New Year, Same Me

Every one is making New Years resolutions. I mean it is that time of the year. We set goals, we aim to change, but are we really that bad to begin with?

Call me boring, I kinda like me. Believe me it’s taken a long time to get here. Personal acceptance is hard. You have to realize your faults then come to terms with them.

After some deep thought, I’m not making resolutions this year. It’s taken me nearly 30 years to decide I’m a pretty ok human. None of us are perfect. I’m not going to beat myself up trying to be.

I’m a mother to 3 amazing (although semi feral) children. 

I’m a wife to another pretty decent human, who has dealt with me for over a decade now. Kudos to him!

Maybe we do need to make a goal of more pictures together. Minus the random child or cow…

I work with my parents on a daily basis doing something that I’m passionate about. Family and business is hard, but we all make it work. 

Meeting time!

I attempt to keep chugging along at this blog. I love sharing my story. Even if it seems like some weeks, ok months, I neglect it. 

Check it out here, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Why does the change of the year have to decide we need to change a good thing? Keep on keeping on. Here’s to a great 2017! 

Black Friday, Christmas Trees and A Trip Down Memory Lane

WAY back when I was in middle school, a time when scrunchies were cool and we all had AOL messenger, my mom starting the tradition of us going Black Friday shopping together. Now before you judge I have never pushed, shoved nor been cuffed on Black Friday. We are rational and avoid the crazy stores (i.e. Walmart, Best Buy). 

These adventures have led to many memories. Both of triumph and tears. I figured it was time to share a story that contained both. 

Nearly 10 years ago RKO (Rural King Ohio) was running a door buster deal that involved the first 50 people to cash out in the store getting a FREE live Christmas tree. My dad has always drug his feet on putting up a tree early. My mom and I saw this as our shining oppurtunity to secure a tree before December 23rd. 

The store opened at 5 if I remember correctly. In our game plan we needed to leave about 45 minutes prior to that because I needed to get gas. At the time I drove a Ford Ranger. Small enough to park in a crowded lot, but still having a bed to stash our prospective tree. 

We set out. Thinking the gas station was open the next town over. Wrong. I think no big deal we can make it to the next station about 10 miles up the road. Wrong. We run out of gas. In a swamp. In the dark. 

A May Day call was put in to my father and then fiancé (I gotta give him credit for staying with me after living this story out) who were milking cows at the time. They laughed, they grumbled, my dad started our way with a gas can. 

Up pulls head lights. Not my dads truck. My mom and I start discussing the possibile escape routes in case it was a murderer. Good news, it wasn’t. It was the kid who worked the deli counter at the local grocery store. He was nice and checked to make sure we had help coming before driving off. 

My dad arrives. He puts gas in my truck that came with a lecture about having enough gas, serial killers and how ridiculous this whole adventure was. 

My mom and I collected our thoughts and continued on our quest. We were women on a mission. We arrived at RKO and hustled in to the store. After all of this it was like 5:15. We rush thru and cash out. Success, we still got FREE tree!!! This effort was not in vain. 

We shopped til we dropped, then returned victorious with our pine in tow. Grudgingly the next day my dad put up the tree. We all decorated and got in the holiday spirit. 

Now it’s important to note that deer season is next to a holiday around these parts. The male farmers at our place become very scarce and they only have priorities involving white tails. 

My brother also had a cat at this time with questionable mental stability. At some point in time during the day, towards the end of the week when everyone gets cranky from pursuing Bambi, the cat knocked the tree over. This happens sometimes with cats. Except when the tree fell it hit the entertainment center in the living room. No big deal, it broke the fall right? Well in breaking the fall it knocked EVERY needle (or so it seemed) off the tree… It seems as though our tree may not have been freshly cut. 

The conversation that occurred next was one of personal victory for my father and defeat for my mom and I. To add insult to injury he left the tree. Naked with dangling ornaments and all. 

Hanging our heads low, we un-decorated our prize tree. What had once brought us so much pride and joy quickly became an embarrassment. 

The following week we bought a new tree. Which we cut ourselves, ensuring the freshness. Then we redecorated it. Twice the holiday cheer! 

Nearly 10 years later and this story is still brought up on Black Friday and when we decorate our trees. Occasionally when we walk past the rows of trees at RKO. 

Holiday traditions. They’re never short on memories! 

Being A Good Mom

I’m a good mom. It’s a hard statement to type. It’s probably even harder for me to say out loud. But the truth is we need to tell ourselves this. 

I frequently feel like the candle is burning from both ends. But really the candle doesn’t only have two ends, it has wicks every where. Some days that flicker of a candle is more easily envisioned as a bonfire blazing out of control. 

There are days I pray that my kindergartener feels like I’m giving him enough attention while he works on spelling as I’m doing dishes and tending to dinner. 

My first grader reads and colors with my toddler while I get lunches packed for school. She’s my go to to occupy him when I need a diversion for him so I can shower. 

I think the hectic life of farming has made me stop to appreciate the small actions that are turning them in to great little humans. They have learned it takes a team to get everything done in a day. 

I’ve begun to focus more on the quality of the time we spend together. We have fun even when doing everyday things. Telling jokes in the tractor. Singing pre school songs (possibly loudly and off key) while we scrape manure. Our time together may be crazy, but it’s still time together. 

Days I feel like the candle is starting to go a blaze I stop and think. Did the kids leave for school happy? Did everyone eat a semi nutritious meal today? Is everyone fairly clean? Did we all survive until bed time? It may sound corny, but some days just reminding myself this helps. 

Life’s not perfect. Some days it’s an absolute mess, with glue stick in your hair and all. There are nights I run to dance class a little “aromatic” yet from the barn. But I’m giving it my all. And that is what makes us all good moms. 

Thankful November and Parenting

November is here and it brings with it the urge to share everything we are thankful for. There are the obvious family, health, friends… But I think when you’re a parent you enter a new season of thankfulness. One where you appreciate smaller things. 

  • Everyone knowing the location of their shoes when you need to walk out the door. 

    Shoes, shoes anyone?

  • No hostage type negotiations over eating, getting dressed, basically acting human.
  • No one proudly announcing a bodily function in a public setting.

    Toddlers fart a LOT. For which they are very proud.

  • All outside type creatures (bugs,slugs, amphibians) remaining outside. 

    This list should include ducks.

  • Good weather that allows your kids to burn off energy outside for hours. 
  • Successfully completing potty training.
  • Everyone cooperating for a family photo.

    I’m not sure this qualifies as that.

  • Avoiding cold/flu in the winter.
  • The bank teller giving you the correct number of suckers when you go to the drive up window. 
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathons so you can accomplish something on a rainy day. 
  • Cause nothing is more destructive than a bored toddler.

  •  That glorious moment in the evening when everyone falls asleep

    Snuggled in Mom and Dads bed because thats where they sleep best.

Fish Tales

Sometimes life throws you an unexpected chain of events. Like 2 goldfish from the street fair morph in to 2 adult mollies with 5 babies living on your kitchen counter. Yes, this story escalated quickly. 
A little town by us has an annual street fair every fall. It’s a big deal. Emma’s dance school performs there. We hadn’t made it to the fair during the week so after the performance my mom and I lugged the kids around to see the sights. 

After pony rides, they scampered off to the fish game. We’ve never actually played the fish game in fear of being the unfortunate souls who won a fish. Today was their day. Between the the 3 of them they split 2 baskets of balls. 

The first ball Emma threw landed right in a jar. If you’re unfamiliar with this game, when you successfully chuck a ping pong ball that lands in a fish bowl, you win a small gold fish. Life expectancy 3 hours-200 years. Before it was all over with we scored 2 gold fish. 

Rudolph and Diamond on their way home.

We had no fish accommodations. This meant a quick pit stop at Dollar General for some temporary housing. Thankfully our fish appreciated budget housing. 

Apartment life

Realizing these were not ideal living arangments for our fish we headed out to the pet store the following morning. With some minimal help from the aquarium guy we returned home with some snazzy new living quarters, as well as a 3rd fish because 3 kids and 2 fish just doesn’t work. 

New tank complete with LED lights and fish #3 Nemo.

It’s all sunshine and roses for a week. Then we walked down stairs to tragedy the next Saturday morning. Rudolph and Nemo went belly up over night. After a few touching words we sent them off with a proper goldfish burial. 

Being married to the guy I am, he thought he would be super nice and bring home 2 new fish when he was in town later that day. Sweet right? This is where it starts to go down hill.

Tom picked 2 fish the aquarium helper said were compatible with goldfish. He brings them home. Kids excited and squealing, I head to google. Everything I read says mollies and goldfish are in fact not BFF’s. Mollies need warm water. Some varieties require salt water. I have read goldfish don’t appreciate these things.

I reluctantly head to a different pet store to buy another tank. At this point in time those $6 spent on 2 baskets of balls is getting pricey. Half way one of the girls who milks for us calls. She had a spare tank, heater and supplies we needed. Thank you baby Jesus.

We return and grab the new fish quarters. Head home. Walk thru the door to another goldfish who has passed on to the great fish tank in the sky. The realization that we had failed not 1, 2 but all 3 goldfish hit the kids kind of hard. 

After a few moments of silence we began to set up the new tank. If you have never sat up an aquarium with 3 kids, let me tell you this is as great of lesson in patience as you will ever find. After 45 minutes, who knows how much spilled water and tears shed by all parties the tank was compatible to Mollie fish life. 

Speckles and Toliet Face in their new home. Dont ask .

We made it thru the weekend. Monday was a breeze with the fish. Then comes Tuesday morning….
I’m standing at the kitchen table barking orders to children so we make it to the bus and barn on time. All of a sudden Emma yells “there’s a baby fish!!!” Whoa. I’m like no way. There’s no way we have a baby. 

I stop and turn on the tank light. Lo and behold there’s a baby fish. Then another. And another. And another… Did you know mollies can, in fact, birth 100’s of babies at a time? Neither did I!

Aren’t they cute…

Ironically I was already planning on going to town to go grocery shopping Tuesday morning. So I stopped at the pet store. The kind women working assured me mollies eat their babies as fast as they have them. No worries, nature would take its course and we’d have cute babies for a few hours then poof, free fish food. 

I’m not entirely cold hearted. I picked up some fake grass and leaves they could hide in. Give the little guys a chance. All in all we counted 7 babies. I’m not sure how many were cannibalized prior to counting. 

Here’s more great news, it’s several days later and we still have several baby fish. Many lessons were learned from this. 

  1. Don’t break out of your box. Don’t play the fish game now? Don’t start.
  2. People at pet stores are shady. 
  3. Toilet Face is sadly an exceptional Mollie mother. 
  4. My children learned that some mothers do in fact eat their young.

I Know I’m Tired

If I had a dollar for every time someone commented that I looked tired, it would make this whole low milk price thing a lot easier. I, like every other mom, am aware of my sleep lacking state. It’s not something easy to ignore. 

I’ve heard it any where from family functions to church to the grocery store to the park. Sleep is a rare commodity at this house. You cherish every minute you get. 

In my opinion, it’s not the nicest nor politest thing to say. The following is a short list of things you could say instead. 

  • Would you like me to get you a coffee? 

I know many mothers who appreciate a good ol’ cup of joe. Not only is coffee cheap, it’s everywhere! For a mere $1.25 you may just make a woman’s day. 

  • Can I watch your kids for a while?

Now obviously use some common sense with this one. If you don’t know the mom, this is creepy. Save this for moms in your circle of acquaintances. Just giving her some quiet time to nap or few moments to regain her sanity again would be amazing. 

This. We all need a break from the crazy.

  • Offer to help with a small task. 

See a mom wrangling kids and trying to groceries in her car? Offer to lend a hand. Randomly take a small meal. She has to feed those wild troops every day. Even a pizza can go a long way. The point is when you’re dragging your booty 3 feet behind you, no small of kindness act goes unnoticed.

Take out, gift card, homemade? Food is always a hit.

  • Re-Assure her that her kids are doing great. 

See a rag tag bunch driving a cart around the grocery store? Mom pushing a stroller aimlessly around the park? Kids tumbling all over each other at the bus stop? The point is every mom approaching the point of breaking would like to know that her efforts aren’t futile. That despite the fact little Johnny decides to show everyone in a 3 mile radius he can lick his arm pit, it will all turn for the better. 

They look cute, that armpit reference didnt come from thin air.

  • Tell her she looks great. 

If she looks like a million bucks or a hot mess, it doesn’t matter. All moms, anyone for that matter, can use a confidence boost from time to time. I would much rather here I look great, even just presentable, then hearing I have bags under my eyes and jelly on my leggings. 

I rock dark, baggy eyes.

The fact is motherhood is simply a state with varying degrees of tiredness. We know we’re tired. A small act of kindness goes a very long way when you try to successfully wrangle tiny humans. 

Plates, Screws and BooBoos, Part 2

When we finally arrived at the Ohio State Vet Hospital I found my way to the registration desk. After filling out a few papers a vet student came find me. 

A group of students assembled and we brought her in. Puzzle was placed on a make shift calf stretcher. It was simply a metal cart with lots of padding. 

Her admittance was similar to that of a human. Vitals, blood draw and medical history was taken. Next her cast was removed. She wasn’t too keen with this. On top of what I’m sure wasn’t the most pleasant procedure, due to her leg becoming mobile again, she was hungry! Just like a person, she was prohibited from eating Tuesday morning so she could go in to surgery immediately if needed. One thing that we’ve learned is Puzzle is a girl with an appetite! 

After her initial work up, Puzzle was taken to X-rays. We obviously knew her back right leg was horribly broken, but a better look was needed to develop a medical plan. 

X-rays revealed that had a complete break of her Tibia as well as several hair line fractures around her hock (rear knee) area. One possibly went in to the joint. This left us with 3 options: 

  1. Re-cast and include a brace made of heavy wire. This would help immobilize the hip, but not completely stabilize it. The pro is it is cheap. The big con was the outlook was not much more positive than simply casting. 
  2. Pins. Pins would be placed above and below the break. This would stabilize the bone, allowing it to heal while casted. Pro- reasonable price, fairly good outcome. Cons- pins have a higher risk of infection because the pin is both inside and outside of her leg. She would also have a fairly bulky, combersome cast for 6-8 weeks. During this time she would need to be recasted and have pins adjusted 1-2 times. 
  3. Plate and Screws. A large plate would be placed along the break and screwed in to stabilize. This would provide pressure to heal the hairline fractures. Also only a follow up visit to remove sutures would be needed. Pros- no cast, very mobile immediately after surgery and best chance for complete healing. Cons- price

After much consideration, thought, calling Tom for his thoughts and listening to my mother inform me they had more money wrapped up in a cat once (that’s a whole other story) I made the decision to have them use a plate. 

Puzzle was immediately taken to surgery. They were worried if she sat over night her break may have punctured the skin. This would open a whole can of worms to infection. 

We were allowed to watch the surgery! I’m not sure how many packs of fruit snacks nor how many cheesy John Deere YouTube videos Henry watched, but we occupied a toddler for a nearly 3 hour surgery. No small feat! 

Here’s a few photos from surgery. I edited out students faces. I didn’t want to share anyone’s picture they didn’t want shared! 

Cleaning and prepping her leg for surgery.

Dissecting back tissue to place the pin.

Waking up from anesthsia to pets from the vet students.

Here is an X-ray after the pin was placed and every thing was patched back up! 

A 6 inch plate and 8 screws later her leg was back in one piece! Seven screws run straight thru the plate (1 is visible in this X-ray) then 1 runs in towards her hock to hold all the tiny fractures together. 

Incredibly she eagerly sucked down a bottle of milk almost immediately after surgery. She was then so happy to eat, she tried to bounce, like a normal happy baby! This isn’t something that’s ok after major surgery to a leg. She had to be mildly sedated, foods just too exciting 😂

The following morning the hospital called to give us an update. She was eating like a champ, walking around and overall happy. They then gave us the great news that she could come home the following afternoon! 

Shortly after the phone call from the vet, my phone rang with a call from the tire store. The manager called to see how Puzzle was doing! I gave her the happy report.

Thursday afternoon we made an uneventful trip back to Columbus to pick up Puzzle, the newly bionic calf! 

Plates, Screws and Boo Boos

There are few things that will do in the fate of a cow quite as quckly as a broken leg. They’re painful, hard to fix on a large animal and not always the quickest healing as they are constantly bearing weight. 

Late Sunday night one of my heifer calves had her leg stepped on by a full grown cow. Unfortunately the accident left her with a broken tibia.

 Broken limbs can actually be casted on newborns with a fairly high success rate of healing. However this is on the lower portion of their legs where joints can be immobilized. Breaking the upper part of a leg is generally a death sentence. It’s simply too hard to immobilize shoulders and hips. 

We decided to call the vet in the morning. He walked in, took one look and said we should really just put her down. As disheartening as it was, it was what I expected but hoped not to hear. After a little more examining her he told me he would attempt a cast. While not having much hope it was our only option. 

Now I had been patiently waiting for this baby for months. She is the first grandbaby of one of my best cows. This cow also doesn’t like to have heifers. As in she is 9 with only 2 daughters. This is despite our best efforts to help her along reproductively. Accidents like this seem to only happen to special calves. The dismal outlook was beyond depressing. 

While wallowing in self pity, the idea popped up about moving her to Ohio State’s vet school. We called to see what kind of an investment this would be. After deciding it was worth a shot, we scheduled to take her down the following morning. 

Tuesday morning was a lot of rushing. Getting kids on the bus, loading up the calf (who’s name is Puzzle) and grabbing my mom for moral support in taking a calf and a toddler on an hour and a half drive. 

Our first of many incidents happened shortly after departing. The road we normally take to the interstate was closed, leaving us to take a longer route. Then some haphazardly placed road cones and a slightly left of center semi gave us a close enough view of an already down telephone line. Don’t worry, it gets better.

While looking for out exit to drive in to Columbus the truck starts to shake. I moved over a lane and slowed down. Still thumping… The tread was falling off of my back tire. Lovely. Coincidentally the spare tire for the truck was on the stock trailer. An hour plus away. 

All I have to say at this time is thank goodness for my google maps app. I searched for a tire shop. After calling 3 places I found one who had the tire I needed. 

The tire shop gave me the number to a tow company. It was a mere 60-90 minute wait. This may be a good time to note the air conditioner in our truck doesn’t work. Don’t fear the breeze from the traffic not moving over kept us cool. Puzzle however was sitting in a black truck cap. So we pulled her out to cool off. 


Ninety minutes later our tow truck showed up. He was a nice man, who had an air conditioned tow truck. That was very appealing to the 3 of us by this point in time. He was tickled to be escorting his first ever bovine rider! 

Once we arrived at the tire shop, they were more than accommodating. They bumped us up in line and showed us a nice shady spot where Puzzle could relax. This is where she let her little agvocate light shine. All, I mean every one, of the mechanics came out to see her! One asked for her picture, one thought she was a goat and they all were smitten with her. To the point they called the following morning to see how she was! 

We were finally back on the road! There’s enough road construction around Columbus for 3 cities. But after maneuvering thru we finally arrived on main campus. 

Siri, who had been gracious enough to direct us on our adventure, stopped smack in the middle of an intersection. Thankfully we saw a campus police cruiser. He was kind enough to make up for Siri’s short comings and we finally arrived. 

After a 5 hour trek we made it. This trip should have taken us an hour and a half. Yes it was that fantastic. 

Stay tuned for part 2 with the fun things that followed our arrival!