Sunday, October 25, 2015

I Am A 4h Mom

We are prepping for the 2016 fair.
All of the pens have been long cleaned.
New lights going up in the barn.
A new pen is being set up.
Our first 4h meeting is today.

This year Fancy Farm Girl is making her fair debut.
Her lamb, Daffy, is off at Farmer Bill's farm with the ram.
We will pick her up in December and are hoping for twins!
One to show and one to breed next year.

The Farm Manager has a list going
He plans to show Missy his breeder goat as well as her offspring in the produce and market classes.
He has two steers picked out that are currently still with their mommas.
They will be headed for the barn in a couple weeks after weening. He isn't sure about showing Molly, his heifer, for a breeder next year.

 Both kids are also working on building their own herds to have 4h animals to sell.

Being a fair mom is rewarding, exhausting, frustrating and worth every second .
My car is always filled with shards of alfalfa, straw and hay; even when it isn't the smell permeates.
It is a sweet smell.
I've mastered the skill of carrying bags full of grain on my shoulder because it seems to always need to be done before The Farmer gets home.

At county fair I am the one with baby wipes and brushes in my arms, poop on my shirt, hair a mess and eyes heavy with bags closed in prayer.

Because I didn't grow up as a fair kid it is all a learning experience for me too.
Shearing goats and lambs.
Figuring out feed amounts.
What to do when they stop eating.
What to do when they're eating too much.
How to properly put on a halter.
The Farm Manager rolls his eyes at me everytime I try because I always do it backwards.

Did you know animal hair has a growth pattern and needs to be brushed a certain way for it to look it's best?
It does.
The Farmer is quite good at teaching kids how to style their cows hair!
They also need haircuts and pedicures.

I believe the 4h program raises the bar for children.
It teaches children how to work hard, be dedicated and care for something.
It isn't easy to feed and water animals twice a day, clean pens, halter break and all the other things pertaining to having animals; especially when they have more than one.
It is also a huge confidence builder!

It isn't easy for parents either.
Our kids are expected to do all this themselves.
The Farmer and Papa Moo help with the steers halter breaking at this point because the cows are quite large even just after weening.
We help out when needed, but the 99% lies on the kids.
They then know that they put in the time to reap the rewards of show times and auction night.
It makes for better showman and people.

Our moments aren't always shining either.
Kids get tired and we get tired.
They don't want to go out and work in the barn with its pouring rain and blowing sideways.
Frustrations sometimes become bigger than our patience can handle.
One of my really shining moments last year was when
The Farm Manager didn't want to exercise his naughty goat.
After numerous requests for him to get down to the barn my patience were thiiiiinnnn
and I yelled
"Get in the *bleeping* barn!"
I shocked him and myself and later had to apologize.
Sometimes I kill it at parenting!

All that aside.
I love 4h and county fair.
I love the week we spend at the fairgrounds even though it leaves me with a fair hangover.
I love the friendships that form and flourish in the barn.
I love the energy in and around the barn.
I love watching the kids support each other.
I love watching the kids become competitors inside the show ring and friends outside.
I love seeing dads swell with pride and eyes well with tears when their boy receives the grand champion handshake and purple ribbon.

I love seeing the comfort, but tough love when their best wasn't quite good enough
I love watching the big kids mentor the little kids.

Oh, I also love fair food!
I mean who doesn't love fried batter?

You don't have to live on a farm or know the first thing about animals to be involved in 4h.
If your kids are interested there is always someone to help answer questions and be of support.
If you're kids are interested I highly recommend finding a club to be a part of.

273 days until Clatsop County Fair 2016

Blessed Is Me..

Monday, October 19, 2015

How Popular Are You?

Every morning I get to take The Farm Manager and Fancy Farm Girl to school.
Those 10-20 minute rides sometimes include very though provoking conversation like the one we had a couple weeks ago.

We let our boy sign up for social media.
Highly monitored
Rules in place
Ipod gets handed over when we ask no questions asked
Three strikes and you're out. 
This wasn't an easy decision, but I'll be honest I mostly love it.
I love to see life through his eyes.
I love when he posts pictures of his dad with #farmerfriday and the videos he puts together.
His first selfie included a giant pile of unfolded laundry behind him.

Then this happened on the way to school..
"MOM! Jameson got 40 hearts on one of his Instagram posts. He's popular!"
"I'm not really popular"
"Yes you are you got 40 hearts!"
 "Whoa, whoa, whoa" I said 
"getting hearts and likes doesn't mean you are popular or not popular"

We then talked about what being popular meant and we made a list of what was 
than being 
family, being friendly to EVERYONE, unique, loving, healthy, obeying, having fun and being kind
were a few on their list.

We talked about self worth, value, morals, and being good people.
A lot of information on our short ride to school.

This brought me to doing some reading and chatting with friends about social websites and there are far more than I knew about from
Facebook and Instagram
tumblr and who knows what else.

There is an app that lets you know if you've been unfriended/followed and rates your popularity.
Guess what it says?
I'm sorta popular; 35% in fact!

Guess how much I care?
However, I am almost 40 and have moved far past the desire to be popular.
If you haven't unfriended me on Facebook yet you know I have opinions that aren't always popular and I share them.
I have zero desire to do or not do things just to be popular.
I hope our kids eventually feel the same.

There are so many social media sites I have never heard of until I dove head first into finding them.
Thankfully I have a self professed "nerd" friend and she gave me some tips!

 The worst in my opinion is
It's horrible, vile and disgusting.
It also has the option of being anonymous.
People can ask you question and then you answer them
Some of the questions I ran across were:
"Who would you bang, kill, have anal sex with"
Boys referring to girls as "peaches" which is a sexual innuendo
"peaches and cream" "proud banana" are others
Urban Dictionary is a whole new world of word meanings!
There is rating of who is hot and who is not.
Requests to "hang out and watch Netflix"
which doesn't mean what you think it means.
That is what it means.
There was also a lot of cussing which I know is done for shock value.
It makes them feel cool.

Did you also know girls refer to each other as
It's a term of endearment.
Would you call your friends whores in front of your parents even in jest?
Where is the respect for parents and themselves?
To all that I say
What. In. The. F$$$
Where are these kids parents?!!!
Are these accounts not being monitored?

Then I found out about an app that kids are using to hide their social media from their parents.
Looks like a calculator app except it has a percent sign next to it.
Click that icon and it opens up a whole hidden world!

What are we missing here?

HOW are we going to keep up with the change in technology?
HOW are we going to keep our kids from the thinking that their value comes from hearts, likes and who gives you a good rate?
 HOW am I going to keep from choking kids out who post things about my kid!?
HOW am I going to keep from choking out MY kid for the things they post?!
HOW am I going to help guide my 9 year old that already worries about being
popular, included, excluded, what she should wear and not wear, if she is too chubby, if shes too skinny, too tall too short?
At 9 she already feels the pressure no matter what sort of wise words I share.
HOW do we explain to our boy why some kids wont "follow" him and name call him at fair with their group of "popular" friends but by the end of fair after seeing how well he does want to come to our house?

The rug of our children's childhood is being pulled out from under them via social media and we are in  uncharted waters.
We don't have an older generation of parents to ask advice.
Although, we do have each other.
I give my permission to tattle every single time on my kids when they are doing/posting something online that they shouldn't be.
We have to communicate hard things with our kids like
porn, predators, what is appropriate and inappropriate.
Speaking of predators.. I happened upon some pages that had very personal information.
All for public view!
I know nobody wants to discuss porn with their kids, but lets face it they have it at their fingertips and sometimes happen upon it by accident.
We have to let them know that just because they are watching harmless videos on
youtube that the next suggested video may not be appropriate.
We have to be open to hear from other parents that our kids aren't always the angelic little beings we would like to believe that they are.
We have to be aware that things could be and are happening right under our noses.
We have to find balance in trusting our kids, but also not be played for a fool.
As one of my friends suggests "Education is key. Teach them what is acceptable and not acceptable"

Thank goodness the mistakes we parents made as children weren't held in the permanent record of the internet filled with screen shots and shares!

For the love.. snapchats DON'T always disappear!

I desperately want both my kids to know that their value doesn't come from others opinions of them or how many hearts they got on a post,
that unkind words even when they are typed out can cut like a knife
and that they don't have to follow the masses to be "popular"
I want them to know that the heart they have is meant to be shared with others overflowing with love and kindness.
I want them to be a kinder more gentle person than I ever was.
I want them to know that even when they think I am being the
that I am doing it because
I love them more than they will ever know.

Blessed is me...