T’was the day before Christmas

Christmas tree

T’was the day before Christmas, and all through the house
Mama was scurrying fast as a mouse.
The church clothes were hung in the laundry with care,
In hopes they stay clean for the children to wear.
The children were quiet, a mysterious noise,
My only hope is they are playing with toys.
I
in my apron and Pa in his cap,
She said “there’s no time for a Christmas eve nap”.
Then on the back deck, there arose such a clatter,
I
ran to the door to see what was the matter.
The dogs had come home and wanted inside,
One rolled in something that smells like it died.
After the children’s baths were through,
She lined up the dogs and gave them one too.
Then out to the barn, where the animals stay,
Ma filled up their water and fed them some hay.
On to the chickens to give them scratch grain,
To collect the day dozen eggs that’d been laid.
Back to the house, in the Ma came,
She whistled then shouted each child’s name:
Now Cyril, Now Mya, Now Luke and Scout!
And Deklyn, And Syndal and Michael Come out!
Take your clothes from the laundry, there’s no time to stall.
For heaven’s sake, who left their shoes in the hall?!”
The house has been cleaned twice already that day,
It will need it a third before we go pray.
More dusting and sweeping and straightening the rug.
“Don’t pig pile your sister! You give her a hug!”
Everyone together, let’s quick set the table,
We need to get moving, as fast as you’re able.
Let’s get in the car, it’s time to go.
Bring your hats and mittens, it’s starting to snow.
Christmas carols are sung on the way to church.
We made it on time! That’s sure a first.
Bowing our heads and kneeling to pray,
We thank God for the gift he gave us that day.
For our family and health and food on the table,
The birds in the coop and cows in the stable.
Out in the snow, back home we go.
Pajamas for all, as they jump into bed,
There’s great anticipation for St. Nick and his sled.
Carrots for the reindeer and cookies on the plate,
I hope Santa can stay that late.
The gifts were all wrapped and hidden with care,
Now if only St. Nick could remember where.
The cookies, now gone and the reindeer are fed.
Finally Pa and I can drift off to bed.
We look at each other as we turn off the light,
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Then a jingle of bells and the patter of feet,
Bright, gleaming faces, prove it’s worth the lack of sleep.

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May your new year be filled with blessings to be counted, good health, family, friends and happy memories!

Merry Christmas!

*********

Hopefully my writing will pick up once again after the holidays as well.

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My Two Cents

 

Babylittle boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are times after paying bills and getting the essentials it feels like all I have left are my two cents. A quick online search or any conversation with someone that has children will produce a long list of “must haves” and “must do’s” for a new baby. What you need in a hospital bag for mom and dad (glad I didn’t have to pack one of those), what you have to have on hand for baby, what you need for mom post delivery, what you need for dad and other children. It seems like everything on these lists need to be purchased, especially if this is baby 1. It’s never ending and even the short lists are anything but short. I don’t know if people get carried away because everything is so tiny  or they like to shop or just what it is. But when your pocket book only gives you two cents, you start to see what the essentials really are. Even if there is more than a few penny’s, it doesn’t mean you have to spend them all.

My best friend is due to have their first baby and she asked me what I thought the “must haves” are. I gave her a reply of “Hmm. Eh nothing much.” I know this can be a rather discouraging answer to a new mother, but really there is not much that one has to have for a baby. Mostly it’s attention, patience, time and work that is a must have; it’s not all sorts of gadgets, toys,  and so on.

My “Material Must Have” lists are pretty short. There is enough to do that I see no reason to make anything more complicated than necessary

For New Baby:
-Diapers
-Wipes
-Receiving Blankets ( a few, they get soiled quickly)
-Sleepers or Onsies ( a few, depending on the season, these also soil quickly)
-Baby Powder (cornstarch works just the same)
-Diaper Rash Ointment
-A place to sleep ( crib, cradle or pack-n-play, you only need one to get started)
-Car Seat
-Car Seat Cover/Snow Suit (depending on the season or where you are this may or may not be necessary)

Helpful but Optional Items:
-Monitor, if baby will be sleeping where you can not hear when they wake up
-Baby bath tub, they are nice but a towel in the kitchen sink works just as well
-Baby Swing or some sort of Baby Seat so baby isn’t laying on the floor when you can’t hold them. They can be laid in their “bed” in place of this too.

For Baby 2 +
-Diapers
-Wipes
Go through what you used from the previous baby, assuming care was taken with what you already have there shouldn’t be much that is needed right away.  Baby 1 was born mid-summer and Baby 2 was due mid-winter so we needed a few long sleeved pieces and pants.
That’s about it.

This time around because we didn’t have to get much for new stuff we were able to purchase a few “optional items”.
-A second (cheep) Monitor, as baby 2 will be sleeping in our room, we need to know who is awake at nap time.
Cradle– Baby 1 slept in a Pack-n-Play in our room at the old house, our room isn’t big enough to set that up in the new house and we don’t want to disrupt Baby 1 during the night so a cradle was picked up.

I am all about second-hand and hand-me-downs, especially when it comes to children’s stuff. They grow out of everything so fast, I see no reason to spend so much extra for a new tag. I tried to get things that could be for either sex the first time around so when the second came we were ready no matter which they were.

As with everything there are a few acceptations. We picked out a brand new sleeper set for Baby 1, it was my favorite and when he out grew it, I put it in a keepsake box that I started for him. Baby 2 also got their brand new outfit too. Little things like that I find important. It doesn’t amount to much but it is something that years down the road, hopefully, they will find special.

For Mom:
Bra Pads, these are a number one on my “need” list. I never knew they existed before Baby 1 and wish I would have known before baby came. I learned very quickly, but it would have been nice to have them on hand.
Super Absorbent Pads, something that is not talked about at our house, it’s personal. They are necessary though.
-A Set (or a few sets) of Extra Comfortable Clothes, for the first few days (or week) after delivery it’s really nice to be able to wear something a little too big and extra comfy and not leave the house. You’re going to be tired adjusting to the “new baby” schedule, you might as well be comfortable. (this also something you already have on hand, just set them out of “lazy” access)

Helpful but Optional Items:
By now I am going to assume that most of the male readers have left the page, Ladies these are something to print and give to your husband as an obvious hint.
Epsom Salt, this does wonders in a hot bath. I splurged this time and bought a few extra’s for a bath tea that I will swear by. Recipe found here. I use Epsom salt in place of sea salt if that’s what is on hand.
A “Granny” Style Night Gown, honestly that’s about all I have anymore, Grandma got that right too. It may not be sexy but it will be so comfortable it won’t matter. (There are some pretty cute ones out there too)
-Fluffy Bathrobe, if mom doesn’t have a cozy, fluffy bathrobe, think about getting one. This is most certainly an unnecessary extra, but I can tell you, in the middle of the night it is really nice to put that on for rocking/feeding baby. Our Little Boy now tries to wrap himself in mine when he wakes in the night. It’s almost like a security blanket of sorts it seems.
*Husbands* -If mom already has one have it washed and ready for her right after baby arrives. Little things make a big difference.

That’s all. The simpler things are kept the easier it is as far as I’m concerned.

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The Super Secret Secret to Getting Stuff Done

Quite often when I tell people what I have been up to I give them the short list and as far as I can see, it’s not much. Yet I tend to get a surprised reply of “how do you find the time?’ or “I wish I had that much energy.” Well, let me tell yah, it’s not that I have a never ending supply of energy or that I don’t get tired. There are days that I wonder how I made it home from work. Scary I know. You know you’ve been there too, you know the way and could get there in your sleep and sometimes do.

It’s not a matter of so much cardio and the perfect amount of sleep and all those things that the health magazines tell you. They do help, but there’s more to it than that. It’s motivation. It’s the drive to get up in early morning hours to “get stuff done”. It’s the daily and weekly “to do” list and the need to get it done.

It most certainly is something that everyone can do. The whole “if it were easy everyone would do it” is bologna. It takes practice and the feeling that you want to do it. It’s got nothing to do with difficulty. How difficult is it to fold a load of laundry? For most people it’s a very simple task and still not everyone does it. Those that want things organized and put away do it, (or have their wives do it) not those that sit back and think “gee it sure would be nice if …”.

I have always been busy but I wasn’t always motivated to get things done. There is a difference. So many people race to get here and there and at the end of the day can’t seem to think of a single thing the actually accomplished aside from going to work or picking up groceries. That is where the “to do” lists come in to play.

A good list will keep you on track. At the end of the day you will have a piece of paper with all sorts of things crossed off and can see exactly what you got done and what will have to be added to tomorrows list. You only have to fall behind a couple times on your list to understand that it needs to get done or tomorrow (and possibly days after) will be affected. At that point you have the choice to give up or to decide that you will put in a little more effort.

For my lists I like to have them organized, which sometimes means I write a list and then rewrite it to get the “kitchen stuff” together, the “barn stuff” together and so on. I also include any craft or fun project I want to work on. Everything that I hope to accomplish for the day goes on the list. I need to think about a nap category; that might be nice. This way as you are working on one task you know what the next will be there is no time wasted wandering around trying to remember what you were going to do next or deciding what to do. You already have your plan set. Just get to it!

A good list is like new exercise program. You can print off as many programs as you want but they aren’t going to get you in shape. You still need to do the work to see the results. Your “to do” list is the same way. Write as many as you want, color coded, categorized, sprinkle it with glitter if you want. You just wasted good time glittering a list of things that are actually needing to be done. Good job. Take the time to get organized and then get to work. That sparkly list isn’t going to complete itself.

Motivation is not something that can be taught in a book sense but I do think it can be learned in a working sense. If you start small, make a little list for the day. Get everything on your list done by the end of the day and look back on what you accomplished. Let that feeling of accomplishment drive you to try again tomorrow. You also really have to want to accomplish your list. I mean really want to. Just like anything else, talking is just that, it doesn’t add up to anything but noise. The cliché “actions speak louder than words” although over used, is true.

So now you have your list, your motivated and “I will start tomorrow”. Just toss your list at that point.

Start today.

Sitting on lunch break making your list? Make one for the remainder of the day. Then start writing tomorrow’s if you want. Starting tomorrow really doesn’t work for too many people. You go to bed all motivated and ready to get started. When you wake up, are half asleep, “oh that list thing, I will start later” and so it begins. The next thing you know you are going to bed and haven’t touched the list because you forgot to start “later”. Start now. Diets don’t need to start on a Monday, neither does a “to do” list. Besides the sooner you start the sooner you’re done.

I think I may have perfected my “to do” list/ Daily planner organizing. I will continue to give it a trial run for a while. If it proves effective I will make the print outs available to you. Daily planners with time slots have never done me much good. I don’t make that many appointments in the day (if any). I do have a rather lengthy list that needs to get done. I have managed to come up with a system that keeps everything in it’s category and even includes a meal plan! It’s great!

I remember on Saturday mornings, mom would work and it was up to dad to get things going around the house. We used to ask mom to tell dad to let us sleep in. “Get up! You’re burn’n daylight!” was what I remember him saying. At the time I was not happy about the wake up call. Now, I can’t believe he let us sleep in as late as he did! The amount of time I wasted sleeping in when I could have been doing something, oh boy. I now find that I am telling myself “get out of bed, or you will just waste a day”. It’s still about as well received as it was when dad would say it, but it’s true and so I get up.

At this point I am pretty sure that even though I have the drive, the motivation and a well organized list, I am still running on perpetual motion and coffee. 🙂

To do list

 

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All in a Day’s Work

Go to work, for a long shift, plow snow, do animal chores, haul a little firewood, deliver a baby, make supper. Just a normal Tuesday on the farm.

I know over the years I have unintentionally, we will say “given Mike opportunities” to do things that he never would have guessed he would do. Own a farm, raise his own livestock, tend a garden, deliver his daughter. That’s right, he delivered our little girl last week. The midwife was on her way but baby decided not to wait.

I share a lot of what goes on around here but the stuff that is the most “close to home” I like to keep “close to home”. I want to share this story because I am so amazed and proud of my husband.

I hadn’t been feeling real great Monday night to Tuesday, but by the time it was time for me to go to work Tuesday night I was feeling better, so in I went. I figured it was only a 4 hour shift and not strenuous by any means, there was no reason not to go. I had been there about an hour and a half when I began to feel uncomfortable again. Slight contractions but mostly uncomfortable. A bit later a co-worker asked if I was going to make it through my shift. I had planned to but wasn’t totally sure. A half hour later I headed home, knowing the roads were terrible and the drive would be a slow one. I needed to be able to walk to my car and drive home and if this was labor I didn’t want to be stuck at work. (I can see the hospital from my office window but had no intention of ending up there.)

Mike was working an extra long shift due to the snow we had been getting and wasn’t home when I arrived. I called him to say I was home. Then I called Rebekah, the midwife,

“I think I’m in labor. I know the roads are awful and I would hate to have you come on a false alarm but if you don’t mind, it might be a good idea to head this direction.”

(She was only 1 1/2 hours away. Much closer than when our little boy was born.) She was on her way with her apprentice within 15 minutes and had called a second apprentice to meet her here as well.

I called my dad to see if it was ok that the little boy stayed a bit longer.

“That’s just fine. Call if you need anything; I’ve pulled a lot of calves in my day!”

We had a good laugh. (It’s not the first time I have been likened to a cow. Some might take offense, but hey, if the shoe fits! Haha!)

I decided to try to relax by taking a hot shower. At some point Mike arrived home and checked in to see how I was doing.

“I’m fine.”

He was headed out to plow snow and take care of the animals.

“Flash the porch light if you need something.” (He wouldn’t be able to hear the dinner triangle in the truck.)

When he got back in from chores I headed upstairs. He was getting things from the birth kit (supplies ordered and on hand for home births) ready for when Rebekah arrived. Checking in every little while on me and on the phone with her giving updates.

M:”She said she’s doing good. She hasn’t been able to time contractions yet.”

R:”Has her water broke yet?”

M:”Has your water broke?”

A:”No.”

M:”No.”

R:”Ok, you have some time then.”

A:”My water broke.”

After that I’m not sure how the conversation went. Mike kept checking in and preparing.

M:”Are you doing ok? Going to make it til she gets here in about 45 minutes?”

A:”I’m fine. I will make it… I’m sorry, I know you didn’t want to catch but you’re going to have to.”

M:”I see that. I’m just looking for gloves.”

A:”They are in the… You don’t need gloves!”

M:”Okay!”

Two quick pushes.

M:”Well do you want to know?”  “It’s a girl!”

I held her as he cleaned her up. He called the midwife with the update. We had a half hour or so and used the time to let our parents and siblings know.

The ladies arrived and did their midwife thing and helped clean up. My parents brought up the little boy for a quick visit and brought supper. Mike got that going and the night went on. For how he handled everything, you would think this was just a regular Tuesday night.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “Everything works out as God plans it is to be and there is never a dull moment on the farm.”Baby

We are very thankful for Rebekah Knapp for her prenatal care and venturing out to help us on delivery night. A thank you to Molly and Karissa too! All wonderful women to work with.

 

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