & I hope he doesn't lose as he gets older.

Take the time to notice the little things about your family

Monday, February 15, 2016

Aspergers, Underpants, & Jesus

Alright, so some of you know that I have 2 kids with Aspergers. We don't walk around advertising it & you might never know by just observing our family. But I thought I'd give you an example how life can be. 

One particular child has outgrown or put holes in all but one pair of underpants (and failed to tell me until the last pair had been worn for AN ENTIRE WEEK!). I asked said child what style of underpants I should purchase to replace these with and headed out to get this accomplished so the stanky ones can be fumigated or whatever.

Sunday morning, Valentines Day, underpants given to child. Child puts them on. They are WRONG! Activate stress meter. Are you kidding me! I bought the correct style. I bought tagless ones to avoid that war. I tried to find soft ones. I tried to anticipate EVERY MAJOR DETERRENT to said underpants. 


By the end of the morning this child couldn't attend church. Life wasn't worth living-serious. And just so you know, by the end of the hour long melt down I was enlightened to the fact that I don't love Jesus & neither do ya'll. 

You didn't know purchasing underpants could be spiritually detrimental, did you?

I'm headed back to WalMart where spiritual decisions must be made AGAIN. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

A New Normal

Everyday I sit in my house & look out my windows at the current seasonal beauty and I can't imagine myself anywhere else. I am not the type of person that needs to get out of the house every day. In fact I don't really like to leave the house. I prefer to stay here & when I feel the need to get away, I head to the barn to work-which I can usually do alone because kids volunteer to watch babies in the house when work is suggested :)

BUT, we enrolled our oldest 3 children in the local middle school in Dec rather than educating them at home as we have been for their entire school career. So, now I have the privilege of leaving my home at least once a day to drive to school. (My fantastic neighbor takes 2 of them to school at 730 am & brings them home so I only have to take one to school mid-morning) You wouldn't think that's a big deal until you realize that I have to prepare to leave my house 30 minutes in advance! I have 5 kids ages 8 & under to prepare for venturing forth into below freezing temps. That's 10 gloves, 5 hats, 10 boots, 10 socks, 5 coats to find & put on them amidst all the other people's stuff in the closet. Not only that but you have to get them out the door & buckled in to their car seats before they start to take them off & you have to find them again. 

Anyway, I was talking about leaving the house. My sister told me a couple of years ago that she has to leave the house everyday. She is a great teacher so she gets out for that but during the summer she likes to be out doing things. I thought that was different but recently I was talking with some other women who feel the same way. Apparently I'm the different one :) It wears me out to go to the grocery store on Fridays & it's even worse if I have to do it on a Saturday when the store is packed. EVEN if I don't talk to anyone but the checker. And since we moved to the country & because I have boys that are sensitive to lights & sound I now notice how loud everything in town AND I HAVE 8 KIDS so you'd think I would be used to the noise!

Maybe I'm getting older & this is part of getting old. I don't remember being this way when I was younger. I remember being around people was so great & I couldn't wait to leave my house & the bigger the group the better. I know that I started to change my thinking around my junior year.

Maybe I just never knew how my body craves quiet & calm & now that I have it I understand. Don't get me wrong. I like people. I need friends just like everyone else but not on a daily basis. 

Do you prefer to stay home? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"You need a little Serenity in your life!"

Throughout this pregnancy I've done what I normally do. I make out lots of lists of names to run past Jeremy in the hopes that we will make a decision that we can agree on. I think Jeremy takes great pleasure in nixxing all my suggestions until the very last week before our babies are due. I like names that aren't common. After being "Katie B" in every class I've ever been in, I decided my kids could be their own person with their own name. This time I liked decidedly older names: Madge, Mavis, Reuban, York, Lincoln, Hezekiah, Vaughn, Liberty, Wilder. Of course, we weren't close enough to our due date for Jeremy to agree with any names.

On Tuesday, June 16th, I was super busy. We were doing lots of running around and by the time I was putting the littles to bed I realized that I hadn't really felt the baby move the whole day. I was not a very patient mama as I finished getting the kids into bed. I was very anxious to get to my room so I could eat some chocolate & concentrate on getting the baby to move. By the time Jeremy got home from work at 1015pm, I was a mess. You see, I haven't really enjoyed this pregnancy like I did with my others. Last spring my friend lost her baby a couple weeks before she was due. And I was exposed to Fifths Disease by 5 of my kids in the beginning of my pregnancy. And then in May, my friends' baby died at 7wks from SIDS. To add to this, the baby hardly moved at all compared to my others. Much of the time I was consumed with fear for this baby. 

Well, we headed to the ER. Of course, as soon as they hooked her up on the monitors, the baby was more wiggly than she'd ever been the entire pregnancy.  The wanted to keep me overnight & do blood work & an ultrasound in the morning. As Dr Swanson said, "Everything happens for a reason." The ultrasound was just great & she looked good-I found out the baby is a girl! The blood work came back not so great. It's a little confusing to explain. Both Jeremy & I are A+ blood types but under that Rh positive there are some antigens that I don't have & Jeremy does. Because my blood doesn't have these antigens, my blood creates antibodies to fight & destroy them if they are present in my body. The blood work found that Jeremy had passed these antigens on to our baby & my body was readying for attack. So, my body was about to kill all the red blood cells in the baby's body. That's really bad!

SO...we needed to be induced! I headed home Wed to prepare to for an induction on Friday. Sage's birthday is also on that day & he was super excited to share his birthday with his new sibling. We went back to the hospital after getting ready, making arrangements for our other kids, & packing a hospital bag. The nurses & doctor were very kind. I was a little nervous but they all thought I'd deliver quickly because this would be my 8th delivery. APPARENTLY NOT! She wasn't born until SATURDAY! And let me tell you, being induced is AWFUL! Super painful. I'm normally a kinda quiet laborer. I might groan or grunt a little but I was yell praying very loudly. I've delivered naturally-no meds but I was tempted to get an epidural but I didn't want the baby to be groggy from meds if they had to give her a transfusion as soon as she was born. I already had an IV because I was also GBS positive. Not a fan of inductions! Usually after I deliver I get this 24hr burst of energy & this time I was falling asleep sitting up after only 30min after delivering. I've never felt so exhausted. My body was NOT ready to have a baby yet. Plus, I'm getting older apparently. :)

I finally delivered a beautiful little girl at 214am. We still hadn't come up with a name because she was 3wks early.  After having multiple blood tests, bilirubin tests, & checks by pediatricians & NICU nurses, we finally got to go home. I am breathing easier but still not able to take a deep breathe until we get the all clear. Hopefully we get that at her 2wk appt. 

Oh, about a month ago, Jeremy was talking to me as he put his shoes on to go out & do chores or go to work. He said, "Maybe we should name the baby Serenity." I asked him why? He said, "I think you need a little Serenity in your life!" She is definitely the littlest of my babies BY 3#! We left the hospital with her weighing 5#12oz. So, she is my little Serenity! I hope she lives up to her name. 

So, now I have 8 kids just like my grandparents & that excites me! Plus, 8 is my favorite number!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Baby Love

Well, it's been a great couple of months for us! We've been so excited for our first spring to welcome babies onto our farm. We started out with our bottle lambs from last year delivering babies of their own this winter! We got 11 lambs from those sweet bottle lambs from last year! We had 3 sets of twins & 5 singles. The kids had great fun naming them. The deal we made was that each one got to name the lambs from their ewe. There were some definite themes going on!
  Sage named Scooby's lamb Gabriel (he's perfectly white & looks like an angel)
  Brody named SugarMama's twins Luke & Bennett after his cousin & friend
    Oreo also had twins but they were premature & died shortly after birth.
  Julia named Chocolate Sprinkles' twins Olaf & Sven
  Corbin named Cowgirl's twins TumTum & Shivers
  Celeste named Cinderella's lamb Flynn Ryder (all her animals have Disney names)
  Glory & I named Hershey Kisses' lamb Reese's Pieces

Olaf got to spend a week in our living room because he was so tiny & he couldn't figure out how to suck. He's our bottle baby this year. 

We also added a couple more bottle babies except these aren't lambs. We got our first bottle calves. Julia & Corbin will be showing bottle calves at the fair this year. We now have 2 holstein steers named Marshmellow (yes, spelled Mellow) & Cordona Stumpy. Corbin named his after his favorite John Wayne movie characters.

This brings the count to:
  3 horses: April, Daisy & Maggie
  4 peacocks: Peaches & 3 boys
  4 steers: Tank & Duke (Angus & cross) & Marshmellow & Cordona
  1 Ram: Ramalamadingdong
  11 ewes: Sugar Mama, Cinderella. Granny, Oreo, Cowgirl, Cowgirl Colt, Emerald, Sprinkles, Kisses, Scooby, & Snickers
  6 lambs: Reese, Flynn, Olaf, Sven, Gabriel, & Luke
  1 dog: Buzz
  6 cats: Nermal, Snowflake, Snowball, Pirate, Boomer, & Ariel
  2 rabbits: Lily & Oliver 
  ~120 roosters & laying hens

I think our little hobby farm is off & running. My sister asked me how I was doing all this. Obviously I grew up just as "city" as she did. Well, I've read a lot, learned by trial & error, attended a few classes that Iowa State Extension office has offered & we ask our neighbors, relatives & friends a lot of questions. We are having a blast learning & playing. 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crazy busy

So, I know that everyone is busy but I dislike being crazy busy. I only like to have 1 thing on my agenda that is out of the norm. Preferably 1 thing per week. I'm perfectly content to stay home & leave only on occasion. So, for all you who would like to see A Day In The Life Of Katie, here was yesterday.

I woke up at 5am to feed Zebulun. I fell back to sleep but woke up to being pushed off the bed by a 1 & 2 year old.
- I got up, put my farm clothes on, arranged for the bigs to care for the littles, started a load of laundry & went outside.
-I penned up the ewe that is so strange we call her Stupid because we think she might be pregnant and it would be just like her to drop her lamb during the cold, rainy night. 
- I checked the hens & rooster for mites because we treated them on Monday & I wanted to see how my all natural cure was working. FABULOUS SUCCESS! Then, I let out all the clean chickens & checked the feed & water.
-I gave 2 bales of hay to the 4 horses, checked the water (which was, of course, full because of all the rain)
-I gave the sheep hay & checked their water. Monitored Sugar Mama who injured her foreleg.
-Fed the 6 cats, fed & watered the dog, played fetch with said dog
-Fed & watered the 4 peacocks we acquired on Monday.

Then, I came back inside to take a quick shower, got dressed, switched the laundry, & went upstairs to start breakfast.
-cleaned our Berkey
-I fed all the littles some eggs & yogurt, cleaned up that mess & started cleaning the kitchen & picking up the mess they all created while I was outside.
-Got Brody started on school, started Sage & Corbin on their chores, planned what to make for dinner for all of us & to take to one of my very dearest friends that just had a major knee surgery (everything but the ACL was torn off her knee & dislocated!)
-Found a GF dessert to make for my friend.
-Helped Brody with school work he didn't quite get.
-Started Julia on school.
-switched laundry over
-all the while I'm keeping Zeb & Glory out of whatever they are in, climbing on, or pulling apart
-I email a couple of things for 4H
-Gma Glenna stopped by to see us after her vacation & time with Gma Sparks
-started lunch & cleaned up the kitchen again
-put the littles down for a nap & the bigs had to have rest time
-Switched over the laundry again & sent Julia down to separate into piles 
-Started Sage on his school work & then helped him with the things he didn't understand
-helped Celeste with her workbook that she loves! 
-swept & picked up the living room
-started the GF dessert, served a snack to littles, started the lamb chops grilling, peeled potatoes, mashed the potatoes, cooked the green beans, packaged food for delivery to Jeremy (working long hours this week to get ready for GRAND OPENING of the new church facility) & my friend
-fed the kids & rushed out the door to deliver big boys to youth group, food to friends, pick up rx at Walgreens, return movie to the library & go to the Sprint Store to pick up Jeremy's replacement phone. 
-Of course there were 4 people in line so I didn't wait that long before 2 littles had to use the bathroom. No public bathrooms available. SOOOO, I get in the truck & drive to ALDI's. While I'm there I might as well pick up some essentials I'm out of. Get through the bathroom & through the check out line only to realize Jeremy has my debit card & they don't take checks or credit cards. GREAT! We exit ALDI's without food while Glory is crying "I want my foodies". Get the 5 kids loaded & buckled again when a very kind man asks if he can buy my groceries for me. He tells me it must be hard to take 5 cute kids shopping & insists & goes in to purchase my forgotten cart. I write him a check & we load up after profusely thanking the man & head home...without Jeremy's phone. 
-Did I mention that through this whole ordeal I'm smelling baby poop but I changed him at my friend's house before I left. I realize that said baby poop is on my shirt! So I was walking through ALDI's, in the Sprint store & other places with baby poop on my shirt, a handkerchief over my hair because it is CRAZY frizz, my face is broken out like I've reverted to the teen years again & I didn't make time to put any makeup on.
-I get home, unload kids, unload groceries, send Julia & Corbin outside to do the animal chores, put PJ's on babies, read them a story, nurse Zeb, & get Julia & Corbin off to bed in time for Jeremy to come home with Sage & Brody. Get Brody his meds, & remind them to brush their teeth, shower, switch the laundry & set another load to start in 9hrs, rewrite an email for Jeremy that he then says he doesn't like my wording on & fall into bed.

I think I've forgotten some things like settling arguments, redressing Glory "the naked girl" a few times, changing some diapers, etc. And I know I forgot to do school with Corbin AND he didn't remind me! ;) Oh, I did have some muscle spasms in my shoulder & Brody applied some White Fir essential oil & massaged it for me.

I've taken too much time on the computer now. I need to get back on my laundry PTHTHTHTH!