Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sickness & Ballet Conundrum

 "As a mom, one of the best things to have are friends who love and cherish your child just as much as you do.

Friday night I was in a conundrum. My mother-in-law was very sick. JB had to work. On Saturday we had our first HUGE dress rehearsal for ballet which I was supposed to be helping with. (I am doing hair and a lot of management with the young kiddos downstairs.) The only problem was that Isaac was VERY sick as well, and Hannah didn't seem to be doing well either.

My cousin's wife, Hannah Grace, offered to take the sick kids to her house as she had sick kids too, but I just didn't feel good about this option. I really wanted the kids to be home in their own beds when they were sick. My father-in-law was also willing to help, but Grama was sick too, and I felt that was too much for him.

I needed someone here who wasn't too afraid of getting sick and would love my kids and take care of them like a mom would. 

I texted my good friend Anni who lives in Knoxville and offered a babysitting job. She's a school teacher so she wasn't too worried about getting sick. And so she came. And she played all day with Hannah (who ended up feeling totally fine) and took care of Isaac (who stayed on the couch all day.)

They also did some dressing up with Arabelle:

I'm so blessed in my life to have community that stands alongside you when you need them most. This has been an incredibly trying month for us between family drama, John's work drama, and the ballet. 

But awesome people make the journey so manageable!

Friday, January 18, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Who Needs CrossFit?

Today was one of those farm days that literally ... 


Here's my truth: 

Ever since I have started farming, I honestly just can't imagine exercising any other way. 

Don't get me wrong. I understand why people do exercise other ways. But for me ... now ... I can't imagine exercising without my farm included. 

My LIFE is like CrossFit. Except I am doing exercises that need to be done on the farm. 

And so I have been thinking about this fact.

Why don't people stop doing Crossfit and instead just find a local farm and help them do hard labor work on their farm? Farmers would have free labor and exercisers wouldn't need to pay money to exercise.

(I'm semi-joking here but not really.)

I'm also amazed, as the above video shows, by how much I have learned about trees and nature and all that kind of stuff. Listen to how smart I sound on this video!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Wonderful Winter

 "I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

It was supposed to RAIN all day. No SNOW forecasted. Only it's a tad colder than they thought it would be and so we are getting snow. Lots and lots of thick, beautiful, flakes of snow.

Videos don't do it justice, but we tried:

And then Moana decided to model in front of the window the snow outside -- again, pictures don't cut it -- but I do love showing my cutie pie. 

In this first picture Hannah is wondering if I can "see" the invisible straps that hold up her top. "Can you see them Mama? Does it look like I don't have anything holding it on?"

And this picture below captures the faces Hannah gives us when she gets a little punchy/spunky/silly/funny:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mothers in Waiting


I don't even know what to say or how to say it. 

I just know that when Crystal Bowman first contacted me, asking for my help in bringing together women whose hearts had broken by infertility, I didn't give it much thought. Sure I'd help her. Sure I knew a lot of women who had dealt with this. But this still had a long way to go. It had to be written and find a publisher and be accepted and then be printed. 

(I honestly didn't really think it would happen.) I know how these things go. Crystal warned me too. Getting a book published isn't a little thing. 

So now, many moons later, to be holding this book in my hands? My emotions are swirling. I curled up on the window seat in the corner of my kitchen and begged God for the kids to be quiet for a few minutes longer so I could keep reading. 

I read the story of our Grama Joni. I read the story of the four little boys she lost. 

I read the story of my new friend LaShea. About the biological children she never held but the adopted sons that grew just as closely to her heart. 

Then JB came home. He saw the book. He told the kids, "Your Mommy wrote a chapter in this book!" And they seemed excited. And they asked if they could read it. And I said yes knowing that it might elicit a lot of questions about the time that they never existed and I only dreamed that they might.

I still dreaming of writing "my own book" but truly, this amazes me. To see the purpose in my pain. So many years have gone by since I started this Blog and started penning my pen.

And now I get to see my pen on paper. 

I'm smiling,


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We Bought a Farm: What our mud room looks like with 15 people here

 "Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.A.A. Milne

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE our mudroom in our house. The room didn't even exist before. It was a porch. But it has revolutionized our home. 

A quick reminder: we bought a farm that we loved that came with a house. From the outside, it looked beautiful. But the inside truly frustrated me. 

I'd lived in many homes that didn't quite "work" for me. But I knew they were all temporary, and I did my best with what we had for the time we had it.

But this time, I knew this house was, most likely, forever. And that was so hard for me.

I mean, how in the world do you build a farm house and not put in a closet on the first floor?! We live on a farm for crying out loud. Surely this is a requirement?

But it matched many things in the house pre-flood. So many things just didn't work right. They didn't fit right. We'd say: "Why do you think they did that?" or "Why don't you think they did that?" 

And then we renovated. And top of my list: a mud room! I wanted a room that could hold all the things we needed on a farm. I never owned a pair of boots before we started farming and I definitely didn't understand the need for so many coats. But weather is a key ingredient in our life here. Some days require warm boots. Some require cool boots. Sometimes your boots get too wet to wear the following day. You might need a heavy coat. You might need a light one. You might need water proof gloves. You might not.

So these pictures above feature our mud room. We have eight lockers: one for each of us, one for our visitors/wwoofers, and one for the grandparents. The Kotynski family also has a section in the back when they are here. 

The other day we had the entire Kotynski family here, our family, and two wwoofers: Jacob and Alexa. That makes fifteen people total. Believe it or not, we all ate together too! That's a lot of folks. 

However, I thought it important to show that despite the pretty baskets and the fact that the "core" of this room is organized, there are days when the room still takes a beating. It isn't going to look like a perfect picture from a fancy magazine all the time. Sometimes I get it there. But more often, the room is being used. It is serving it's purpose. I mean what do you expect from a room that has MUD in the title?

Remember folks: get organized. Get your house in gear. But it has to be lived in. If you come and visit my house, you'll find organization. But you'll find reality. The truths of our life and what that means at that given time.

Just keepin' it real,

Ruth and Boaz (UPDATED!)

 "When ballet takes to the sea, even the sunset comes to take a sneak peak." Anthony T. Hincks

January is a big month around here. Abigail participates in a huge ballet production in Greeneville. Year 1 of ballet she was too shy to participate in the big production of Cinderella. Year 2 she was in Sleeping Beauty: True Love's Kiss. Year 2 was The 12 Dancing Princesses. And this year she will be in Boaz and Ruth. 

I've decided to compile all pictures fro this year's ballet production in one post. I'll be putting any NEW pictures at the top of the post. (By the way, many of these pictures were NOT taken by me. I especially wanted to thank my good friend Kristin Girton who took MANY of them. 

Abigail with her friend Eliza.
Curtain call practice!
Abigail and some of her fellow dancers waiting to practice curtain call.
Abigail took a picture of herself to see her make-up for the ballet. She was serving as a "model" as Ms. Jenn taught mothers how to do stage make-up and wanted to see what the end product was. :)
Hannah's outfit of choice on a cold winter day. I made her put on socks and pants and a jacket, but as soon as we got into ballet rehearsal, she stripped them off. She even added the rubber band around her t-shirt. I have no idea where this kid gets her fashion from. 
Abigail wearing her ballet outfit and her favorite maroon sweater in Walmart where we stopped before practice today.

Abigail hanging out with some friends waiting for her scene during rehearsal. 
Rehearsal #2 in Annie Hogan Theater. Scene 20.
Ms. Lori Ann showing Bailee and Abigail how to dance not too close.
Part II of Lori Ann getting everyone to spread out.
Rehearsal #1 in the big theater!
Our girl!
Thank you Kristin Girton for these beautiful pics!
Abigail was so honored to get a role as a "leader" of the little girls. Here she is lining up for it.
Abigail leading the little girls.
This was a photo at the tryout for the production.