Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wrangler Wednesday: Memorial Day Weekend on the Farm

Wyatt taking care of his garden

Enjoying glasses of sweet tea sitting on the porch

Early mornings on our porch with the little guy below

Getting messy in the kitchen making homemade tortillas 

and homemade butter with fresh cream from our cows

baling hay...I love the smell of fresh cut hay and seeing the bales scattered through the field

Enjoying some time in the sun

and don't forget an All-American favorite...Baseball.

I can never say thank you enough to the men and women who served our country and lost their lives so that I may enjoy the freedoms I have today.  And I can't forget their families who suffered the lost of a loved one for me...some truly did give all!  God Bless!

Until next time....


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wrangler Wednesday: Our life in pictures

An impromptu science investigation of rocks

T-ball games with red dirt

Hay fields waiting for cutters

Spring calves grazing 

time with my boys

Quiet moments in his favorite spot

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mommy Monday: Cloth Diapers

I have a slight obsession with cloth diapers (CDs).
Wyatt sporting his BumGenius diaper

You see it began 5 years ago with Wyatt.  
Once I stopped working full-time  (I only stayed at home for 5 months) we couldn't 
afford to purchase formula and diapers constantly, so something had to give.  
Since I was slightly "green" already (Farmers are the first environmentalist) CDs seemed to be the answer.  

There are many different types of cloth diapering systems out there.
Some are one piece, some are two while others have more.
It's all about finding out what works for you.

What works for our family may be different than what works for yours...
With that said remember my husband and in-laws are using cloth diapers on the farm,
they are constantly on the go and have to juggle the boys plus my youngest niece (6) from time to time.
So our CD's must be quick and easy to use!

With that said we have multiple types and I will talk about the pros and cons of each
1. Traditional CD's (prefolds & cover)
2. One Size
3. diapers & covers
4. The Hybrid

Ok so let's start where CD's began...prefolds and covers.

This is what many people think about when they think of cloth diapers.  These are the same kind that your parents and grandparents may have used with pins.  Well one great thing now is you can ditch the pins and get these awesome little things called Snappi's.  With Snappi's you don't have to worry about sticking yourself or the baby!  In our family these work great for me, especially when I am at home.  I can easily change this diaper as you can a disposable.  Unless the cover is damp or soiled I reuse the same cover throughout the day.  Most of the time I like to switch between 2 covers throughout the day so that one can completely dry out between diaper changes.  If you decide to use this system (which is one of the cheapest ways to go) I suggest having 20-30 prefolds and 4-6 covers at a minimum.  You can get started for as little as $50 by purchasing a bare bones basic kit here.   FYI: I am sure there may be cheaper places however Cotton Babies is where I have always purchased from and they have great service for an affordable price.   You can also pick up prefolds at Wal-Mart & Target but the absorbency might not live up to your expectations.  I will discuss covers at the end.

Next is our most used and favorite type of CD...the one size.

They are just what they sound purchase one size from 8-35 lbs.  These are a 2 part diapering system.  You have a shell that has an outer waterproof fabric with a sueded inner fabric that is soft and wicks the moisture away from baby and then inserts that go between the outer and inner layers in a pocket area.  We have some of these that fasten with Velcro (that must be replaced eventually)  and some with snaps.  I actually prefer the Velcro because they are a little faster and easier to put on.  It takes me a moment to get the snaps fastened.  There are various brands of this type of diaper however our favorites are BumGenius.  These are more expensive to get started with however they last forever through multiple children and hold up awesomely.  The worst thing about these diapers is the stuffing however even that isn't bad.  I stuff them while watching TV typically in the evening after the kiddos are in bed.  I can stuff all of our diapers in less than 30 minutes and at last count we had 30+.  6 BumGenius diapers will set you back about $75 new.

The third type of diaper we have are what are I call diapers and covers.

These come in one size, fitteds (which means sized), or you can make your own.  We have both one sized and DIY versions of this diaper.  You will have to purchase a cover for these separately.  We have Mother-ease one size diapers which are quick and easy to use for everyone.  I have also made our own version of these using this pattern from Rita's Rump  . Again they are easily adjustable and if you have basic sewing skills quick and easy to make.  The one drawback for us with these on the farm is they require a diaper cover.  Everything isn't all together, in turn that means we lost or misplaced covers from time to time.  As far as covers go keep reading, we will talk about them in a moment.

The last type of diaper we have are gdiapers or hybrids.

These diapers are part cloth and part disposable.  You have a cloth outer that is made of t-shirt like material, a plastic liner and then you can purchase inserts that are disposable or use cloth inserts (which is what we do).  They are easy to use and much better for the environment that traditional disposables however honestly they are expensive if you are using the disposable inserts.  The big positive to these diapers for me is that they are trimmer on baby than many other types of CDs.  They don't give you that big diaper bum.

Last but not least is covers.

For options 1 and 3 you need to purchase covers.  You can purchase covers together with many diapers in a kit or purchase them separately   We have always purchased our covers separately.  My favorite covers hands down are Flips .  Flips work great, are easy to use and colorful, but they aren't the most economical.  We also have Econobums , LiteWraps and Prowraps which work very well and about 1/2 the price.  Econobums are offered in a one sized option which means you only have to purchase covers once.  Litewraps and Prowraps are sized so you have to purchase more covers as baby grows.  Again I want to stress that all of these covers have worked excellent for us I just prefer the Flips.

So there you have it the type of cloth diapers we use.  The easiest for us to use on the go and have the smallest learning curve are the BumGenius diapers.  I throw them in the diaper bag like disposables along with a wet bag (just a breathable waterproof bag) and anyone can use them even if they have never put a CD on a baby before.  These are what we use 75% of the time.

Some of these options seem very expensive upfront but when you consider for less than $250 (based on BumGenius 4.0 price) you can diaper your baby from birth to potty training it's an awesome deal!  On average disposables cost a family 0.20 cents each and most babies go through just under 2,800 diapers in their first year!  There are lots of ways to combat that expense.  You can register for them on Amazon, Target, Babies'r'us and many other places.  There are also Facebook groups where you can buy and sell new and used cloth diapers.  Some of these groups are co-ops in which a group of moms get together and purchase large lots of CDs directly from the company.  I don't have any of those brands so I can't speak to their quality or ease of use.

If you have any questions about cloth diapers I will be happy to answer what I can.  I am by no means an expert but I can share my experiences with you.

Until Next Time...


**Please note this post was not sponsored in anyway and none of the companies listed above have a clue who I am!**

Friday, May 17, 2013

Faithful Friday

I never realized how much and how often in a marriage you are ask not only for give-and-take
 and sometimes to submit.
Now growing up no one would've called me a submissive person. 
I bucked the rules at every chance I got. 
At every stop along the way I had questions
I wasn't going to go down without a fight.
 I was always what you would call
a spitfire,
a troublemaker, 
 one that was gonna blaze their own path in the world 
no one was gonna hold me down 
That's me on the right with Gumby... 

funny how things change as you grow older and wiser 
how the right person in your life can change everything 
and is even more amazing how God works in your life 
even when you're fighting him as hard as you're fighting the rest of the world

That's me on the right at the 2001 National FFA Convention 
in 2001 I graduated high school 
tomorrow marks 12 years since I walked across the football field  
and was able to turn the first of four tassels 
it was a bittersweet day for me
 I remember without a doubt it I focus was on my plan for my life
 I wasn't worried what anyone else had planned for me 
I knew where I wanted to go
I knew what my goals were

(I was so determined to get away my aunt got me a complete set of luggage for a graduation present)

what I didn't know was what God's plan was for me

about 10 months later in my second semester of college 
I met this guy in my calculus class 
he was living down the hall for me,
that guy turned out to be my future husband 
I didn't know it then but on that day 11 years ago my life was changed.
God was working in my life in a way that I never could imagine 
God was using me to do things that I didn't even know about

Upon starting to date William things are to change shortly 
my focus was no longer so much I'm partying and hanging out with my friends 
I worked building a relationship with him 
it quickly became evident (to both he and I) that we were in this for long hall haul 

 3 years & 3 months after we started dating we were married
This is still my favorite picture from our wedding

That presented a major change in my plans...
I had always thought that I would teach agriculture education in Georgia...
now I married a South Carolina boy (which I said on a number of occasions I would never do)
and had to find a job...
still determined to teach ag I took a job over an hour from our home 
and commuted there for a year...
I wasn't listening to God's plan....heck I wasn't even asking God to show me his plan
however looking back I can see them laid out perfectly.

We decided sometime during that year that I shouldn't return,
 I'm not sure if it was after a principal change less than one semester in, 
or if it was the tragic death of one of my students,  
or the fact that no 22 year old should teach high school (my opinion)

I was on the job hunt again...this time I choose to teach middle school science
kinda funny since I had turned down a position (closer to home) to doing the same thing a year before.
Still not listening or even looking for God's plan I moved ahead.

The reason I started listening

It would take another year for me to begin searching for God's plan for my life
and another year to really be willing to sit back and listen.  

Waiting is not something I do well, so there are still times when I jump the gun.  
Even now 6 years after I began searching for God's plan and 5 years after I started to listen
I have to remind myself daily that I should submit to God's will for my life
His plans are far greater than anything I have planned.  

As I write this I am reminded to pray asking God to lead me and my family where he wants us.
There is a window that is thought to be opening soon... 
as a family we have to pray about what God wants us to do with that window...
climb out of it or close it.  

The only way we can be truly satisfied with our life is to listen to God's plan and follow it.  
Our family on Mother's Day 2013

So until next time...


Monday, May 13, 2013

Mommy Monday: Balancing Boys, Baseball, Bulls, & Bible School

No matter who you are or where you are in life it's a balancing act. 
 You might be balancing personal and work life 
or a million other things. 
 I don't know your situation but I know mine 
lately it seems that there's a lot more to balance.

It could be because of these two cuties,

Plus this handsome guy...

So how do I keep everything organized?? 
Well first thing is I have 2 digital calendars and 2 paper calendars plus a wall calendar. 
 That might seem excessive to you but I try to keep my work and personal life somewhat separate. 
 I do update my work calendar with personal appointments but unless it occurs after normal work hours or requires out of town travel I don't put work appointments on my personal calendar.

I rely on Pinterest for lots of inspiration.  I have a whole board devoted to Organizing.  It's full of printables and great ideas for getting your family, house and car organized.  Now I have not personally done all of the various ideas but they all sound great.  Maybe one day I will get my house to be as organized as what I have pinned.  

I also have a Home Management Binder that really helps keep our house running smoothly.  My binder includes sections for finances, school schedules, doctor appointments, menu planning, and blogging.  But here is where I different from most wives and mothers, in addition to organizing our family life, extra curricular activities, and school events I also organize farm stuff. 

What kind of farm stuff?
Calving/lambing dates, vaccination and medical records, weights and average daily gain, breeding dates, and sale records.  To ensure we know everything we need to about every animal on the place we have a 3 inch 3 ring binder for each year of operation.  For me it works easier to have it all in one place.  The only thing that isn't organized in yearly binders is registration papers and we have a separate binder designated to those.  (Livestock registration papers are sort of like a birth certificate for purebred animals.) 

Juggling all of these things seem hectic but its all part of life, no matter if you are living the farm life or not.  My biggest suggestion for Balancing it all...
Pray...ask God to guide you and help you.  
Without God long ago I would dropped all I was balancing into a huge pile!  
Thank you God for keeping all my plates spinning.  

Until Next time...


Monday, May 6, 2013

Mommy Monday: Milk Cows & Mommy Nursing Tips

WOW! Our newest addition, Waylon, is rapidly approaching 8 weeks old!

  It has been a whirlwind 8 weeks.  I went back to work part time at about 5 weeks.  

  I have had to adjust to having 2 boys instead of just one. 
 We have started up our busy time not only on the farm
 (planting, cutting silage, working cows and calves, etc) 
but also life in general has been more busy.

Wyatt playing T-Ball in 2011, age 3

Wyatt playing T-ball, 2012

Wyatt's 1st Super T-Ball game, 2013

  Baseball (or T-ball in our case) has begun, Vacation Bible School planning is in full swing, along with planning for our Miss York County Livestock pageant and our fall livestock show.  

On top of it all this baby experience has been very different from Wyatt's for a variety of reasons but the number one reason is because Waylon is EBF or exclusively breastfed.  I tried breastfeeding Wyatt however it only lasted about 6 weeks and even that was a struggle.  Wyatt was supplemented prior to leaving the hospital, but that's not what hurt and ultimately ended our breastfeeding.  This time around I was determined to make breastfeeding work, not only because it's a healthy option and considered the best option but also because I'm cheap and breastmilk is free.  

There are many days (especially in the evening) that I feel like one of our milk cows.  

I am either pumping

 or nursing for 4+ hours each day, 7 days a week. 

 I secretly sometime envy the cows because they only milk approximately 15 minutes a day, their food is delivered to them, it doesn't matter if they leak milk everywhere, and no one cares if they spend the majority of their day napping in the sun. 

 But then again they don't get many options life and they can't shop, search Pinterest or share a million baby photos on Facebook a cow's life isn't that great, but it's pretty comfy.   

If you are a breastfeeding mom you know there are some pains associated with nursing that you don't expect.  There is also a learning curve for both you and the baby that no one ever seems to tell you about.  Since I live with a lactation consultant of sorts I assumed he could address many of my questions.  Boy was I wrong!  Just because all mammals give milk doesn't mean we all do it the same way!  

I have had the benefit of finding a great HUMAN lactation consultant that I can meet with once a week for free if needed during a Breastfeeding Support Group at a local hospital.  There is a wonderful online mommies group in my area where I can turn for support and advice at anytime of day or night, which is part of the national network, The Mommies Network.

I have struggled some however I am committed to making this work for us.  If you are a breastfeeding mom or plan to breastfeed I have a few suggestions/tips:

1. Make sure you are committed to breastfeeding (no matter the ups and downs)
If you are not committed to BFing it's not going to workout for you well.  

2. Set aside time to do some research about BF prior to birth (bookmark/pin these sites for future reference)

3. Find a support group (locally, online, whatever works best for you)

4.  Realize that you and baby have to LEARN how to breastfeed, don't be afraid to ask questions of nurses at the hospital or nursing friends.  If all else fails find a lactation consultant in your area.  

Both these cuties need their mother's milk to thrive. 
We are committed to giving Waylon the best nutrition we can.
That same commitment is found on our farm in ensuring the health of our calves as well.  
It's always amazing to me to see the similarities between the animal world and ourselves.

Oh and one last thing...having a new baby makes me realize how much our family has changed and grown in the last few years.  

My niece Paige, Wyatt, and my nephew Scotty in 2009

The same three kiddos plus Waylon, Easter 2013.  

Life is an amazing gift from God!  
He has blessed me with a wonderful husband and family.  
I do my best to remember to thank him daily for these blessings!!

Until next time...