Talking with Mae

 

Entering the room with her hands up.

Mae:  F…B…I!

Mommy:  (blinks)

Mae:  You go to jail.  (As she pulls my hands behind my back and tries to pull me to her bedroom)

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Mae:  (finger stuck up her nose and digging around with a very serious look on her face)

Mommy:  Are you okay?  Did you get it?

Mae: Yes….It looks like chicken.

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As a group of Daddy’s friends left the house a couple of evenings ago.

Mae:  Bye, Dudes!

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Out of the blue..

Mae:  I want to have baby when I grow big.  I will cuddle her.

Mommy:  (cue the tears)

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Something she picked up from her cousin and we hear it often…….

Mae:  Mommy!  I just need you.

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While making the second trip to the potty after bedtime.

Mommy:  Do you really have to potty, or are you faking?

Mae:  Shhhhhh!  I am sleepwalking.

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Mid-Week Round up of Sorts

If a weekend roundup doesn’t make it to the screen till Thursday, does it still count?

Here goes my mid-week weekend roundup…..

It was a weekend of extremes for sure. Saturday felt like Spring was thinking about joining us and Sunday we were socked in under snow and ice. I took a few photos on Saturday but refused to take another picture of the crummy ice….

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Mae Mae was all about exploring. But, she was adamant that she go it alone. She told us to stay and her little rubber roots started the journey to the center of the wheat field. She make it about an 1/8 of mile on her own before she started to turn back. The entire time, we could catch little snippets of a conversation she was apparently having with the cows that were nowhere to be seen. There was a lot of “hey, cow….hey, cow…..papa, hay…cows…….bye, stay, come on…..”

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Those little legs of hers got a work out for sure.

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Eddie and Papa got some more fence built.  We use electric fence exclusively on our farm.  Teaching Mae Mae about the safety issues surrounding the electric fence will be a long ongoing discussion for many years.  Right not, at almost two….she doesn’t have any concept of the boundary that the fence is providing.  And why should she?  At this point, she can still walk right underneath that single strand of hi-tensile wire.

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Sunday brought ice that made the drive home from Mass a little treacherous.

Waffles for Mae.  She is a bigger fan of the batter than the actual waffle.  Funny.

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Since we were cooped up in the house for a snow day, we decided to breakout an early birthday present for Mae that was hiding in the basement.  In typical first time parent fashion, we broke out the video camera after nap thinking that we would get a big reaction on tape.

Well…..Mae wasn’t quite awake all the way and it was a bit of let down.  She did warm up to the easel by end of the day. But at first the look she gave us said something like, “What is all the fuss about, it’s just chalk??????”.

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Winter Weather Recap

So the weather has been a little crazy. I am sure you have heard since the media hasn’t stop talking about something called the polar vortex. Not really sure that I understand the concept of what a polar vortex is…. but to me it seems like winter. Granted we haven’t really experienced a winter in a few years. I think we have just all gotten a little soft about the cold. This is coming from the girl who stayed cooped up with Mae during the really cold snaps so don’t take my words to heart. Papa and Eddie fought the extreme cold (-12) and foot of snow.

Here is how the view looked from the inside. It was too damn cold to get out and get a picture.

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Here is shot of the snow drifting outside Mae Mae’s window. Ok, maybe is was pretty bad after all……

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When my office finally opened after the first snow, this is what the highways looked like that first morning headed to work.

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What do you do on a snow day???? Well you play dress up! That is Mae Mae’s baby monitor in her hand. She is taking your picture with it and saying “CHEESE”. Can you hear her?

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You watch all the snow action from your own window with the seat designed just for you.

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And when you come down with pinkeye and the flu, you cuddle up in the chair and eat your favorite….NOONALS. That is noodles for the rest of us.

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We piled the wood in the furnace, chased each other around the house, watched a little Netflix (or “eeeevie” for TV as it is called in our house), played with the baby dolls, puzzles, and whatever else we could find to do……

Got a wild hair on one of those snow days that I was off work and switched bedrooms with Mae.  Little Bit and I got all the furniture and such moved by ourselves in a few hours.  She was a great little helper as she hauled toys and whatever else she could get her hands on.  The larger bedroom will give her much more room to spread out those toys, prep for sharing a room with another baby one day and keep her much warmer.  The room she was in, is over the walkout basement portion of the house and is terribly hard to keep warm.  And I could never get the layout in Mae’s old room to flow well.  Problem is solved.  Extra bonus is that even though both rooms are a generous size, the smaller one that we are now in is much cozier.

Well, that about rounds out our bad weather update for January. How did you survive the vortex?

Are you a free range parent?

Have you heard of this……Free Range Kids? Seems to be a bit of buzz words these days.

This was a foreign concept to me until a few years ago when a friend brought it to my attention.

She told me that there was a site/book/author/blogger that advocated a parenting approach that focused on children taking responsibility at a young age. She told a story of a young boy (age 9) taking the subway home for the first time by himself. She was horrified that a mother could leave her child to safely ride the train home. As she was describing all of this with doom and gloom, I was thinking something quite different.

To be honest, I didn’t say much in return in that discussion. I took it all in until I could research it myself. My search lead me to this site. Click here for a description of a free range kid.

I devoured the information and subscribed to the newsletter. Daily, I rec’d an email with newstories happening around our nation in schools and communities reinforcing the helicopter parenting that runs rampant in our nation. Stories of high schools making policy changes that essentially treated the teenagers like toddlers. This newsletter filled my inbox for about six months before I unsubscribed. I found the newsletter informative, relevent and interesting. But, I also found it to be disheartening. The rare glimpse of some tidbit of hopeful news wasn’t enough to keep me going.

Check out some of the articles on Free Range Kids. Makes me think our nation is gone a little batty.

Dad on foot arrested for refusing to wait in line of cars to pick up kids……

Cops Say Mom Left Kids Home with 13 y.o. WHY IS THIS A CRIME??

The fact that this free range kid perspective even needs to be pointed out, discussed,  and debated is frightening. Though I am beginning to wonder if the title of free range kids really in truly needs to be changed to free range parent.

Where are the days that kids could learn adult tasks by doing them? When did parents decide that hovering and smothering was a necessity?

In our family you learned to drive a tractor before age 10 and a pickup before that.  We hauled hay with a hay crew of other kids our age and drove down the highway to the barn or next hayfield by ourselves.  We were expected to pump our own fuel for these tasks.  We fed and watered the chickens, milked the goats, feed the bottle calves, and did our chores all without supervision.  If we ran into a snag of sorts, it was our responsibility to figure it out, find help via a brother or sister, and then go get Mom or Dad as a last resort.

I DROVE TO THE FEEDSTORE (30 MILES AWAY) BY MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME AT AGE TWELVE.  I don’t say this to brag or highlight the fact that is was technically illegal.

I write these words to say, that at age twelve I was mature and responsible enough to DRIVE TO THE FEEDSTORE (30 MILES AWAY) BY MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME AT AGE TWELVE.

It is different time you say…..Well, it might be.  But, I want to do everything in my power to turn back the clock for our family. Mae Mae is a lucky girl to have the opportunity for a lifestyle that will instill responsibility at a young age to facilitate her developing into a capable, independent adult.

There will be naysayers that will say that a farm work ethic is child neglect and will limit the child somehow if life. Bologna I say! A little discipline and a sense of purpose that comes from having a few chores would go a long way for the couch potato and video gamer kid.

When I got back around to discussing this further with my friend, it was clear that we had very different takes on the matter. She grew up a farm but has lived in the city for sometime now and it has changed her. When I told her that I was very lucky to live where we did and that we could allow children the freedom to roam, explore and problem solve. She replied, “Well, I guess so. As long as you lock the farm gate.”

Really???? I don’t even lock my house.

I didn’t have any words……

Guesting at Housewives of Rural America today….

So… check out my first guest post over here.

Thanks so much to the girls for lending me a little spot in their world for the day.

Country or Farm?

If you live within driving distance of a Target or Costco then you probably think they are one in the same……

Isn’t a farm in the country? Well…yes, technically it is.  But there is a distinct difference between the lifestyle of someone raised in the country and not farming and the lifestyle of a farming family.

This is a distinction that I didn’t really start to see until well into my twenties.

I think it really came to light when I started dating.  Naively, I thought that rural living was going to the common denominator in my dating life….Turns out it was, kind of….

A country or rural lifestyle in itself is a wonderful, slow, relaxed, nature oriented lifestyle.  The focus in our neck of the woods is hunting, trailing riding (atvs), boating riding at the river, trucks, guns, quilting, sports, and many other hobbies.  Trends are slow to hit our area if they make it at all.  Privacy is paramount and relaxation, family time, and church family are given their due.

A farming family lifestyle mimics this to degree.  It is a nature oriented lifestyle too but in a different way.  Conservation of resources that keep the land productive takes the focus.  Conversations about soil health, soil fertility, and soil and water conservation are welcomed at the dinner table.  Production talks include cattle conception and calving rates, body condition scores, frame scores, bull soundness exams, feed prices, hat test results and don’t forget the WEATHER.

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Relaxation is almost never given its due.  There is always work to be done.

Farming is hard.

Farming never takes a day off.

But the satisfaction from a good days work on the farm is hard to beat.  For me, there isn’t a better feeling then the sun setting on a good days work that the whole family was part of.  It could be hauling hay, seedbed prep, fence repair, working cattle or numerous other things but the warm fuzzy feeling I get at the end of the day is precious.  It is a reminder that we are doing it….

WE ARE FARMING!

(I want to shout it from the hills most days….)

Fall 2013

Being part of a farming family is a wonderful experience that can draw you closer through the everyday hardships of contributing to this countries food supply.  There is something a little magical and romantic about being part of this age-old tradition of cultivating the land.

Years ago, I had the privilege of meeting the grandmother of a guy that I was dating at the time.  (It was a long time ago and far, far away as my Dad would say.)  Within minutes of meeting me, the woman asked me if I had a farming heart.  I didn’t even know that there was even such a thing but I was instantly teary eyed a looked her in the eye and even though it was news to me…said yes.

So remember, not everyone who lives out in the sticks is farming.

Farming takes a special kind of heart.

Play Kitchen Wrap Up!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Just wanted to tear away from all the fun to share with you what we have been hard at work on around the casa. Eddie and I re-worked an old nightstand into a play kitchen just in time for Christmas for little Mae Mae.  And by just in time, I mean that touch-up paint was still drying when I left for midnight mass on Christmas eve and the kitchen wasn’t brought up from the basement and staged until 6am Christmas morning.  By the hair of our chinny, chin, chin…….

Play Kitchen Before

Play Kitchen After

Originally, I thought we could leave both of the doors on and use them as is.  Turns out that due to the nice curved detail on this nightstand, it wasn’t possible to just switch the hinges from the side to the bottom.  So, both doors came off and a new drop down stove door was added.  Eddie used some scrap lumber lying around to build the divider wall and add the shelves.

The rack in the stove is a trimmed down to size cooling rack from the kitchen.  I borrowed the light in the stove idea from Young House Love.  It is just a small touch light and Mae can turn it on when she wants her stove to be on.  The plexiglass for the door cost $.43 at our local glass shop.

I whipped a small little curtain out of some pink gingham fabric.

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The microwave was a surprise early gift from my brother and it just happened to fit in the bottom shelf perfectly.  We did use a little velcro on it as well so that it would stay put when Mae tugged on the door.

The stove top burners are just CD’s spray painted black and the faucet and handles were cut from scrap wood by Eddie and spray painted silver.  The sink is a stainless steel bowl and the basket on the side is full of play food.  The utensil caddy is a $3 flowerpot that I secured with velcro.

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I am sure that more accessories will be added over time but I think we have a great start.  I am picturing a cute little teapot!

Cost – $80.  That is the cost of the nightstand at $35, paint and all accessories.

I know that pinterest is full of these play kitchens.  If you are interested in making one but hesitant to tackle it, just dive right in. There is no right or wrong way to do this.  Whatever you have on hand or readily available will do.  Even though the need for perfection gets to me just about everyday, don’t let it stop you from building/trying any crafty or pinteresty idea.  JUST DO IT!

Play Kitchen in Action

There will be hours upon hours of enjoyment!

Almost a successful sledding trip…..

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This is how it got started.  Got Mae Mae settled in on the sled in her new muck boots.

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Started to pull…..We are about 2 minutes into the fun at this point.

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She is loving everything about this. Even the 19 degree temp isn’t slowing her down.

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And here is where the pictures stop.  Mae tipped to the side and fell face first in the snow.  Poor thing had so many clothes on she just stuck there and couldn’t move.  I snatched her up and tried to brush off as much snow as I could.  That is when the screaming started.  She was so cold and shook up that we headed straight for the house to defrost…..

Hmm… so to recap……..It took twice as long to get her dressed for the snow than the time spent actually sledding!  Maybe next time.

Thanksgivukkah?

We had a wonderful Hanukah/Thanksgiving celebration this week. Brisket, Kasha with noodles, latkes, rolls, black bean salad, cranberry salad, apple pie, banana cream pie and pear tart….. Drooling as I am typing.  If the menu seems a little light on the veggies, it is because it was.  It didn’t occur to anyone until we sat down to eat that we completely forgot to make the lima beans and brussel sprouts.  I am sure that Mae Mae didn’t mind.

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Get a closer look at this homemade pear tart wonder that Eddie made. It was as delicious as it was beautiful.  Got the recipe here.

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Here is our homemade menora……Got the idea here.

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We took an evening walk to round out our wonderful, stress free, family day……Can’t ask for more.

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Hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing holiday!

Weekend Roundup Vol 11

Cold season hit us hard this weekend so Mae Mae and I we relinquished to the house most of the time. We did manage to get a little sun. How cute is this kid?  And don’t even think of trying to get those rubber boots off.  She is not having it.  If fact, she wore them pretty much all weekend. She made a game out of taking them on and off….on and off….on and off….You can see where this is going.

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Eddie did manage to get the new feeding floor lined with its first layer of sawdust. Equipment breakdown and all. A small group of weaned steers and heifers from Spring of 2013 will be going into the barn shortly. Soon this sawdust will be covered in manure and then on its way to compost.

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Water tank turned on and ready to go.

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Spring calves got weaned and heifers we sold left the farm. Not bad for a weekend with fewer hands to help.

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