I am a mother, wife, millennial, dairy farmer and obviously a blogger. My husband and I live on my family’s dairy farm with our daughter Calli. We are the third generation to take over my family’s dairy farm.
When I sat down to write this post about balance I had a general concept of where I wanted it to go. But my title stayed blank and I stared at the screen wondering how in the world I was going to start it. For months I had been thinking about tackling this issue all moms are thinking about. As a parent I have realized there is a whole new dynamic to the balancing act of life. What cemented this topic was all of the responses on my survey that talked about this very subject.
Give Yourself Grace
I have a lot of irons in the fire. Anyone who knows me personally knows I am involved in a lot. Definitely too much. Living in this packed full and busy life means I have to keep everything in a very delicate balance. Often, my balance will get off but I am constantly working to get back there.
In the future I am planning to share about priorities, organization and just keeping life sane. Before we get there I wanted to start with a sound base to build on. Wearing lots of hats means we are all busy. I’m really not sure how people think I really have it together in life. I’ll be honest, I don’t. My house, car and purse are a mess constantly. Being late is a skill I have that drives my husband nuts.
The first rule in my book of life is giving yourself grace. You can’t do it all just like I can’t do it all. I try not to portray my life as perfect because it’s not even close. But it’s also hard to put 100% reality out there for everyone to see. Looking around at this moment my house is an absolute mess, but I’m sitting here writing because I have put this off too long.
It took me a long time to give myself a little grace and not sweat the small stuff. One day I realized I was wasting so much time always being worried about what everyone thought or spending time only on things that bring me no joy. My time was full without my life being fulfilling. After lots of practice, where each time I stopped myself when my thinking went down the rabbit hole–I did something revolutionary. I forgive myself and I move on.
I hope before we get into balancing life you can start working grace into your daily life. We all deserve it. What is your first rule for keeping your sanity in a busy life?
Creativity has become something I am always thinking about for Calli, our toddler. Our toddler has been two for over a month now and don’t ask me where the time has gone. But here we sit with a tiny human who is two going on twelve. She is funny, sassy and a natural-born leader. Which may or may not make her my mini in personality.
This year we really won the birthday and Christmas lottery and got some amazing gifts from friends and family. Seeing that imagination come out of this tiny brain is amazing and we want to continue to push her creativity. Finding toys that encourage that is so important and I wanted to share the toys we have that really help Calli grow that we also love as parents.
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Callie’s kitchen is as messy as ours is!
KidKraft Toy Kitchen – This kitchen is used daily at our house. We put it up in the living room and Calli cannot get enough of it. She walks around calling grandma on her phone. Calli feeds her Woody and Jessie dolls soup and bologna. She makes us tea with her tea kettle. It is the cutest thing watching her pretend to make dinner and washing dishes. This kitchen will be played with for a long time in our house.
Magna-Tiles – Magna-Tiles are not something a lot of parents have heard of but trust me, every kid needs a set. Calli got a set for Christmas and these are a toy she enjoys now and she will enjoy more as she gets older. Our niece and nephew who are 8 and 6 still play with their sets. You can buy more sets to build bigger and bigger projects. This is another gift that will keep growing with your child.
She thought she was adorable.
Color Wonder Markers and Coloring Books – Coloring is Calli’s absolute favorite. She can sit at her table and color for hours. I love the fact that she wants to color and draw and be creative. I will always encourage it. But, it’s stressful trying to keep an eye on her with regular markers, even when they are washable. What parent wants to have to clean markers off of everything? Or, having to give a bath after they draw with a purple marker all over their belly. These Color Wonder Markers only draw on the Color Wonder paper. The regular markers are hidden and these are the only ones she has. She also has crayons but she would rather use the markers any day. They are piece of mind so I don’t have to hover over her or be mad when she draws somewhere she isn’t supposed to.
TeePee by Pillowfort – Calli doesn’t have this specific teepee, she has a homemade one. She also have this amazing tent from Ikea too. If you aren’t as into making your child a teepee-like me-I thought I would share a great option to buy. Calli loves having this space. She will bring one of us in there with her and we will read. I could see as she gets older we will put a chair in it and she could read herself. I love that it gives a her a space to express her creativity.
Reading Penguin and Pinecone.
Books – In my mind you cannot have enough books. That’s probably overboard. You probably can own too many, but books are such an amazing brain builder. We read books constantly around our house and here are a few of Calli’s favorite books right now. She loves these Disney sets of 12 books (she has two different ones and there’s so many other ones), Goodnight Moon, Penguin and Pinecone, Little Blue Truck, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Creativity is a trait I want to nourish in my child. I want to help her dream, invent and learn. A big part of that is giving her the time and space to do that. Another part of that is to give her tools that help her express them. I believe a select number of toys can help a child do that. Are there any great creative toys I don’t have on here that your kids loved?
For years I was made to feel like my emotions aren’t justified. They are always linked to hormones. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard I must be PMSing because I’m mad about something. Believe me, when I’m feeling ugly I don’t need a period to do it. My point is, everyone has a right to their emotions. Whatever it is, you have a right to feel that way.
A few weeks ago I had a personal realization. After years of struggling with getting sick before big events, being bothered by routine changes and snapping at my loved ones when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ve realized I suffer from anxiety. I’m not one to be ashamed of admitting I have something like anxiety. Now it is the next step. Figuring out what I do with this and how to deal with the anxiety. The swing of emotions are so challenging for me to deal with. Especially when dairy farming is such a tough place to be right now.
What I do know is I need to start accepting what I am feeling instead of going to flight zone. When I look back at situations in my past and I think about how I reacted and it’s so obvious it isn’t normal. Those ugly feelings are something that I just thought everyone had, I realize it’s not.
When we were struggling with infertility I was so emotional. For the first year, when we simply didn’t get pregnant was one thing. During that time I was okay. It was frustrating but I couldn’t change it. Everything changed when we lost that first pregnancy. I’m sure there was a hormonal part to my devastation. To put it simply I was destroyed on the inside but I thought I needed to be tough because everyone else was. I didn’t know anyone who had a miscarriage or if I did they never seemed bothered by it. I felt like I had to be stoic about it.
At the time I knew of very few people who could even vaguely understand about our struggle with infertility, not to mention a miscarriage. Thankfully our friends and family didn’t understand but they let me be ugly. They listened and never judged. They let me say things I would never say to anyone else. This experience made me realize we just need to own these emotions.
Give yourself the grace to be ugly for a while. Your feelings aren’t inappropriate. Own the feelings. Ask for help when you need them. Talk to someone when you need it. Feeling ugly doesn’t mean you have to be ugly.
What is your strategy to dealing with those ugly feelings?
For me 2017 was a year of evolution. I feel like I gained a lot of confidence in my beliefs and myself through this year. My husband and I went from working in separate places to working together on the farm. To say, 2017 had a lot of change would be so true. When I started thinking about what I wanted my philosophy for 2018 to be, I had to think about it. I decided to continue up a mindset I started working on in 2017 and a friend gave me the perfect words for it.
If it isn’t hell yes, then it’s hell no.
I have always worked hard to keep myself busy. I always thought keeping myself busy was the best. Now that I’m a parent and a farm owner I realize needlessly busy is exhausting and not rewarding. I love to be involved in our community and sharing my story online. When these things become overwhelming the wheels usually fall off. My hope is in 2018 I can continue to work on saying no to things I don’t want to do. I hope to keep organizing myself so I can do a better job on the things I am involved in. I want my daily work to reflect what my goals are and I want to push the fear aside to get there.
I’m hoping by only working on things I am passionate about I will have more time for my family, this blog and the farm. With hopefully having more time to write and be creative. In the future I plan to talk about farming, organization, food, running and so much more! Is there something else you want to know about? Is there a question you have always wanted to ask a farmer? I would love to work on that for you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for being with me on this journey and I can’t wait to share more.
I have been on my lifestyle change of running and trying to be healthier and more balanced for a year and a half. Through this journey I have learned a lot about the amazing things my body can do, like run a half marathon. I have realized the value in taking time for self care. Fueling my newly very active body was something I also learned about.
I struggled with food for a long time. My average day on the farm includes at least 5 miles of walking. Plus, I do a decent amount of lifting, carrying and squats in my normal day. No, I’m not bragging about that. I’m saying it because that meant when I threw running in I was eating like a pig.
All. The. Time.
I simply couldn’t fuel my body enough. Or so I thought. But I wasn’t giving my body the fuel it needed. I was giving it too much of what it didn’t need and not enough of what it did. The cravings I had rivaled my nursing cravings and they were full of sugar. Anyone who is training for really long distance races will tell you the cravings are intense and hard to keep under control. It’s not uncommon for people to gain weight while training for a half marathon or any longer race.
Before I started training for my half I laughed and said that wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be standing in my kitchen scarfing down anything I could find. Well, talk about putting my foot and a lot of food in my mouth. I was definitely that person.
High Quality Food is Important
One of the things I learned to not gain weight while running long distances often is not based on a diet. It’s about eating high quality food all through the day. But, what does that mean? I like an expensive granola bar as much as the next person, but that’s not what I am referring to. I am talking about making your own food that has a lot of fruit, veggies, protein, fat and complex carbohydrates.
Buy combining these food groups most of the time, I can bet you will feel better and not get tired by the end of your training period. I’m not saying no treats. I will not tell you to cut out alcohol or sugar or salty foods during a training period. Unless you an elite athlete or if it’s the week of your race. I try to eat my best the week of my race.
Snacks are Essential
I realized while training snacks are even more important than normal. I always make sure I have snacks around the house that are healthy and quick. If I don’t have a snack I will eat way too much at lunch and dinner. I promise you it won’t be a healthy lunch or dinner choice too.
You might ask, what are my favorite snacks? Well, I have lots of easy to grab fruits and veggies. Carrots and avocado dip, Apples and Peanut Butter or a Plum and a piece of string cheese. These are a few of my favorites. Depending on how many miles I am running I might add in a piece of whole wheat bread or another slice of cheese. These snacks all include natural sugars, fats and carbohydrates. The bonus is, my toddler likes all of these snacks too so I can share.
Why Milk is An Essential Part of my Diet
When I get done with a run or workout I want something quick to refuel me. The hangry is real when I get to that point. We always have chocolate milk in our house for this reason. I’ve had a lot of people say they can’t stomach the thought of milk after a workout. Chocolate milk is a perfect combination of fluids, electrolytes and those 9 essential nutrients that are even more important after a hard workout. After your stomach settles chocolate milk can be the most fulfilling and delicious recovery drink.
Chocolate Milk provides the ideal ratio of carbohydrates to protein to aid your body in recovering from a hard workout. These carbohydrates help replace the fuel your body burned. The protein helps build muscles and repair the muscles that break down during running. We all loose fluids during a hard workout and they need to be replaced. Low-fat chocolate milk replace those fluids. The vitamins and minerals in milk build strong bodies.
Dairy plays a much larger part of my diet than a recovery drink. I noticed my body required a lot more protein than I originally thought. I knew I couldn’t just add more fruit and veggies into my diet, I needed a lot more high quality protein. The easiest way to get that is with cheese, yogurt and milk.
Don’t be Afraid of Your Food
When I started writing this, I wanted to get to this point. We live in a diet and cleanse centered society. It’s so easy to feel like you shouldn’t be eating anything. But let’s be honest, our bodies do amazing things and they need fuel to do that. Fuel your body in a balanced and healthy way and don’t feel bad about treating yourself. We all need a cookie or a chocolate bar and that one isn’t going to ruin everything.
Fall is definitely here in Michigan. We had our first frost the other day and it was a hard one. That means another season is here. Without any further ado, this is my favorite things for fall 2017.
The rest of this post contains affiliate links. They do not raise the price for you, as the consumer. As a blogger, I do get a small earning of any purchase you may make. That small earning helps pay the cost of keeping up this blog. So I appreciate the support.
Photo Credit to Stormy Kromer
I have two Stormy Kromer hats (the Petal Pusher and the Button Up) that are staples in my wardrobe when it isn’t a million degrees out. I love them. The Millie Kromer, in the picture above, is the one I want next. I love that it has all of the look of the classic versions with a spot for your ponytail. If you’re in the market for a different style hat, Stormy Kromer has you covered.
For 2018 I am trying a new planner from inkWELL Press. I not only love the planner but I love that inkWELL Press is focused around helping you be your happiest and most organized self. Although I haven’t started officially using the planner yet, I started using the Weekly Kickstart. It’s basically a place to put everything you have going on during the week in one place. It’s easy to check and a notepad has 50 sheets. If you use the link above, you can get $10 off a planner too.
Photo Courtesy of Stormy Kromer
While I was walking into the Detroit Free Press Marathon Expo my purse strap broke. That break meant I got to get the bag I’ve been eyeing for a year. I’ve been wanting a bag that can carry the things I need but also that I can throw a couple diapers and some wipes in and go. The Companion Bag from Stormy Kromer is it. It’s big enough that I can carry everything Calli and I need but it’s still small enough I can throw it over my shoulder and have my hand free all day long. I also love the look of it. It’s rustic and I can see will wear well.
Lush’s Charity Pot is one of my fall and winter necessities. My hands are already getting dry and that means I need lots of lotion. I love the smell of the charity pot because it is so light. I’m not afraid to use it in the middle of the day because the scent doesn’t stick around all day long. It has powerful moisturizers but it isn’t thick and oily. I call this a win-win.
These pens are not really a for fall thing. But this summer I got obsessed with them. The Pilot Frixion pens are my new favorites. This is the first time I actually bought an ink refill for a pen. My favorite part is the fact that they are erasable. I love writing with pen but I hated it when I had to cross it out or use white out. Problem solved with these pens.
The other skincare must I have is Lush’s Buffy Bar. I have dry skin and it gets so itchy in the cooler months. I use the bar at the end of my shower to get all of the dead skin off and add a layer of lotion. My skin feels so soft and I couldn’t survive winter without it.
What are your favorite products for fall? I would love to know what you are loving.
On Sunday I finished my second half marathon. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I went from a 3:01:02 to a 2:54:22 finishing time. My entire body still aches from my head to my toes. But my soul is happy. I did something a year and a half ago I would have laughed at. Over the past past year I have pushed my body to run 5Ks faster, run 10ks and now 13.1 miles. I have run over bridges, through tunnels, in two different countries, on pavement and dirt, through trails and along rivers. I run in sweltering heat, sleet, snow, mud and perfect sunny days. I have taken myself from pre-hypertension to the very low end of normal.
When I crossed that finish line on Sunday I cried. I have never felt the urge to cry during or after a race before. At that moment something hit me, I had done it. I had spend hours cross training. Pounding the road. Forgetting fuel and failed at my long run. I was chased by dogs. I had good days and I had bad days. There were days I pushed my daughter in a stroller. Days I ran out the door as soon as Eric got in the house.
I signed up for the Detroit International Half Marathon on January 1, 2017 at a little after midnight. 10 months and 14 days later I completed it. These past 10 months I have learned a lot about running. I have learned new techniques, I have learned about gear and the most famous distance runners in the world. But, I have also gained a deeper love for something that makes me better physically and mentally. I have gained new friends, reconnected with old ones, found new support groups and new ways of dealing with stress. These are the things I will remember, cherish and use. Not the information. The lessons learned while out on the road are the important ones.
Now that I have checked the half marathon off my running bucket list, what are my plans? After a lot of thinking and debating I have decided to stick to shorter distances. During training, running became more of an obligation versus something I wanted to do. With a crazy work schedule and a toddler and no treadmill, that made training hard. I simply didn’t have enough time to do it right. I want to get back to a place where I’m running more often but shorter distances. By shorter I mean 4-6 miles. I want to work on my cross training. I want to make myself stronger before I commit to anything longer than a 10K again.
Don’t worry, you will definitely see me on the road and at races. I might throw in a few longer runs here and there. But I’m going to go where my legs take me and do what feels good.
I’m not really sure how today we are celebrating 5 years of marriage. Are we really 5 years, 1 child and a farm later?! Everyone tells you time flies. I always believed them but I had no idea how fast goes. It’s so much quicker than I could have imagined it being.
When we were getting married we had no idea what was in our future. I will never forget how amazing that day was. We were surrounded by friends and family who traveled from all over the country to support us. The day was perfect… Other than the stomach flu that I was hit with the day before our wedding. And the piece of farm equipment that almost burnt our barn down. But no worries, everything turned out perfectly and the equipment fire was kept so secret we didn’t know until the next morning.
Little did I know that the days would only get better. We survived highs and lows of marriage just like every other couple. We struggled through two pregnancy losses and infertility. My husband was my rock through all of that. My emotions and hormones were roller coasters and he was by my side supporting me and believing we would be parents.
We survived a high risk pregnancy that included a lot of trips to the hospital, me being stuck in a bed and a premie who was a total surprise and healthy. He is the best teammate I could ever imagine for surviving the world with an independent toddler. Eric, thank you for always being the calm and cool voice when I am freaking out. I don’t know what I would do without you.
Now we have done this crazy thing in taking the farm over together. We went from seeing each other a few hours a day to being in each others space all the time. We are figuring out this new phase of our life and I cannot wait to see how we handle it together.
Eric, thank you for always being strong, hard working and loving. Calli and I love you dearly and we are so thankful for you. Even if we aren’t great at showing it all the time. I cannot wait to see what the next 50 years of marriage bring us.
I haven’t talked about the farm on here much lately. So let me tell you what has been going on at home and on the farm. Almoat three months ago, my husband and I bought the farm from my parents. I know, I know. It’s been quite a while since this happened and I’m just mentioning it. To say we’ve been busy figuring things out.
My dad signing the paperwork for the farm. We were officially farm owners.
Passing something down like a farm takes a lot of planning. This has been in the works for years. We have talked about it. We have changed the plan. But now we are here. Eric and I are working together everyday. We are truly a team. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But it’s worth it. We officially put up our first year of feed for the cows. Things are moving along and we are along for the ride.
I think the biggest struggle has been juggling a busy, active toddler who wants to be into everything. It’s a difficult but amazing struggle farming with family. I love watching Calli out in the barn with the cows or riding in the tractor with Eric. It is so fulfilling having her with us while we are working. It is also a challenge keeping her safe when she wants to help mom and dad with everything.
So, this is a new chapter in our lives. We are so excited to be here! There will always be ups and downs. That’s life. We can’t wait to share it with our family, friends and with you. I hope you will continue to follow along this journey.
Podcasts have been my ear addiction or I’m not sure how long. I’m not sure if I have had my one year anniversary but I suspect it’s close. After a while I got sick of listening to music because it seems like it’s always on a loop of the same stuff over and over again. Yes, I know. They make apps for that. At the time I didn’t know but I have wised up since then.
After I started I got addicted to all of the things I could learn. Anytime I can I am listening to a podcast. Since I’ve listened to so many, I have become source for friends looking for more podcasts or for friends just starting. I decided I would share what I’m listening to and loving currently.
Up and Vanished – If you love true crime, this is right up your alley. This podcast investigated the disappearance of Georgia teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead. While the podcast was being released the cold case actually was reopened and the case was solved. It was so crazy being able to listen to updates as this sad case got solved.
My Dad Wrote a Porno – When I started listening to podcasts I listened to 100% true crime. I love true crime, but I started getting really paranoid and having bad dreams. So I decided I needed to break it up with some other topics. I went to the top 10 overall podcasts and decided to try this one. I do not regret it. This is the podcast I look forward to the most. It is three friends sitting around the kitchen table reading an erotic novella. It is poor quality writing and the kicker is, the one host is the son of the author. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and hilarious. If you need a good laugh, this is the perfect podcast for you. Warning: If you are sensitive to these topics or high school age or younger this is not the podcast for you.
Presidential/Constitutional – The names of these podcasts may sound politically charged. Presidential has 45 episodes and each one is about a different president in their service order. The podcasts does a great job is talking about the successes and the struggles of their terms and what made each of them unique. Constitutional is basically the second season of Presidential. Each episode covers a different part of the Bill of Right and the Constitution. It is extremely powerful, albeit more political than Presidential.
The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe – I was born in the late 80s and live through the 90s. Which means I remember what it is like listening to the radio. The regular radio. The Way I Heard It is a short weekly episode (around 10 minutes) hosted by Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe. They are funny, stories told in a way to keep you guessing who it is until the end. The show reminds me of Paul Harvey’s radio show that used to be on our radio around noon.
TED Radio Hour – If you want a podcast that is inspiring and thought provoking, this is it. The TED Radio Hour is put together by NPR. The host and producers put the past year’s best TED Talks together by themes. Each week they pick a theme and string together these seemingly different talks into an engaging episode.
Science Vs. – I am obviously a science lover. But this podcast can easily be loved by someone who doesn’t know much about science. What the show does is they pick a topic and they research, talk to experts and see what the science says. They cover everything from Meditation to True Love to GMOs to Vaccines. The episodes are well produced and unbiased.
The thing I love most about podcasts is I can be working and still feel like I’m learning something. I can learn about all sorts of topics. If you aren’t a podcast listeners, what is one you might checkout? If you are a listener, what is one I missed?