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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Perseverance

When there is a will; there is a way; that is what I have always been told.  When we decided to move home and enter into this new adventure; we knew that it would be difficult; and perhaps at times; a bit crazy.  But that didn't stop us from trying!  We are not ones to "let the grass grow under our feet" as people say.  We set goals and just keep on going.........how else would we have moved 20 hours away from a soul that we knew  just to take a chance?  This desire also brought us back home to fulfll a dream that we have always had..

The back field of our property (about 3 acres) is a perfect example.  It was a complete MESS.  We tried to find people to mow it, bushawg it, whatever; and gave up.  Our dear neighbor mowed it for us once and then his mower was shot...so my girl; with her old muscles and quickly dropping weight, decided to do this herself.  She has been PUSH mowing this field...and her perseverence has paid off.  Look how great it is coming along.  I am so proud of her and proud of us for doing whatever it takes to fulfill our dreams.  However; she is getting very tired, so if anyone knows ANYONE who would like to help us in completing this project, please let me know!  Trade off would be an abundance of fresh country eggs, frozen fresh veggies, canned pickles, and homemade jam. :)

Taking the next step

We have decided to purchase a heifer for our farm.  She is a jersey/holstein and we pick her up this weekend.  She will eventually provide us for milk for both our family to drink, as well as giving us milk for our baby goats that will continue to be born.  We purchased a book; The Farmstead Creamery Advisor:  The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business, written by Gianaclis Caldwell.  With this purchase, we have one foot in the door toward our goal of a small creamery here on our little farm.  Of course we recognize that there will be a lot of hoops to jump through and that we have a long way to go.  However, it is amazing how reading one book can really motivate you and give you enough information to "ask the right questions."  Whether we are on our way to a small business or not; it is one step closer to our family being self-sufficient and truly "knowing what you eat." 

I particuarly love this quote from the book; "If we can't grow it, we can't eat it."  And although we are not there yet, we are working very hard to get there. 

Here's my favorite quote from the book; "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."  Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fall is coming and the kids are growing up....

It just seems to have hit me that our kids are growing up...our baby will be 2 next month and I can hardly believe it.  Time flies when you are busy; and we certainly don't have a lot of downtime around here.  The kids are maturing and turning into little people.  They are at a fun stage where you can truly carry on a conversation with them. 

I think that the transformation in our lives has been good for them.  They get home-cooked meals (we live too far from town to run to McDonalds or Dominoes), they get plenty of fresh air, they have extended family in their lives, our homeschool curriculum has them learning all day, every day, and not just when they sit down to "do work" and they seem to be so much calmer and happier.  I think that this peace has helped all of us in so many ways. 

Our fall schedule is crazy; but a different kind of crazy than we have had in the past.  We have art class, soccer, dance, and Kentucky Sea Cadets.  Tammy always said that she was going to paint the Suburban yellow because she often felt like it was a taxi.  God love that Suburban....it has been through and seen a lot...it has been to California, DC, Mexico, and everywhere in between.......

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dusting off the treadmill......

Literally....I hadn't been on it in 8 months....the treadmill didn't make it through the 2 days bouncing in the U-haul from Albuquerque to Kentucky....every time I tried to turn it on, it acted crazy and made weird noises.  So...Tammy took the whole thing apart yesterday, fixed it, and put it back together.  So...tonight I had my firest workout on it since December 15th...shewee, I sure can feel it.  However, I had also truly forgotten what a jolt of engery it gave me!  I want these 20 pounds that I have gained since we have moved OFF-along with about 60 more...so here we go.  I have got to get my willpower back too and stay away from the treats around the office; easier said than done!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Changes, changes

Changes, changes; let me count the ways........We are educating ourselves along the way in regard the changes that we have made within our family and our lifestyle.  Today is a prime example; Tammy and the kids made homemade noodles.  They seem to really get a kick out of seeing how food is planted, grown, canned, and made.  I believe that it allows them to enjoy their food more; as they are more understanding of where it comes from.  They are even asking "is this healthy?" And-it is an excellent way to utilize the abundance of eggs that we have right now!

We have been amazed at how well the kids have adjusted to these changes.  They don't ask about watching TV, running to the store all of the time, or playing video games.  They seem to really enjoy creative play and being outdoors a great deal of the day.  Everyday the girls dress up as different characters to play outside.

We are getting into the swing of homeschool.  Although our curriculum just arrived and Tammy and I have to wade through it before we start that part of homeshooling; we have been keeping them on a school schedule, working on reading and handwriting, do circle time in the morning, and some of their extra-curricular activities started this week as well. 

Slowly the boys are joining us rather than working on be destructive and being little boys. Often you can see the wheels turning as they join in with the activities.  For instance; instead of Jack Henry just throwing everything off of the table, he looks at it before he throws it now-lol.  In all seriousness, we always thought that people were just being cheesy when they talked about the differences that it can make in your family when you do more natural and bonding activities together.  However, we see the changes that it is making in the kids already.  We have finally realized that you cannot parent all of your children the same, and that truly, all they want is attention and to be with you.  In the past, that has been incredibly difficult because we have had children with Reactive Attachment Disorder living with us.......and the more attention that you give them, the more they misbehave and try to emotionally pull away from you.  For those of you not familiar with this disorder....I will talk about it more in a later post.... 

Back to the fun stuff...........The kids are feeding the animals daily now with direction.  It is exciting to watch as we each transition in our own way.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I miss Albuquerque.......Take 2

Please ignore my previous post "I miss Albuquerque."  I tried to get creative with the font and that didn't work out so well!!

As I said in a post last night, I am very glad to be home.  I have missed my family and friends very much over the last 10 years, and there is nothing like good ole southern hospitality.  I don't think that I have opened my own door since we got back here :)

However, we lived in Albuquerque for 8 years and I miss it terribly....more than I ever dreamed that I would.  Everyone there assumed that we were a couple, and they didn't care.  I really took that for granted.  We were treated with the same amount of respect and concern as any "married" couple, both in my work, while fostering, and just being out in the public in general.  However, any time that we went out to eat, the server would always hand Tammy the bill (male chauvenism I suppose; as she is pretty butch and I am not at all :) and she never had a dime!  But we always got a kick out that :)

Some of our neighbors here in Kentucky have been incredible and treat us just like family.  And I have been "out" for so long that I refuse to go back in, so my co-workers, whether they like it or not, are continually exposed to my diverse little family.  So, in our little community, we are here to stay...........

But I miss the green chile, the Mexican food, Mariachi music, our Saturday daycare, the mixture of cultures, the Hispanic heritage that was all around (especially since we have 2 Hispanic children), The International School where our girls attended and they were learning Spanish and Mandarin, The Bataan Military Academy that our son attended, and just the overall attitude of the west in regard to "I don't care what you do-just leave me and mine alone....
Albuquerque, New Mexico will always be a part of us.  Will we ever move back there?  That is a fair question; and quite honestly, I don't know.  But, all of our children were born there, we adopted all of our children there, and it will always be "in our blood..........."

This is a photo of Sophie and Jack Henry (our 2 children who are Hispanic-yes Jack Henry is-even with his blue eyes and blond hair lol :)) that was taken at our last trip to McCall's Pumpkin Patch in New Mexico.  Jack Henry is even wearing his Rio Grande Zoo hat that was purchased at the zoo in Albuquerque; which is one of our favorite places in this world.  We could go on and on about the things that we took for granted there...hindsight is 20/20......another one of life's lessons. 
Harman Farm

I miss Albuquerque

As I said in a post last night, I am very glad to be home.  I have missed my family and friends very much over the last 10 years, and there is nothing like good ole southern hospitality.  I don't think that I have opened my own door since we got back here :)

However, we lived in Albuquerque for 8 years and I miss it terribly....more than I ever dreamed that I would.  Everyone there assumed that we were a couple, and they didn't care.  I really took that for granted.  We were treated with the same amount of respect and concern as any "married" couple, both in my work, while fostering, and just being out in the public in general.  However, any time that we went out to eat, the server would always hand Tammy the bill (male chauvenism I suppose; as she is pretty butch and I am not at all :) and she never had a dime!  But we always got a kick out that :)

Some of our neighbors here in Kentucky have been incredible and treat us just like family.  And I have been "out" for so long that I refuse to go back in, so my co-workers, whether they like it or not, are continually exposed to my diverse little family.  So, in our little community, we are here to stay...........

But I miss the green chile, the Mexican food, Mariachi music, our Saturday daycare, the mixture of cultures, the Hispanic heritage that was all around (especially since we have 2 Hispanic children), The International School where our girls attended and they were learning Spanish and Mandarin, The Bataan Military Academy that our son attended, and just the overall attitude of the west in regard to "I don't care what you do-just leave me and mine alone...."

Albuquerque, New Mexico will always be a part of us.  Will we ever move back there?  That is a fair question; and quite honestly, I don't know.  But, all of our children were born there, we adopted all of our children there, and it will always be "in our blood..........."

This is a photo of Sophie and Jack Henry (our 2 children who are Hispanic-yes Jack Henry is-even with his blue eyes and blond hair lol :)) that was taken at our last trip to McCall's Pumpkin Patch in New Mexico.  Jack Henry is even wearing his Rio Grande Zoo hat that was purchased at the zoo in Albuquerque; which is one of our favorite places in this world.  We could go on and on about the things that we took for granted there...hindsight is 20/20......another one of life's lessons. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weight loss contest

Tammy and I are having a weight loss contest.  We are going to (attempt) to put $100 back per month, and whoever loses the most weight by January 1st wins the money.  We started this adventure last week; and we are pretty even right now.  I want to lose more pounds than she does......as I have gained 20 lbs since we have moved back home (eek) and she has been losing since then.  So..this will be interesting in our house..may the most will-powered woman win :)

Home

On August 15th; it will have been 8 months since we have been home.  It has been harder than I ever dreamed.  After living in such an open and welcoming environment for so long where no one cared that we were a same-sex couple, or that we had kids...moving back to such a conservative state has been really hard.  I am a southern girl at heart and always will be.  My accent is back thicker than ever; and I have to admit that I love it.  Although it has been hard, we are so glad that we are home.

Getting ready for school

Getting ready for school is a bit different in our house than in most; as we homeschool.  I ordered our curriculum last week for the younger kids; and our high-schooler pretty much goes year round and works on his classes as they are shipped to us.  However, there are still school supplies to purhase, scheduling to be made, and all of the "extras" to be added.  We are doing music, art, dance, soccer, and Sea Cadets at our house this year.  I am very excited about our new curriculum.  It is based on the Waldorf method, and is very interactional and inclusive of all our varying learning styles in our house. 

Our farm continues to grow and change daily.  We gave 3 of our roosters away today; as we have decided that we just want eggs and not baby chicks for a little while.  Also, having the roosters on the farm is a bit frightening, as we have little ones around and the roosters cannot be trusted around them...Currently we have dogs visiting as our dear friend is healing and we are taking care of her dogs.  We have such a welcoming crew here (children and animals) and I am very proud of them.  We fostered for 7 years and had 48 children come through our doors, and our kids assisted in helping all of these kids feel welcome (our kids were also a part of these 48 kids :).  Although I am so very glad that the "fostering" chapter of our life is over; it taught  us all a great deal about being gracious and flexible......

On a final note.....we found a 4 foot snake skin about a foot from our front porch this morning.  ewwwwww!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Trying to keep moving"

This phrase has a multitude of meaning in my life right now....we are attempting to make decisions about the direction our little farm is going to take; and these decisions can be quite difficult.  We have 3 things that we want to accomplish; an organic farm, a Grade A Dairy Goat operation, and a small country store where we sell our produce, our honey, and a multitude of homemade items (baked goods, sandwiches, etc.).  How do we "keep things moving" with all 3 goals in mind?  Well, to be quite honest, we haven't figured that part completely out yet.  Winning the lottery would be nice in regard to funding these adventures :)  But, we won't be relying on that.  So....I am searching grant opportunities for small farms, hoping to find one who will believe in us! 

This phrase "trying to keep things moving" also rings true to me in my 20 year long struggle with weight.  Before we had moved back home, I had lost nearly 70 pounds...but the scale continues to creep back up.  Oh, I do the usual; count calories and exercise for a few days, a week, etc., but then easily fall back into old habits when I get stressed, etc.  So...here we go again...."trying to keep things moving" along with that adventure as well.....

To be continued.....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simplify

The last month or so has been quite eye-opening.  We have been surrounded by a lot of death and illness and it really makes you realize what is important in life.  We are making conscious decisions in regard to our lifestyle, what we consume, getting rid of waste, etc.  "Things" just really don't matter to me anymore....I buy most of my clothes at the thrift store, shop store sales, use coupons, and we are attempting to teach our children the same.  We are trying to weed processed food out of lives and raise the healthiest family that we possibly can; in every way.  Although there is a considerable movement in the world toward these changes, it can be difficult to convince your children that cable and an overbundance of toys are not what life is all about.