Tag Archives: Family

Starting 2017 on a Rise

I’m not going to lie to you. The year 2016 was one I’d rather forget. In my mind, I’ll remember lots of stress, running around, frustration, and the time when I was convinced that I had legitimate memory loss issues (still think I’m not 100%). (My mom tells me it will come back when the boys are a little older.) (I don’t get that!)

Here’s the thing, as I was pondering a post and thinking about what I might write reflecting about the year and how horrible it was, I saw the title of the post from last year come across my Facebook memories: “Buh-Bye 2015.” Stop it. Did I write about 2015 in a good-riddance way too?

What is wrong with me?

Hold on. I think its human nature to dwell on the negative, right? But wait, that’s not me. I can always find the silver lining in something. And there were some redeeming things about 2016, so here goes.

I discovered the book-turned-tv-series Outlander, written by Diana Gabaldon (@WriterDG on Twitter), which immediately became my guilty pleasure. I read all eight books plus the graphic novel. That’s like 15,746 pages (not really, but they are huge books). I had not read for pleasure in such a long time – six years at least, that I forgot what it was to get wrapped up in a great story. (In full disclosure, the idea for the title of this post came from @WriterDG when she casually said she was ending 2016 on a rise.) (She’s so cool!)

I grew both professionally and personally, continuing to exercise the “choose wisely” mantra my husband said to me once. Sure, I learned a lesson or two, or seven, but all in a good way.

And of course, the boys are wonderful. They are both in school now. TK can read in Kindergarten! How crazy is that? They go from being these tiny beings incapable of the slightest care for themselves to reading in five short years! Big E keeps us on our toes. He is very quick-witted. When he starts in with the “MAWEmmeee I want some chocolate milk” for the eighth time in a two minute span, I reply “Well I want a million dollars.” To which he replies “But mommy, I don’t have a million dollars and we do have chocolate milk.” He’s 3 folks. How many more years of this?

So that leaves, the farm. As I’ve reflected on why I feel like I won’t miss 2016, it’s mostly about the farm. Don’t get me wrong, we are still very happy with our choice to farm and be here, but between the low milk prices and waiting all year for something to happen (hopefully soon) (we’re still waiting), the slightest thing tend to get you down and maintaining perspective is hard.

But even at that, by late fall, things had started looking up. The milk price started to come up. The forecast for the year is to be much better than 2016. And we had a beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas with lots of visiting family and friends we are blessed to have in our lives.

And the first calf born for 2017 was a Jersey heifer…okay, she was second to a Holstein bull but it was the same freaking day. After my bad luck with not getting many heifers, I am rejoicing in small victories.

Which leaves me with one goal for 2017: To be able to look back on the year in the last week of December and feel a little less good riddance and a bit more nostalgia for auld lang syne.

 

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Meet Circle S Lemonhead Trisha, aka Miss Trisha Yearwood!

 

 

 

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Things Relearned in 2013

As we head into 2014 I am excited for what the year holds for us. There are lots of things on my list that I would like to do like so many others – lose that last ten pounds, watch our home budget closer, plant a garden this summer, prepare healthier meals and snacks for my family and myself and take time to blog a bit more (!). But I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, preferring instead to focus on the day to day, stringing together a year that we can look back at and say “not bad.” I think I’ll be doing just fine if I am able take these lessons re-learned in 2013 into 2014 with me.

Here’s my version of taking inventory of 2013:

  1. Time sure does fly; don’t forget to live in the moment. For the first three months of Baby E’s life, I told myself as long as I can get through these first three months and we can establish some sort of routine, I’ll be all set. Guess what? In hindsight, those first three months passed like a flash and all of the sudden Baby E was smiling, rolling over and cooing. And now that he is approaching ten months, I find myself realizing that I didn’t really need to “wish” that time away. I just needed to find more patience.
  2. Patience, patience, patience. I always thought I had a lot of patience without having to think about it. What I found out with two little boys 19 months apart, a full time job and a dairy farm is that maintaining patience is a skill that needs to be practiced. Sometimes things seem to bubble up until I can’t take it any longer, and yes, I need to walk away, but I’ve found that by maintaining perspective I’m able to get through the tantrum meltdowns, fussy babies, never ending farm work, late-night catch up work sessions and even the constant clutter that doesn’t seem to unclutter itself. A reminder or perspective-check from conversations with close friends, family and the DF helps to keep that big picture view.

    One of the "farmer-rigged jobbies."

    One of the “farmer-rigged jobbies.”

  3. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. TK is BIG into tractors, particularly pulling wagons or some other sort of farm implement. At first, he used red implements that went with red tractors and life was copacetic until…he started wanted to use the wooden train cars as wagons. For about a week I tried to explain to my two year old that it could not be done. They were not the same and the two things didn’t go together until…one evening after a particularly pathetic meltdown I had a brainchild to use a twist-tie from a bread bag and hitch the two things together. Voila, problem solved. Besides, I had it on good authority that Santa was bringing him a new green tractor and green wagon and blue tractor and blue wagon and I wouldn’t have to deal with my “farmer-rigged jobbies” anymore. And yet he still comes to me, now saying “Help you?” wanting to mix up the sets again.
  4. Take time to connect with the people you care most about. A friend of mine lost her battle with cancer a few days before Christmas. Not in close contact and having recently seen her vibrant and full of life this summer, the news of the downturn in her health caught me off guard. She went into hospice care shortly after Thanksgiving and her family started a blog where they posted updates about her health. People could also leave messages for her. Once you posted, an email notification was sent each time someone else did too. To say it was inspirational to read about the impact this woman hand on so many lives seems too simple. How often do you have the chance to say thank you to someone for the impact that they had on you in your life’s journey? And she impacted so many! She was one to share her thoughts openly and honestly in a way that endeared her to you, making you feel comfortable to share freely as well. Just a thought, but maybe if we took the time to say thank you a little more often we might live fuller lives and help others to feel more free as well.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. In turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger into a friend.”- Melody Beattie

Thank you to my family and friends who fill my life.

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Happy New Year and a Vermont Christmas, Maybe?

Happy New Year! I just spent the week between Christmas and New Years off from work. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that, but TK’s daycare was closed and so went the decision for me, really. Of course there are those of us out there who can never really power down from our jobs, but I think that’s okay as long as you have balance.

This year was my first Christmas actually spent in Vermont – the first time in 33 years not spent with my folks andtree2 siblings. Yes, I was very sentimental (pregnancy helps enhance those types of emotions), but being married to a Dairy Farmer, the separation was bound to happen. I actually felt conflicted – while I knew I would miss my family, I was excited to start some new traditions with TK and my DF.

At first we had planned a quiet, quaint holiday with just the three of us. TK and I would go down to the barn in the morning and “help” dad finish with chores. We’d all come back, have some blueberry buttermilk pancakes, open some presents, take a nap, open more presents and then dad would be off to do afternoon chores and TK and I would work on a nice Christmas dinner including one of our own Jersey beef rib roasts. YUM!

Then my DF’s family was going to be able to join us. Okay, no problem, we’d still do most of the “quaint” Christmas plan, just maybe skip the pancakes and get out a few more roasts for a lunch-time dinner. It would be fun to have everyone up here for Christmas anyway – our little party jumped from 3 to 11! We were guaranteed to have snow and with TK’s older cousins, sledding was a sure bet! Even my DF’s dad was going to be able to make it! How exciting!

Then came the early Sunday morning before Christmas. UGH! TK and I had caught a bug – I was up almost every hour of the night beginning at 12:30 with a stomach ache, having to take care of “business” six times into the late morning hours. I couldn’t keep anything down until late that afternoon. Luckily, it didn’t hit TK as badly. This was the first time he was sick as a toddler and I found that he is a “silent puker” (sorry for the graphic) as it was quite a mess I found in his crib that morning! Ah, the joys of parenthood. He really didn’t seem out of sorts though and by Monday I think we both were somewhat back to normal. That afternoon we got a call that my DF’s family had to cancel – some of them were sick too!

Then came early Christmas morning. My DF was up awfully early – 1:30! I didn’t think anything of it until I ran into him on my nightly walk to the powder room a couple hours later. Oh boy. Yup – he caught the bug too. Poor guy, he still had to muscle up and go down to the barn and take care of the girls too. Luckily, he was able to get some help milking and get through chores early. Phew.

So my quaint, crazy, then quaint again Christmas turned out to be a sick one. And it turned out TK wasn’t really into opening presents despite all the r-i-i-ippping he could do. And a juice incident had the pink stuff everywhere. And my DF really needed all day to rest and get over the bug too. There were no pancakes, no Jersey beef rib roast. We barely opened four presents and mostly spent the day inside. We did get down to visit dad in the barn at night. And then I enjoyed a delicious bowl of Lucky Charms for supper.

TKopeningMy first Vermont Christmas was certainly one for the memory books – despite starting off as a sick day, it lasted three days and eventually we opened every present, ate our pancakes, rib roast and even had a cookie or two or ten. We watched as TK’s attitude about opening presents change as he figured out what it was all about. It was pretty awesome. The warm feeling created by the decorated and glowing Christmas tree stayed with us throughout those few days and the sparkling snow on the trees with a silver Wheeler Mountain looking down at us only added to the magic.

Happy New Year again, everyone! We are looking forward to an eventful 2013, starting with a big one in March.

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November Thanks

I’ve missed writing. I’m working on a final piece for “Farmers’ Markets Conversations” and have let that sort of be a block to posting more. So I’ve decided that it will be ready when it is, and to move forward. Here I am, 9:30 on a Monday night and jumping on the bandwagon to share what I’m thankful for in my life.

I’m thankful for my son. I still sometimes shake my head and wonder how we were blessed with such an amazing gift. I always wondered what it was really like to have children, to be a mom. It’s definitely life changing. And yes, I’m one of those who say it’s a change for the better. What I’ve learned from TK, from being a mom to children to things about me to things about him to raising him with my DF, is immeasurable – and we’re not done yet. Not even close. He is an amazing little boy and I’m grateful to be his mom.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” Melody Beattie

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Top Five Regrets

I receive the “Pause Newsletter” in my email inbox usually every week. I enjoy it as someone, like many, who struggles with life balance. I force myself to take the 2-3 minutes to read it and usually I’m left feeling glad that I took that time to reflect ever so briefly on big-picture messages. It’s put out by Patricia Katz, who’s message resonated with me when I heard her speak at a conference.

This week, she shared the top five regrets of senior citizens reflecting on their lives as shared in a book by Bronnie Ware, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. They are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Reading these now, as a 30-something, I have a lot of time to do something about making sure these are not my regrets when I get to the end of my days. At least I think I do, but in fact, I already have. Several years ago, I lost a very close friend of mine in a car accident. He was 31. In business, we talk a lot about “game changers” – what event or catalyst changes the course of the way a business operates or the way a market functions. Well, this event was my personal game changer.

After the accident, like a recovering addict, I had to learn how to take each day at a time. For a time I couldn’t even think about what to have for dinner, let alone my next career move. It was working through the pain of loss that I realized how grateful I am to have my life and those that fill it. Once I realized that there was no “getting over” my tragedy, that I had to accept what happened and learn how to live with the sadness, the world seemed like it was painted in a new color.

It seems a little strange reflecting on what happened now as my life is so much different than it was then. It’s really not though – I think my approach to life is what is different. At some point during the period where I really didn’t care what I ate, I read an article that an older person wrote to a graduate headed off to college. It was about certain truths in life and offered one as “Things fall apart. But you rebuild them again and appreciate them all the more for it.”

I felt like my life was falling apart – there was a huge void that once this person filled. When I figured out how to live with the void, it got smaller as I focused on doing things like the five regrets suggest. I make decisions that fit who I am. I choose things I’m passionate about – agriculture, family, helping others. I still work hard but it’s work that I like doing whether I’m at my computer, working with the cows, working with people or now, taking care of my son and our home. I don’t hesitate to share what I’m feeling or thinking, especially with family members! Keeping in touch with friends is a constant battle with all of life’s distractions for all of us, but I still try.

I’m happy. I have a life that I love. It’s not perfect for sure, but I am where I am because of choices that I have made. Sometimes my husband and I are still amazed – we look at each other and say, from the Talking Heads song and as the tagline of my blog reads, “Life, how did we get here?”

My wish for those closest to me and anyone reading this is that they too are happy and have a sense of peace and purpose; a life that they love too.

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