Tag Archives: Motherhood

Getting Lost on Dirt Roads

17 Jul

There are advantages to having a baby. Anders Knox is adorable, giggly, and a genius (in my unbiased opinion). He makes life more fun and more meaningful. But one thing I didn’t expect about having is a baby is the way life would slow down.

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Even though I’m back at work and we’re in the throes of a crazy busy summer, something about Anders has changed the tempo of life. My priorities have shifted, my dreams have recalibrated. I’ve been forced into a calmer, more carnal place.

This calm has caused me to do things I’ve never done before. Like intentionally getting lost in the country wilderness.

Every once and a while I take the long (long, long) way home when I pick up Anders after work. He needs a good nap before his next feeding at 6:00 and I need an opportunity to take a breath.

Paved roads won’t do. Highways won’t cut it. In true farm-boy fashion, my son takes his best naps while bouncing and jostling around on dirt roads.

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Such thoroughfares aren’t hard to come by near our dairy.

Usually my life is all about productivity. Efficiency. Get the job done, get there quickly, move on to the next thing. But these early evening drives with my son (and occasionally my furry firstborn even joins us) force me to slow down. While Anders peacefully snoozes, I drink in the impossibly big blue skies and rolling green hills. We bask in the middle-of-freaking-nowhere.

Last night was one such night. The A-man needed a nap and the clouds were breathtaking. We left civilization behind and turned onto a long dirt road near our house. I leisurely cruised through the deep ruts and gullies left by a recent rain, pausing every so often to snap a photo.

We drove through leafy tunnels.

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We said hi to the neighbors.

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We checked on the corn.

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We were rendered speechless by this ridiculous sky over the silage pack.

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I could have been home cooking dinner, doing laundry, or mopping the floor. But instead, I’m was awe. In awe of the size of the sky. In awe of the peaceful isolation of these dusty back roads. In awe of the sweet baby boy snoring in the backseat.

My former city girl self found catharsis in concrete, steel, skyscrapers, and the hustle of humanity. I still love those things. But now my soul also does somersaults for muddy roads, cornfields, cows, and the silence of the wind.

And that’s certainly worth a car wash (or three).

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Update From The Farm: It’s Not Just Spit Up and Diapers

16 Jun

Phew. People, life with a baby is a lot of work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The last two months have been a blur of hundreds of diaper changes (over 330 in May according to the app on my phone) and a whole lot of spit up.

But today I’m showered, wearing real pants (versus yoga pants), and the sun is blazing. I’m feeling like a human. Life is bright and happy.

It doesn’t hurt that the weather in our patch of of the world has been gorgeous lately. The skies are impossibly blue.

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The fields are patchwork shades of brown, green, and yellow as the corn starts to come in.

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These pre-summer scenes remind me why I love Michigan. I could have done without the six-ish months of frigid, dreary, soul-sucking winter, but those days are a distant memory in the glow of today’s sunshine.

The recent pleasant weather has allowed Jersey, the A-man, the Baby Bjorn, and I to get out of the house on foot to check out what’s happening around the dairy.

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For example: did you know we’re expanding another barn?

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Last summer was a flurry of barn expansion activities. Dairy Man must have enjoyed every minute of it, because he started construction on another barn expansion about a week after Anders was born (because we weren’t busy enough, oof). But things have been going well and it’s almost time to let a new batch of bovine ladies stampede into their new digs like last year’s lucky ducks. As of this week, the concrete is poured and the anticipatory mooing is palpable.

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In addition to a new barn, the boys and I have noticed that our farm is home to a pack of adorable calves.

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This year we’re housing some young heifer (female) calves in our former steer barn. It’s nice to know they’ll be around longer than our steers. I never wanted to get too attached to those guys–I’m still a delicate city girl deep down. Typically we don’t have calves at our facility (the pregnant ladies live here during their gestational period, but they journey to the other dairy to give birth), so I’m really enjoying the cuteness.

Anders is less enthralled, but he’ll get there someday.

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It’s been wonderful to walk around with my boys, even if it is nerve-wracking to be carrying a baby when Jersey takes off after a barn cat or woodchuck. But walking around feels normal. It feels right. It feels like I’m reclaiming a favorite pre-baby pastime.

It even gives us a chance to visit Daddy at work.

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Honestly, I’m feeling a bit panicked about returning to work from maternity leave in two short weeks (more on that later). For now I’m trying to seize every opportunity to bask in the beauty all around me.

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And according to the Dairy Man, the remainder of my maternity leave is the perfect time to introduce Anders to the awesomeness that is a dairy farm. Train ’em young and all that.

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He’s got to get used to the smells sometime.

He’s Here!

18 Apr

Dairy Man and I are thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of our family! (And the reason for my radio silence over here in blogland. Who knew infants were so much work?)

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On Saturday, April 5 at 3:11 p.m., Anders Knox was born weighing in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 19 inches long. I might be biased, but he’s adorable. I can’t get enough of his adorably chubby cheeks and bright blue eyes. No odd-looking newborn Benjamin Button here. We’re in love.

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It’s been the most exhausting, amazing, frustrating, humbling, and exhilarating two weeks of my life. Labor and delivery was difficult, but we feel so blessed to have a healthy baby boy.

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I’m floored how much I love this tiny little human already.

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Thank you all for the love, prayers, kind words, well-wishes, and tolerance of a flood of baby pictures on my Facebook page. It’s been so much fun to share my pregnancy journey and I can’t wait to see how Anders changes our lives.

Jersey is settling comfortably into his role as big brother. He occasionally sniffs Anders to make sure things are still ok and seems happily ambivalent the rest of the time. I’m sure they will be best friends. And I’m half tempted to dress them alike like this awesome dog/baby duo.

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Thanks to my new sleep schedule (or lack thereof), I think things may slow down for a little bit here on the blog, but check out Facebook and Instagram for current updates.

And never fear, I will be back with dairy updates soon. As if our lives aren’t crazy enough right now, this is happening on the dairy.

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Yep. We’re beginning another barn expansion just like last year. Never a dull moment around here. More details to come.

For now, I leave you with one of the many faces of Mister Anders. He’s keeping us on our toes!

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It’s Not About the Closet Doors: On Motherhood, Fears, and Faith

26 Mar

A friend told me recently that one of her biggest fears in regards to her baby boy isn’t that he won’t sleep through the night, eat his vegetables, or learn to spell.

She’s afraid that his future wife will hate her.

I can honestly say that such a thought had never even crossed my mind until then. Should I be worried about my unborn baby’s betrothed!? I’m barely grasping the idea that I’m going to have an infant.

The more I thought about what she said, the more I started to realize the gravity of my upcoming entrance into parenthood.

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Within the next 2-3 weeks I will give birth to a living, breathing, functioning little boy. This boy will skin his knees, go to kindergarten, get holes in his jeans, bust a move at school dances, and one day bring home a woman who will be his wife.

The trajectory starts with his first cry, his first gasp into life. And then, someday, he’ll bring home a girl who might hate me.

I recognize the insanity of this logical leap, particularly since I haven’t even met my son yet. But something about the late third trimester flips a switch in your brain between pregnancy and parenthood.

I’m so excited. I’m wonderfully, ecstatically, fearfully, joyfully waiting for life to change forever. I’m elated to meet the little being that has been growing and kickboxing in my womb for the past nine months. I can’t wait to hold him, to see if he has Dairy Man’s eyes, to watch him grow.

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But if I’m honest, I’m also terrified.

This terror has spawned a few moments of pure, unadulterated irrationality throughout this pregnancy. One such moment came when Dairy Man asked me what kind of closet doors I wanted in the nursery and I melted into an indecisive pile of emotional goo.

I know there’s nothing existentially significant about closet doors. But for some reason it felt like if I picked the wrong doors for a room that was going to house MY CHILD, everything else would fall apart.

The doors had to be perfect. I had to be perfect. Because, clearly my child’s whole future would hinge on closet doors. The wrong doors could keep him from sleeping through the night, getting good grades, making friends, eating his vegetables.

I’d like to blame it solely on pregnancy hormones, but I think it’s deeper than that.

Because it’s not about the closet doors. It’s about feeling overwhelmed. It’s about the unknown. It’s about life changing. It’s about a long-awaited blessing so beautiful it simultaneously makes me want to laugh and weep.

Pregnancy has been a growing experience (no pun intended – bahdoomCHHH) for this self-aware Type A. The baby-baking process has been the ultimate exercise in loss of control. And it’s liberating. Everything up to this point and everything that will come after requires complete trust in God.

My son might not like broccoli. He might get detention. He might draw on his perfect closet doors with a red Sharpie. He might marry a girl who is lactose intolerant (the horror).

I have to put it all, even that future woman who will steal …ahem… I mean marry my son away, in His hands.

This is all part of a plan—a plan outside of my control. The road was paved with frustration and heartbreak, but God finally blessed us with a viable pregnancy. My fear of parenthood pales in comparison to my intense, overwhelming gratitude. That’s what matters. I might not know how to swaddle a baby or discipline a misbehaving toddler, but I’ve been given the incredible chance to figure it out. This child is already in someone else’s hands.

I’m realizing that this is it. Right now. My life isn’t about tomorrow or growing up or my son’s future wife, it’s about the beautiful terror of each moment. The realization that I’m not in charge. The recognition that each mundane or shattering moment can take me straight to the feet of glory.

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I’m so thankful I get to live this life. I wouldn’t trade all of the pain, anger, fear, and uncertainty that comes along with it. It’s not about what already happened or what could be, it’s about where I am now. There is nothing more sacred or profound than this day.

So I’ll keep nesting, reading baby books, saving money, and practicing my breathing techniques. But ultimately I know that this new adventure is out of my hands. Everything will be new, but everything will be painfully beautiful. Life will change and we’ll change with it.

That’s the best kind of fear.

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All photos for this post were taken from our maternity shoot with the talented Ashley Folkema.