Maybe Jesus forgot

by Katie on May 9, 2017

First of all, I know Jesus didn’t forget anything. But you’ll see why there could be no other title.

So, unfortunately, the past couple months have found us in the thick of yet another battle in the long, long war that is parenting a “spirited” child. I say “unfortunately” because above all else, we are really trying to teach kindness in our house. If there is nothing else my kids grow up to do other than loving God and people well, I will be a happy woman.

Anyway, recently, we seem to be failing at this whole kindness thing.

We’ve had some reports from school of not treating classmates well, and a few incidents at our house with some not-so-ideal behavior toward friends who were over to play. In the past week, we received an “incident report” from daycare and a verbal report of a destroyed lego tower and look of fury from preschool.

A few weeks ago, in the middle of all this, I was having a little pep talk with her before we had some friends over, in attempt to ensure we showed kindness to everyone.

She asked, “But what if I forget to not hit my friends?”

“Well, Baby, that’s just not really something we forget. It’s something that’s in your heart to be kind to people.”

“But Mama? Maybe Jesus forgot to put it in my heart?”

[Let’s just all pause here reflecting on how I had to bow my head and bite my lip in attempt at maintaining composure in that moment.]

I mean, seriously. How does a parent see that one coming and have any kind of response ready for it?

I know I mumbled through a bunch of things, chief among them how Jesus doesn’t “forget” anything, and then I retreated from her room, where I lost all that composure when rehashing the scene for Brandon.

So, here’s to hoping we’re in yet another phase of channeling some of the spirit in our spirited girl for good, and we kick this trend of not showing kindness to everyone real quick.

This whole shaping the character and molding the heart thing is no joke, y’all.

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Pretty little liar

by Katie on April 18, 2017

So really, this picture right here speaks for itself…


But we are firmly in the throes of the phase of parenthood that include a lot more character development and a little less wiping things. [With this kid, anyway. Not so much for her brother.]

As evidenced above, we only feel mildly successful most days. 

By the way, weeks later from this incident, she has now voiced her speculation that this “may be chapstick,” but she’s not really sure. And is still firm on not knowing how chapstick may have gotten all over her window. 

Our favorite phrase around the house right now? “Maybe Bowen did it.” Right…that one may work in a few years, Sister, but it’s a pretty big stretch right now. 

Anyway, we could use some prayer around here to make sure we raise a decent human being with a good moral compass. Because it’s looking a little dicey at the moment. 

This parenting gig is not for the faint of heart. 

[Please take this with a good bit of tongue-in-cheek. We know there’s plenty of sweetness bottled up in our feisty girl.]

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Because apparently my husband hates me

by Katie on April 10, 2017

If anyone who happens upon this even half knows me, they also know full well that I do not do birds. Any kind of bird. The feathers, the poop they leave everywhere, the beaks, the claw feet (I just physically squirmed at each one of those things), none of it. In fact, I have often wondered why any kind of bird had to make it on the Ark.

It may not be tasteful to have such disdain for one of the Lord’s creatures, but I really can’t help it.

Anyway, since we are farmers, and the general public has an Old McDonald’s Farm mentality about farming, I get asked all the time if we milk our own cows (no, we have beef cows), or gather our own eggs from our very own chickens.

Until a few weeks ago, I could have swiftly answered “no” to both of those inquiries. I also had a false sense of security about the matter because we own a Blue Lacy dog that loves nothing more than a live chicken dinner – any of our neighbor chickens that have ever wandered into our yard have discovered this, much too late.

So I really thought that as long as we had Dixie, chickens were not even an option.

Until four weeks ago.

When Brandon began casually bringing up the idea of getting some chickens for Leyton. A “project” for her, if you will.

Well, I don’t have to tell any other mother what they hear when a dad starts talking about a “project” for a four-year-old.

Let’s be clear:  I am not against teaching my kid a few lessons, a little responsibility, and such at any age. But I am against any lessons whatsoever that involve chickens. Especially “lessons” for a four-year-old, because, let’s be honest, their interest will only last so long. And then the “project” the dad started…will become the “project” the mom inherits. Am I right, ladies? Of course I am.

But I feel like I’m getting way off topic there. Sorry, I’m a little passionate about this whole situation.

So, last month, the two of us had to spend eight hours in the car together traveling to/from a wedding.

I mean, I love my husband and all, but eight hours is a long time to have conversation with one person. And then, to top it off, we got about an hour from picking up our children, and he dropped the chicken bomb on me.

In all fairness, it had been mentioned lightly in the preceding week, so maybe “bomb” isn’t quite accurate. The chicken grenade, maybe?

Anyway, by the time we arrived to one baby who has thrilled to see us after 24 hours and one preschooler who may have asked us to come back and get her later, I had somehow agreed to the whole chicken thing. As long as it was clear I would not be expected or asked to touch them. Or really do much beyond sending Leyton outside to check them.

Let’s just say for every negative thought I have about a bird, our daughter has the opposite. So, as expected, she was ecstatic to find out she and her daddy got to go pick out some chickens.

They returned from our local Tractor Supply with a chirping box. That they brought in my house, y’all. In. My. House. I think they both saw the wrong of their ways pretty quickly, and retreated to the barn with five baby chicks.

Now, I won’t go into details about the arrangement they had for these chicks, but I strongly doubted their survival in our barn overnight. The next morning, Brandon excitedly asked Leyton to go check the chickens with him.

“Uh, don’t you want to go assess the situation first?” I asked.

“Nope,” he said. “They’re fine. And if they’re not, she needs to learn that part too.”

Well, she learned.

They found one chick. And not even a stray feather left behind from his four chicken counterparts. And by the next afternoon? Our chicken population was back down to zero. Where I prefer it to be, frankly.

But that weekend, my two poultry enthusiasts set out to restock their flock and revamp their pen.

And when he can’t keep five chicks alive for 24 hours, what does Brandon Leister find a fitting restock quantity?

Well, friends, that would be a nice, round 18 chicks and two ducks. You read that correctly. Twenty birds.

Anyway, we’re a few weeks in now, all the birds have at least tripled in size (except for one Leyton has appropriately named “Tiny”), and we’ve only lost one so far.

Really, though, the biggest victory for me is that I haven’t stepped foot inside the chicken pen in at least two weeks. For sure not since they outgrew their tub and are now free range in the pen. I have fulfilled my duties of reminding Leyton to check on them, and even have an alarm set on my phone to check their heat lamp each evening to help ensure their survival. I mean, that’s more involved than I’d like to be, but at least I haven’t come in close contact with a feather yet.

And Leyton? She really is still loving it. Some days she’s more enthusiastic than others, and some days we’re completely convinced the chicks are near death from the way she’s handling them, but I would say it’s going fairly well for a four-year-old. And the best part? It’s certainly something she and her daddy are doing together. Which serves both their hearts well. Mine too.

But I’m still not touching a chicken. Or a duck.

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I’ll take a baler with that

by Katie on March 3, 2017

So, March 1st was, sadly, tax day for us. About 11am, Brandon ended up in the office, and I reminded him (for maybe the 5th time since the afternoon before) we had to go to our accountant’s office to sign away our soul with a big check before the day was over.

Of course, I got the – well, can you drop everything you’re doing right this second and go now because that works for me. And I did. But, we mistakenly made the decision to ride together for this little adventure. I say mistakenly because, while he rolled his eyes at my request to let me run in the post office on the way back – which is literally unavoidable on the route to/from our accountant’s office, I had to accompany him on a trip to Sonic, then all the way back across town to an equipment dealer because he forgot he needed to go there when we were on that side of town. That seven minutes to sign a bunch of paper turned into more than an hour away from my work. Such is life with Brandon Leister.

Anyway, I waited in the truck when he went in at the equipment shop, because he was simply walking in to pick up something he had already ordered that was waiting at the counter.

Or so I thought…

“Well, I went in there to pick up a moisture meter I exchanged, and walked out with that and a $45,000 baler.”

“Are you being serious right now?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Really? Like, you just walked in there, and said, ‘I’ll take a baler with that’?”

“Pretty much…”

This was all very puzzling to me, because I did not even know we were in the market for a new baler, and typically, my husband is the kind of person who spends a lot of time on purchases like this:  searching for exactly what he wants, with just the right amount of use under its belt, at just the right price.

Turns out, there was a little more to story:  it was a baler he had previously inquired on, then lost his contact on it, and it had just happened to end up on this particular salesman’s used equipment list.

But still. He had literally walked in that door with nothing more than the intent to exchange a moisture meter (very small – but critical – tool) and walked out with a new hay baler (large fixed asset).

I may have to keep a closer eye on those company credit cards of his…

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A Christmas wish 

by Katie on February 10, 2017

So, we try to take a fairly minimal approach to Christmas gifts around here, and highlight all the other magic and magnitude of the season.

This year, we felt like this really paid off when Leyton began sharing her Christmas wish list with friends, family and strangers (as she does).

When people would pass us in the store, or friends would start up conversations at gatherings, she would respond to the standard Christmas wish question with the following:

“A Moana dress, a Moana doll…” (She saw the Moana movie in the theater with my parents during Thanksgiving, so it was quite fresh during the Christmas season.) For these things, people would nod along.

And then she rounded out her list with this:

“And a trash can for my room.” Which gave every person she told a puzzled expression, followed by lots of laughter. Understandably. Because what nearly-four-year-old has a trash can on their Christmas list!? Or has parents who wouldn’t just buy her a trash can for her room!? To be fair (to us), she never really asked for a trash can for her room until Christmas lists came up. So it’s not like this was something she had been pining for and we had deprived her of such a luxury.

And y’all. We had no clue why she felt the need to have a trash can in her bedroom. We don’t allow food in the bedrooms or living room (carpeted areas). So I’m really not sure what she had to throw away so often that it was just too much trouble to take it to our main trash in the kitchen, a mere 20 feet from her bedroom door. But apparently, she was very put out by this whole trash can setup in our home, and longed to have her own.

So, like the mediocre parents we obviously are to have a kid place a trash can on her Christmas list, we of course made certain Santa delivered said trash can come Christmas morning. Which she promptly hauled to her room to put it in its rightful place.

And every piece of trash that day? Went in the trash can in her room. Even if we were in the kitchen, closer to the big trash can.

Bottom line:  we made Christmas morning by purchasing a $5 trash can. That’s a parenting win if I ever heard of one.

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Friends of a feather

by Katie on February 9, 2017

So, if you know me at all, you know there is nothing that makes me cringe more than the sight of a feather. And nothing that elicits fear like that of a bird flying overhead. Except for maybe multiple birds flying overhead.

So, naturally, I have a daughter who thinks feathers are “pretty” and begs to bring them in our house. And, as of late, has developed a whole host of “bird friends.”

Now, at first, we didn’t ask much about these bird friends. But as she began to mention them more and more in casual conversation, like “My bird friend told me…” or “that’s where my bird friend lives…”, and they developed names and personalities, we began to inquire.

I mean, we had to determine just how far off the rocker she was with these bird friends.

It started out with just one bird friend, Sally. Then Holly moved into the tree in our yard (not going to lie, I may have suggested Holly find a different place to live). Molly and Watermelon are the newest additions to the flock of friends our daughter is gathering.

While riding in the car recently, she asked me, “Did you know Sally was sitting on her egg babies until they hatch today? Did you know she was doing that today?” After I let her know that I definitely did not know that about Sally, she said, “That’s what she told me. She has a bird phone and she called me and told me that.”

Conversations like that happen all the time. These birds live quite the life.

And let me tell you, these birds also have some opinions on things.

For example, one day when we didn’t get popcorn at Target, Holly thought that was a very poor decision. And Watermelon really misses Leyton when she can’t play during naptime. But recently, it was determined that Sally was the only one that could really talk to Leyton, because she was the only one with a bird phone.

We’ll be sure to let you know if Sally, Holly or Watermelon are up to any antics in the near future. Until then, we’ll keep being thankful for a girl with a vivid imagination. But also starting a savings account for therapy.

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Uncorked

by Katie on December 29, 2016

So, right after our ten-day Thanksgiving trip to Texas, I was supposed to meet Brandon down south to spend a weekend hunting. And tent camping. In the snow.

The night before my departure, I was desperately holding onto the possibility he would find and kill a deer on the evening hunt. But as my luck would have it, he did not.

Mind you, I am not opposed to hunting. Or hiking. Or camping. Even tent camping. But once the temperature drops below a certain level, and for sure anytime snow is involved, there are lots of places this mama would rather be. Under my down comforter being chief among them.

But, being the good wife I am (or was that day anyway), I set off the next morning prepared for a frigid night beneath the stars.

My mother-in-law came over before daylight so I could make a last minute run to the store for provisions sans children, where I made sure to place a bottle of wine in my cart. I mean, if I was going to be in a tent in freezing temperatures, I may as well try to get warm from the inside out, right?

After stocking up, shipping our dear children down the road (for the first overnight away from the baby) and packing all my insulated overall hunting pants, I set off at the precise hour I needed to meet Brandon at our proposed time in town.

And he was two hours late. But that’s really neither here nor there. I just felt like mentioning that after I drove four hours by myself to meet him in the freezing mountains, he wasn’t anywhere near on time. I’m not bitter, promise.

Anyway, when we met, we began changing gear over between our cars when he said, “Where’s your hunting pack?”

“Uhhhh…you don’t have it?”

“No, I don’t have it. Come on, you’re joking. I know it.”

Only, I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. I had left to go hunting for the first time in 13 months and left my pack at home. Granted, I did legitimately think he had it. I thought that was what I remembered us discussing before we left for Texas 12 days prior. But I also legitimately should have checked for it before I left, being this was the one hunting trip I was going on all year.

[I keep saying I’ll have my life together when our kids get bigger. I hope that’s true.]

So, there I was. Setting off on a hunting trip in the snow covered mountains with no hunting pack. No binoculars. No chance of success. Or even survival.

But by golly, I had wine. And I’m pretty sure I voiced that enthusiasm.

Probably so, considering the added events that I realized on the drive down that I had failed to bring a corkscrew for said bottle of wine. But when the guys were late coming in that day to meet up, I had to make a(nother) quick run through a grocery store with a friend (whose husband had been accompanying Brandon for the previous eight days). When I told her how I had packed a bottle of wine but no corkscrew, while we were standing in the middle of a grocery store, she so very smartly asked, “Why don’t you just buy one?”

I’m telling y’all, it was really not my day. Not at all. In fact, basically all I had to offer Brandon when we finally met up was that I had arrived and was willing to camp with him.

The rest of the story only serves to further prove how “not my day” it truly was.

So, Brandon and I made a quick evening look after we got our camp set up that afternoon. As it grew dark, he worked on the fire, and started pressuring me to open my wine bottle. Looking back, this was probably a good move on his part, being as he hadn’t showered in eight days and was forcing me to share a tent with him.

Anyway, I started trying to get it open with my grocery-store purchased corkscrew. But my efforts were to no avail. I had literally just purchased the same bottle a couple of weeks prior, so I thought I was just having some corkscrew operator error issues.

I finally enlisted Brandon’s help. He was a little too eager to get that bottle open for me, in my opinion. Nevertheless, he prevailed. Mainly because he took the foil wrapper off first and make the profound realization the bottle I was desperately trying to open with a corkscrew had a twist top.

I told you. Not my day. (But, I also told you, I swear had just purchased the exact same bottle and it definitely had a cork.)

So, yeah…maybe I’ll try that whole uncovering the top of the bottle method first next time. But the important part of the story is that we indeed got my bottle open, I indeed survived the frigid temperatures, and we indeed have a good friend who loaned my his hunting pack and binoculars so that I could actually hunt after driving all that way.

And it was a good time all around. Especially after we got that bottle open.

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One day at the purple park

November 6, 2016

Words are so powerful, y’all. That’s really the basis of this story. When you become a parent, your biggest fears immediately shift to things that could hurt your child. And you begin dreading all the “hurts” you know they will experience. Because broken world and cruel humans. You wonder if they will be “accepted” and […]

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Can I be Leyton for a minute?

October 28, 2016

“Can I be Leyton for a minute?” That sentence right there pretty much sums up life with our girl right now. We are basically all just supporting cast in the theatrical performance that is her life. She often wakes up in character. As she sits up in bed, she sways her head around and says, […]

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The yellow brick road

September 15, 2016

A couple weeks ago, Leyton watched The Wizard of Oz for the first time with Brandon’s parents. And she’s been obsessed ever since.  Obsessed, y’all.  The assigned roles typically include Leyton starring as Dorothy (of course), Daddy is the lion, Mama is mostly Auntie M, but occasionally the witch, and Brother is Toto.  The Wizard […]

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