what “farm girls” do for fun

“Mom, maybe I should wear my overalls, so that people will know that we’re farm girls.”

With these words, Kinsley classified us as abnormal folks.  Which I guess is pretty accurate.

But we’re okay with being Fringe Folk.

In fact, we’re cool with it.

As a farm/fringe/abnormal/weirdo family,we do weird stuff for fun.

Like playing in the mud together.

It’s like going to the beach.

For Ozarkians.


February Thrifting

The thrift shop has been my friend, lately.  Actually, the thrift shop is always my friend, but lately it’s been my generous friend.  This is just some of my recent favorite loot.

A handmade creamer and sugar set.  In one of my all time favorite colors!

My very own secret stash of colored pencils.  It’s not just that I like to sketch with them (occasionally) but even looking at them makes me happy!

These hen and rooster salt and pepper shakers are a present for somebody special.  Surprise, Rachel!

And these?  This entire stack, plus a couple more that the girls were drinking out of (total of eight) I got for .80 cents!  I love milky white glass!  They’re Pyrex… which means that you can put them in the oven for custards and such.

I got this stone crock to bake bread in.  I love it.  When I’m using it I wish I could have a window into it’s past life.

Napkins and plates – both thrifted and both used daily.

While I already had the baby, I did purchase the walker at a thrift store recently.  Which in turn has bought me time.  I’m all about buying time.

This outfit caused Kinsley’s heart to flutter.  She is fully aware of the beauty potential of such an outfit.

Sophie’s dress was thrifted last summer, but when she saw me photograph Kinsley’s outfit, she wanted to get in on the action.

The Birthday Card

Grandpa planned for everything.  Absolutely everything.  If something needed to be done, it was done instantly, and that was already too much delay.  He never neglected to purchase Grandma a card for every occasion that they celebrated together.  It was a tradition that we laughed about, because all they ever did was sign their name to the bottom of the card, and yet they were still touched by each others cards.  Time after time, when one of us would visit, they would hold up the greeting card given to them by the other and say “Isn’t it a nice card?”  Of course, it was a nice card, carefully chosen to express what they would say if they had been inclined to write the message themselves.

As usual, Grandpa had planned ahead.  He purchased Grandma’s card three or four months before her birthday.  He hid it away in the drawer.  The only thing he didn’t foresee was the weakness that would settle on him as his death drew nearer.  He probably never imagined that he would be too weak to sign the single word “Jim” to the bottom of Grandma’s birthday card, but that is indeed what happened.

This unsigned birthday card will always be the most special card to Grandma.

The following is something that Mom wrote for my brother in law, Matt, to read at Grandpa’s funeral.

The Saturday before Grandpa died, they were yet again in the hospital and it
was Grandma’s birthday.  His pneumonia had worsened and he had been in a
heavy sleep-like, very weak state most of the time during this stay.
But during one of his small wake periods, he told her happy birthday and
that he loved her.  Though he was weak and bedfast he told her if she
would just get his boots and take his hand they could make it out with
no one noticing.  He so wanted to go home and we are so glad he died
at home with Grandma, all of his children and more family in and out
caring for him.  Anyway, he told her that his birthday card for her was
at home in the desk drawer.  Though he never got a chance to sign it, it
will probably be the most special card ever to Grandma.  Here is what it

You know the story.

Two people meet and fall in love.  They move all their
belongings into the same small place and begin to make a life
together.  They discover that they have three toasters, two
blenders, and not even one coffee maker.  They don’t fold their
shirts the same way and they can’t always agree on whose turn it is to clean house.

But these are the little things . . . and because these two
people love each other, they find a way to work them out.

As time passes, there are other things—money worries, illnesses, family crisis.

These are the big things.  But because the two people love each other, they find a way to work them out too.

And so, on special days like birthdays, they think about each
other and about all the fun stuff they share and about how their
love has got them through the not so fun stuff.

And he says to her . . .

Thank you for everything.  I still love you very much.

this is the morning


On January 12th, Grandpa shook loose the fetters of time and pain, and stepped into timeless bliss.  Grandma was at his bedside every minute of those last few weeks.  As the end drew near, their four children were there with them, which must have been a sweet joy and a comfort to them both.  I keep thinking of how amazing Grandma is, in her attentive, gentle, tireless care that she took of Grandpa.  She never ceases to amaze me.

For Grandpa, “The term is over; the holidays have begun. The dream is ended; this is the morning.”

For Grandma, and for all of us, while we are comforted by the fact that Grandpa no longer suffers pain, this also is true.

“It is hard to have patience with people who say ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.”

Grandpa had struggled for years with a weak heart, and with congestive heart failure and all the disease and sickness associated with it.

When I was a little girl, Grandpa was given a short life expectancy which he outlived by more than 15 years.

I am grateful that Grandpa was able to not only meet, but also to interact closely with his twelve grandchildren…

and his ten great grandchildren.  I am so thankful that my girls got to know Grandpa…

and that he was able to meet his first great-grandson.

Kinsley and Sophie love to guess who Grandpa must be currently visiting with – usually they agree that he must be visiting Daniel, a personal favorite of theirs.

[from the final paragraphs of The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis]

“And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. . . . And we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world . . . had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

I sit in wonder and think of what Grandpa must be seeing now.

Art – Thrift Shop Style

Art supplies are among the things that I will always scoop up at a thrift store. We go through it like crazy around here, and between Grandma and the thrift shop, we almost never have to buy any art supplies new…

Trux is completely involved in all art projects now, as part of his new “my do” mantra.  He’s actually not all that bad at it!

Parallel Lives

See that sweet, toothy looking thing?  She is nearly exactly as rough as she looks.  She tries my our patience like nothing else.  She is so needy, and tiny, and scrappy, and has so many little aches and pains, and did I mention that she is needy?  Very, very needy.  She is a middle child, after all.

Sometimes I think she will make me clinically insane.  Some nights I think I already am clinically insane.  Two nights ago, we had just such a night.  I was just about ready to research adoption online, when I accidentally ended up on this article.  It felt like an answer to prayer.

I’m not endorsing the organization that puts out these articles, and I’m not even sure if it would be as poignant to me if I reread it tonight, but I think it saved my sanity two nights ago.  Just so you know, the article is really long.  I didn’t even get to the section “Answer Number Two” because after reading Answer Number One I felt like I knew what I needed to work on, and how to tackle it.

Near the opening of the article is this little verbal tableaux.  It is as if the author has peeked through our windows and was able to sum up exactly the feelings that were making me feel so hopeless.

“This divide begins quite innocently. Mother does the dishes while the eighteen-month-old entertains herself. Mother cooks while the children watch a good Christian video. Mother cleans and serves the children until she is “worn out”. Having spent the day policing them, she seeks an escape when she gets the chance, leaving the kids to try to “stay out of trouble”….The children are sent off to “play.” To keep the herd placated, parents throw TVs, computers, books, and toys at the children. Mom and Dad expect the kids to entertain themselves, and thus create a protective “Do not disturb” aura, which leads the children, for lack of purpose, to end up fighting amongst themselves.”

Here’s another exert that really struck home to me, in fact, I’ve already been trying to think of this throughout the day.

“The most troubled kids today are those who grew up without anyone expecting anything from them. Children grow and mature as they succeed at things that matter. Children need to be needed for their contributions to their quality of life and to the preservation and maintenance of their habitat…. if you give your children rousing visions, and then work with them to accomplish even the smallest of “their” inspired dreams, they will love you for it and quickly dream up another. When you become your child’s favorite fan, you make yourself indispensable to him.”

So, that’s what we’re working on, these last few days.  And it seems to be helping.  The girls are excited to help me prepare meals and make the house nice “for Papa and Trux”.   They’ve taken on the care of their room, and have a great deal of childlike pride in the results.  They help to look after their baby brother, and they offer to check on the farm animals “by myself”, even in the dark.  A confirming smile from their parents seems to give them much to go on!

Fierce Independence

Before I had kids of my own, I was under the impression that all children were fiercely independent.  I had four younger brothers, after all.

When my girls were hitting the terrible twos, I was surprised at how little they seemed to push for independence.  These past few weeks, as Truxton’s first birthday draws ever nearer, his longing for independence has thrown us for a loop.

He watches the girls intently and tries to emulate everything that they do.  He has come to the conclusion that he is not to be left out on anything.

He will sit at the table with everyone else, he will use regular china, and he will also wave a full size fork threateningly at anyone who has the audacity to try to help him eat.

Is it a boy thing?  Because he’s not even one yet.