Saturday, June 6, 2015

All About Mom by LM

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A friend posted this series of questions on Facebook the other day and said she wanted other people to ask their kids and post their answers. So, I did. I'm compliant like that. Here are the questions and the answers, given by LM, age 4. I post them with no comment. 



1. What is something mom always says to you? Don’t do it
2. What makes mom happy? Bringing flowers to you
3. What makes mom sad? Not giving flowers to you 
4. How does your mom make you laugh? Tickles my armpits
5. What was your mom like as a child? Short with blonde hair

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6. How old is your mom? 41
7. How tall is your mom? 41 feet
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Go do fun stuff with me
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Read a book
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Playing a guitar
11. What is your mom really good at? Entertaining me
12. What is your mom not very good at? Nothing

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13. What does your mom do for a job? Play with me and BB
14.What is your mom's favorite food? I don’t know
15.What makes you proud of your mom? When she makes a beautiful painting 
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz because her skin looks like wood
17. What do you and your mom do together? Go out to the museum 
18. How are you and your mom the same? Same color hair
19. How are you and your mom different? Different color eyes 

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20. How do you know your mom loves you? She always shows a sign of it
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? That she gets to see him on the weekends
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Chuck E Cheese 
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? Pretty old!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Technology on the Farm

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I enjoyed another day with my fellow City Moms recently, when we had the opportunity to tour the Meyer Saathoff Family farm. The focus of our visit was to learn about planting crops, specifically corn and soybean crops. I am sure there will be blogs that talk more about this process and the information gained therein. But, what I have been completely mesmerized by at this visit, and at our last tour to the pig farrowing farm earlier in the spring, is the amount of technology on the farm.

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It is no wonder farmers are spending more time in the classroom, at industry events and networking with others than in previous generations, because to learn and use this technology has changed farming in many ways. It has helped mitigate some of the risk of farming for each family, and allowed for better use of soil, nutrients, fertilizer, seeds and pesticides, and ultimately allowed for larger yields with more targeted work.

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For example, soil is tested in all sorts of ways to allow the farmer to have more knowledge and control. They can see what nutrients are lacking in the soil, and choose to fertilize to add only the nutrients needed for an upcoming crop. Or, they can choose to plant certain crops in certain locations that will allow for maximum yield. This testing helps the farmer spend resources only on the fertilizer and nutrients needed, and plan for the most effective crop rotation.

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There is also extensive use of GPS, and tablet apps that track water retention in the fields on a real-time basis! And much, much more, but those are for another post. It's amazing how technologically savvy our family farmers have become.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Friend Update

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After my last, sad "woe is me and my boy" post, I thought I better give you an update. I DID talk to his teachers and found out two things that made the whole thing a little less daunting. First, the boy who was taunting LM about not inviting him to his birthday party didn't have a birthday party. Now, I don't know if he just didn't have a friend party - that is my guess as this school doesn't seem like a place where a child's birthday would go unnoticed - but obviously this child was feeling insecure about the fact, and was sharing his insecurity with everyone else. Or, at least, LM.

Also, I learned there are "centers" in their classroom, and each center has a limit to the number of kids who can be there. The teachers thought perhaps this was part of the time when he was insinuating people weren't playing with him. They were just indicating the center was full, so he would need to move to a different one. The teachers had a talk about this with the children - how to best tell someone to move on, and how to tell someone you just arrived so to not be pushed out. LM reiterated the talk to me, and said it was important they covered it for another boy in the class. Ahem. Funny.

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The teachers also said LM seems to play with everyone in the class, and seems happy to move from child to child, friendly with everyone. This is similar to his behavior in his class in Dallas, although he did have some special friends. So, it was nice to hear he had not suddenly become a quiet wallflower - ha - anyone of you who know LM know this ain't gonna really ever happen. So I should remember that!

AND, we learned one of the boys who invited him to a party will be in his class NEXT year - his school is a small one, and his preschool is in a slightly different area, where most children will go to a different school next year. But, learning one face will be the same was nice to know. I plan to invite that child over for a playdate in the near future.

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What's more, the weather has broken into spring-ish temps, so we've been riding the neighborhood, meeting new neighbors. Everyone has been so nice. LM was able to meet a little girl who will be in his class next year, and learn about another boy who will also be in his class that we hope to meet soon. So, there are kids he can learn to know over the spring and summer.


If that isn't enough, a friend of mine in the mothers of preschoolers group invited him to a playdate with her son and two other boys, one of which will be in his class next year. My friend said LM especially hit it off with his future classmate, and that she really enjoyed having him over. She reported he wasn't exhibiting any anti-social behavior - quite the contrary - he joined right in, was a compromise finder, a problem solver, and very thoughtful to the other children. What a nice thing to hear.

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So, isn't this a different picture? I am so glad I spoke with the teachers and we have found some other good leads on special future friends. This warms my heart and calms my worries. Until I think of the next thing to worry about.

See you soon.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Friends

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I am a girl who has amazing friends. Some have been around since birth. Since preschool. Since college. Since we met at work. Since I moved to Illinois. But, in that long list of friends, there are some real gems. Seriously, I am a lucky girl. This cannot be overstated.

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My boy LM has some great friends too - from school and his cousins - in other cities. Since he joined his little preschool last September, I have been waiting to sense him making real, quality friendships here in Illinois. I quiz him about what went on at school, and listen to the people he spoke about playing with on the playground or when they were doing an activity. Never did a pattern emerge where I got the feeling he was bonding with one or two children closely. So, of course, I kept asking questions.

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Lately, though, he has mentioned how one boy he used to talk about as a friend was telling him and his other classmates that he wasn't inviting LM to his birthday party. He asked me why would this child do this to him? He also has said, when I ask who did he play with at school, that he was playing with this child or that child but then they said they didn't want him to play with them anymore, so he'd move on to another until he was told by that child the same thing and so on.

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He has been invited to two birthday parties - both were to parties of boys he rarely mentions, so I can only imagine they invited the whole class. It's so nice of him to be invited nonetheless, but both times we have been out of town at the date of the parties. And, both times, I wrote the parents to express his regret, telling them we are new in town and thanking them for including them. Both times we sent gifts to school, and while one is recent so a reply might still come, so far, both times, no return email or thank you note. Normally this would mean nothing, but as I look for something that might mean my boy is making headway in the friend department, this is noticed.

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Can I tell you how my heart breaks when he seems so sad? Can I tell you how he says hello to any child we see anywhere, anytime, anyplace, trying to find connection in this new place? Can I tell you how much he wants to play with other children - to be a friend? Can I tell you how much I miss his friends that he knew so well? Can I tell you what a kind, funny, smart, interesting boy he is? Why wouldn't these children find him to be friend material?

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In the short term, I am going to speak to the teachers, to see what their perception is, and if perhaps there are some students we could invite over for one on one playdates this spring, or if there are other ways I can talk to LM about this situation. I don't want to swoop in and make it a thing, but I do want to help my boy if I can. I'm sure this won't be the last time my heart will suffer for my boy. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, is it!

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In the long term, I know this is certainly a short term problem. I know he will make friends - hopefully this summer in the neighborhood, at camps, at church if we can ever pick one. And in the fall as they begin school together in a new place. He will. But, for now, my heart is breaking for him. Probably more than his heart is breaking about it.

Thank God for friends.

See you soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

BB's One Year Old Party

We were so pleased S's parents could come to the party from Texas, and Unk, Bevi, Isaiah and my mom braved the elements to make it from Indiana. We had great weather that day, but Indy had a bunch of snow, and my brother's family wasn't able to make it. And, Dad and Torchy made an appearance via FaceTime from Florida for the cake eating. We missed having them, but were glad for the group that were able to get here. Here are some photos from the party!

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The big cake

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The smash cake.

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The food room

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A photo retrospective - also the photos I used in BB's one year post
For the record, I am not a fan of the stencil. Ahem.

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The cute customized drink labels, akin to LM's first party.
(Although, she no longer uses etsy - she has her own site here.)

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More decor

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(and more stencil to paint over eventually...but back to the party!) 

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The favor bags, which were filled with different kinds of blue and yellow candy.

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It comes in handy to have empty rooms in your house when it comes time to party.

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Adam's present from Mom and Dad

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LM had to help with presents, of course.

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BB received a lot of very nice things.

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He went for the flame - LM was scared of it. Go figure.

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He seemed to like the cake!

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BB thought Nana needed some cake too!
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It was a fun day celebrating this little guy.
See you soon.