Archive for the ‘30 Days Challenge’ Category

Day 30: One Last Thing…

Well, here we are. The final day of my 30 Day blog challenge, and the day I write about the very most important thing I want Little C to know.

If I do nothing, nothing else as her mother, I want her to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I loved her.

From the moment the little line appeared on the EPT, I loved her.

Shirts

The day we saw her little heartbeat flickering on the sonogram screen, I loved her.

The first fluttery kick I felt, I loved her.

Sonogram

The day they laid her in my arms for the first time, I loved her.

The second night in the hospital, when she cried and cried and we were so tired and at our wits’ end, I loved her.

Family

The early days after we came home, while I was trying to figure out feeding schedules and napping schedules and when in the world could I take a shower, I loved her.

The first time she smiled at me, I loved her.

Daddy

The first time she said “mama,” I loved her.

When she took that first tentative step before crashing to the floor, I loved her.

The first time we went to the doctor for an ear infection, I loved her.

Watching her daintily eat her cupcake at her first birthday party, I loved her.

52 Weeks

When she says “OK,” never “yes,” I love her.

Listening to her sing her ABCs and count to ten, mostly in order, I love her.

The nights she doesn’t feel good, and we have to sleep on the couch, I love her.

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When she gets mad and tells me “no,” I love her.

When she plays with Big C, or her grandparents, or other kids, I love her.

When she tells me my necklace is pretty and counts “one, two earrings,” I love her.

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When she gets a boo boo and tells me to kiss it, I love her.

Listening to her “read” books to herself, I love her.

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The first time she throws up on me, I will love her.

When she gets ready to go to kindergarten, I will love her.

When she wants to go play at a friend’s house for the first time, I will love her.

When she has her first crush, I will love her.

When she has her first broken heart, I will love her.

When she becomes a teenager and I no longer know anything, I know I’ll still love her.

When Big C teaches her how to drive, because he will be much better at that than I am, I will love her.

When she graduates from high school, I will love her.

When we drop her off at college, I will love her.

When she gets her first job, I will love her.

When she brings home that special someone, I will love her.

When we pick out her wedding gown, I will love her.

If someday she calls to say I’m going to become a grandma, I will love her.

And if none of those things ever happens, I will still love her in a way I’ll never love anyone else, because no one else will ever be my firstborn daughter.

Little C, my little farm girl, I want you to know, more than anything else I could ever teach you, that I love you.

Love, Momma

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Day 29: A Place For You

Here is the inspiration for this blog series:

Toy

I was browsing the toy aisle at Tuesday Morning a couple months ago when I stumbled upon this Little People toy. I'm a big fan of the Little People, and when I saw this particular set I knew it had to belong to Little C.

I love that it's a tractor and cow, but the thing that made me the most excited was the fact that the person included was a little girl.

I want Little C to know there will always be a place for her to come back and be part of the farm, if that’s what she wants to do.

When I told Big C I was thinking about doing this series, I asked for his input on possible topics. The very first thing he said, without a moment’s hesitation, was “I want her to know that the farm is an option.” He has told me many times that his dream is to be able to make the farm successful enough to pass it on to the next generation, and that is the goal we keep in mind while making decisions today.

Of course, we’re not going to force her to become a farmer. Farming is a lifestyle you must have a true passion for, or it doesn’t work. If she would marry someone someday who wanted to farm, we want him to know he’s welcome as well. That’s how Big C became a farmer, and we’re both grateful to my dad and grandpa for giving him that opportunity.

More than 95 percent of farms in the U.S. are family owned, and I want nothing more than to make sure we can continue to keep ours in the family by passing it along to Little C’s generation someday.

Little C, my little farm girl, I want you to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there will be a place for you on our family’s farm, if that’s where your passion lies.

Day 28: Hang In There!

It seems fitting to write about perseverance tonight, when I have only a few more posts to complete my 30 Day Challenge. I knew when I committed to it that I’d finish, but that decision was not made lightly. It’s important to keep your word, in big things and little things, and I want Little C to understand the importance of hanging in there.

Many things in life take work. Most people don’t wake up one morning and suddenly have the ability to play an instrument, or fix an engine, or knit a blanket. All sorts of things worth doing take time and practice to be successful, and that part isn’t always fun or glamorous.

It took awhile to decide she could manage the slide on her own, but now it's one of her favorites!

It took awhile to decide she could manage the slide on her own, but now it’s one of her favorites!

It can be frustrating and it can make you feel like giving up. And many people do, when things get hard. But the feeling of accomplishment when you achieve a goal you’ve given your all to achieve is unlike any other feeling in the world.

In today’s “everybody gets a trophy” world, we’re losing some of the life skills gained from healthy competition. Not everyone can be the best at everything, and that’s perfectly fine! Everyone has their own special set of God-given talents, and although it may take some longer to find theirs, once you do, you’re unstoppable.

Just when Momma thought she didn't know how to get up on the kitchen chairs, guess what?

Just when Momma thought she didn’t know how to get up on the kitchen chairs, guess what?

I’ll support Little C in any endeavor she wishes to pursue. However, I know she’s not going to be the best at everything. Maybe not even the best at anything. But I’ll encourage her to try her hardest and devote the time necessary to become her own personal best, and that will be enough.

When I was in seventh grade, I tried out for the basketball team. I wasn’t very good – I’m not what you’d call “coordinated.” I let myself get discouraged and quit the team a couple weeks before our first game. I went to a small rural school. I wasn’t going to get cut (nobody was) and I probably would have even got to play some, no matter how bad I truly was, but I didn’t give myself the chance. I regret not sticking it out for the season, even now 20 years later.

Once in awhile, you get stuck and need a little help. That's what Mom and Daddy are here for!

Once in awhile, you get stuck and need a little help. That’s what Mom and Daddy are here for!

I want Little C to be the kind of person who finishes what she starts. One who, if she says something will get done, gets it done right and when promised. Someone who understands that a job worth doing is a job worth doing well.

Little C, my little farm girl, not everything in life will be easy, but the things that are worth it are worth hanging in there to do to the best of your ability.

Day 27: #FirstWorldProblems

Whenever I start to complain about something, lately I’ve been trying to put it in the perspective of “first world problems.”

“I was running late to work and had to park all the way in the back of the parking lot.” First world problem. I have a job to go to that provides for my family’s basic needs and a lot of extras. I have reliable transportation to get me to and from said job. I have a comfortable bed in a safe home and an adorable daughter who needed just one more hug.

“I have a pile of clothes to iron and it’s going to take me all night.” First world problem. I have clothes. I have enough clothes that they were able to pile up without needing to wear those certain items. I have the tools in my home to clean them and press them so I can do those tasks at my leisure.

I usually stick out my tongue too, when it's time to iron.

I usually stick out my tongue too, when it’s time to iron.

“I used too much data on the wireless plan and had to type a couple blog posts on the iPad. Not having a real keyboard really slowed me down!” First World Problem (capitals intended). An iPad at my disposal. Reliable internet service in my home. Time to “waste” on something as frivolous as a blog.

“The weather was too dry/wet/cold/hot and crop yields weren’t as high as we expected.” First world problem. They’re still higher than much of the world. We have crop insurance to help make up some of the difference. Today’s hybrids are bred to perform better in extreme weather conditions – even 20 years ago, it would have been much more devastating.

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No matter what troubles, big or small, we may be facing, WE ARE BLESSED. Even when it seems as though nothing is going right, we still have food on the table, a roof over our heads, the freedom to explore different options, and the love of our God and our family. Compared to much of the world, we’re rich beyond measure.

It’s easy to get bogged down in a pessimistic, woe-is-me attitude from time to time, but that can’t be the place we stay. There is too much to be thankful for to be anything but grateful for all the blessings all around us. Taking a step back to put our problems in perspective can make all the difference.

I read a quote on Facebook recently that said “No matter how bad you think things are, remember that you’re living someone else’s fairy tale.” We’ve had our share of unpleasant things happen in our lives, and the thing that brought me through the toughest times was knowing that I couldn’t change the situation but I could change my attitude and reaction, and to remember that there is a reason for everything, which someday will be made clear.

Many people are turning their thoughts to thankfulness today, which is wonderful – but shouldn’t we do that every day?

Little C, my little farm girl, I want you to have an attitude of gratitude. Know that no matter how difficult life may be, you’re richly blessed.

Day 26: Be Good to Yourself

Today was a big day. One of the last of the firsts.

Little C had her first haircut.

Haircut

Just a little trim of the bangs that were falling down into her eyes, but her first one nonetheless. She was so good, didn’t try to wiggle or fuss. My stylist said she wished all her first haircuts were so easy. Little C even got a cute certificate with her name and a lock of hair that we can keep in her baby book. (Which, for the record, is nowhere near up to date. I have the big stuff noted on a calendar, but I haven’t found the time to transfer it into her actual book. I really hope I’m not alone here.)

This was the first in a lifetime of haircuts, some of which she’ll love and some of which she may not. She may experiment with color, curl, or accessories, or be more like her momma and need something very, very simple. No matter what she chooses to do with her hair over the years, it’s just one important part in taking care of herself.

Too often, we get wrapped up in the stuff of life and don’t always take as good of care of ourselves as we should. We don’t eat well, we don’t get enough sleep, and we put off going to the doctor. I know as a mom who works outside the home that I fall short in a lot of these major things, and even some of the more minor things like remembering to use lotion before my hands are so chapped they hurt or even painting my toenails. But especially in the last couple years, once Little C became a part of my life, it’s brought a new perspective to self-care:

It’s not selfish. It’s important to do what needs to be done so I can be here for her as long as I can be.

Seriously, how cute is this?

Seriously, how cute is this?

It started with the regular appointments during pregnancy, to make sure we both were healthy. It’s inspired me to wear a FitBit, although I don’t always squeeze in as much activity as I should. It even encouraged me to have a nagging health concern checked out, and now that I’m being treated, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

It’s also important to nurture the mental aspects of health. I try to maintain a few hobbies that help me unwind and de-stress when life gets a little crazy. I’ll encourage her to find some of the same outlets as she grows up, and maybe we’ll even learn some new things together!

Especially on the farm, especially at certain times of the year, it’s absolutely critical to be the best you can be, physically and mentally. The work is too dangerous, too important to not be at the top of your game, and it all starts by making a commitment to treat yourself well.

Little C, my little farm girl, remember that taking care of yourself, mentally and physically, isn’t selfish. It’s the only way you’ll be able to accomplish all you wish to do in life.

Day 25: A Joyful Noise!!

Recently we were driving somewhere, and often as we drive, Little C and I will sing songs. She was a little fussy, so I asked if she wanted to sing.

“Do you want to sing ABCs?” “No.”

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?” “No.”

“Itsy Bitsy Spider?” “No.”

“Jesus Loves Me?” “No.”

Running out of her favorites, I asked the first thing that came to mind: “Folsom Prison Blues?”

Pause from the backseat. Then “OK!”

Big C and I looked at each other, laughing, and broke out with “I hear the train a-comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend…”

I hope music – good music – is always part of Little C’s life. I don’t care if she can’t carry a tune in a bucket (I sure can’t!) but there is such joy in singing along to a favorite song. Music has the power to elicit emotion and memories like no other medium.

This little playhouse plays several different songs. I think I have a couple of them permanently stuck in my head.

This little playhouse plays several different songs. I think I have a couple of them permanently stuck in my head.

Every time certain songs come on my iPod, for just a moment I’m back in high school. Whenever “our song” comes on the radio, I remember our wedding day. Hymns sung at my grandpa’s funeral bring back sweet thoughts of him whenever we sing them during church services. As Clint Black sings, “Ain’t it funny how a melody – can bring back a memory – take you to another place in time – completely change your state of mind.”

As a child, the first music I remember liking, besides nursery rhymes and Sunday school songs, was Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys and I’m a Believer by the Monkees. My parents had both songs on records that I used to play over and over. My musical tastes have changed over the years, from oldies to pop to country to classic rock, and if you listen to my playlist you’ll notice some variety still today. My preference, though is “classic” country, when the songs told a story.

When I was pregnant, I remember telling someone that my child will know Johnny Cash before Justin Bieber. Based on her request the other day in the car, so far so good!

It's tough to find a picture to represent singing! I hope she's always this happy to open the hymnal during church services.

It’s tough to find a picture to represent singing! I hope she’s always this happy to open the hymnal during church services.

A lot of what passes for music these days, though, isn’t very good. Messages and language used aren’t things I want her to listen to. I’ve become much more attuned when listening to the radio with her around, and more than once have changed the station or turned it off completely. I hope one day, when she’s choosing her own entertainment, that she’ll make wise choices with what she consumes.

Little C, my little farm girl, music can be a wonderful addition to your life. I hope you’ll grow to appreciate a variety of different styles and learn to discern the good from the bad.

Day 24: Learn to Bend

I have to make a confession. Tonight’s topic is something I really want to teach Little C, but I have a ways to go on it myself.

I want her to learn how to be flexible.

So this isn't the meaning of flexible I'm writing about, but seriously, how can kids do this? Her behind is nearly touching the ground but she's still on her feet!

So this isn’t the meaning of flexible I’m writing about, but seriously, how can kids do this? Her behind is nearly touching the ground but she’s still on her feet!

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you plan, things happen that change everything. That’s something that I’m better at accepting now than I was a few years ago, but I still have my days when I don’t take things in stride so well. I’m a work in progress (aren’t we all?) and I think that’s an important lesson to teach Little C, too: we all have things we need to work on, nobody’s perfect, and together we can make each other better people.

Growing up on the farm, sometimes it was hard for me to understand why I sometimes had to miss a ball game because my mom was taking supper to the field or why we couldn’t make plans during certain times of the year because it all depended on the weather. As a child, I didn’t realize what all it took for my parents and grandparents to make the farm successful – lots of time, lots of work, and lots of sacrifice. Now I absolutely do get it, and appreciate so dearly what they’ve built up for future generations.

I hope Little C will give us grace as she grows up, for the times we have to change plans or adjust schedules at the last minute. On the farm, so much is ruled by Mother Nature, and we have to play by her rules to plant, fertilize, and harvest.

The ability to be flexible and adapt to changing situations, to go with the flow, roll with the punches, is a skill that will do her well throughout her life. No plan is ever 100 percent foolproof, and having a backup or at least a good attitude about alterations is key. Like I said, I’m not quite there yet, but “growing up” and especially motherhood have really brought me a long way!

Little C, my little farm girl, I hope you can learn to bend when life doesn’t go quite the way you plan.