This has been a tough winter here in Iowa. Numerous blizzards and I can't count the number of times we have been unable to get out of the driveway, let alone down the road. We spent 36 hours with no electricity, thank goodness for the generator. The one tractor that has a loader got a flat tire so that was an unexpected expense to buy a new one. Then the pressure tank in the well sprung a leak so we had to buy a new pressure tank. That well has caused a lot of trouble...we go through a lot of pressure switches and fuses. I shudder to think of all the times we have had to chase pigs in, load pigs, vaccinate pigs...good thing they make us money! The wind howls through the old windows and the upstairs never gets completely warm. We run heaters in the mud room so the pipes don't freeze under the bathroom and we run heaters in the living room and bedrooms so we don't freeze. Some days the sun shines in the windows and we think it is silly to have all these heaters...but then the wind starts to blow again. The roof on the shop needs to be replaced, it leaks and there is ice on the floor. The garage door doesn't sit exactly level on the floor so if the wind and snow really blow it makes a drift in the garage...sometimes to the steps! The cats know the sound of the garage door going up and immediately run when they hear it...and if we don't get every one of them out we have to deal with poop on the floor. But even though we have all these troubles and inconveniences I would never move into town. The good far outweighs the bad. Smelling the freshly turned dirt in the spring. Watching the crops grow all summer long. Hearing the dry corn rustle in the wind. Knowing my kids could go outside on a summer day and scream and yell and run around and it didn't matter if they were loud because there were no neighbors close enough to hear them. Hearing the sound of the pigs running around the barnyard and the slamming of the metal feeder lids. Smelling the fresh straw being loaded into the haymow. Watching the grass grow and then watching my farmer mow it down with the tractor. Having lots of cats who have more cats, but it doesn't matter because they keep the mouse population down. Watching the harvested corn and beans being loaded into the silos and the watching them being unloaded to be taken into town. Knowing that my farmer is happy here, in the place where he grew up, where our children grew up, where we will grow old together. Yes, farm living is the life for me.

date January 27, 2010

Yet another day of snow...and this time when I say we are snowed in I really mean it! Dan drove the pickup down the gravel road, using 4-wheel drive, and got stuck. The loader tractor has a flat tire so he has no way to scoop us to the he has had to do so many times this winter. So far school is two hours late, but Kayla won't be going even if they do keep it on. I emailed work, again, to tell them I won't be coming. I hate using my vacation time for snow days! I guess even if we could make it to the highway we wouldn't be able to see...Dan says visibility is rotten out there. I don't mind spending the day at home with my family but I sure am tired of snow and winter!

date January 25, 2010

This morning Kayla and I helped Dan sort some pigs here to go to market tomorrow. After cleaning up Kayla went shopping with some friends and Dan went to clean turkey buildings. I have had the whole day home all alone...silence is golden! Between folding loads of clean clothes I have been watching movies, reading a book and watching a little cleaning that I didn't get done yesterday. I love days like this...but now I am getting bored and hoping Kayla comes home soon since I know Dan won't be home until at least 9.

In my previous post I said how I was sure Kayla's knees wouldn't be any big deal and she wouldn't need surgery...well unfortunately she was right on that one. She is so ready for it to just be done and over with, two years of on and off, and now mostly on, pain are enough. She is a little freaked out by the idea of surgery and how she will walk with crutches when she isn't supposed to put weight on her knees, but I am sure she will do fine.

Brian amazes me. Not only has he declared physics as his major but now he is taking a calculus class he can keep up in physics class. I would not be able to do high school classes in either of those subjects, but he is loving it. At speech yesterday the husband of a friend asked how Brian was doing and what his major was. I said he is happy at Kansas and majoring in physics. The guy said "well I always knew he was smart"...that kind of made my day :)

Becky got one last weekend with Eli before he flies out on Tuesday morning. She was back at USD on Tuesday and he came to spend some time with her Thursday and Friday. I was a little worried she might skip class on Friday to be with him, but he went to classes with her! I thought that was pretty nice of him to do. They both came and watched Kayla perform in speech on Saturday, which was also nice...made Kayla very happy to have Becky there.

Dan has been crazy busy lately...helping clean out turkey buildings, has to load and sort hogs at one of the sites tomorrow and also has to load here, has to fix his tractor tire (pray for no snow because the loader tractor has a flat), and also needs to get into town to fix Scott's tractor. All this extra work on top of his regular chores and little things that need to be done here at home. No wonder I don't see him until late at night!

My good friend Mel is about to become a grandma for the first time. I went shopping for some things to send to her daughter (Andrea) for her new baby daughter (Mia) and had so much fun buying all those little baby things. I hope it is many years before I become a grandma, but I will have some seriously spoiled grandchildren when I do!

Still spending my afternoon watching football and waiting for the Vikings/Saints game to start. I am really hoping the Vikings lose since they beat my Cowboys...and for other reasons ;) It has been a lazy Sunday...just the way I like it.

date January 24, 2010

Brian discovered he can get some of his textbooks online at amazon much cheaper then at the bookstore on campus.

Becky had no choice about ordering some of her textbooks online because the campus bookstore ran out and the books are no longer available to them. She found them online though.

Kayla got a new netbook today. It will be easier for her to take to school and do her online college class and it means I don't have to share my computer anymore.

Brian lost his phone and car keys. However, unlike most people, he is not at all bothered by it. He figures they will show up eventually.

Becky is finally headed back to USD today. Eli will go spend some time with her before he leaves again and they will have the weekend together.

Kayla was scheduled to work every night last week. She didn't realize she was down for Friday so didn't go until they called her. Whoops!

Dan has been so busy lately I seldom see him before bedtime. He has new baby pigs in one building and has been trying to keep the barn here clean and dry. Hard to do in this weather.

I am getting the beginning of a cold. I seriously cannot remember the last time I was sick.

First Becky's car broke down. Then Kayla's car broke down. Becky bought another car since hers is almost to 300,000 miles. Kayla's car needed an alternator and belt. Becky's car needed a starter. We just put one in in October so when we got another one we returned the defective one.

Kayla has been having trouble with her knees. Tomorrow we go to the specialist to see if he can figure out what is wrong. She is majorly worried about what he will say, I am not. She is sure it is going to be a big deal and involve surgery and no more show choir. I am thinking it is something simple and will only require exercises. I hope I am right.

I bought a picture frame that says "Home is where they will always love you". It is black and white so I put black and white pictures of the kids in it. There are three pictures and in each one the kids get a little older. In one picture Becky's hair is darker since the picture is black and white and she looks just like Kayla does now.

Kayla has speech contest in Spencer this Saturday. She is in an Improv group.

Becky is taking a Political Science course this semester that is several grades above her grade. She is slightly nervous about it.

Brian is excited to have a friend from Brazil move to Iowa. He is here for a year and Brian will get to see him this summer when he goes to work at camp.

date January 18, 2010

Yesterday Eli came home to Iowa after being gone for 6 months. Two of those months were in the states and the other four in Iraq. He is now home for 2 weeks of R & R. Becky is over-the-moon excited, as I am sure I would be if Dan had been gone that long. thing is, why does everyone else make such a big deal out of the fact that he is home? Brian was gone for six months over the summer and while in Kansas, and when he came home there was no big family party for him or all his friends hurrying over to see him. Some people say Eli coming home is a big deal because he has been in danger and it is nice to see him safe. I say pooh to that. He never leaves the base and Iraq is nowhere near as dangerous as it used to be. Anyone living anywhere is in just about as much danger as he is. I understand his parents are excited to see him, I am excited to see my kids when they come home too. But honestly, how many parents go for a year or more without seeing their kids? I know one couple who only sees their kids at Christmas time simply because they all live so far away and everyone is busy. Yet these people quietly celebrate with the kids and big party for them. Like I said, I understand the excitement of Becky and of Eli's parents...but don't expect me to share that extreme joy. He came home, he will leave again for another six months, come home and probably leave sometime again. This is the way life works...I am glad he is safe, I am glad he gets some time to visit, but I don't think it deserves any more attention then any other person visiting after having been gone. Just sayin'.

date January 11, 2010

Yet another day of looking out the window and seeing nothing but road, no houses, barely any trees...just whiteness. Gotta say, I loved snow days when I was a kid, but as an adult they are a totally different thing. After the last snowstorm we had I am a little paranoid about the electricity going out. I also worry about keeping the house warm...we have little heaters all over the house just in case a room gets too chilly. Plus I am physically incapable of just sitting and doing nothing when I am home..there are so many loads of laundry to wash and dry, so many floors that need vacuuming and sweeping and mopping, toilets that need cleaned, cookies to bake and meals to prepare. To me a snow day is just an extra weekend day to get more work done!

We have lots of drifts in the yard and I am assuming on the road to the highway. Good thing Dan doesn't need to get in the front doors of the barn because there are big drifts there too. Huge icicles hanging from the roof...bigger than I have ever seen! No one has been out of the house, except for Dan to check on the pigs and figure there was no use scooping until it stopped blowing. Brian is still in bed and the girls are still in their jammies. It is nice to have everyone at home, but my goodness am I glad when we are able to leave if we want to!

Daytime television, when you only get "over the air" channels, is really quite pathetic. Once the game shows are over in the morning there is nothing but soap operas and court shows. Yet another reason to find something else to do! Of course there is no mail delivery out here in the country on days like this either. The internet comes and goes too. All the modern things I am used to having to connect with the outside world are shaky at best. But I don't mind for a day or two...just hoping we never have a repeat of the big blizzard of '75 no one can forget!

date January 7, 2010

This new year of 2010 I resolve to have no resolutions. I am going to try some things, but if I don't succeed then I will just try again, no resolutions to break.

I can't say I won't yell at my kids so much...they are not around very often so I really have no reasons to yell at them at all. I will however try to be a little more understanding when they call and ask for money...after I just sent them money a week ago! College is expensive, not only in tuition but also just to live away from home.

I am not going to try to lose weight, I have my husband and family so who do I need to impress? I am healthy at the weight I am, granted I would like to be thinner but as long as I am healthy the extra cushioning is just a great way to stay warm.

I don't make it to church nearly as often as I should and I am going to try to go more often, and I am going to try to have Dan go with me. Church is good, but going does not make me more of a Christian just like not going does not make me any less of one. I can worship every day of the week just by being thankful that I woke up to another day, by seeing or talking to the kids I have been blessed to be a mother to and by going to work and dealing with the public.

Dan says I am a bit of a clean freak...but I like a clean house. Therefore my goal this year is to keep the house cleaner than I have been...which is difficult with Dan around during the day! So I guess my goal is to get him to clean up after himself a little more often. I have been working on this one for 22 years, so I am not expecting much.

Basically I am happy with who I am and how people see me. I try to be kind and patient with others, sometimes it is more difficult than others! I spend as much time with my family and Dan's family as I can, but I can try to spend more time with all of them. Family is important.

I have some friends that are like family to me and I think they need to know that. Two girls are like my sisters and I wouldn't be who I am without them. I really need to spend more time with them too. I have a friend who is facing major medical issues and I really want to spend some time with him before he is gone. I also have a friend who has a girlfriend from far, far away and I want to meet her and get to know her more than just on Facebook.

I think my main thing to try this year is just to worry less and love more, forgive easier and forget faster, not let the minor annoyances get to me and speak up when necessary. My year will be what I make of it...and I plan to make it one to remember :)

date January 1, 2010
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