Wednesday, July 30, 2008

i have joined the club

today, i turn thirty. i don't feel any different. i don't know why i thought i would. i don't feel old. i feel a little moody, but rainy days always make me feel like that...especially when i have a house full of energetic kiddos. i don't feel old. i don't feel crazy either. (well, maybe that comes with a little more time?)
don't get me wrong. i am actually getting used to the idea. thirty. i feel like a grown up. i feel lucky. yes, i feel lucky. last week, i remembered why birthdays are special. no real reason. i just had an epiphany. there are plenty of people that would love to turn thirty. that would love the opportunity to watch their children grow a little older, their own hair turn gray (mine hasn't yet). here i am, complaining about getting another year to, well, to be here, on this earth, with my most cherished family. how dare i. seriously, how self centered am i? to complain about getting another year. forgive me, bloggy-friends.
so i am looking at things differently today. starting today, this rainy day is beautiful. i can actually see the grass getting greener and my veggies growing.
starting today, i am so very thankful for all the energetic kiddos running around me. they aren't sick, they aren't horrible rotten kids. they are some of the greatest kids i've ever met. that's not just my kids, that's all the kids in my care. they are some of the greatest kids, most polite, helpful children. their parents are some of the nicest people you'd ever meet. i am lucky to know these people, and for them to allow me to care for their kids...well it means a lot to me.

in all honesty, the crazy part has worried me more than the aging part of turning 30. i know, many of you are probably thinking "what on earth is she talking about?". well, when my mom was in her early thirties (31) she left my dad. i have known several other women that left their husbands when they hit their thirties. i know, that may not have been a major contributing factor...but in my family, it seems like that's when the mind starts to "break" some. my mom and both her sisters are bipolar. they all really started to lose it in their thirties. they start to "remember" things that never happened. they start to "see" things. they become really hard to be around. they lose interest in their kids. they lose interest in being a mom.
i am so scared it will happen to me. i am even more scared that i could pass it on to my kids. i know, medication helps. i know, i have a husband that has promised to watch out for me. i don't want it to come to that. i want to really enjoy my family. i want to keep loving being around them. i
i am talking too much about stuff that hasn't happened. i am thinking about the negative.
so i'm going to stop.
i am going to enjoy going out with my hubby tonight. i am going to enjoy my kids singing happy birthday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

double edged sword

that's what this week at the fair has seemed like. my heart has been bursting with pride because my kids have worked so hard, and have done so well.

this week has been a lot of early mornings and late nights. yesterday, the second time we got to the fair, the kids had to get their animals ready for the auction. we were anxiously awaiting the 5 o'clock meeting to find out how alex's pig did overall. haley was feeding the lambs and giving them more water, and alex was cleaning out the pig's pen and then going to start scrubbing her down and then feed her really quick. i saw some people looking at a bulletin board. i went up to look and it had all the kids with pigs listed, with all kinds of next to it. alex's name was at the top of the list. next to his name was GR. ok, being new to all of this, i had to ask someone to explain it to me...


we were all really excited, i started making phone calls, and so my in-laws and my mom hurried up and drove to the fair just to see alex get his trophy and ribbon. poor hubby was stuck at work. i took lots of pictures though. apparently this was not enough to get the hubby to reconsider doing pigs again next year. he's still saying "no way, we are going out on top".

haley was so excited for alex. it was so cool to see. first thing she said was "that's so cool, maybe she won't get eaten then".

perhaps now you see why this fair is a double edged sword? that's right, the auction. while it's really cool that the kids get to make money off of their hard work, they also put a lot of time, money, and effort into these animals. some moms *ahem* have developed affections for these animals. so the thought of my, i mean alex's, pig going to a processing center, weighs pretty heavy on my heart. doesn't seem to bother him much. and really, it shouldn't. if all farmers and ranchers made their animals into loved pets...well, we'd all be vegetarians.

anyway, on to the auction. because alex's pig was the grand champion, his was the first pig to be auctioned. after the last of the steers, alex brought her out. they did great out there. she ended up selling for $4.25 a pound. most of the other pigs went for $2 to $3 a pound. he made a little more than $900. i'm hoping that if someone is paying that much for a little pig (she was one of the smallest up there), they are planning on something other than eating her. of course the fact it is josephville meat processing co that bought her, well i'm not sure what to think. i hope she is going to be a brood sow for them. she's such a great pig.

haley's lamb was the 12th lamb out. she brought her out, smiled, and kept her lamb in check. she did great. lambs they sell by the head, not by the pound like hogs and steers. she ended up making $280 off of her little lamb. the grand champion went for around $500, and i think the most paid was $600, but she was about average for what the rest went for. some were as low as $150...but that's still a good profit. haley's lamb was bought by wright city meat market. haley was more upset about the lamb possibly getting eaten. she was nearly in tears. i honestly forgot that people eat sheep/lambs. you don't usually see it in the meat section of the grocery store. at least not the stores i go to.

all in all, this has been a very positive experience. the kids are excited about next year. they are already deciding what animals they want to try to raise for the next fair. i think we may be sticking with poultry. i told them if they want, they can do lambs and poultry, but only one animal per child can get sold at the fair. we will see. chickens get sold for quite a bit of money, and usually they end up going home with the kid. not always, but it happens pretty often.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

haley's lambs

haley did such a great job last night! i was so very very very proud of her! her lambs were in the first 2 weight classes (one was 90 and the other was 98 pounds). she also did the junior showmanship competition. her first lamb (the black one) one 4th place. her second lamb took 12th (out of 13). she did such an awesome job with these lambs.
for some reason they decided to do the showmanship competition first. haley's lamb was really spirited. i mean like jumping all over, knocked her down, in fact haley fell down on top of her lamb. now what really impressed me (and a lot of people in the stands) is that she never let go. she grabbed it's legs, yanked it back and took control. i got to tell you, i was almost in tears. watching my kids at the fair...i can't tell you how proud i am of them. they have been helpful to those around them, attentive to their animal's needs, and what else can i say?

don't get me wrong, they haven't been perfect. i have argued or yelled at them all...several times...each day. in fact i am yelling at one (actually both) while i am writing this. i am a tad stressed at the moment and have been threatening them continuously all day. i am starting to think i need to move past the threat level...into action level. i am really tired. can you tell? these late nights and early mornings are hard on all of us. ok, time to head back to the fair...wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008!!!!!


she was in the smallest weight class (she weighed 215) and she won first in her weight class! alex did a great job with her in the ring. it took us an hour to get her loaded into the back of the truck today, then another 20 minutes tying down the "cage" so she couldn't just flip it off and jump out of the back. alex was so excited!

today's the day

the pig leaves for the fair today. i am actually fighting back tears right now. pathetic, i know. i've been pretty good so far today. we all had dentist appts. so that kept my mind off of the day. we are trying to get things together so they can leave around 3:30.
what's really funny is alex is totally fine with it. here's the conversation we had yesterday:

ME: well, you know that half the money you get will go into your savings account. at least half.

Alex: conrad said that pigs brought like $500 at the auction last year.

Me: don't count on it. you don't know for sure how much you will get, so don't get your hopes up.

A: well, she has really big hams, and they are really all muscle. just a little fat, so that should be a good thing right? not too much fat, but enough to make them taste good. grandma says fat makes the meat taste better.

Me: STOP TALKING LIKE THAT!!!! i think i'm going to be sick.

yeah, i think he's going to be fine. i'm going to be the one crying hysterically in the corner.

we are taking some pictures today, so hopefully i'll get some up soon!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

ok, maybe 30 isn't as bad as i thought..

last night my family threw a surprise birthday party for me. i was TOTALLY surprised. i had no clue they had this going on. it was at my dad's house. i thought we were going over there because we had started this tradition of the adults going out for an adult's birthday. even when i saw all the cars, i still had no idea. it wasn't until i saw the crowd on the front lawn. my wonderful husband started planning this in may. he did such a fabulous job. i guess my kids had known for a while too...well, at least the older ones. josh and zack had no idea what was going on. the boys and i had had the day to ourselves. we went up to the fairgrounds, we went to a feed store, we went out to lunch, zack helped me wash the pig. it was a great day for us. they were just as shocked as i was.

this is my 3rd surprise party. i have had no idea anything was going on at any of them. my best friend jessica (she was there last night) threw me a surprise going away party when my parents split up and i was having to move away. well, she and her mom (we were like 13). her mom was there last night too. she was like a second mom when i was growing up. i actually called her mom and her husband dad for a time. i practically lived at their house for months before my parents split. i was so glad to see them, and jess's 2 kids. i hadn't seen them since they were like 4 and 2. they are like almost 9 and 7. beautiful, well behaved, and i could totally pick them out of the crowd. brady looks just like he did, jenna is the spitting image of her mommy.
i think jessica threw the second one too. for my 14th or 15th birthday . she and shawn. maybe sara helped too. and my mom helped of course. i can't remember my teen years to well. i want to say my 14th birthday because i wasn't into drugs at that time...and shawn was around a lot then...but i don't remember that well. i just remember thinking (before the party) wow, the house sure is clean. then friends started showing up. i can't believe i have been so blessed with family and friends that find me so worthy of all that planning and sneaking around.

what's funnier is i had told hubby i didn't want a party. no thanks. not because turning 30 bothered me so much. more because i don't like putting my mom and dad and diane in the same room...or town. it is too nerve wracking. i spend the night hoping mom doesn't drink enough to decide she wants to start something. my dad and diane, i don't worry about them. mom, well, she's another story. i would have been sick for weeks had i known about this party. (like i was before my wedding and my sister's wedding...and jeff's 30th party). mom "had a little captain in her" but she was well behaved. i am so glad. (maybe i'll put this in for my miracle on miracle monday)

thanks to my dad, diane, hubby, mom, sister in law deb, for putting this together for me. i have truly been blessed with you all in my life. thanks to all the friends and family that came. you people totally rock! for those that couldn't make it, i'm sorry you missed it, it was a great time.
thanks to my kiddo's. you didn't spill the beans, you decorated the house so beautifully, and you got along! i couldn't ask for more (except you to help clean the house and your rooms once in a while!). i love you all! thanks to God for putting you all in my life!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

count down...

well, my little guy turned 3. that same day, i had to take the kids to a family reunion at a park in lake st. myself. saturdays are just not great "family" days for us. the hubby has to work, so anything i do, i do by myself with all the kids. it was nice to see all the cousins that i haven't seen in a while. the kids had an "o.k." time. they didn't really know anyone, and there weren't too many kids their ages to play with...oh yeah, and it rained...and the temperature dropped...and we could only stay for a couple of hours before we had to leave for zack's party. i got to see my cousin greg (well, he's my mom's cousin's son). i haven't seen this kid since he was about 5 and i was about 15. he was such a cute kid. so nice and polite. his parents were messed up (drugs) but he was such a good kid. he's turned out pretty good. actually the hubby sold him a truck last month. he's in construction, but it's steady work and great pay. i'm so happy for him.
zack had such a great time at his party. he was so cute. he was so excited with every single gift he got. josh had a tougher time. he was upset zack wasn't "sharing". well, his idea of sharing was a little different...he thought zack should open the gifts and just let him play with whatever he wanted to. not gonna happen. my SIL, debbie, made him a monster truck cake. he was so excited about it. he had a great day.
this week has been a tad hectic. i know, i know, when isn't a day in my life hectic. well, this week, i have all my usually kiddos, plus my nieces have been coming over. we have been getting haley over to work with her sheep every night. i got a new washer and dryer (front loading) and i LOVE them. the hubby's parents are out of town, so we have been watching the dog (he's a 90 lb puppy). the pig started limping and i'm not sure if it's just the way she walks or if she is truly hurt.
the fair starts on tuesday. the kids are getting nervous and excited. i'm just nervous. i think they will do fine, i just want to make sure I don't screw it up. i'm not sure how i could, but it has been known to happen. tonight we have a 4H meeting at 7, so i have to make sure we get there. haley also has a game at 8. thank goodness they are right by each other.

i have a favor to ask, could you please pray for my little brother. he's been going through some really tough personal stuff lately. please pray for him to continue on the path he's on now. thanks!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

pigs and sheep and kittens oh my

ok, first off, let me just say, we have a new kitten. he's a little gray tabby kitten. i'm not sure what his name is yet. i've heard "tiger", and "shady", and "take it back where you got it". (guess which one was the hubby's suggestion) so far so good. he hasn't been eaten by any dogs, hit by any cars, or eaten anything poisonous. of course we haven't had him a full week yet, so anything can happen.

last night i took alex to the lincoln county fair. their hog show was last night, so i figured "what better way to see what we need to be doing". well, most of those pigs were bigger than ours. 90% were white (the pigs, not the people...although i guess those stats would work for both). there was a huge age range in kids showing. there were kids as young as 8 or 9 or as old as 18. they all were terrific. we weren't able to stay for the whole show (which lasted several hours), but i think alex has a better understanding of what is expected of him. he's getting nervous now. the fair is only a couple of weeks away.

after we got back from the fair, we took the whole family to see haley's sheep. she has 3, but she has to pick 2 for the show and 1 to sell at the auction. she has to break them before the fair. basically, she has to get her sheep, (which is difficult) and hold them until they surrender, then let it go and catch it right away. she has to do this at least twice with each one. i helped her, so did alex and the hubby. i didn't realize how oily their wool is. (that's where lanolin comes from...breastfeeding moms should have some on hand) and boy howdy, they stink! it's hard to describe, but think wet dog+urine+feces+farm=one big stinky mess! the kids didn't even argue about taking showers...that's how smelly it was. i will be doing this again in a few minutes...and every day until fair. fun.

well, i have dinner to get on the table, kids to get out the door (to do some sheep work), and well, there's always cleaning to get done.

then there's the fact my littlest one is turning 3 this saturday...don't get me started, i can't believe my baby is so big!

rachel, let me know when it is you are coming into town. i'd love to get together!

Monday, July 7, 2008

miracle monday

hello all! i've been a tad busy with the summer starting and all the kids out of school, so i haven't really posted much at all. here is a miracle that happened right around memorial day this year.

joy is a woman i used to bowl with. she's a really nice woman. she just lost her husband the previous may, and at the time this happened she had 2 of her daughters living with her. one daughter is mentally handicapped, and the other is going through a divorce.

i am sure you have all heard about the flooding here in the midwest. the mississippi jumped it's banks and flooded many towns and fields...janet's miracle happened before all this.

memorial weekend, we got around 9 inches of rain in one night. i'm not sure exactly when because we were on vacation in florida at the time. places that have never flooded before were under water. joy lived next to a creek. she had lived there for 20+ years. the water had surrounded her house once before, but never had it come inside. at least, not until that night. she was home with her daughters, and the storm was raging. she looked outside and saw the creek had risen quite a bit, enough to make her tell her girls to leave the house. they were finally able to get her handicapped daughter to leave the house, the water was at the door. joy went back in to get her purse and some belongings, and leave by the front door. as she tried to step onto her porch, she couldn't find it. it was gone! the water was at her waist by this time. she looked to the neighbor's house and it was not in the same place. at first she thought his house was moving, but she noticed the power lines, and realized her house was the one moving. she tried to get out the back door, but the furniture was all floating in the way. the house caught a power line and snapped it. she felt a slight buzzing sensation in her legs. her neighbors called 911 and the firefighters tried to decide what to do. they decided the best thing to do was to wait until the water had gone down some before mounting a rescue. when the water was down to only a couple of feet, they got geared up and went in to save joy.

her house was a total loss. she didn't have flood insurance. the cars were the only things insurance covered. thanks to her church, and many friends, she is on her own and has some belongings.
joy is not a good swimmer. had that furniture not blocked her path, she may have tried to swim for it. flood water overcomes even strong swimmers. (that's why the firefighters had to wait before going in to save her) she wouldn't have survived it. her house stayed intact while traveling 50 feet in a raging flood. God was with her that night.

this is the article about joy that came out recently.

Friday, July 4, 2008

the fourth

happy independence day everyone.

thank you dear soldiers and your families also!

i hope you are able to enjoy the day...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

the birthday countdown...

as i approach the big 3-0, i have been becoming a little more preoccupied with aging. i know, thirty is not that old. it's not old at all. of course i know this, but it seems a little scarier to me for some reason. i guess it could be the fact that i have known a few different women that lost their marbles when they were in their thirties, left their husbands, and turned their families up side down. i don't think that would happen to me, but i didn't think it would happen to these women either. it could be that i know that most people my age are just starting their families, and i won't be adding any more kids (at least biological) to our family. my days of carrying children and nursing my babies are over. it's a really sad realization.

dude, i am so depressing right now.

ok, here's something funny. my dad is back from florida. he finished his job down there and is home. he was able to make it to the kids' games this week too. my stepmom and i were talking about my upcoming birthday...neither of which realized i was turning thirty. i had mentioned that i wanted a chicken coop and chickens for my birthday, but wasn't holding my breath (jeff is not a fan of chickens). so my dad said he'd do it for me. i'm still not holding my breath, but i thought jeff was about to fall on the floor. then he told my dad i probably have some of the plans i designed when i was a kid and wanted chickens. (which i think i may still have somewhere.) i designed these plans when i was about 9 or 10. yes, i am for real. i thought if i put that a lot of effort into the plans and saving my money and ordering chicken catalogs, i would prove to my parents that i could be responsible enough to take care of them. uh, yeah, that didn't happen. i never got them. now i still am trying to prove myself so i can get some chickens...only now it's my husband i have to impress, not my parents. how sad, and yet, i think it would be really funny if my dad did do that for me. i mean come on, i am going to be thirty.

anyway, time for me to go and sit with a young'un and get him to sleep. before i go, could i ask you guys to say some prayers for the phelp's family. they lost a grandpa last friday. he was in his 80's, and lived a good long happy life, but they are still sad to lose him. please say some prayers for them.