Wishy Washy Winter

I see I last wrote on “Blizzard Eve,” and come it did. As predicted the rain turned to sleet, the sleet turned to snow, and the snow turned into a swirling blizzard. Somewhere between six inches to one foot piled up, and I was sad about instant winter.

With the warm fall the ground was soggy and not at all frozen, so pushing snow and clearing out the farmyard was muddy, slow going. Our driveway and main paths around the barn are well structured and graveled but everything else was hard to plow and navigate.

  Mid-process of a long snow clean out. 

I think Speedy noticed the world looked differently, but he wasn’t too impressed. The morning he was born I remember we had a few inches of fresh, wet snow, but it was all melted away by mid-day. And I’m fairly certain that was our final measurable snow of the spring. I wonder if he will grow up to like snow and winter? 

This past week the temperatures have warmed up again, and we’ve had rain, fog, or both nearly everyday. That means the mud continues, and last night I even heard the radio meteorologist comment we haven’t seen the sun in so long it’s starting to feel like Seattle. I’m praying for a healthy dose of sunshine, stat!

I also want to wish you all a belated Happy Thamksgiving and a joyful start to December. We had a fun first Thanksgiving with Speedy and spent time with both our families while balancing the work and farm chores. It’s been a particularly hard balance this year because in November we’ve had more calves born than any other month in our farm’s history. 

We have calves throughout the year with some ebbs and flows, but this month just ended up particularly crazy. We will have quite a few more born the next two weeks, but things will go back to normal or even less than normal levels after that. It’s hard right now, but I’m grateful we will have a slightly easier stretch during the coldest part of the year.

I was super happy to capture photos of four generations of JR’s family and every last member of my side’s growing family. Between myself and my four sisters we now have one girl and six boys. These cousins already have some wild times! 🙂

Happy December and stay warm or stay cool, wherever you are! 

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Blizzard Eve

November has been simply delicious this year. Warm mellow days followed by cool nights and flowers that are still blooming. Is this really Minnesota?

Tonight is our reality check. Winter storm advisories and a blizzard warning are filling our news, and I suspect we will wake up to a coating of rain or ice that will turn to swirling snow. My honest feelings right now are dread and frustration over all the extra work and worry snow brings.

I should try not to wallow, and I did manage to come up with one positive. I’m curious to see what Speedy’s reaction will be when he looks out at his first snowfall. Will he be happy and curious about the newly white outdoors or will he even notice? 

Our harvest is safely finished and today we all spent the day scurrying around the farm moving calves, hauling manure, cleaning up projects and finishing the last of field tillage so we could be ready (as possible) for the snow. 

The warm November also meant I got the push I needed to get our back deck painted. I managed the front porch this summer, but the deck is larger, daunting, and looked oh so much worse. Success is mine!

I’m actually about half done in the ‘before’ picture, but you get the idea. 

Our little speedster has been crawling for the past few weeks, and he is so happy to explore everywhere we let him. The dogs, however, feel less happy that their eminent domain is getting smaller. Luckily they like him too. 

Think of us in the snow tomorrow, and let’s hope it blows through more quickly than predicted. Ready or not… Goodbye fall. Hello winter. 


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Election Thoughts

I shared this as my Facebook status early this morning as I was thinking about the election and trying to soothe a crying, teething little boy. 

Here are my election thoughts:

Happy Tuesday-after-the-first-Monday of November. Yes, it’s #electionday. ‘Long’ may come to mind as a descriptor for the past months of campaign season. 

How do we move forward from this election – on national, state, and local levels – with the hope of seeing unity, compromise, or positive change? Maybe the answer does lie somewhere in the middle of our divided political landscape. But it’s never that simple. The many and complex issues facing us don’t have a single answer. 

I do have another thought. If you’re passionate about an issue and you’re voting on that issue, what are YOU doing to effect positive change? What if more of us took our election worry and stress and channeled it into support and action for an issue we care about? Nobody can do everything, but we can all do our part in our own way. 

If you want more investment in education, how can you help the kids and teachers in your local schools?

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, what can you do to support women’s health, single parents, and women facing an unplanned pregnancy? 

If you are concerned about unfair or excessive regulation, how can you take part in public meetings, education, or comment periods?

If you believe in a strong military, what can you do for local veterans and current service members? 
No matter what your political beliefs, how can you support the American values of equality and fair treatment and opportunity for all people? 

I don’t pretend to have all these answers. I ask these questions of myself just as I’m asking you. And I think about the international issues of war, destruction, displacement, and poverty that I feel so powerless to address. I think about all of it as I wonder and pray about today’s outcome. 

I will vote. I hope you vote too. Vote your conscious. Vote your gut. Vote for your children. Vote based on careful research. Vote for who you are resigned to vote for. No matter who wins the many elections on the ballot, I remind myself I am capable of working for the things I care about. 

Find a way to go out and make a difference in your own community. No president or elected official can fundamentally change how we treat each other and what we can accomplish. That important work must be done person to person, and we are all just the people to do it. 


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TC 10K – Twin Cities Marathon Weekend

Two weeks ago Saturday morning dawned the coolest, most crisp morning of the fall. Somehow the weather knew it should deliver the first freeze in time for marathon weekend and then revert back to warmer days. (No, I did not run the marathon.)

Speedy and I were still up early as we loaded into the car and drove to Saint Paul for a 7:30 start. He slept the whole way during the dark drive, and the sun was barely starting to color the eastern sky as we looked for a parking spot. 

The temperature was just above freezing, but the air was still and calm. If it would have been windy or rainy I would have skipped the race or tried to find someone to watch him while I ran. 

As it was, I bundled my half-sleeping baby under blankets, hat, and mittens, and we walked through the State Capitol grounds to wait in line for our numbers. 

I still haven’t been running a lot since little man arrived, but I love running with the stroller when I make the time. I’ve worked my way up to reasonable comfort over six miles, and I had several friends I wanted to connect with and introduce to Speedy at the expo. 

This race was about having fun, making a happy memory with my son, and reminding myself I’m still capable of running for an hour and covering the miles. 

There were a very few strollers and we all lined up near the dead back of 2,000+. The morning was gorgeous, and I chatted with a few moms who wished me well or said my stroller made them lonesome for their own babies. 

My mental game throughout was carefully navigating through and passing as many people as we could.   I would be thrilled if I finished under one hour, but I assumed that would be a stretch. 

The first mile was absolute bumper to bumper congestion, and I said quite a few “Sorry!” and “Excuse Me’s!” as I jogged along with my sleeping boy. 

The course is an out and back along the last few miles of the main race course, so I recognized everything from running the TC 10 Mile in 2012. The Summit Avenue neighborhood is stunning, and a few eager spectators even came out to cheer us along.

I had my phone in my stroller to track time and distance, but it was tucked away where I wouldn’t look at it or stress over it. I finally found a good groove around the second mile and felt like I had space to run the pace I wanted to run. Normally I’m exhausted by mile three when I’m trying to race a 10K, but with the slow start and adrenaline of passing people I kept motoring along.

I got a few cheers now and then and I couldn’t keep from smiling as I soaked up the autumn race atmosphere. Before I knew it I could see the Cathedral of Saint Paul, and I pushed hard as I worked toward the final long downhill into the finish at the Capitol. 

The clock read just over 60:00, and with my start at the back I knew I’d broken the hour mark. Happiness and tiredness set in as I eventually fumbled for my phone and stopped the GPS. 

Surprised would be an understatement! 8:59 pace — bam! I didn’t even worry about the extra distance I’d accumulated; I attributed it to the hazards of my first stroller 10K. However, several days post-race an email arrived where they apologized for a set-up mistake and amended the official distance from 10K to 6.48 miles. This makes me even more proud of my 58-minute time.

After checking on Speedy and munching on a banana I made my way back to my car to change and feed him. He was exceedingly patient with me through all the chaos, and I know he enjoyed watching the people everywhere. 

After finding some hot and free Caribou coffee we made the walk to the other corner of downtown for the expo. I found my friend Jill right away and then later my friend Lani. Speedy was thrilled with both. At the expo we especially enjoyed the free things that made crinkly noises and Sarah and friends at the Another Mother Runner booth. If you are a fellow mother runner you need to check out their website and podcast.

The Twin Cities are a little far to drive for a 10K, but this year it was 100% worth it. Whenever harvest schedules cooperate I do hope to keep Twin Cities Marathon weekend a tradition. Too bad I can’t push a stroller in the ten mile, and I don’t think I’d want to in the marathon!

This race also reaffirms my content belief that I can be a runner — and even feel success at being a runner — without keeping a strict training schedule right now or running all the miles. I can enjoy the outlet and peace of running when it fits into my day, and I can be content in whatever amount of time that is. I can also spend time working, farming, being with my son and my husband, and doing all the daily to-do’s. I will never be caught up on all of them, but I can weave them together each day into something that works for me. Praise The Lord for the time he gives me, and I pray I can use it wisely and intentionally. 

In case you’re a running numbers geek I’ll close by sharing my race splits. They turned out just beautifully if I do say so. 😄


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Six Months In

Speedy turned six months at the end of September. This motherhood journey has been more rewarding than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I find awe and happiness in the daily journey. 

I also finally have a good excuse to be behind on laundry, vacuuming and home organization. 🙂

I still worry about getting everything done and feeling behind at work and home, and I enjoy cleaning and housework less than ever. Except I realize I don’t mind changing diapers or doing Speedy’s laundry. I am happy to bathe his little wriggling body even when he screams. I can’t help but smile as I sort his blankets and toys and match up his little socks. Even cleaning the floor around his high chair isn’t as bad as I thought. I have found new meaning in the term ‘labor of love,’ and I hope this happiness might rub off on some of the non-baby household tasks!

He has changed so much in six months, and I know the changes won’t slow down. At his six month check he was 16 lbs. 14 oz. and 28 inches long. He’s still near the middle for weight and at the top of the charts for height. 

We started vegetables and fruits a few weeks ago, and he likes almost anything we provide. He gets mostly spoon fed purées and rice at daycare, and at home we are trying baby led weaning. Always this involves a lot of mess because you give baby larger peices of soft foods and they can explore and learn to feed themselves. We’ve progressed from the basic banana, sweet potato, and squash to including things like eggs and even meat. 

It’s fun to watch him pick up and taste, and he still nurses well and gets most of his nutrition from breastmilk.

Speedy has also been settled in his room since the middle of the summer. I completely forgot I was going to share finished pictures, so now is the time. When we first moved in four years ago the future nursery was dark and drab.

We tore out the carpet and paneling and finished the drywall, and the blue paint was actually done before we knew he was a boy. It looked more grey when we picked it, but I have come to absolutely love this blue with the light wood. (It’s Behr Celestial Light if you’re curious!)

The large dresser was a find from a local antique shop several years ago, and the top is the perfect size for his changer plus a few supplies. One of my favorite features is the blue rope light behind the crown molding. It gives a perfect soft glow for middle of the night diaper changes. This was 100% JR’s idea and credit goes to him. 

I thought about putting my gliding rocker in the nursery, but it fills up the small room too much. I like to have open floor space for playing and sorting, and I don’t mind walking down the hall to the living room to sit down with him.

It’s still lacking curtains, but otherwise our baby room is cozy and  complete. 


 Happy six months little man! 

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