Sunday, December 14, 2014

Disneyland 2014

It has been almost a week since we returned home from

It was wonderful, magical, over the top, exciting and exhausting.
Early mornings and late nights in a small hotel room for 5 days.

It was the kids' first plane ride and The Farm Manager asked no less than 5 trillion questions about the airport, security and flying before we even got to the airport.
He likes to have his bases covered.
We flew with JetBlue both ways and it was great.
There was TV in the headrest and WiFi at 30,000+ feet.
It was clean and comfortable with very friendly staff.

We were traveling with some of our friends who are seasoned Disney vacationers so my friend, Amy, took care of many of the details and let us know what were the best options.
She also arranged for all of us to have a shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel that was big enough for all the people in our group to have plenty of room plus space for our luggage.
Well, to her and our surprise it wasn't a shuttle bus it was a 
stripper bus!
Complete with pole, lights, loud music, sticky floor and scuff marks on the mirrored ceiling.
The kids thought it was pretty neat to have all the lights and to be able to see yourself in the ceiling.
They also really liked having something to hold onto e.i the pole
Thank God for hand sanitizer.
Calls were made to ensure we would have a SHUTTLE bus for the ride back, but nope another stripper bus.
It's all about memories and this gives us something hilarious to chat about.
 We are still laughing about the bus and also about how irritated Amy was.

Once we got to the hotel we dumped our bags and headed to the park for dinner and rides.
Amy really was a superior helper for us Disney newbies.
She gave us great tips for where to eat, how to get the best out of your time and where to sit for the magical Fantasmic show.
The kids loved the show and Disney magic really is amazing.
I'm so glad we got to share our Disney trip with them.
When the park closed we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights rest.

Kids in jammies, us in jammies.
Snuggled into bed.
Fancy Farm Girl "Mama my tummy feels weird"
Now, she gets car sick and did so on the way to the airport, but was fine as soon as we moved her to the front seat.
Well, kids fell asleep I get up to go to the bathroom and I come back and The Fancy Farm Girl is throwing up in her bed!
The Farmer ensures me that she is fine.
I assure him that this is 
My. Worst. Nightmare.
I just knew it we were going to have the stomach flu in a tiny hotel room on our first family vacation other than camping.
I called for more blankets and trash bags.
I tossed and turned all night and woke to every single sound I heard.
There was no rest.
Not for me anyways.
She was fine and there was no more throwing up.

Onto Disney!
After coffee...
Our hotel had a cute little coffee shop/mini mart.
The coffee?
So we walked to Ihop every morning at 530 am to pay $9.00 for two DRIP coffees.
530 because even on vacation The Farm Manager is up early even when he is up late.

Rides rides and more rides.
So fun to see the kids with giant smiles and to hear the laughter coming from the pits of their bellies.
It's also fun to see The Farmer like that.
Our favorite rides were
Soaring Over California
California Screamin and,
Big Thunder Railroad.

This is my favorite picture of The Farm Manager EVER.
He is a pretty subdued kid and we don't often hear the kind of laughter we heard this five days
It was amazing.

I loved the street performers that would pop up and seeing the characters walking around.
Here is The Farmer holding up his girl so she could see over the crowd.

We also ate really expensive junk food from Churros and giant turkey legs to delicious worth every gluteness bite funnel cakes.
Why is fried batter drenched in whipped cream and strawberries so good?
By the end of the trip we just wanted real food on real plates with vegetables.

The initial reason for this vacation was because The Fancy Farm Girl dances at Encore Dance Studio and they would be dancing at Disney.
She really really wanted to join the fun.
I'm so glad we did.
She shined on stage.
The smile on her face was worth every penny we saved and I would do it again in a second to see her so happy.
It is one feeling to be proud of your kids, but that feeling goes to a whole new level when you see your kids proud of themselves.
All those girls did such a great job!
Three cheers for Miss Denele and Miss Tia for pouring their hearts and souls into the kids who walk into Encore.
They truly truly love these kids.

My favorite picture of The Fancy Farm Girl all dressed up.
She is a shining star and claims to be heading back to California someday.

(YouTube is making me mad and wont load my video's so I just have to give the link)
Opening routine!
Fancy Farm Girl's routine!
Closing routine! 

We also took time to relax and enjoy some time by the pool.
The kids love love love the water and it was nice to just sit with zero pressure to get any chores done.
 I think they loved the pool as much as Disneyland.
Every night they laid their heads down exhausted.

Every night I laid my head down exhausted and happy.
Happy that we got to share in their amazement.
Getting to see life through child eyes is a treasure.
One we don't take for granted.

The days we long and the lines were longer.
The smiles were big and the laughter was loud.
Happiness filled the air.
Disneyland really is the Happiest Place On Earth.

Blessed is me...

Friday, November 7, 2014

An Unknown Story

Everybody has a story.
A beginning and an end.
Sometimes it is joyful and sometimes sad.
Sometimes easy and sometimes hard.
Sometimes obvious
Sometimes hidden.

Today the story of three somebodies that I know nothing about wrecked me completely.
I drove by twice.
One woman long stringy blond hair.
Sunken, sad eyes.
Exhausted features.
Sloppy clothes and a coat that was far too big.
Two small versions of herself playing in the bark dust of a grocery store.
A sign pleading for help.
A safe place to lay her head with her babies.

As I drove by, my own life slowed down and her face etched in  my mind.
I texted my friend asking what I could do.
She suggested whatever I do don't give cash.
As I bought groceries for my family I also bought some for her.
For her children.
Simple food just enough that she could carry.

When I left the store she was gone.
I was disappointed thinking I should have hurried and gotten what I wanted for her then returned to the store for my own family.
As I turned the corner to leave
I saw her again.
She had moved to maybe what she had hoped would be a more lucrative spot.
When I stopped to give her the bag of groceries.
She reached out her dirty hand letting go of her sign and said
"That's really cool"
Her kids..
They jumped up and down cheering 

They were no older than 5 and they were cheering for food.
They already know the feeling of desperation
They probably know what it feels like to have the burning pain of hunger as they close their eyes and drift off to sleep.
Waking up still hungry.
Their mom.. She might even go without so they don't have to.

I realize in this jaded world that this mom might be a 
scammer, a drug addict or someone who works the system.
She might not be though.
She might be a battered mom who's children have watched her be hit.
She might be someone who has been abused all her life.
She might just be down on her luck.

I don't care what she is.
 For one second when I reached out my hand and our eyes locked
She knew someone cared.
Someone thought of her.
Someone thought of her kids.
For a few hours the burning pain of hunger in those babies bellies went away.
I hope they smiled when they drank their chocolate milk or crunched their way through an apple.

When I drove away
I cried.
I cried because 
I am a mom
  I know what it feels like to tuck my babies into their warm bed snuggled in jammies with mountains of pillows and blankets
while the whirl of the furnace fills the silence in the room
wondering if I did my best for them in that day.
I can't imagine what it feels like for my kids to be cold and hungry and for their backyard to be
the bark pile at a grocery store.
The burden must be heavy.

This mom has stayed with me all day.
I wanted to go and pick her up and take her somewhere.

All day I have prayed.
I've prayed that she is safe.
That her kids are safe.
I've prayed that she knows that she is loved.

We live in a world of excess where nothing is ever good enough.
We complain that we don't have the latest and greatest cell phone, fancy boots, or another warm coat.
We complain about our jobs and the long hours.
Our homes are too small or too big.
I do it all the time.

Today my biggest decision wasn't if I could feed or keep my kids warm.
It was if I should stay at work and get a massage or go do chores.
I get to sit down once a month and pay all our household bills at one time
with money left over for food, dinners out and new shoes.
I get to take my kids on week long camping trips in a travel trailer that sits empty most of the year.
I get to take my kids to the happiest place on earth soon.
And yet I still find things to complain about.

We all at some point have had or will have struggles.
 I bet that right now at least one person we know of is on the edge of being one of the people wondering if they are going to have enough food to make it another day.
Praying for payday.
Trying to work up the courage to go to the food bank or ask for help.

I hope that I have eyes to see what I saw today everytime I see it.
I hope I see a person.
Not a scammer or a drug addict
A person.
I don't have to be happy with the choices they make.
I just have to be happy with the choices that I make and the choices that we are teaching our kids to make..

I hope as the month of thanks continues and the celebration of Christmas approaches that
more gentle hearts
A small gesture of kindness could be the one thing that gives hope to someone
If even for just a moment.

Blessed is me..

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Moooving Day

The roar of the fire
Tapping of the computer keys from The Farmer
Sounds from The Farm Manager and The Fancy Farm Girl playing together in their room
Dawn breaking and showing the thick blankets of fog resting on the pastures
It's Sunday
The one day we all get to be together for the whole day
It is my favorite

Yesterday we spent the afternoon helping Papa Moo move cows.

The Farm Manager running down our driveway to meet Papa Moo in the tractor.

The Farmer, The Fancy Farm Girl and me on our 4 wheel drive "horse".
It was The Fancy Farm Girls first trip to move cows.
She of course looked smashing.

Out into the pasture with the cows who will follow the tractor and/or 4wheeler knowing they are either going to get fed delicious round bales or be moved.
The pasture was filled with
A BIG bull
Cows-who are bred
Heifers-who have never had a calf, but will next year
Steers-castrated bulls who will be raised for food.
Calves-born this year

That farm you can see in the background is Papa and Grandma Moos

This is Dottie West she is the lone Jersey cow.
She is a dairy cow and it's ok that she looks skinnier than the other beef cows.
If you want to read why dairy cows are skinny head over to here and read all about it from Dairy Carrie.

Papa shoots feed to the left of the gate with the Teagle so that all the cows will be positioned to go to the right up through the gate and down the dyke

 Then positions the tractor to the right of the gate as a blockade so when he opens the gate and some cows, who have been moved down the dyke before, don't go up the dyke and down while some of the unseasoned cows see them running and get confused and go down the pasture instead.

 Papa then opens the gate, claps his hands and ALL the cows follow him.
He is the whisperer of cows.

 We followed the cows down the dyke to ensure that no one gets turned around and tries to go back to the pasture they just came from.

While The Farmer closed the gate we took a break for a cow moving 4 wheeler riding 

Papa Moo and The Farm Manager on their "horse" to help push the cows into the barn.
This wasn't Fancy Farm Girls favorite part. 
She though we were getting too close to the cows.
We weren't.

up into the loafing shed they go.

The Farm Manager on his "horse"

Once in the loafing shed the cows pig out on silage

Isn't she just the cutest!

Some of the cows get sorted because they will be moved to different pastures and a couple are going to their new farms.

This little calf was a surprise a couple weeks ago.
Baby calves are so cute and fluffy
Papa Moo helping The Farm Manager give the calf some loves while The Farmer
keeps an eye on the momma cow.
Momma cows are very protective of their babies.

When all the cows were tucked snug in the barn The Farmer and I headed back down the road to our own farm.
I wrapped my arms around his waist and laid my head against his back.

I love that our kids come in after a busy day
lay down in their mound of blankets "not tired"
and drift off to sleep.
I love the sweet smell of the silage and the sounds of the barn.
Mostly, I love to watch The Farmer with Papa Moo and how seamless they work together. 
They are a great father/son team.
I love how they are teaching The Farm Manager where to stand, when to move and how a gentle hand stretched out towards a cows head will calm them.
I love to watch The Farm Manager in his element thriving.
I love to see Fancy Farm Girl twirling in the barn not a care in the world..
I love that this is our life.

Blessed is me...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Years Later And The One Who Took A Chance On Me.

10 years
3 different locations
13 different people
and a business name people struggle to say.

 Last month marked 10 years that I have owned Salon Boheme with The Farmer.
He is my mostly silent partner.
It's perfectly imperfect just like me!

10 years ago I was in a tiny 2 chair salon with barely enough room to turn around without knocking into someone.
It was a great place to start.
When I decided I wanted to move into a bigger location with many more stations I sought the advice of one of my dearest client/mother/friends.
Debi is just one of those people you are drawn to.
She always has a wise logical word and gives the best advice.
We were chatting about loans, banks and borrowing a big chunk of money one morning when she said
"I'll loan you the money"
I kind of laughed it off and thought why would she loan me such a large amount of money.
When I came home and talked to The Farmer about it he suggested that she was serious and that I should talk to her.
I did.
She offered the funds, repayment terms and less interest than the bank would charge.
I couldn't believe it.

She took a chance on me.
And a big one at that.
She not only supported me financially, but also was a huge cheerleader.
She still is.
We have grown a great friendship from this business deal.
Our kids love to go see "Miss Debi" at her office even though they act shy.
She lets them use as many staples and rolls of tape as they want.
I get to enjoy her as a client, confidant and a dinner date companion.
I love her BIG BIG BIG and she loves us right back.
Salon Boheme wouldn't be what it is without her and Tim's support.

Since I was 11 years old I've wanted this.
It isn't always easy and I fail at a lot of things, but I am a work in progress always striving for more.
I am learning to trust my gut and that it's ok to try things that don't work.
I'm also learning that The Farmer is really the only one I need to make decisions with.
 He has been and always will be my biggest support.

I love our salon and everything we stand for.
I love the girls past and present who have built their own businesses inside the walls of the salon.
I love the love that spills out our front door.
I love the warm inviting glow early in the morning and winter evenings.
I love that when we rearrange people ask if the chandelier I bought before Salon Boheme even came to be is new.
I love the clients who let us try crazy things on them, let us serve them, trust us with their struggles and triumphs.
I love that I love going to work.
I love that work is actually some work and all play.
I love days when all we do is laugh until our bellies hurt. 
I love when we get to have quiet intimate appointments early in the morning and I equally love the hustle and bustle as the day goes on.
I love saving the world daily with client/friends breaking all the rules about no religion or politics. It just comes down to respect.
I love that I get to enjoy tender moments with the girls who work with me like marriage, love and babies.
I love that they also took a chance on me and do everytime they renew their lease.
I love the trust we have between each other that we can share our weaknesses and celebrate our strengths.
I love that they love me; all of me.
I love at the end of the day when I turn off the lights, lock the door and walk away gazing inside that I fulfilled a dream I had 27 years ago.

I still love Salon Boheme 10 years later.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Celebrating The Life of Jean Kraft

Yesterday was a special day at JK Heritage Farms.
We got to celebrate the life of Jean Kraft.
This morning as I sit at the kitchen table in the very spot her table sat I feel overwhelmingly 

Yesterday was an afternoon filled with food, shared stories, laughter and love.


 We decorated the room with her treasures and things she loved.

We gazed a pictures of her life from birth to 95

We heard stories of how and why Kraft Dairy had to change its name to Johnny and Jeans Dairy.
It's because there is a little known company called Kraft
that sent a cease and desist letter to a farmer who milked 57 cows and sold the milk right off the farm.

 When we bought the farm we bought it not only filled with love, but with treasures.
We have lots and lots of goodies from steamer trunks and milk cans to every single Del's OK Tire bill they've ever paid and all their farm records.
It's fascinating to see how much they paid for stock trucks and how much they bought and sold calves for.
Some of my favorite things about Johnny and Jean we learned yesterday was:
Mrs. Kraft graduated from Astoria High School at 16 and headed off to New York.
She rode the train stopping along the way knocking on doors in prominent neighborhoods asking if they needed a cook.
She met Johnny, and immigrant of Norway, at a park in New York.
They married in 1942 eventually heading back to Clatsop County.
They lived near what is Fort Clatsop.
When the government decided they wanted to build a park where their house sat they sold the land, picked up the house and moved it to Youngs River Rd.
This is the house we live in.

 They milked 57 cows.
55 Guernseys
1 Jersey
1 Holstein
Johnny named every cow and knew which one was which.
He talked to every cow as he hand milked them.

They ran the cows from the pasture across the road to the barn for milking.
Mrs. Kraft could be seen carrying hay out to the cows in the pasture from the barn a hay bale in each hand.
Those bales weigh 60lbs each!
Mrs. Kraft was a crossfitter before crossfit was cool.

Mrs. Kraft loved to cook and often hosted their family for Thanksgiving in this tiny house.
She would clear out the living room and move in a dining table so they could all sit together.
Before knowing this I drew out a house plan a few years ago adding on to our tiny house and in that plan our current living room would become our dining room with a long farm table big enough to host our families for meals.
I got to keep all of Mrs. Krafts cookbooks and her handwritten recipes and after hearing how she loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen it makes it that much more special.
To think her hands touched the very recipe I am following
brings a smile to my face.

I'm told she could be seen sitting in the kitchen window reading her bible.
We got to keep that too.
I wonder if she sat praying for Her Farmer, for the visiting kids that ran from pasture to pasture, climbing high up into the hay mound, for the health of their animals and the farm they loved so much.

While they didn't have kids of their own they loved to have kids here.
These kids learned what a hard days work was and how delicious Mrs. Krafts fried chicken was.
Kids would dip fresh milk from the tank and buck bales up high onto the stock truck event though their chins barely reached the bed of the truck.
Lots of kids kept horses here.
One horse, Sarah, could tap her hoof to tell you how old she was and add 2+2.
Some of her family came into the house to see what we have done to bring it back to life.
Each one of them said the same things.
"Jean would love everything and would be smiling"
They loved how we have incorporated Johnny and Jean into our family including their family photos in with ours.
How our fireplace mantle right down to the nails holding it together comes from things found in the barn.
They said she would be "happy"
That makes me happy too.

I have never met Mrs. Kraft, but I feel so connected to her.
I have a deep respect for the things she has done in her life and a love for her I can't explain.
Mrs. Kraft was a no nonsense gal who liked T's crossed and I's dotted.
She was strong and independent, tender and loving.
She loved Johnny, her home and her farm.
Much like I think I am or hope to be.
I love this place we get to call home.
Sometimes overwhelmingly so.
Our home is small, but our love is BIG
When you walk into our barn you can feel a consuming love that covers you like a warm blanket.
If you quiet yourself and close your eyes you can hear the sounds of the past and kids giggling as they climb higher and higher up the bales of hay.
I hope as Johnny and Jean watch over the farm together from the heavens that they are proud of what we have done and what we still plan to do.
I hope they know we love this place like they did.
I hope they know that love continues to live here.
I hope they are smiling and happy.

They forever will be a part of our story.
A story of dedication, trial, hard work, prayer and love.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Broken Bits

The last couple years have been full of broken bits for The Farmer and me.
Sometimes things are way up
other times
way down.
Life just happens that way.
It builds us where we need to grow.
It stretches our faith.
It burns away the yuck.
It teaches us how limber we really are when the wind tries to blow us over.
It reiterates that we are stronger together; even on the most broken days.
It also shows us who will be with us picking up our broken bits without a second thought and sadly who will walk away.
I pretty much hate it, but I know that it is part of our story.

If you're like me you try with all your might to hold the bits together always quick to pick one up if it falls ensuring that no one notices.
However, soon more and more bits fall and I have struggled to pick them up before someones eye catches a broken bit.

Offers of help are usually given with me declining assistance.
Because I am tough.
I am a helper not the helped.

Why do I feel like I need to be tough all the time?
Why do I always have my game face on?
Why am I quick to offer a tight hug, but will rarely take one when I need it the most?
Why will I carry other peoples broken bits, but not let them carry mine?

In the last few months I have learned that it's ok not to be tough all the time and when I drop my broken bits it's ok to accept help.
I've been very luck to have people that have picked up my broken bits even when I ask them not to.
They have been quick to put them back together for me.
They have carried them for me when I just can't.
They have let me know it's ok to not be tough all the time.

I am learning that it is ok to let my guard down and let people see me cry.
You know the ugly "I can't carry these stinking bits anymore" cry.
Cause when you hold it in for too long and then the flood gates open it isn't real pretty. 
Trust me.

In the last year I have had my eyes opened to a different kind of love.
One with no strings attached, no competition, no expected pay back, no constant reminding what had been done.
Just love
free for the taking broken bit picking up

And, honestly, it hasn't been by who I thought it would be.
I think we all have those friends who we just know will always be and when we need them most they just can't give what we need.
And that is okay.
Life is about growing and changing and sometimes we outgrow friends.

It has been by people I barely know.
People who have texted me and said 
"your family has been on my mind and if you need anything please let me know"
Random messages on Facebook
"I prayed for you today"
Phone calls just checking in.
And it's been by people I have known most of my life.
Old friends and new.

Now, before you get all freaky and texting me a thousand messages.
We are fine.
We are healthy.
We are united.
We are human and just are going through the same crap that everyone goes through.
The reason I feel compelled to share is that I want you to know
It's ok
to ugly cry
to accept a hug
to not be tough all the time
and it's ok
to drop your broken bits.
Someone will pick them up.
Someone will carry you through
Someone will hug you tight
and someone will wipe your tears.
It might be by someone you have known your whole life.
Maybe someone you've only met 3 weeks prior.
Maybe it will be me.

Lessons learned:
We are never alone in our struggle.
Someone will always be there to help.
Ugly crying really does feel good after it is all out.
Broken bits don't define who we are, but make up our story.
Maybe it is a story intended to help someone else.

ALL things work together for good.. Romans 8:28
Broken bits and all.

Blessed is me...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

She Is Watching Me

On a visit to my friend C's house a few years ago I noticed that she had her wedding gown hanging on display in her bedroom.
I loved this idea.
So, when we moved out to to the farm I had found in one of my many treasure hunts
an small old yoke.
I thought it would be perfect to use for my wedding gown.
Always there to see. 

I love my wedding gown.
It is a symbol of:
My first best day ever
Being Mrs. Jeremy Linder
The beginning of a new chapter in our story of
love and commitment
It was the start of us.

This past weekend our fancy farm girl got to live her dream of being a flower girl.
Her dress was big, fluffy, white and beautiful.
She loved every second of wearing it and I wasn't sure that I would be able to get it off of her.
Yesterday when I walked into her room there is was
hanging in the corner of her room
on display.
 She even added a clip and some netting like a veil. 

(pardon the paint someone peeled decals off the wall that aren't supposed to remove paint)
At first I just thought she loved it and wanted to see it.
Then when telling my friend, M, about it and her saying
"it's just like your dress hanging in your room"
That's when I realized a much bigger moment.
The Fancy Farm Girl is watching me.
 And she is emulating the things I do.

I mean I know she is always watching me, but she's really watching everything.
 She is going to learn by watching me.
She is watching me love The Farmer and how he loves me.

She is watching how to treat a husband and how a husband should treat a wife.
She is watching how I keep our house-sometimes not good
She is watching how I care for myself and our family.
She is watching me stand up for what I believe in.
She is watching me bend until I almost break.

She is watching even when I don't want her to.
When I lose my patience.
When I roll my eyes at The Farmer when he walks away.
When I restart the dryer-again
When I text and drive-oh shush you do it too!
When I crack under pressure.
When I sit down in the bottom of the shower after a long stressful day where my tears can wash right down the drain

I have been entrusted with this little life and I have a job bigger than just being her mom.
I have to teach her how to be a strong loving compassionate WOMAN.
A woman.

I hope she sees how much I love her dad.
I hope she sees how I am loved by her dad
I hope she sees the depth of the love I have for her and her brother.
I hope she sees what I would sacrifice for all three of them.
I hope she sees that it's ok to not be tough all the time and that
it's ok to let your guard down and break after bending for too long.
I hope she sees how important it is to always stand up for what is right.
I hope she sees me as the best momma for her.

Before I know it our Fancy Farm Girl is going to be a Fancy Farm Woman In The City.
I better make every moment count.

Blessed is me...