Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy One Month Old Birthday MP!

Happy One Month Old Birthday MP!

(Photo taken from Lavender & Lime Studio)

I can't believe you are a month old already!  I love how you have blended so well with our family lifestyle.  This past month has been pretty busy and you have kept up with our pace.  My favorite part of this past month is seeing the love between you and your brother.  The love between the two of you has made becoming a family of four pretty easy.  It has been a great month so far - I can't wait to see how you continue to grow and develop into a little lady!

Love, Mom

LP and MP taking it easy this morning
MP getting ready to go swimming with Mom
for the first time
MP going on her first stroller ride with LP and our dog Bailey
(view from my angle)
MP and LP had fun playing on My Farmer's and my bed
This is the "after shot" after I put LP down for his afternoon nap
MP at her first meeting!
She went with me to an independent contracting commitment
MP hanging out on her blanket 
Life is great as a family of four!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Liebster Award 2.0

Last week I was honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award!
So what is the Liebster Award?  Well, it really isn't an award, it's more of a recognition from a fellow blogger (in my case Country Bunkin Mama).  Liebster means dearest or lovely in German.  This award is a great way to discover new blogs.  As a recipient of the award I must:
  • Link back to the blog that nominated me
  • Answer the questions posed by my nominator
  • Share 11 random facts about myself
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers on Google Friend Connect, or Networked Blogs, or Google +, or Pinterest, or less than 200 likes on Facebook
    • Also eligible are bloggers who have less than 200 posts
    • Also eligible are bloggers who have been blogging for less than 2 years
  • Share my preferred way for readers to follow my blog
  • Create 11 questions for my nominees to answer
  • Contact my nominees
So here it goes...

Questions from Country Bunkin Mama:
  1. As a kid what did you do that got you in trouble?  I would have to say the biggest trouble I got into growing up was for drinking underage in high school.
  2. What do you miss about being a kid?  Being able to just live and enjoy life and not worry about obligations, bills, etc.
  3. What is your first memory of being excited?  My memory is failing me right now but probably going to school.
  4. What was the first thing you bought with your own money?  Clothes.  My parents put my sisters and I on clothing allowances when I was in second grade.
  5. What story does your family always tell you?  Lately I've been hearing stories about when I had new baby sisters come home from the hospital or how we played when I had baby siblings.  The best is once after arriving home from grocery shopping my Mom ran inside with the first round of frozen and refrigerated food and told my sisters and I to wait in the car.  When she got back to the car she saw me carrying my youngest sister out of the car (who was a couple months old at the time) by her head/neck and I told my Mom that the baby needed her.  She calmly said - yes, the baby does need me.  She said it was hard to not freak out when she saw me and my sister but knew it'd be best if she calmly approached me.
  6. If you were to turn on your most used music device right now what genre of music would be playing?  Does AM Talk count???  If I'm actually listening to music, I listen to country music primarily.
  7. Are you a night owl or a morning dove?  Can I say both?  I'd prefer to be more of a morning dove because it is a great way to start the day and I'm a lot more productive in the morning then I am at night.
  8. If you could travel in time just once, what year would you travel to?  I think it'd be fun to experience the roaring '20s.
  9. What is your favorite board game or card game?  Black jack.
  10. Traveling only by car where is your favorite road trip destination?  Yellowstone.
  11. What is your favorite social media platform?  I probably use Facebook the most but I enjoy Twitter, Pinterest and of course Blogging!
11 Random Facts About Myself:
  1. I am the oldest of three sisters.
  2. When my sisters and I were younger and played "jobs" they were a teacher and a veterinarian, I was the person who weighed trucks at the grain elevator.
  3. I played the trombone in band in middle school and high school.
  4. I have a scar on my back from falling down the stairs as a kid.
  5. My husband was the first guy I ever said "I love you" to.
  6. My husband and I started dating our freshman year in college but discovered we had been at the same place at the same time many times before college, the earliest realization being a honor band in 5th grade.
  7. I have really bad eyesight - without my contacts or glasses I couldn't see the big "E" on the eye chart.
  8. I don't drink coffee.
  9. I consider myself to be a strong Christian with solid moral convictions.
  10. I prefer to have as little email as possible in my inbox but over the course of the last couple of months I have gotten behind and have over 100 emails sitting in my inbox - I feel so behind!
  11. I have a collection of aprons that I both use and display in my kitchen (every apron has been worn at least once).
My Nominees Are:

  1. Prairie Princess
  2. Stories of a First Generation Farm Wife
  3. [j.l.d.] Photograph
  5. FenceRow to FenceRow
  6. The Udder Side
  7. Full Her Life
  8. Suzanne's CommonGround
  9. Adventures of a Semper Fi Family
  10. Adventures in Mommyhood
  11. Marvelous Mommy
Preferred Way To Follow Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids:

I prefer readers to follow my blog two different ways - facebook or bloglovin'.  

My blog's facebook page not only includes blog updates, but also includes extra photos and questions for readers' to answer.  I love how starting my facebook page just four month ago how much I've been able to interact with readers as well as gain new followers!

My preferred way of catching up on blogs is bloglovin' and I encourage all of you to start a bloglovin' account to keep up with all the blogs you follow.  I use to use Google Reader to subscribe to blogs but that program is actually shutting down on Monday.  Learn more by checking out my post on making the switch to bloglovin'.

Questions for my Nominees:
  1. Are you a night owl or a morning dove?
  2. What is the first thing you think about or do in the morning?
  3. What is the last thing you think about or do before you go to bed?
  4. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  5. Do you look more like your father or your mother?
  6. Do you have any pets?
  7. What is your favorite social media platform?
  8. What is your favorite food?
  9. If you were to turn on the radio right now, what station or type of music would the radio be turned to?
  10. What do you wish you had more time to do?
  11. What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fifteen Ways My Farmer and I Are Different

I love all things Pioneer Woman - her cookbooks, her TV show, cast iron skillets and of course her blog - and last week she had a blog post called "Fifteen Ways Marlboro Man and I are Different."  In the post she lists fifteen ways in which her and her husband are different and ended the post with a challenge to think about the ways you and your love are different.

So I did some thinking and decided to post my "Fifteen Ways" My Farmer and I are different:

  1. He is a Red Case IH man.  I am a Green John Deere gal.
  2. He is always dreaming about building more hog houses.  I am always dreaming about building an actual house for our family to live in.
  3. He grew up United Church of Christ.  I grew up Missouri Synod Lutheran.
  4. He drinks coffee and bottles of Diet Mountain Dew to make it through the day.  I drink water and milk to make it through the day (with the occasional Caffeine Free Diet Mountain Dew).
  5. He grabs a snack from the cupboard and goes along his way.  I try to grab a snack from the cupboard but there is an empty box that is left in there...
  6. He doesn't take naps because he'd never get up if he did.  I love taking Sunday afternoon naps.
  7. He watches NCIS rerun marathons on Sundays.  I watch the Food Network on Sundays.
  8. He falls asleep quickly and hard.  I fall asleep eventually and hear everything that goes on all night long.
  9. He can't stay in the house all day - he must get out and do something.  I look forward and try to have one day a week where I never have to leave the house.
  10. He goes shopping with one thing on his list initially and comes out of the store with a cart load.  I take a list with me shopping and buy only what is on the list.
  11. He likes to try new menu items at restaurants.  I order the same thing at restaurants once I have found something that I like.
  12. He likes it when I make "classic" foods for meals at home (aka meat and potatoes, casseroles, etc.).  I love trying new recipes and eating a variety of foods at home.
  13. He is laid back about most things.  I am very structured about most things and a huge list maker.
  14. He is quiet in a public setting and the life of the party when around friends.  I am pretty outgoing and you may even call me "loud" in a public setting and I love hosting the party when around friends.
  15. He "watches" sports for the good food and drinks.  I watch sports to see who wins and get into the game.
How are you and your love different?  How are you the same?  Do any of our "Fifteen Ways" remind you or you and your love?

My Farmer and I at Baconfest in February
One thing we aren't different on is our love for Bacon!
(Once you have kids you don't take as many photos of just the "two of you"...)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Big Brother and Little Sister

I'm so happy that LP loves being a big brother
and that MP has been a great little sister and good baby!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Quest for Life as a Super Mom

Life as a Super Mom?  Is it really possible?  I have been thinking about this, oh I don't know, the last 3 1/2 weeks since MP arrive... and especially this past week.  Being a Mom is huge identity of mine.  According to my parents, I've wanted to be a Mom since I became a big sister at the age of 15 months.  When something is so important to you, you want to be the best - you want to be super.

First thing first, what is a Super Mom?  My definition of a Super Mom is a Mom who takes care of her family and home at an exemplary level.  Now I like to think that I do a good job of taking care of my family and home, but at an exemplary level - both family and home simultaneously...  I'm not sure how often that happens.

There are some days I feel like I am on top of meal-time, kid activities, and keeping the house clean, but on the same day, bed time will be a struggle and I get behind on laundry, and I get knocked back down to reality and realize that I'm not perfect.

But do I have to be perfect all the time to be a Super Mom?  Will my kids remember the times I made a frozen pizza for supper because I just didn't want to cook that night, or will they remember having picnics in the park after going to the library for story time?  Will they remember dishes sitting in the sink for the day rather than being washed right away, or will they remember singing and dancing to the "Wheels on the Bus" instead?

Maybe I should be looking for Super Mom moments, those little successes that make you feel on top of the world, rather than complete days where nothing goes wrong.  Because is it the moments or days we remember?  I have to admit, I've been having quite a few Super Mom moments lately - but never a full day of only them.

So here's to those Super Mom moments!  For all those Moms out there - I hope you all have a Super Mom moment today, or tomorrow, because I obviously am not having a Super Mom moment today getting this blog posted at a decent time...

Life as a Super Mom
Maybe not always, but at moments I feel like I can and am able to do it all!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Farm Friday

I haven't done many Farm Friday posts this spring because frankly - this spring hasn't been the greatest on the farm (and I guess I didn't want to think about it - or write about it - anymore than I needed to...).  The spring started off late due to a late snow, along with general wet and cold conditions (not the best environment for corn and soybeans to flourish...).  Then after we started planting, we were kept out of the field several times due to the fields being too wet.  This spring has been the latest My Farmer and I have ever planted our corn and soybeans.

My Farmer planting one of our last fields
Now this past week has been a great week to get field work done.  (Too bad it didn't happen a month ago but anyways...)  In the last week we've finished planting our crops and have also been replanting flooded out spots in fields, as well as spraying corn fields.  The start of the week brought us a lot of sunshine and warm temperatures that really helped with plant growth, but we're are still behind "average".

I took this picture this morning of the corn field around our house.
It was planted April 29th, 7 1/2 weeks ago.
This field has seen snow and flooding since it was planted.
This field was sprayed this week and well as had wet spots replanted.
Compare it to last year...

And you can see how far behind we are.  The old saying is "knee high by the 4th of July" but in reality we strive to be at least chest high and tasseling by the 4th of July.  This year - we'll be aiming for knee or waist high!

The only nice thing about still doing spring field work I guess is the MP got her first tractor ride last week!  I'm not sure I should be happy or sad that she was able to get a tractor ride at such an early age.  If it would have been a normal year she would have had to wait till this fall.

Have you been having a wet spring this year like we have?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When a Neighbor is More Than Just the Person Who Lives Down the Road

Last week a group of six tornadoes went through my neighborhood.  Luckily for my family and I, the tornadoes were not on the ground as they went over our house, but for some of our neighbors, they weren't as fortunate.

A picture that I took of one of the tornadoes that went by our home
(Don't worry, right after I took the photo I took everyone to the
basement for shelter for the duration of the storms)
Right after the storm had passed through, My Farmer hopped into his pick-up to check on his parents, our hogs and our new house to make sure everyone and everything was alright.  But as he was making his way to check on everything, he noticed trees across the road at our neighbors.  He drove over to find destruction everywhere.  He talked to the family to make sure they were okay and then looked around to see how he could help.  The night of the storm, My Farmer, along with other neighbors who made similar trips after the storm to check on things, all merged on our neighbor's place and got to work.  First thing that night was to board up the home.  Second thing done, plans were made for people to take time away from the fields the next day to help with clean-up.

A view of some of the damage the day after the tornadoes.
Our neighbors had trees uprooted, out buildings destroyed,
windows shattered and personal belonging thrown around the entire farm.
Neighbors brought over equipment to help with the clean-up
I couldn't help with the actual clean-up with two kids age two and under
but I could help with lunch for the work crew!
And the best part of helping with lunch, I had friends give me food
to help with lunch after they had heard what happened
Last week I was so proud of my community.  None of these people were asked, paid or told to come and help these neighbors in need.  Work and help was needed and everyone felt it was their job to come and work and help.  

Last week's events made me think of another time that my community came together to help a neighbor in need.  In 2011 one of our neighbors passed away in a car accident.  When it came time for his fields to be harvested, farmers from the entire neighborhood took a day off of harvesting their own fields to help this family in need.

Combine and catch carts at work in a field
Three combines working on the same field
A line-up of the combines and tractors used to help with the harvest
Neighbors that came to help a neighbor
Once again, why did these neighbors come together to help another neighbor in need?  Call it "Midwest Values" or being an Iowan, but everyone wanted to be there to help.  There was work that needed to be done and no one was just going to wait for someone or some government group to come and do the work.

I am so proud of my neighborhood and community.  We are always there for each other.  We truly care about each other and show concern for one another.  I realize that everyone in this world is not as fortunate as I am to have this sense of community or neighbors.  Some only get this feeling of support from family.  So I guess you could say I have two families - my biological relatives and my neighbors.  (And you know you are from the rural Midwest when you consider a person who lives many miles away still a neighbor...)

What makes you proud of your community or neighborhood?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - aka Mommy's Brag Book!

Today's Wordless Wednesday is a chance for this Mom to show off my kids from the last couple of weeks! I can't believe MP is going to three weeks old already tomorrow!

Last photo taken as a family of three
(I just happened to use the self-timer and took a photo of us
the night before we left for the hospital)
First photo taken as a family of four
(Taken the morning of MP's "birth"day)
First photo of Daddy and MP on MP's "birth"day
First photo of Mommy and MP on MP's "birth"day
First photo of LP kissing MP on her "birth"day with Grandma and Dad
A comparison shot of MP and LP on their "birth"days
MP is on the left and LP is on the right
Can you tell they're siblings!?!
MP meeting our dog Bailey our first day at home
LP has been a great big brother to MP
He gets out blankets everyday for both of them (or all of us) to lay on
LP loves joining his sister on her bouncy seat...
Who knew if could fit two!
LP is a great helper!
Here he is helping MP with her pacifier as we get ready to leave the house 
A week after MP was born we went to our first wedding
LP was the ring bearer and My Farmer was a groomsman
for some good friends of ours
(LP looks upset because we took him off the dance floor for the photo...)
LP was a dancing machine at the wedding reception,
especially after we took off the dress shoes and
replaced them with tennis shoes!
He kept his whole suit on the whole night!
Everyone on the dance floor!
(It looks like LP gets his dance moves from his Dad...)
MP got her first tractor ride last week!
I love these kids!  I feel blessed!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Moving Up Monday

I'm excited to share a "Moving Up Monday" update with all of you today - there has been quite a bit done to our new house since the last time I shared about our home remodel!

First up, the progress on our Mudroom/Laundry Room/Office.  We knocked down the wall between the "laundry hallway" and the old first floor bedroom.

Photo taken from back of the old first floor bedroom
looking through to the old laundry hallway
creating one larger mudroom/laundry room/office.
(Photo taken May 26, 2013)
And more recently, the mudroom closet (which will have an area for coats and cleaning products storage) has started being built.

The closet will be easily accessed as you enter the house.
We will be using the old closet doors from the original downstairs bedroom
as the new mudroom closet's doors.
(Photo taken June 11, 2013)
Now onto the Downstairs Bathroom.  We started by clearing everything out of the bathroom.

Photo taken from the old doorway of the bathroom.
(Photo taken May 23, 2013)
And then the hallway walls and old first floor bedroom's closet walls were knocked down.

My "studs" (LP and My Farmer) taking out the old studs.
(Photo taken May 26, 2013)
After the guys took the beams down, I got the job of taking out the old nails - but I had to quit doing that not too far into the job because I broke the hammer...  Who knew I was so strong!

Don't mess with me - I'm strong enough to break hammers in half!
And now the bathroom has been completely gutted and thing are getting ready for the new fixtures (shower/bath, toilet and vanity) to arrive.

Photo taken from the new doorway of the bathroom - see how much bigger it is now!
You can see the area where the shower/tub is going to be on the left
and in the right corner is where the toilet is going to be.
We also had a smaller window put in to give more privacy.
(Photo taken June 11, 2013)
Photo taken from toilet area looking through to both entrances for the bathroom,
one from the dining room (where LP is) and one from the mudroom.
(Photo taken June 11, 2013)
Photo taken from shower are looking at vanity area,
as well as looking at the linen closet that was kept from "old hallway".
(Photo taken June 11, 2013)
There also has been work started recently on our new half bath.  This old unfinished closet is going to make a great bathroom for the second floor.

Where the stool is, is where the sink will be located
and the toilet will be in the corner of the room.
Thanks to an idea from our general contractor
we reused the old kitchen's tile floor for the half bath.
(Photo taken June 16, 2013)
Our general contractor is building some "open" storage
where the wall/roof slants, as well as some
shelved storage around the chimney.
(Photo taken June 16, 2013)
And while I'm showing photos from the upstairs, I'll show you what we've done with two of the bedrooms closets.  Two of the three bedrooms' closets have a slanted "wall" due to the roof.  So to make things easier to access we've add an extra access door to one of the bedroom closets.

New/additional closet door accessible from the hallway
(Photo taken May 23, 2013)
See how long this closet is!  LP is standing in the doorway of the bedroom
connected to the walk-in closet.  With slanted walls/roof, it would have been hard
to get all the way down the other end of the closet.
(Photo taken May 23, 2013)
And we're adding sliding doors to the other slanted wall/roof closet.

You can see the new sliding door area.
The old doorway will be covered up/drywall installed.
(Photo taken May 23, 2013)
Besides all of these updates, we've also:

  • Removed all the carpet,
  • Had outlets installed on every wall in every room (those of you who live in old homes know how big of a deal this is - older homes usually only have one outlet for each room and it is usually oddly placed and is outdated by only have two prong openings and not three),
  • Been stripping wood panels and windows that were painted, which we are now having stained back to their "original" condition,
  • And have removed a lot of tree seedlings from around the property (but I'm afraid there are hundreds of seedlings that still need to be cleaned up!).

In the coming weeks things we're looking forward to seeing:

  • Electrical work finishing up,
  • New windows being installed,
  • Additional kitchen cupboards being installed,
  • Both bathrooms becoming functioning,
  • Central air/heat being installed,
  • And to be able to start painting the rooms (all of which will have a primer of white painted to start with).
As you can see, a lot of progress has happen but at the same time we've got a lot of work to go before we plan on moving in at the end of July.  We still need to think through paint colors for all the rooms in the house, as well as flooring for the bedrooms.  Do you have some favorite paint colors for Living Rooms, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedroom, etc?  And/or do you think we should leave hard woods in the upstairs bedrooms or carpet the bedrooms?