Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Mother's Day to Remember

"Welcome to your first Mother's Day," my sister said to me with a smile while we were standing on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, in an effort to pacify my 10-month old while we waited on our delayed meals. 

Though our reservation was for lunch, my first Mother's Day had already proven to be a real doozy. 

Caroline spiked a 102.5 fever the evening before. We spent the evening and night checking on her. At 4:00 AM she decided to start her day, fever and all. I rocked her from 4:00 - 5:30, when she finally went back to sleep. But Cody and I didn't. 

This was also the Sunday that our church moved to new service times. Our later service time had been eliminated, so we planned on attending an earlier one. No problem, right? Unless you've got your little one on a strict schedule. It threw our whole morning off. That, and lack of sleep. 

We made it to church on time, tossed Caroline into the loving arms of some woman in the nursery, telling the church ladies good luck, and went two floors up to our beloved balcony seats. We try to one-up the back row Baptists. The service about mothers was wonderful, I of course cried, and in no time we went back downstairs to retrieve Caroline. We were met with this: 
"We made her a bottle but there were no tops in the bag, so we couldn't feed her. She's ready to eat!" said the gal working the nursery. 

Strike One. 
How do we pack for a Mother's Day out, without packing the most important part of the bottle? 

Between church and lunch we stopped at K-Mart to buy the missing parts we needed. K-Mart is a shell of what it used to be and barely keeping the lights on; still, it took Cody 15 minutes to find something suitable to feed a fussy, hungry 10-month-old. 

We arrived to The Olde Richmond Inn (mom's favorite) fifteen minutes early so I could feed and change Caroline before the rest of our family got there. Except, Caroline was having absolutely no part of the new K-Mart sippy cup and there was too much going on around her for her to want to eat anything from a spoon, at all. 
She was hangry and defiant: A dangerous combination.
So, I decided to cut to the chase and change her diaper. 
Except the diaper tote wasn't inside the diaper bag. 
It was sitting on the dinning room table at home. 

That's right. 
Strike Two. 
In our haste to make the earlier church service,  we planned a Mother's Day Off the Farm without any diapers. 
Not one diaper. 
No wipes.
No cream. 
I thought he grabbed them. 
He thought I grabbed them. 

By the end of the two-hour lunch (wait service was shoddy), Caroline was 12 pounds heavier and soggy as a swamp. Anyone who wanted to hold and kiss her was warned that their clothes would need dry cleaned. 
No one seemed to care, but me. 

The lunch itself...
We love this restaurant, but this meal was so disappointing. My medium-rare filet was so over-cooked that my throat closed and I spent 30 minutes in a bathroom stall trying to get a tiny (look at the size of your middle finger nail - it was that small) piece of over-cooked beef dislodged. It was awful. 

But then came the voice from one stall over...

I knew she was over there because she was having one heck of a time getting her panty hose pulled back up. Misery loves company and on this particular day mine came from the next stall. 
"Honey, you need me to tell someone out there that you need some help?"
"No ma'am, I'm fine. Thank you," I responded, quite embarrassed. 
Suddenly, a loud and unsolicited prayer came from a stall away:
"Lord Jesus we need you! Lord Jesus protect this lady; and Jesus please make it end soon. End It Soon Jesus! Amen."

I stood there in my Sunday best, staring at a framed mid-century postcard that needed dusted inside a wallpapered bathroom stall and thought to myself: Happy Mother's Day, indeed. 
"Amen," I echoed Miss Daisy. 

That evening I did dishes as the sun slowly moved behind the milk house. 
I could hear Cody zipping around the farm on the Kubota, working another hour before dark. 
I was thinking that it's a shame I didn't double my supper recipe so I could have lunches this week. I was thinking how our kitchen window needs replaced so badly; I can't even see the tree where Caroline's swing hangs. Maybe it just needs washed really well. I was thinking about how I went to church and town without diapers. I can't believe I did that. 
And then I felt two little hands 
grab ahold of my leg, tugging with gentle force and with great confidence. I stopped with my hands in a sink full of soapy water and looked down at a little face so full of joy and pride, as she stood hugging my leg. 

And it was in that moment that I realized - despite the fever, no bottle, no diapers, throat closure, stall-sister prayers - this was the best Mother's Day of my life. 

Thank you, God, 
for showing mothers grace 
on days that we 
don't think we deserve it. 

Side note:
 I came home yesterday to a new kitchen window. I'm serious.
I believe God truly hears the desires of our heart. 
And every once in a (great, great) while after enough complaining,
I guess husbands do, too. 

Trim from the Compromising Crib

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Had No Idea

Friends, family and readers of this blog gave me plenty of really great motherly advice and insight as I transitioned into motherhood. I listened to each bit and truly tried to absorb it while mentally preparing myself for what lied ahead. 

I learned early that there is no preparing for motherhood. You learn from day-to-day just how much you don't know. 

I had no idea the joy I would find in watching someone sleep. At what age does this get weird for Caroline?


I had no idea that mobile babies are most curious when you enter the bathroom. Is this a proven science? What is it about the bathroom that attracts tiny fingers and toes? I can be across the house, in the bathroom washing my face, and I won't get the suds rinsed off before looking down to find this face waiting on me. 
How did you find me and what do you want?

I had no idea how important rest is to your body and mind. I believe I started motherhood behind the eight ball, having been in labor for 27 hours then not sleeping afterwards (I think my body was in shock). Cody was awake and very present for every second of those 27 hours. When I told him I was exhausted, I'll never forget him responding with: "At least you got to pass out between pushes!"
Like....that is my life.  
All I want for Mother's Day is a nap. 
Which is so cliche, and oh, so real. 

I had no idea that someone who can't even enjoy pepper jack cheese would be so sneaky with the refrigerator. Cody can strangely hear me open the freezer for ice cream three rooms away, but I can't hear Caroline open the refrigerator and pull out a jar of salsa while I'm washing bottles 5 feet away? How does that work?

I had no idea the wave of sadness that comes over a mother when she begins folding clothes with little grippers on the bottoms of the footie pajamas. 

I had no idea that there were so many crazy drivers on the road. If you come within 8 feet of my vehicle while Caroline is in the car, I'm calling 911 and reporting reckless driving. 
Our local department has added me to their Do-Not-Call list. 

I had no idea that food intake and output was so important. I have documented more ounces and textures than I ever imagined.
What did I eat yesterday? A banana and cup of coffee on my way to work at 7:15. No idea after that
What did Carline eat yesterday?
6 oz. bottle
Cereal and bananas
Turkey, whole grains and sweet potatoes
1/16 of the Jungels ad in the July 2016 Shorthorn Country
4 oz. bottle
Pears and Corn
Hawiaan Delight
2 ladybugs
6 oz. bottle

I had no idea that the same person could be completely overjoyed because she finally got what she wanted and terribly sad at the same time.

I had no idea the kind of man I married. I knew he was a good guy, I didn't know he was made to be a father. I can count ONE TIME in 10+ months that Cody did not get up with Caroline and I in the night. Only once has he actually slept through her cries. Every other time he (was either 1,000 miles away sorting bulls or) had his feet on the floor and was changing diapers with me. That's a stand-up man. Thanks, Chris & Sharee

I had no idea how much I would miss certain smells: newborn skin, lemon Pledge, Windex, a freshly mopped floor. 

I had no idea how bad shots hurt when you aren't even on the receiving end. Who has cried more during shots: Caroline or I? That's a question I'm not willing to answer. We're raising one tough chick. 

I had no idea about the things that can run through your mind in the quiet darkness while you're rocking a baby:
Paying for college
Car accidents
Mean middle school girls
The possible consequences of swallowing a sequin
Study abroad trips
Strep throat
That chick on Dateline back in January
Shopping with a daughter - when I absolutely hate shopping
Social media
Our future son-in-law

I had no idea how much I would look forward to a simple Sunday in May.Mother's Day has a much sweeter meaning for me this year and will for the rest of my life. What an honor and blessing it is to be entrusted to raise this little girl. 


Happy Mother's Day to the women who 
guide, raise, nurture, discipline, coach, console, encourage, and love -  
whether you've give birth, or not. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cleaning out the Caboodle

I woke two weeks ago with this realization: I need a change in my life. 
My first tattoo? 
NO. I prefer my ink on expensive paper. 
Back to my crazy college hair cut?
NO. It was semi-OK at 22. 
At 32 it's called Mom-Hair. 
You and I both know I don't have time for a straightener and pomade. 

So we're clear - this is a dated sorority photo and has been cropped. 
I was definitely wearing a shirt. 

Instead, I decided to rid my life of the excess baggage that lives within the confines of our home. 

Yep. Time to clean out the Caboodle. 

I have tried a lot of beauty products over the years. Much of the arsenal I've built over time stems from my years as a little sister, five years younger than Laura. If she tried it, I tried it after she went to bed. Then when she moved to IU, I bought my own - whether it broke out my face, or not. We all want what we can't have  - - - and I always wanted to be 5 years older. 

As a mother and wife, I'm embarrassed to report that 80% of our bathroom storage is full of products I don't use but I can't throw away. 

So when I recently woke with this strange urge to toss, I ran with the feeling. 

Here is what I found:

The "ALL SKIN TYPES" banner is ludicrous. It barely worked when I was 15. At 32: disaster. I used this tub of St. Ives Apricot Scrub two Sundays ago and Caroline still won't quit licking my face. Which is weird because she refuses to eat Gerber peaches. I guess if I add some sand to it she will be all-in? OMG. We're raising the girl that eats glue in kindergarten. 

I found three different Herbal Essence bottles. Two have since separated contents, the third wants to but she hasn't found the right Gwen Stefani song to solidify her decision. In an effort to make room in our bathroom, I poured all three into the bottle with the best top - you know, the one with the cap still attached - and created my own 1997 Shampoo/Conditioner-in-One. It smells like moldy clover and vinegar and makes my scalp tingle. Should I patent  this?

I found more lip products than I care to write about. Apparently I thought it appropriate to spend a small fortune on  Mary Kay Satin Lips. Today I spend $3.00 every five years on a 4-pound tub of Vaseline and call it done. But don't you worry. I found three LipSmackers that are already in my computer bag. Only two of them have melted into the cap.

I'm hanging on lemon Sun-In that is so old it would probably be better suited as Drain-o than it would hair product, at this point. But there is 2/3 of a bottle left and I hate to just pour it down the drain. 

Exclamation wasn't great in 1994 and is 3493 times worse in 2017. I spritzed this in the barn cats' water and walked back to the house with my fingers crossed. Stay tuned. Never know. 

I've hated both cucumbers and watermelons since 2001 and it wasn't until I cleaned out this bathroom storage that I realized why. I slathered my body in this green balm for 4-ish years. I can smell it from across the house as I type this. 
I'm gagging. 
I can't. 
I trashed it. 
25% full. 
Please don't tell my mom. 

Even with these products consolidated or tossed, I got ready for work this morning and realized I still have a long way to go. While trying to find a particular shade of lipstick that was part of the Clinique free gift in 2002, I ran across three open jars of Noxema. 

I then ran to the kitchen and laid out a rubber spatula for my after work project.
Waste not, want not. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Twice a Day for Ten Days

I'm writing this column wearing latex gloves covered in hand sanitizer because I'm a first-time mom and nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.    

Twice a Day for Ten Days:

I'd love to tell you those were doctors' orders for something far more exciting, but no. 

In our house if it ends in "cillin" or has both an "x" and a "y" in the name, is liquid and isn't part of the alphabet song, you can bet we've been prescribed it in the last three weeks. 

(Two) Double ear infections. 
5 teeth. 
Respiratory virus. 
Eyes matted so badly that we ran Caroline's tiny hands along the cows so that she knew she was home without seeing proof. 
Life in general. 


When I was 13 my Dad broke his arm after a suspense lever came loose on a loading chute. He went about his business for two days with his arm resting on a 2 x 4 board and took two aspirin. When his hand began to turn green he decided to get it checked out. I just wasn't raised in a home that over-medicates. 

So drugs in this house are like the gluten in a Seattle condo: they don't belong and we aren't sure how to use them.

I keep telling myself that by the time Caroline is school age, she'll get the award for 12 years of perfect attendance because she has been exposed to every germ on both sides of the Mississippi. More times than once. 
Indiana to Kansas. 
Kansas to Indiana. 
Indiana to Kansas.  
Does perfect attendance merit scholarships? 
Asking for a friend. 

During our last Pediatric center visit (Caroline thinks this is our vacation home) Caroline waved good-bye to everyone in the joint as though she knew she'd see them next week. Our daughter may be both intuitive and super social, and I link that to genetics. She is double bred. 

Our health insurance is getting a full run for its money because on Monday I had a dentist appointment over my lunch hour. 

Between the initial cleaning and the consultation with the dentist I fell asleep in the chair. 
Like....really asleep. 
As in chin to chest, drool, asleep. 
I woke to the young dentist (re)(re)reintroducing herself and trying to shake my limp hand. 
All while I was still trying to figure out where I was and how I got there. 

I wiped the drool from my chin and explained that I had fallen asleep. She laughed awkwardly and explained that - for the first time in 13 years - I have cavity that needs filled. 
Why does everyone want my money?

Last night - in an effort to clean out the deep freezer - I thawed steaks that had been stored too long. I was embarrassed, in fact, that cuts such as those as fallen to the back of the freezer and weren't grilled during the greatest opportunity. I thawed and seasoned them anyway. 

While praying over our supper Cody held my hand and Caroline's and closed with "And we pray that the grey meat Lindsay prepared doesn't hurt any of us."

Amen, buddy. 


But I have peace of mind knowing that anything that he and I consumed last night can be addressed with something taken "twice a day for ten days."

Two serious questions:

1. Does this count? 
2. Does our health insurance cover it?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Letter from a Stranger

I write a weekly column for our local newspaper. It reflects a lot of content from this blog, except I try to remember to remove the cuss words and also  keep in mind that there is a high probability that my former teachers will read every word in print. No pressure. 

I’ve heard from several, quite random, individuals that they subscribe to the paper and enjoy my farm life perspective and the adventures I encounter as a farm wife. I very much appreciate that feedback from the paper’s urban audience, as I write with transparency to tell our story of a family in agriculture. I tend to believe that there are few other public columns that will admit that this week’s farm adventure is a mouse in the silverware drawer. 
Even though we have a barn cat that sleeps on our front step. 
Figure that one out. 

Anyway, I’ve also received really poor feedback about grammatical errors or my inaccurate telling of our lifestyle, but I don’t think that negativity deserves mentioning here. I buried that hatchet in the back yard out by the chicken coop along side our dear Shadow, God rest her skinny, strung out soul.

But the feedback I received Monday night tops them all.

Under a stack of cattle sale catalogs, insurance bills, vet invoices, Elder-Beerman advertisements and a single (gorgeous, sparkly) wedding invitation, rested this letter inside our mailbox.

Though the note was addressed quite vaguely, it was delivered by the rural postal service (two weeks after being time stamped), anyhow. I do love rural America. 

Mrs. Jones, an out-of-town Gazette subscriber, wrote to tell me that she finds my column quite interesting (is that like saying I'm special?) and she reads it each time I'm published. She also noted that she is 91 years old.

You can imagine my excitement here, folks. I had just opened a time machine in my mailbox!

The reason for her correspondence was to tell me a story about her mother drying clothes before the days of electric dryers. My column about the farmhouse register brought back some memories that she felt compelled to share. 

Early in the 3-page letter, she asked if I was Stephen’s daughter?
By the end of the letter, she had apparently talked herself out of her previous guess because she wondered if “Perhaps you’re Phillip’s daughter?” I’m certain this is why she wrote c/o Phillip Bowman on the envelope. 

I think it is important to note that I have not lived with my Dad (and mom), Phillip, in nine years, and four years before that I resided at Purdue. Also, my parents don’t even have an Economy address. In the spirit of small-town America, the letter arrived to our rural homestead, anyway. 

I assume she got my city and state correct because at the end of my column it always reads, “Lindsay Sankey resides outside Economy and raises Angus and Shorthorn cattle with her husband and daughter. She is the writer behind Jean’s Boots Are Made For Talking,”

Mrs. Jones certainly pays attention to details.

This letter, though simple and scattered and maybe a bit shaky, is quite valuable because it came from someone who wanted to pass on encouragement to a stranger. 
For no reason, other than to pass on encouragement to a stranger. 
Because this lady took the time to sit down and write a letter to tell me that what I do makes a positive difference, I'll keep this note forever. 

And I will read it on the bad days. 

And so I challenge you 
(and by putting it in writing, I challenge myself) 
to write a letter to someone who 
has brought positivity into your life. 

Maybe someone at the gym
Maybe someone in the waiting room
Maybe someone you haven't talked to in years
Maybe someone at church
Maybe someone in your family
Maybe someone you do business with
Maybe someone you actually don't really care for
Maybe someone waiting on you behind the counter
Maybe someone at work
Maybe someone you've never actually met
There is no better time than now to let them know. 
Well, maybe yesterday. But now is a good time, too. 
Put it in writing that they are appreciated.

I will keep Mrs. Jones' heartfelt note forever.

And now that I know the 91-year-old is reading weekly, I’ll be TRIPLE checking to ensure that every cuss word is omitted from the weekly Gazette column. 

A detail worth passing on:
In her signature, Mrs. Jones put her maiden name in parenthesis. 
Some gals just have a hard time letting go of their daddy's name. 
I get it, Mrs. Jones, I get it. 

The best, 

Lindsay (Bowman) Sankey