Monday, February 28

the SOUNDS of a storm

We don't have TV.
We do have a weather radio to keep us aware of weather concerns.
But way before any sirens blare, or radios bleep... we are well aware when a storm is coming.
They get anxious.  Ewwwwahhhhhhhh!  They call out over and over... our own personal sirens.
The horses run.  Not sure why, but they run in circles, galloping... such a powerful sound.
And the goats get antsy.  I guess they know that they will soon need to huddle into the barn so they make the most of the minutes before the storm hits... to jump non-stomp and be silly!
Closer to the house the chickens make a ruckus!  Rooster is sure to send out many a doodledoooos!
And the exclamation to all the sounds... Cooper gets to howling.
Minutes later... items are blowing off our backporch.  Sheets of rain that are solid white and we can't see inches past our back steps.  And all the animals are silent.  They snuggle into the barn, coop, doghouse... having exhausted themselves thoroughly, and having done a wonderful job taking care to warn us humans.  Jobs well done.
We sure had a nasty line of storms come over the farm today.  Other than tremendous wind and rain that threw or carried things all over the pasture... all was safe and fine.  I actually love a good rain.  It smells and feels so good out here now.  Content sigh.

Saturday, February 26

Hints of Spring

I don't have any daffodils planted on the farm, and my many tulips are planted in mostly shade so they are slow to emerge.
So my first blooms of Spring are my Ivory Prince Lenten Roses.
 I love the backs on the blooms the best... backwards, right?
Can I just tell you how much it bugs Shawn that I won't let him rake all the dead leaves and tidy things up a bit?!  Letting the leaves lie where they may sure saves me in costly mulch and picking weeds later.  Sometimes the 'natural' look is just not embraced by my sweetheart but my tantrums ,to leave the leaves be, usually win out. 

Wednesday, February 23

Shall we call it a 'Mutual TimeOut'?!??

There has been a bit of a phenomenon that has taken place in our family dynamic since there were little boys present in our family.  It was not created for Savannah, in fact, to this day this specific re-occurring event has never involved her... and I hope now that she is 16 she doesn't reverse that track record.  This phenomenon of which I speak could be loving called 'Mommy and Me TimeOut' or perhaps 'Mutual TimeOut'.
 Since I have omitted the word 'hate' from my vocab... I shall instead say that I very, incredibly, undeniably, dislike intensely... POUTING.  There.  It's true.
 I'm of the opinion... SAY IT (of course with respect and some amount of self-control)... but darn tootin' USE YOUR WORDS.  inhale... exhale... one moment please...
 OK, composure regained, I think.  Don't even get me started on the EVIL EYE.  Truth is when I get the evil eye from any of my children... I can't help but, then and in that very second, laugh my head off.  Funny stuff!
 So, back to by original train of thought... I actually do have an actual train of thought.
Many a times, and many times A DAY, when Christian was a youngster there would erupt from our happy little home a DECLARATION of Christian AND Mommy time-out.  Please don't say I am alone in this event.  Me ordering Christian to his room, then me promptly storming off to my room.  Only to hear my little son innocently ask minutes later if OUR timeout was over yet.  Truth be told there were several very long winded timeouts in those days.  Ahhhh, good times, snicker.

And so with the birth of Ty, the mutual timeouts have become a bit of a family tradition again.  Stubborn!  HIM not me, of course... I am the shining example of patience and long suffering after all.  Yep.
 It must be documented that Today it wasn't Math OR Cursive Writing OR the study of the tilt of the Earth's axis... that brought on the overly animated sulking.  Nope.  It was a request on my part for him to unload the dishwasher.  So unforeseen!  Apparently this was the straw, him the camel.  Then came an unfortunate event of the camel pouting and evil eyeing me and me laughing hysterically which in no way helped the situation.  I can be a tad immature in these moments.  So to make a long story finally conclude, yep, Ty and I found ourselves in separate rooms, a mutual timeout.  Him, very reminiscent of his older brother, asking in 2 minute intervals, "is OUR timeout over?"  We'll find this funny later, much later, like years from now, right? 

 And this is very similar to how Ty looked when the whole dishwasher unloading explosion and following timeout was over.  All better!
 I guess it is a good thing that mommies find their babes so loveable!
Since I determined it unwise to grab my camera and take photos of Ty today in the throes of his epic pout, I instead have graced you with old photos.  Cute, huh?

Sunday, February 20

I love 'em... I just do!

You know something I love about our oldest two kiddos?  They are pretty easy to please.  They can both have fun doing about anything.  I am finding that this is not always the case with kids their age, and I truly appreciate that they see the effort others put forth on their behalf. 
 Last night they had a Youth Dance in Decatur.  The theme was 'Oscars Night'.  so they got all dolled up, survived the torture that is having a mom that needs a quick picture... and they left for a night of lots of dancing and fun with friends.  They both came home exhausted but ecstatic... it was a great night.  I am thankful that they have a wonderful, protective environment to go and socialize like these dances. 
And I must include this classic photo of little brother horning in on the attention.  Ty fulfills his obligations as pesky little bro quite well.

I want to document a cute conversation Ty and I had while I was fixing his hair for him earlier in the day.
Ty:  "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Me:  "Well, son, I am actually already considered grown up."
Ty:  "NO YOUR NOT... you don't have to grow up until your done being a mom."
Me:  "Oh, okay... then I want to be an Innkeeper of a Bed & Breakfast when I finally grow up."
Ty:  "Are you sure you and dad will be OK when all us kids are grown up?"
Me:  "Are you kidding?  Dad and I are gonna party till the cows come home!"
Ty:  " You're weird sometimes."
Me:  "  That's true!"

And might I add that since I hope to NEVER be fired from my motherhood gig... I don't ever have to grown up... technically, right?  I like the sound of that... I think I'll roll with it!

Thursday, February 17


Today I am having a HUGE crush on my daughter, she is in a cute mood... love her!
Today there are more chickens OUTSIDE of the chicken fence than inside, grrrrr.
Today I sat on the back porch barefoot.
Today I had a pb&homemade (by me) blackberry preserves sandwich and cheetos for lunch, yum.
Today I am over the flu, didn't want to jinx myself but for the past 48 hours I have felt much better!
Today I have pinto beans in the crockpot and Christian is going to make cornbread for dinner.
Today I will go to Misty's loft and hang with Cari, Noah, and Eden... oh, happy Thursdays!
Today I planned on painting a dresser but now I don't wanna... maybe tomorrow.
Today I am going to take a nap, yep.
Today I can't wait to kiss my husband when he gets home, he looked so cute this morning.
Today Ty and I did 3 straight hours of school and neither of us got grouchy once, whew.
Today I laughed at Christian so hard that I got the hiccups.
Today I stole 2 dark chocolate kisses from the freezer, someone tried to hide them, but I  found them, now I must beg forgiveness.
Today I sold something on craigslist and the cutey gal that came to pick it up stood in my entry and gushed and gushed over our house, land, chickens, border collie, etc.  She asked me to adopt her.
Today, later today... I will talk with Shawn about adopting cutey craigslist gal, although Misty is adamant that I need to adopt a little China girl and name her Molly.
Today is a wonderful, blessed, ordinary, normal DAY!!       

"Normal day... let me be aware of the treasure you are.  
Let me learn from you, bless you before you depart.  
Let me not pass you by in the quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so..."                   Mary Jean Iron

Monday, February 14

{14} I love...

My breath escapes me when I ponder the many blessings that have come from the decision to marry my love, for time and all eternity, on March 19, 1993. 
So thankful for my dear man that I so enjoy to laugh with, cry with, kiss goodnight, and kiss good morning.
I collect quotes, any quote that I hear or read that touches me at that moment.  I keep them written in a journal by my bed.  For one reason or another as I read the following words, they touched me this morning as I thought of Shawn, myself, our life together, and the wonderful thing called 'US'...

"The cream of marriage... the nightly turning out of the days pocketful of memories, habitual sharing of two pairs of eyes, two pairs of ears... in a sense, marriage gives you the benefit of living two lives."  - unknown

"She turns away from luxury and ease to the plainer home, the simpler life, the humbler surrounding... without a murmur."  -  J.R. Miller

"Slow down, live deep.  Life is not about skimming the surface."  - unknown

"...let the line of thought dip deeper into the stream."  Virginia Woolf

"Creating a home, creating a life, is performed with reverence for the beauty of the mundane, elevating everyday tasks into a gentle art."  - unknown

"Oh, the blessed softness of a wife in a hard world."  - unknown

"And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary.  For the joys that last, have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform.
What is the adventure in being ordinary?
It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away.  It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity.  It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day.  It is caring, and sharing, and giving, and loving...        -  Marilyn Thomsen

"Happiness is the soul's joy in the possession of the intangible."  -  Wm.Jordan

I am so very happy.  -  Dawn

Sunday, February 13

{13} I love...

Being Home.
I guess if I can't be at church with my nursery children... being home is not a bad second option.
I have the flu.  I am pretty miserable truth be told.
Shawn left for church early today and had already woke the kids and made arrangements for them to get to church.  I did not even lift my head off the pillow to micromanage a thing.  I surrendered. 
As Shawn was leaving, he asked me to please try and get outside for a little sunshine.
I'm glad he did.  I managed some time on our back porch steps and it was just what I needed.  I don't really spend much time longing for different seasons.  I know the seasons will change, they will change when they are ready to, no amount of  whining or urging can make Spring come any sooner that it is already going to.  BUT today, I did give a long sigh for sunnier days... I've been puny this winter, gotten a lot of yucka sick bugs... bring on the sun and tulips!!
Oh how I love the sun and tulips... and being home!

Saturday, February 12

{12} I love...


Shawn and I are opposites in so many ways.  I've loved throughout our married life how he has naturally stepped in to do things that do not come easily for me, and I being able to do that for him too.  I admire his bold way of living, and he appreciates my more simple approach.  Opposites!

Today was Christian's Birthday PaintBall Party.  He planned.  He made the invitations and passed them out.  He took his Birthday money allotment we give each of the kids for birthdays and budgeted out each and every penny.  He went to the grocery store and bought lunch food to cook over the firepit.  And he said no less than 100 times yesterday that he could not wait for today. 

I love the ways Christian is like me:
very tender-hearted.

I love the ways he is like Shawn:

And oh how I love the ways Christian is himself:
funny... I tell him all the time that our family is happier with him in it, definitely!,
outside of the box thinker,
sleepy head,
mass peanut butter consumer,
LIVES for seminary, Wednesday night Youth activities, Youth church dances,
the very last word one would think of when thinking of Christian is 'grouch'.
Christian jokes that he has to put up with his entire families' up and down moods
yet he never makes us return the favor.  True.  Very true. 

I love how each of our children each have traits from Shawn and I.  Yet each have a different  combination.  A blend of opposites that somehow mix together in the most amazing children. 

I am sick today.  I think I can no longer deny the fact that I have the flu.  So I sat in our TV room today since it has the largest window and watched Christian and all his friends do paintball in the front pasture.  I laughed at all the strategies playing out.  I laughed when guys screamed like babies when they were hit and finding out a girl perfectly perched behind a tree was the 'great shot'.  I smiled for hours on end watching my son, 15 years old now, having a blast, not a timid bone in his body... living life to its fullest! 

{11} I love...

to read.
To Kill a Mockingbird
"I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks."   - Scout Finch

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.  They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corn cribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  - Miss Maudie

Thursday, February 10

{10} I love...

Snow covered Barn,
( This morning! )
Mother of Pearl,
Cumulus Clouds, 
Antique Buttons,
 Old Linens,
 Fresh Eggs,
Black and White Photography,
Wild Dogwood Trees,
Peeling Paint,
Pitcher full of White Spirea,
White Eden Climbing Roses,
Farm Fencing,
Annabelle Hydrangeas!

Wednesday, February 9

{9} I love...

to Create.
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.  No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities... we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before." 
"As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I love the creative process.  I have so many interests that stimulate me creatively.  When I carve out the time to 'create something that did not exist before' and 'create something of beauty and helpfulness' there is not doubt that I am happier.  Of course there is the never ending struggle of finding that time.  Since I started homeschooling, I have thoroughly enjoyed art projects and science experiments with Ty.  I love to watch Savannah and Christian creating culinary works of art.  But I have found it harder than any other time of my life to find the quiet time creating gives me... sitting in a flower bed planting, sewing a pillow slip, painting a new sign, anything.  I miss it. 

So... I brought my concern to our family counsel this past Sunday.  And do you know what my sweet family did?  They jumped on a solution.

PROBLEM = I bet I will hear tons of AMENS with this realization that I and my family came to.  Whenever I get on a creative binge... it usually involves me dragging the sewing machine or paints, etc, out in the middle of the kitchen.  I always need to stop mid process to cook or take someone somewhere.  The creative mess (and I can whip up quite a mess) gets pushed aside... until.  And 'until' can drag out to many days/weeks later.  I guess I could say the creative joy is sapped right out of the process by the then created stress of JUST GET IT DONE AND PUT AWAY.

Flash back to us building this house.  Storage.  It was in our top 3 MUST HAVES.  I wanted a walk into attic.  Got a huge one!  Linen closet.  check!  Big closets.  yep!  In fact, as the framing progressed... we noticed two other attic spaces that the architect just walled off and were dead space in the roof line.  I pounced on the two spaces and asked our builder to drywall them in.  Both spaces are lit, heated, and cooled.  And what have we done with this created space?  Not a thing.  Nope.
 Well, we did the typical thing of... lets make it a 'hang out' room.  Thing is, no one hangs out in here because it is more fun to just hang in the TV room downstairs.  Well then, maybe an exercise room.  And while the boys do lift weights in here, the treadmill is dead and needs to be laid to rest, and it still only used once a week at the most!
 I can not believe I am actually showing you this attic.  Horrible mess, right?!

SOLUTION = Christian is going to move his weight bench into the small attic off of his bedroom.  All other junk will vacate... and, ummm, uhhh,  I will have a 'studio'.  I'm calling it that because it sounds real official.  So, we have no money right now... taxes for the self-employed are a real kicker right now... but in the future... picture this...
 This entire attic space will be wrapped top to bottom in wood planking painted white.  I want to rip up the carpeting, this will be a shocking blow to my sweetheart, and put wide planked floors.  There will be two large work surfaces because Savannah is quite the accomplished sewer and loves to create too.  Tons of shelving of some sort with baskets and such.  A wrapping station because I LOVE to wrap presents.  An overstuffed, yummy, comfy, chair slipcovered in aqua linen.  A fun rug that adds softness in the room but can be easily rolled up and pushed aside if we need to get messy.  And art, lots of art and antique frames, and, and, and...
 I may, just may, go really crazy... after my husband has recovered from tearing up perfectly good carpeting... and take down this super cool ceiling fan for a chandelier.  Yep.  The slanted ceilings, the plank walls in white... this room will need a chandelier!

Are you ready for the little, tiny, ummm, quirky, maybe a tad bizarre, detail about my soon to be Studio?  Lets take a small step backwards out of this diamond in the rough nugget.  Maybe, just maybe, this is why the architect had a wall here originally and not a door....
 Well, there it is guys and gals... one must take a sometimes terrifying little stroll THROUGH our boys bathroom to get in to my gorgeous studio.  Yep.  Off to the left there is a toilet, commode, the necessary...
But this shall NOT deter me.  Nope.  I will march myself right through this bathroom, I'll be sure and knock first if the door is closed :)  and step into the studio, quickly closing the door and ignoring what lies on the other side.  Cause I will have a studio.  A itty bitty studio that measures 12'x13' and actually feels smaller because of the slanted ceilings, but ohhhhhh its gonna be pretty.  I'll be sure and show you the progress, and the completed room.  But you'll understand if I don't have a Studio Open House, right?!... cause it would go something like this... put your blindfolds on people... hold hands and follow my voice... NO, thats not a toilet you bumped in to... just keep moving forward... now close the door behind you.... are we all in?  Welcome to my Studio!

Tuesday, February 8

{8} I love...

Crusty Antiques.
I visit a little antique shop out here in the middle of nowhere and when I walk in, the owner lady always says..."I've got some old crusty stuff you are going to love!" 
Ummmm, she knows me well.
I love that I gather these treasures one by one and give them a use, even if just decorative.
Architectural Corbels,
Ironstone and pottery bowls,
Ironstone platters... I love the oval shapes, all sizes,
Baskets... the more crookedy, the better!
This old willow basket is my latest find.  It is lined with an old piece of hemp.  I knew immediately it would look gorgeous on my counter holding veggies.  I love to paint my own signs so I did something I rarely do and actually purchased a reproduction sign from someone else.  The barnwood was just amazing and I loved everything about it!  Little early in the season to display a Fresh Berries sign, but it arrived last week and I just needed a little promise of warmer weather to come.  It makes me smile... BIG!

Monday, February 7

{7} I love...

our Miniature Donkeys.
I just do.  Can't help myself.
I know it has everything to do with how we found them, and their journey to now.
In this photo, Savannah is holding Jenni.
Over 3 years ago, I had mentioned to someone that I would love to own a miniature donkey.  Just days later this same lady called me and told me that she knew of 2 miniature donkeys that may be available.  The uncomfortable circumstances were that their current owner was not taking care of them.  They needed rescuing, immediately.  She gave me the phone number to the owner and I somehow got up the gutso to call him.  I explained that someone had given me his number because I was desperately seeking miniature donkeys and they thought he may be looking to get rid of his.  He actually seemed very relieved.  We arranged to go pick them up days later.  Shawn and I rigged our trailer to be able to transport them back to the farm.  When we arrived at the property to get the donkeys, I gasped.  I didn't even want to get out of the truck.  The donkeys, especially the girl, were horrifically thin and I just thought we were in way over our heads.  Shawn turned to me and said, "Savannah can love them back to health."  The owner seemed relieved to pass on the responsibility of these little donkeys and we headed back home.  I called Savannah on my cell phone and cried, I was not optimistic.  On the way home, the gray male Bart stood close to Jenni preventing her from falling over she was so weak.  They were literally intertwined.

We got home and Bart was terrified.  His eyes were wild and he trembled.  Jenni walked off the trailer and went immediately to Savannah.  There was instant affection there.  It was tough to watch Bart at this time because he never wanted to be but inches away from Jenni but he was beyond scared of us and his new surroundings.  He never left Jenni's side though.

Months later, we were in the dead of winter, below freezing temps.  Savannah had gone out to the barn and Jenni was down flat and Bart was very anxious and pacing next to her.  Jenni would not get up.  It is extremely dangerous for donkeys or horses to lay out like that for an extended amount of time... things get bad real fast.  Shawn and Savannah literally lifted Jenni up, held her standing, and Savannah manually moved one foot and then the other foot to get her walking.  I actually went back to the house because I couldn't stand to see Jenni declining like that!  I did not think she would live past that first night we found her down.  Every few hours, Shawn and Savannah went back out and lifted Jenni and walked her around.  After a few days she stopped going down.  In my heart, I still felt that we had rescued her only to have her die peacefully on our farm.

But just 6 short months after we rescued Jenni and Bart, they were healthy.  Now years later, Bart is still so very timid, but will let us pet him and he adores Savannah.  Jenni will eeeeeeaaaaawwww all the way across the pasture as soon as she sees one of us walk out of the house.  She is loving and extremely friendly.  We can place little kiddos on her back and she will walk them around.  They are just a joy!
Bart's painfully shy nature endears him to me.  I love how he so apprehensively returns our affection and how passionately attached he is to Jenni.  They both have a forever home on this farm.  I love them too dearly to lose them and I could never deal with the chance that these two would ever be separated. 

AND those ears... they just kill me!

Sunday, February 6

{6} I love...

Walnut Brownies.
This is probably a funny thing to feel the need to mention in my 'love' posts... but I do so to document some very important (not really) facts.  I am not a 'sweets' person.  I do not own a sweet tooth.  I much prefer crunchy, salty, and spicey things.  The fact that my only real desire for anything sweet is brownies LOADED with walnuts, and the fact that my children do not care for walnuts, and the result of that fact is that there is always a whole pan for Shawn and I to devour, AND the fact that further proves that Shawn and I are meant for each other... I only like the inside pieces and he only likes the outside pieces!!!  We're a match made in heaven!

And just for fun... other food loves include:
celery with peanut butter,
white queso dip,
Mayfield shrimp dip,
triple cream brie and crackers,
Jason's Deli Salad Bar,
soft pretzels with cheese,
terragon chicken salad,
and roasted peanuts.
I'm hungry now... probably was not a stellar idea to do this at 8:36 at night!

Saturday, February 5

{5} I love...

Laughing Out Loud.
This does not come naturally to me.
I envy those that can simply bust out in genuine laughter.
I grin, I giggle, I smile a lot.
To laugh out loud is rare for me, but oh do I love when something or someone brings me to that point.

 This boy is single-handedly responsible for 99.9% of my laughing out loud.
I might add that this same son is related to the same percentage of my crying out loud, hee-hee, at least in his earlier years.
So, you may... just may... be wondering what these photos are.
The only explanation I have is that Christian ordered himself a new paintball helmet.
On this particular day, it arrived.
This is how he sat around... THE ENTIRE DAY.
During home school,
while playing the Wii (which by the way did not hinder his Mario Cart skills),
he did relent and remove it to eat,
but back it went on his noggin' to clear his table and sweep the floors.
I think he likes his new helmet.  Just maybe.  a ittle bit.