10 Things I Learned in November

It could be the pregnancy hormones talking, but today my heart is practically bursting with gratitude. This rush of sap may be a result of the impending Thanksgiving holiday, marshmallows in my cocoa, (because sweets are emotional, obv.), and the fact that I’m almost positive I felt the baby kick this morning, but I can’t help feel like November was blessed.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m often terrified as I think about becoming a parent and potentially never fitting back into my skinny jeans. Half of my brain is devoted to worrying and the other half is devoted to donut holes. But today is a day when I’m overwhelmed by the simple beauty of life.

The snow (which I wholly despise by January 2) is beautiful. The dry cows lowing in our pasture are beautiful. The gentle movements of my half-baked child are beautiful. The love of friends and family is beautiful. And, if you ask Dairy Man, even the effective use of teat dip on the dairy is beautiful.

As you all prepare your minds and bellies for Thursday’s holiday, I hope you take advantage of quiet moments to appreciate the beauty in your lives. Or to take a nap. Turkey can knock the stuffing out of you.

Until then, let’s take a look at 10 things I learned in November.

1. Baby F is a … BOY!
DM and I had our 20-week ultrasound last week. At our request, the tech wrote the baby’s sex down on a sheet of paper, sealed it in an envelope, and sent us on our merry way. Two dear friends made cupcakes with blue frosting on the inside and the rest is history! DM is thrilled to have a little farmer on the way. Now we just have to wrap our minds around the fact that we’re halfway through this pregnancy. Eek! Time to nest.
cupcakes

genderreveal

2. Dairy Man plans to be a unique kind of dad.
Creative, hands-on, and a dinosaur-enthusiast? Perhaps he’ll do the same thing with a band of mischievous farm animal figurines.

Dinovember

3. Pregnancy has increased the likelihood I’ll have catastrophic home accidents.
I’m generally not a clumsy person. Sure, I’ve had those moments where I bump a glass of milk with my elbow and nearly send it crashing to the ground. But I always catch it. No more. Pregnancy seems to have thrown off my equilibrium and slowed my reaction time. In the past month, I’ve experienced two calamitous incidents of clumsiness. First, I knocked a full 40 oz. jar of honey off a shelf in our pantry. It shattered, getting shards of glass and honey, STICKY HORRIFYING HONEY, everywhere. The floor, the wall, the shelves, my hands and arms. It took me over an hour to clean up the disaster. I can’t escape the feeling that my shoes still stick to the floor. In the second incident, I tipped over a BURNING CANDLE FULL OF HOT LIQUID WAX. I spent the next hour scraping wax from the floor and wall with an old credit card and ironing the cowhide rug. I shudder to think what is going to happen next. Please do not give me anything breakable for Christmas.

4. Much to my chagrin, I cannot deny my Michigan accent.
Despite years of theater and show choir (yes, I’m showing a little bit of my high school nerdiness now), I’ve apparently not managed to adopt a place-neutral accent. So much for my future in TV news broadcasting. According to this online quiz, my American accent is “Inland North,” and yes, I grew up saying “pop.” How about you? What American accent do you have?

Michiganaccent5. We have cows at the end of our rainbow.
Our small town didn’t escape the crazy violent storms that crashed through the Midwest a couple of weeks ago, but we were blessed to escape with minimal damage and minor flooding. And something amazing happened. Between two of the storm systems, the sun thrust itself outside of the black storm clouds and created an awe-inspiring double rainbow. It’s confirmed, folks. We have cows at the end of our rainbow.

doublerainbow

6. Dairy Man and Ron Swanson agree about skim milk.
This clip is one of DM’s favorite things on the Internet. Sometimes I think Ron Swanson is his spirit animal.

7. There comes a tragic day when you can’t wear your favorite pants and grow a baby at the same time.
And I hit that point about a week ago. Hellooooo leggings.

almost20weeks

8. Real love can be “boring” … and beautiful.
This letter from a mother to her boys has been bouncing around the interwebs and I think it’s a wonderful depiction of real, everyday, life-changing love. A relationship still needs date nights and fireworks, but ultimately “the real romantics are the boring ones—they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.”

9. Cows vurp. A lot.
Vurp: to burp and vomit at the same time. It doesn’t seem like the most ladylike thing in the world, but there’s a unique step in a cow’s digestive process. After she chows down on her delicious feed, she’ll regurgitate, or “vurp,” each bite and chew it some more. This is called cud. A happy cow is a cow chewing her cud. Fun fact. You’re welcome.

10. Jersey has discovered a loophole to our “no dogs on the bed” rule.
This is what comes of putting a bench at the end of the bed. Cheeky bugger.

puponthebed

I hope you all learned a lot this month and have a wonderful, turkey-coma-induced Thanksgiving!

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Thankful November

Everyone keeps telling me that life speeds up when you get older. This terrifies me. Because life seems to be moving pretty darn quickly already.

HOW is it already the second week of November? I was flabbergasted to see snow (not in my neck of Michigan, thank goodness) on the morning weather report. Gross. We will discuss my extreme revulsion to the white stuff another time. As the Dairy Man man charitably puts it: I, like a good red wine, don’t chill well.

As my brain shifts into winter/holiday mode, I can’t help but wonder “where does the time go?” Imagine me, old and creaky, waving my cane at you. You young whippersnappers just don’t understand. Dark skies at 4:30 p.m. make me feel positively geriatric.

The Dairy Man and I have been running around like headless chickens since mid-September. Between corn harvest, my crazy work schedule, weekends traveling, and pesky things like eating, sleeping, and breathing, the holidays will almost be a much-needed respite. Comparatively. We’ll see.

As I try to catch my breath from several months spent perpetually in motion, I decided to jump on a Facebook bandwagon of daily thankfulness. If nothing else, I need to be reminded that life is beautiful and positive.

Each day this November, I am posting one thing for which I’m thankful on my MFW Facebook page. I will do my best to avoid being sappy or cliché. Though I am thankful for my husband, family, dog, friends …yawn, gag, yadda yadda yadda… I promise to make it more interesting than that. I am thankful for everything from a swell husband to tangy cherry salsa.

I invite you to follow all of the posts going forward, but for today let’s bring you up to speed:

Nov 1: I am thankful for a husband who milks cows, pretends to care about serial commas, occasionally forgets to shake hair-filled towels out before putting them in the wash, and almost loves football as much as I do.

Nov 2: I am thankful for family members that drive all the way to our house in the boondocks to hang out with my furry child, Jersey the border collie. I’m even ok with the fact that they might love him more than me. Woof.

Nov 3: I am thankful for cows. They make delicious milk, provide a soundtrack of mooing to my domicile, and help us bring home the bacon. Figuratively.

Nov 4: I am thankful that the DM and I have four grandparents here on earth and four in glory. We’ve been blessed to have such strong, intelligent, courageous, and loving role models. Their legacy of faith, perseverance, good humor, and Dutch ham buns, is an inspiration.

Nov 5: I am thankful for Cherry Republic salsa. My complete lack of self-control forms a direct correlation between cherry salsa and a throbbing tummy ache, but that’s the price of love, baby.

Nov 6: I am thankful for laughter. Nothing cures stress, unhappiness, distaste for cold weather, or a wicked head cold quite like the ability to let out a big belly laugh. Or giddy guffaw. Or cheerful chortle. Or soothing snort. Today, I will LAUGH.

Nov 7: I am thankful for karaoke tracks on YouTube. Without these great backups to my renditions of “Killing Me Softly,” “I Believe In a Thing Called Love,” and “Any Way You Want It,” what would I do when the Dairy Man is working late or away at a conference? Certainly not leave the comfort and privacy of my house to actually karaoke in public.

Nov 8: I am thankful for our home. Sure, the DM and I spent the majority of 2011 painting wood paneling, we can roll marbles down the slope of our kitchen floor, and we still have no heat upstairs, but this house has evolved into a place full of warmth and love. I’m even thankful that I can see cows out my dining room window.

**Update 12/12/12: I will now add the rest of November to this post for posterity!**

Nov 9: I am thankful for a safe and clean place to sleep, electricity, running water, and heat. It’s very easy to take these simple things for granted, but today I can’t stop thinking about the people who are going without. If you are thankful for these basic necessities, consider donating to relief efforts on the East Coast and around the world! http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations

Nov 10: I am thankful for NyQuil. Without it I would probably hack up a lung in my sleep and keep DM up all night. Ah, modern medicine.

Nov 11: I am thankful for the men and women of our armed forces who serve and have served to give us freedom. Happy Veterans Day!

Nov 12: I am thankful for winter. Believe it or not, this cold, snowy season does bring one positive thing: more time with the Dairy Man! Although, now that things have slowed down, he does scooter off to dairy meetings and conferences more than I’d like. What do they have to confer about!? Oh farm life.

Nov 13: I am thankful for a job that is fulfilling, challenging, and allows me to write for a living. If only yoga pants were socially acceptable work-wear.

Nov 14: I am thankful for the unconditional love, furry cuddles, and slobbery kisses I receive from this little guy, aka Jersey the dog!

Nov 15: I am thankful for two siblings who share my odd sense of humour, provide me with delicious baked goods (because I do not bake), usually listen to the advice of their big sister, and have been in my corner through the worst and best times of my life.

Nov 16: I am thankful to have grown up next to one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the country: Lake Michigan!

Nov 17: I am thankful for a powerful vacuum cleaner. Without it, the DM and I would be living knee-deep in puppy fur. Darn border collies.

Nov 18: I am thankful for friends who buy me huge bags of quinoa at Costco because it is HIGHWAY ROBBERY to buy the tiniest little box at our local grocery store. #smalltownwoes

Nov 19: I am thankful for Andy Williams’ soulful yuletide crooning. Yes, this does mean Pandora’s box is open. Christmas music listening begins today! Not ashamed.

Nov 20: I am thankful for a hilarious, fabulous group of girlfriends in this small town. We laugh, we cry, we pray, we shop, we drink wine, we travel, we make life in the boondocks awesome.

Nov 21: I am thankful for the fact that I am only responsible for bringing a salad to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Family, get ready for couscous salad with roasted red peppers, chickpeas, feta, and lots of other deliciousness!

Nov 22: I am thankful for my family. If you ever meet this band of oddballs, you’ll understand ME a whole lot better. We are loud, passionate, and will probably interrupt you a dozen times. We will feed you into submission. We give human voices to stuffed animals. We relate every single life experience to Seinfeld. We take annual Christmas photos that are legen …wait for it… dary.

Nov 23: I am thankful for a loving God who continually reminds me that, despite my fears, doubts, and disappointments, he is in control.

Nov 24: I am thankful that –after completely restringing the lights THREE times– the tree is finally decorated! Let the holidays begin.

Nov 25: I am thankful for all of the “little” things that are so easy to take for granted: like a reliable vehicle that allows me to travel to work and to visit my family, even in the snow (yay for 4WD!); a working furnace that keeps our drafty old farmhouse warm; the ability to buy delicious, healthy food; a steady job that provides a good living and utilizes my strengths; a strong healthy body that allows me to walk, talk, eat, dance, and hug those I love.

Nov 26 : I am thankful for my in-laws. When I married my wonderful Dairy Man, I also married into a truly fabulous Dairy Fam. They accept me unquestioningly as one of their daughters/sisters (sometimes too much – I really, reeeeally don’t need to talk about artificial insemination at the dinner table), put up with my opposition to getting dirty and obsession with trendy clothing, and get a kick out of watching me morph into a modern farm wife!

Nov 27: I am thankful for Double Stuf Oreos. Trans fat never tasted so good. And, as an adult, I am finally allowed to lick the frosting. (Yes, Dad, I’m playing with my food. Nanner nanner.)

Nov 28: I am thankful for the Internet. Seriously. Back in the days of yore, a farm wife such as myself would have been enormously isolated. I might have sadly wandered the grassy plains with only a musket, a dog, and the forlorn wind to keep me company. But thanks to modern technology, aka the Internet, my little hamlet in Smalltown, Mich. is completely connected to the rest of the world. I can Skype with friends across the country, shop online, stalk Facebook pictures of old high school buddies, stay updated on the latest trends via Pinterest, share cute pictures of Jersey the dog with my family, and participate in a lively community of bloggers. The world is a lot smaller than it used to be—let country folk rejoice!

Nov 29: I am thankful for YOU – the people (grandmas, neighbors, and strangers alike) who read my blog and make me feel like I’m not crazy for writing 632 words about cow manure. The blog has proven to be a creative outlet, coping mechanism, and great way to enter a wide community behind the fences of our dairy farm. I love your comments and hearing your side of things. You all are awesome. I wish I could mail you some Double Stuf Oreos to prove just how awesome.

Nov 30: I am thankful that there are only 30 days in November! Phew. 🙂

Feeling Thank Full

Today I am feeling full of thanks. I am thank full.

I know that most of you will be happily consuming various forms of turkey and green beans in a few hours, but I wanted to squeeze in my thanks giving before it all begins.

As I bask in the glow of a short work week, I finally have a moment to reflect on the past year. As I look back, it’s so easy to focus on things that don’t matter. It’s so easy to be pessimistic and wallow in the things that didn’t go the way I wanted them to go. But this is a season of thanks, of gratitude, of awareness. Though these past 12 months have brought huge changes and difficulties, I can’t help but feel so thankful.

I’m thankful for a loving Savior.

I’m thankful for a husband who cheers me up, supports my dreams, and will never leave my side.

I’m thankful for a family that is goofy, crazy, and so very perfect.

I’m thankful for the Dairy Man’s family and how they have accepted me as a daughter and a sister. They are just as crazy as my family. Don’t let the normal picture fool you.

I’m thankful for a warm house that always smells like coffee and is full of love. (And IKEA furniture.)

I’m thankful for coffee, while I’m on the subject. Without it, I would die. I have a problem.

I’m thankful for a mischievous puppy who both infuriates me and melts my heart on a daily basis. He’s growing up MUCH too quickly.

I’m thankful for a solid group of friends in this little country town. Who knew there were so many people like us out in the boonies?

I’m thankful for a good job that is close to home. And thankful for the old job that provided me with so many friends and priceless life experiences.

I’m thankful for our pack of friendly, healthy cows and a great first year at this new dairy.

I’m (pre) thankful for a Michigan victory over OSU this weekend! Someday I will clue you all in to just how obsessed this farm wife is with football. #goblue

I have so many things in my life to be thankful for. We are richly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving from this Dairy Man + wife to you and yours!