silage 2k18

 

I love and loathe silage time on the farm. I love it because there's a lot of activity and people are (generally) excited for something new and different. Adrenaline runs high, and everybody bands together during the long (long!) days to get hundreds of acres of corn chopped for cow chow. 

I mean, they don't actually call silage "cow chow" but I kind of feel like there's a PR company out there somewhere who wishes they'd have thought of that instead of me. 

Unless someone else actually DID think of it before me, in which case let's forget we ever had this conversation. 


But it also means long days for everybody, including my farmer, and that part I don't love so much. I'm all, "Well, see you in two weeks when silage is over. Be a good boy. Don't forget to write. Remember I love you" when I hand him his lunchbox every morning. 

Maybe not quite like that.

 

Some years, my sister and her kids come for a week. Her boys get to ride in the silage chopper and stay out too late and wear pliers pouches, which makes them happy, and I get to hang out with one of my sisters and have some company during my farmer's 18-hour days, which makes me happy. 

This year, my sister-in-law and her little boy came for a week.

 

 We spent the first few days of silage drinking mimosas, dipping our toes in the kiddie pool, watching our children play quietly together and getting caught up on each other's lives. 

Hahahahaha.

Aaaaaaactually, we both had sick kids who found it fun to haul off and deck one another while we tried to sip just a slurp of coffee to help counteract the getting-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-with-said-kiddos-who-couldn't-sleep-or-breathe-due-to-junky-noses tiredness.

And you know what? WE STILL HAD SO MUCH FUN. 

If being a mom -- and silage -- have taught me anything, it's to be flexible. Kids get sick. Silage choppers break. Toddlers melt down. Trucks fall apart. They're just going to happen. And getting worked up about it doesn't help. You just roll with it.

Basically, silage season is like parenting. That's what I'm getting from this. 

 

In unrelated news, I struggle every year to know what to fix Chris to eat while he's driving the chopper. He told me once the only thing he has to look forward to during the day is what he's going to eat. Otherwise, it's corn. All day. Every day. Back and forth. Corn. Just corn. 

He also needs food he can eat with one hand because the other hand is busy driving and adjusting the chopper spout and hitting the radio button to tell truck drivers to back up or move over. He also tells me the food has to fit in a cup holder or be something he can wolf down while driving.

NO PRESSURE. Just make fun food that brightens his day that he can eat in about two bites.  

(Mommy!)

So this year, in an effort not to feed him sandwiches and chips for two weeks straight, I bought out Aldi's snack aisle. Nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, chocolate -- all the things. 

And my sister-in-law used her creative wizardry to whip up five different kinds of trail mix . . . without using a recipe, I might add. 

I'd be all, "Let's see if Pinterest has any idea what I can do with this massive pile of dried goods. Otherwise, here you go, honey: a giant bag of banana chips. See you in two weeks!"


I also packaged up mini cucumbers and sweet peppers the first week and popped a couple of those in his lunch box each day. 

My sister-in-law -- again with the awesomeness -- made up some protein bites with craisins and walnuts and chia seeeds, and those have been the hit of silage season thus far. 

(Sarah, you might be sorry you made these because you're probably going to be on tap for doing it next year too. Please don't hate me.)

 

And because this is the year of silage revelations, I also learned from my friend Megan than you can make meat and cheese sandwiches and freeze them.

FREEZE THEM.

This means no more making a gabillion sandwiches every night after the kids are in bed.

My world: revolutionized.

Instead, we put the sandwiches in the freezer, pulled them out the night before, added some veggies and pickles and lettuce, and voila!

But wasn't the bread soggy, you're wondering? No. No, it was not.

Now go and do likewise.

(Also, runzas for the one-handed-eating-in-the-chopper win! Again, my SIL. I'm not even sure I'm needed for meals at silage at the rate she's going.)


Add some tea, some Red Bull, and some peanut butter with celery and carrots in the bottom of a cup to polish it off (See? Cupholders!), and the guys had meals fit for kings!


Scratch that. But at least good enough for hardworking, worn out, hungry farmers.

 

Silage is all about timing. The corn's moisture has to be just right. The corn has to be a certain maturity. All the machinery has to be ready to go. The weather has to cooperate. There have to be enough truck drivers. And caffeine.

Lots of caffeine.

And when all those line up, silage runs like a well-oiled machine.

Like a chopper, for instance.

Or the Eagle, which is that sweet semi pictured below with carpeted doors that leaves everybody wanting to sing C.W. McCall's Convoy and wear 1970s aviators and grow big mustaches.


We had a lovely week with my sister-in-law and her little boy, and now we've plowed through another week of the kiddos and me at home, listening to Dad on the radio and anxiously awaiting his return to normal life, packing lunches, watching the weather app and praying everybody makes it through safely. 

And while we do, we remember that on the days silage doesn't quite run the way it's supposed to, when it seems far from a well-oiled machine, when kids are sneezing or axles break or rain halts everything in its tracks, we still get it done.

The cow chow still gets packed in a pile to feed the cows until next year's silage season.

The children get well again and beg for Mule rides.

The Red Bulls and iced coffees do their job.

The sun still shines.

And it's all good. 


Oh. Hi. Remember me?

Hello.

My name is Adriane. I used to blog here. Like, three months ago.

But then I was really, really pregnant . . . and tired . . . and hot . . . so, basically when the kids went to bed, I put my feet up and . . . didn't blog.

Now I'm back though! All three kids are napping, there's a load of sheets in the washer and clothes in the dryer. The dishwasher is unpacked.

And today's lunch dishes are still on the counter.

As it turns out, I've taken on a new mantra: Never do something while your children are napping that you could do while they're awake. Naps, for instance, don't happen when they're awake. Writing a little post doesn't happen when they're awake. So for now, the dishes can wait.


Here's how our last month went down:
  • We have a new baby in the house! His name is Conrad, and he's got the most smoochable cheeks ever. 
  • My mom -- who will undoubtedly earn an extra lamb sticker on her Jesus chart when she gets to heaven because of ME -- stayed for over a week when he was born and did all the things that I wouldn't let anyone else other than my mom or sisters do. My middle child even slept with her one night when his poor little teeth hurt so much that he stayed up for hours moaning from pain and a fever. People, she is that giving. I can't thank her enough. But really. 
  • Then I dinged my C-section incision and woke up with a giant, painful lump. I went to the doctor, she said it would likely go away, and we went on our merry way to my side of the family's every-other-year vacation. 
  • But then the pain got so bad that I could hardly walk and I was a mess, so we left vacation early. 
  • Then I cried for about an hour on the way home because I love my family to pieces and we never get to all be together and I was just so mad at myself that this happened. 
  • THEN I got sent to the ER because I was in so much ding dang pain, at which point they sliced into me again to no avail. 
  • THEN THEN I went back to my original doctor who sliced into me AGAIN to no avail. 
  • THEN THEN THEN she sent me to the hospital to do a minor surgery, which ended with me waiting 7 hours, getting into the OR at 9 at night, staying in the hospital over night and being loopy on pain meds. Again. 
  • And bless my mom, she came back and Did All The Things 2.0. Like carrying my 30 pound 16-month-old who loves her to pieces after she saved him from the Great Tooth Pain of 2018 and telling my 2.5-year-old roughly 87 times a day to use her "happy voice" instead of whining and even baking banana bread and taking the kids to the library and the grocery store because she is just that good.
My husband, of course, was busy doing all the other things. Like running a business and helping put kids to bed at night and reminding me to take my medicine because mom brain is a real thing, people, and getting phone calls from employees in the middle of the night while the baby is crying, and I think we can all agree he deserves a gold medal for surviving life with a wife who just had a baby and three kids under the age of 2.5.

Or at least a good stiff drink.

You're the best, honey.

So while I have had my moments of sniffles and frustration this month, I'm happy to report there's been even more to be grateful for: a mom who takes good care of me, kids who are very forgiving when mom has to feed a baby and they want to be read to, a doctor who didn't give up until she figured out what was wrong with me, a family who helped with my big kids when we were on vacation for all of -- well -- 48 hours, my favorite Labor and Delivery nurses who had a party in my room when I was back in the hospital the second time, modern medicine (because I am pretty sure if God had plunked me down into life on the prairie I would be one of the women who wandered off in a snowstorm never to be seen or heard from again), my husband's side of the family who made us meals and brought ice cream cakes that can save any bad day of toddler tantrums, and, well, the list could go on for about three more posts.


Actually, here's one more: Today was my baby's one-month doctor's appointment. I was taking all three kids myself because I actually like a good challenge and I needed to know that I could do it. (My doctor told me in the hospital that I'm "stoic" when it comes to pain. I said, "Not really. I just like to save melting down for when it's really warranted." And I figured one little trip to the doctor was not going to wreck the day or be the source of a meltdown.)

We got there early because I had to feed the baby. Then he blew out his diaper. Like, I think they heard the sonic boom a county away. So while I was changing him on the floor of the van, with my toddler gagging and almost throwing up because she does not handle bathroom related things well at all, people, he did it again. Boom number 2.

Then he potty-ed on his outfit.

I had a moment. But I was not going to let that defeat me. So instead I laughed a little inside, changed him again, put new clothes on him, resumed feeding, and worked through how to get all the kids inside: one walking, one in a stroller, and one in a baby carrier.

And then, because the Lord is merciful even though we are undeserving, or maybe because he heard the sonic boom(s), my husband showed up and took the two big kids with a big smile and said he'd walk them down to the grocery store for a treat while I took the baby in. And while I was all, "I can do it by myself! I can! Just let me try!" he reminded me that silage season starts next week and that he'll be gone all day for two weeks -- no bedtimes, no lunches together -- and he just wanted a little moment with his kids before he goes a long time without seeing them.

SWEETEST THING EVER.

So while the pediatrician told me how proud he was that my sons are being raised in a family where they'll be outdoors and learning how to drive a tractor and being around livestock, Dad and the big kids were eating donut holes and drinking apple juice and going for a little walk and loving it. Everyone wins.

(Except the scale. My boys are all in the huge percentile when it comes to height and weight, which I think means they'll be working cows and hogs at the ripe age of 3 at the rate they're going.)

This is a long way of saying that if you're feeling down or discouraged or apathetic or resentful, stop it, you crabby patty. We have so much to be thankful for -- even in the midst of incisions upon incisions, ruined vacations, and 102 degree fevers for a mom tackling three kids by herself while Dad is at work. (Forgot to mention that one.)

It's manageable. It's not the end of the world. It's not as big of a deal as you think. It's do-able.

That's what I've learned -- again and again -- this month, thanks to all the best people the Lord has plopped me in the midst of.

And speaking of do-able, dishes. I'm off to tackle them too.

Thanks for listening and not forgetting me, even though it's been, well, several months, which is basically 8 blog years.

You guys are the best too.

PS What are you thankful for this week especially?




kitchen wedding shower

 
This is my friend Martha. Martha's getting married!

Martha and I worked together for several years, but we started hanging out after working a conference together in Montana. I flew into Billings at 2:00 a.m. after Chicago flubbed up a flight. I had no baggage, which meant no clothes, no toothbrush, no nothing. You'd think it couldn't get worse, BUT THEN IT DID.


They gave me a Prius.

With California plates.

While in Montana.


For the girl who flew in in cowboy boots and now had no luggage, this was just too much.

(Actually, the real "too much" was wandering around Walmart at 3:00 in the morning with sticky contacts trying to figure out what I needed to survive until my suitcase arrived.)

But actually actually, the legit "too much" was when Martha showed up in HER rental vehicle . . . a beautiful, shiny, chocolatey brown . . . F-150.

 

My Prius could have fit in the bed of her truck. I died a little inside.

So when Martha asked if I wanted to head to a rodeo after we were done with work that evening, I said, "That would be great! . . . But you're driving. We are not going to be seen in Montana in a car that is basically a glorified bicycle."

And we've been friends ever since!

 

Now she's about to get married and because Martha is the queen of gift giving, taking care of other people, making complete strangers feel special, and just generally filling up people's cups, it was obvious we needed to make her feel even just a tiny bit as loved as she makes the rest of us feel.

 

She loves to bake. Hand pies, cakes, cookies . . . you name it, and I've agreed to taste test it.

We made an apple pie together once. And by "made" I mean, she made an apple pie and I ate it and it was delicious.

We also made dozens of cookies for the guys at the dairy during silage . . . and I think I ate at least half of those. Let's just say there's no one better suited for kitchen gadgets and new pie plates than her!

 

Keeping in the kitchen vein, we ate muffins, oohed and aahed over Kel's Cookie Jar's kitchen-themed cookies, and indulged in peanut butter granola parfaits with cranberry spritzers to wash it all down.

And we all decided we needed new Tupperware and griddles and cookbooks too.


Or Martha could just use hers and make us all something delicious to eat while we sit around and chat. We're really pretty flexible.

But perhaps that's just the point: Salad bowls and salt and pepper shakers break and shatter.


And yet, as my pastor noted in our wedding sermon, "There is a promise for Holy Marriage that makes Christians bold and confident. Five virgins were shut out, but the other five, who also fell asleep, who also failed in their duties, who were no better than those shut out and were in no way perfect, went in. They went in by grace. This is not a vain hope – either for marriage or for eternity. The undeserved mercy won by Christ’s death gives power for Christians to live Christian lives. That includes living together as husband and wife – a most Christian way to live."

So here's to you, Martha and Dan, to a life of forgiveness, grace, love, cookies, pancakes and God's unending mercy.


And as long as we're at it, thanks for traipsing around in a small hurricane with me so that I could snap an engagement picture or two. And then, when you are 20 and 30 and 50 years down the road, remembering God's goodness to you and your marriage, you can look back and see how He has preserved you, blessed you . . . and how awesome pie birds and KitchenAid mixers really are.



eMeals: the hungry girl's answer to meal planning



Who here loves to eat?

I mean, meal plan?

Me too.

I'm a little Type A in most things -- ok, all the things -- but not having to worry about what we're going to have for supper when I'm hungry, my farmer is headed home after a busy day, and two little people are begging for food is helpful.

The hitch is that I don't like leftovers. Or vegetables. Also, healthy food. Or really anything other than cereal and tacos and chicken salad because I'm basically a three-year-old at heart.

Whenever I'd sit down to meal plan, I'd spend an hour looking through cookbooks only to end up annoyed and frustrated that -- say it with me -- "there's nothing to eat."

My husband loved that.

No, really. He did.




But if there's one thing I've learned from my dad, it's that you don't get to gripe about things. You have a problem, you find a solution, you fix it, you move on to the next thing. Bam. Cross it off the list. No indecision. No whining. Identify it, rectify it.

Thus, eMeals.

I did it. I signed up.

Now I get a weekly email containing a meal plan for an entire week's worth of suppers. It includes the recipes as well as a grocery list.

(For my Iowa people, "supper" is "dinner." Don't try to understand. I don't get it either.)

You can also get weekly recipes for breakfasts, lunches, desserts and special occasions. (Cinco de Mayo chicken enchiladas with red chile gravy, roasted tomatillo and poblano salsa and mexican street corn, here we come!)

It's a year-long subscription, so even if I decide to cancel it when the year is up, I'll have a pile of good recipes our family can use, and I won't have to go through the agony of not knowing what to cook ever again. It's already planned for me!



There are several meal plans available to choose from -- low budget, low calorie, clean eating, quick and healthy, kid-friendly, paleo, etc. -- and you can switch between them as often as you'd like. Right now, because all I really want to eat is donuts (I blame the baby . . . this can't possibly be my fault, right?), we're trying the clean eating plan, where "The only things added or processed are convenience and efficiency."

I'm not really a "clean eating" kind of gal. I mean, I'd prefer they add some CrunchWraps and a giant pizza, and then process me up a pan of Scotcheroos and some chocolate milk, but I'm trying here. Mostly.

And so far, everything's been good.

Not, you know, homemade macaroni and cheese good but close.

We've enjoyed honey-ricotta toast with strawberries and almonds for Sunday brunch . . .



turkey bagel sandwiches with a zesty feta spread and balsamic grape salad for lunch, and a chicken peanut stir fry with a sauteed snap pea and bell pepper toss for supper that my husband gave five stars.

We've had a Mediterranean chicken and quinoa salad we both really liked and a chicken caesar pasta salad that will become a summertime staple.

This week we're trying out citrus flank steak with veggie kabobs, Greek hummus-coated chicken tenders with roasted broccoli and tomatoes, and a tuna-cucumber-tomato salad with baked pita chips.

All to be followed with a gallon of ice cream.

Ok, or at least crunchy fried ice cream or chocolate chip cookie dough sandwiches.

Yeah, I bought the dessert plan too.

What'd you expect? A miracle?!


Easter brunch menu

 

It's confession time: I don't like ham.

I know.

My dad's a pork producer.

Bacon put me through college.

I have many a hog to thank for where and who I am today.

But I remain undeterred: I still don't like ham.

Easter at my grandma's house made me wish for four stomachs. It was filled with appetizers and dips and creamed corn and creamy pea and lettuce salads and rolls slathered in butter and Jello layers upon Jello layers and . . . what my ten-year-old self deemed rubbery, gross, yuck ham.

Or as my sister-in-law aptly put it: "Some are fatty and taste rubbery and overly salty and you practically have to rip it out of your mouth to get a bite and then chew for 5 minutes." 

Of course, she also pointed out that it may have been the TYPE of ham my grandma served or maybe the preparation method, both valid points.

Or it may have just been me. Until recently, I didn't like steak for the same reasons. Way too much chewing for a small amount of meat, IMO.

Ok, it's definitely me. 

So until I master the art of the ham, we're going an Easter brunch route this year instead: cheesy baked grits, peppered bacon, brown sugar pecan coffee cake, fruit and granola pizza, and a dish filled with sausage and cheese and eggs, which I may or may not share with anyone else in attendance. For starters.

And a dear friend who is joining us has graciously offered to bring a double chocolate trifle, and now I basically just want to skip lunch and go straight to dessert.

Also . . . mimosas. Not for me, regrettably, but for our guests.

So now that that's out of the way, help a girl out. What are your ham recommendations? What are your go-to recipes? How do you guarantee it won't be like eating a rubber chicken for Easter lunch?

And if you're in a sharing mood, what's on your Easter menu?

I'm curious and all ears!

{But for the record, I still don't like ham.}

P.S. Sorry, Dad.




What do cows eat?

   
If you ask our toddler, she claims cows eat Goldfish. If you ask people who haven't been around livestock, they think cows just eat "grass." If you ask a cow what she'd like to eat, she probably ask why you gave a mouse a cookie and a moose a muffin and didn't give her any baked goods. 

#carbsforlife

Two things: 

(1) Each day, one of the guys at the dairy has the job of mixing rations for different groups of cows. The ration is routinely tweaked by the dairy's nutritionist, who increases or decreases ingredients based on the cows' health, nutritional needs, and production. 

(2) The ration is mixed in a giant mixer that holds tons of feed. Literally. Tons. Think of it like a Kitchen Aid mixer the size of your kitchen, and instead of teaspoons, you're measuring in pounds. Hundreds of pounds, to be exact.

Don't worry. We're not finished debunking all your bovine myths. There's still more!

So, what do cows eat?

ALL THE THINGS. 

When the guys get ready to mix the ration for the day, they are combining several ingredients, none of which, sadly, include Goldfish.

The smallest bowl pictured above contains ground corn. Think high energy, high calorie food, and then take it times ten. Plus, unlike me when I eat sweet corn, it's already ground up, so cows don't have to spend an hour with giant toothpicks picking husks out of their teeth. We're thoughtful like that.

Next up: dried distillers grain. If you want to sound like you know what you're talking about next time you visit a dairy, call it DDG. When grain is used to make ethanol, the leftovers get repurposed into, you guessed it, food for cows!

Then there's mineral mix.  That's pretty self explanatory. Minerals. Vitamins. In a mix. A local feed mill creates that mix since we don't carry enough of each on the farm to make our own.

And in the biggest bowl? Soybean meal. Because everybody has to eat their vegetables and proteins, even 1500 pound cows.


 

Pop quiz to see if you remember what's what!

Ready?

 What's featured in the picture above? 

That's right. DDG!

 

Lest you think that's all that goes into a cow's own personal Chex Mix, there's more!

Soybean hull pellets are in the smallest bowl. Fat and fiber. You name it; they've got it.

The white fluffy stuff in the bottom right? Whole cotton seed. (Pro tip: If you're under the age of 10, a giant pile of cotton seed is great for jumping in. It's also great if you're over 10; people just might look at you funny.) Cotton seed is yet another source of -- you guessed it -- protein, fat, and fiber.

In the third largest bowl, you'll see gluten feed pellets. These are made of corn byproduct (seriously . . . nothing goes to waste!), and while they're not as high in protein, they're still chalk full of fiber.

And in the biggest bowl? Alfalfa. In addition to other nutrients, alfalfa adds calcium and is easily digestible, so cow stomachs don't have to work quite as hard. And when you have four stomachs, you can use a little break now and then. 

Additionally, corn and rye silage get added to the ration. (You can learn more about silage here.) Silage is like a giant energy bar for cows. It provides them with huge amounts of fiber and energy, and those, in turn, boost their milk production.


 

Lactating cows get a special feed called -- aptly -- lactation mix. It's made of ground corn, cotton seed, DDG, vitamin and mineral mix, soybean hulls, and soybean meal.

When I sit down to meal plan each week, I try to include fruits, veggies, proteins and dairy in each meal. Likewise,  the guys mixing the ration for the cows each day combine different amounts of each of the above commodities to make sure that the cows are not only well fed but also healthily! 

I mean, no girl wants to sit around just eating HoHos and Oatmeal Cream Pies all day. 

Just kidding. 

Me. 

I do!

But there you have it. No Goldfish, unfortunately, but lots of fiber, protein, fat and energy uniquely mixed and suited for specific groups of cows' needs. 

And now you know . . . the rest of the . . . . um, ration?






the extraordinary ordinary

There's often a brief moment -- right after someone finds out that we will have three kids under age 2.5 as of June -- when the conversation takes a horribly awkward turn.

"Oh. Wow."

"You guys are going to have your hands full."

"On purpose?"

So, and let this go on the record, WE ARE NOT CRAZY.

Having small children . . . and a life . . . and a wonderful marriage is do-able. 

We follow a parent-directed feeding/eating/sleeping way of life around here, so we have a pretty ordered day. It's not (usually) total chaos, which means that we got our kiddos in a routine when they were little and we're sticking with it.

After Dad goes to work, the kiddos eat breakfast and then play. When little brother takes a nap, sis and I do the laundry or read books or go outside. When he wakes up, we get ready for lunch and watch out the window of the front door for Dad to return. (Feel free to not look closely for nose and tiny hand smudges on the glass when you're at our house. Well, honestly, you won't need to. They're everywhere. Always.)

After lunch, the kids both lay down for a nap from about 1:00-3:30. After snacks, we play some more and then work on dinner. After dinner, Daddy tosses the kids around, tickles tummies, builds towers, reads outloud, and tickles some more. Then it's time to pick up toys, put on jammies, do our devotions, brush our teeth and climb in bed.

Since my friend Katie at Good and Lovely recently posted what her day looks like, and since she and I have talked a fair amount about this, and because I always appreciate seeing what other mamas' days are made of, here's what a normal day at our house looks like:

7:00-8:00 a.m.

Me: Kids, let's get your clothes on so we can go have breakfast.
Them: Just 42,912 more books, Mom, and then we'll be ready!



8:00-9:00 a.m.

When we don't FaceTime with grandparents or aunts and cousins during breakfast, we have extended breakfast conversations about skunks, coyotes, Blackjack the dog, and whether or not panthers live in the bathtub drain.

Cereal with marshmallows and bananas earn this mom some serious morning bonus points.




After breakfast, I attempt to restore order to the kitchen. Translation: Vacuum up roughly 27 cheerios and a blob of mushed banana from the floor. 

Yes, she picked out that shirt because it reminded her of a puppy. And the necklaces? A must. A girl needs her pearls. 

If we need groceries, this is the time to make our Aldi run. Other days we ransack the library and check out all the books we can cram in a bag.


9:00-10:00 a.m.

The girl reads, plays with Little People, talks non-stop and hollers when little brother tosses anything he can get his hands on in the potty. Then he lays down for a nap at 9:30 and is out like a light until 10:30.

 

10:00-11:00 a.m.


While little brother naps, Sis and I do the laundry, work in the kitchen, read some books, get some Vitamin D, make pancakes in her Ikea kitchen, do some baking, or dust and mop.  Strangely, she, like me, doesn't love the last two options.

Brother is awake again by 10:30, raring to get back in the action (read: potty diving). 


11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.


Lunchtime! Both for imaginary food and for real food, apparently. Chants of "DaDDY! DaDDY!" can be heard at the table whenever Dad drives in the lane.



12:00-1:00 p.m.


Mom attempts to restore order to the kitchen after lunch. Wait. Didn't this just happen?



1:00-2:00 p.m.


Everyone waves hello to the mailman and the heifer feeder after bidding a sad goodbye to Dad.  Then Sis lays down for a nap in the kids' room, Brother lays down for a nap in the guest room, and Mom does ALL THE THINGS WHILE IT IS QUIET. 


2:00-3:00 p.m.


That involves cleaning, fishing toys out from under the couch, and making a grocery list because five cousins are coming to visit this week! 


3:00-4:00 p.m.


Then, because Alexa is just plain rude, I do another load of laundry. Yes, I do 1-2 loads a day around here. Have you ever seen how many clothes a farmer and two small children can go through in a 24-hour period?


The kids get up around 3:30, have a snack, and play me some tunes, usually in the key of low, low C.


(Change of clothes attributed to Mom forgetting to keep taking pictures one day and scrambling to remember to make up for it the next day. #pregnancybrain)




4:00-5:00 p.m.


Brother grows increasingly crabby because he's a growing boy who loves to eat, so he follows me around the kitchen while I make supper, and Sis sits up at the table to play with Legos or MagnaTiles or paint.  Or basically to do anything that will keep her little brother from getting into her stuff.

She's learning young.

 


5:00-6:00 p.m.


Daddy comes home for dinner to shouts of great excitement from all of us. And sometimes he brings Mama flowers because although he's busy and got a million things on his mind, he still insists on putting everybody else in his family first, which Mama is forever grateful for. 



6:00-7:00 p.m.


Dad rough houses the kids while Mom does the dishes to the sounds of giggles, chortles, panther growls, horses whinnying, and a little brother grumbling because he can't quite keep up. Crawling, you know. 

  

7:00-8:00 p.m. 


Bedtime! After jammies, drinks of water, devotions, prayers, teeth brushing, book reading, roughly 87 "good nights" and "I love you"s, we turn out the light, shut the door, and listen to the two of them chat for the next 20 minutes until the squeaks and giggles get quieter and then eventually stop. 

Now it's time for Dad to do some bookwork, Mom to clean up the kitchen (are you sensing a theme here?), and Mom and Dad to read the newspaper or a good book, chat about what tomorrow looks like schedule-wise and talk about how their days went.


 

 

Is it busy? Yes. 

Is it sometimes difficult to get everybody loaded into the car and buckled into car seats and back out of the car seats and out of the car? Yes. 

Do we go through a lot of diapers? Let's not even talk about that.

Do I say, "Please be gentle with your brother" and "We don't say 'no.' We say, 'Yes, Mom.'" at least 20, nope, make that 45 times a day? Yes. 

Would I change any of it -- from my husband to my our children to our very ordinary and yet extraordinarily wonderful days, even the ones where the toddler melts down because she is firm in her belief that butterflies live in her milk and refuses to be convinced otherwise? 

Nope. 

Not a bit.

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