Ode to summer vacations….

I know this is a random topic, but the older I get the more I miss the summer 10 day+ long road trips we took with the kids while they were little. At the time they were work, we had packing and planning to do. We had to route out maps and plan where to stay. But looking back I realize what a gift they were….

 

In the days of having high schoolers, and one now graduating, summer has become about running to and from travel basketball, going to early morning weight lifting and speed and agility training and open gyms. It has become about ATTENDANCE at the mandatory things in the summer that coaches have laid out for the boys high school athletics careers, And while I love to be my kids biggest fan, and I love to be the one on the sidelines cheering my sons and their teams on, I now look back and realize how much I miss throwing my family in the car and taking off on some family adventure for 10 days interrupted.

 

I can remember the year when the kids, ages 9 months, 6 and 9 years and my husband and I hit the road for a family trip to Atlanta. It was the summer after my Grandma had died and I knew that time with family was so precious. We visited Stone Mountain in sweltering heat, raced around Atlanta Motor speedway, spent a day at World of Coke and the Atlanta Aquarium. Visited the Smoky Mountain National Park and the Civil War Park in Chattanooga and rode the incline railway. Those are the memories I cherish most. I remember driving with the kids into Memphis Tennessee and losing Nate in a hotel elevator when he got off on the wrong floor.

 

I remember the summer we headed to the Wisconsin Dells as a family. The kids were slightly older. We stayed for a week in a cabin in the Dells and went to three different water parks in the course of the week. We watched Addie and Clint ride in go-carts and we cooked popcorn over the stove the old way in a jiffy pop metal pan.

 

Then there was the last summer trip we took to South Dakota and Cheyenne Wyoming. We went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo and looked back through South Dakota where we took in the sights of the Black Hills. Devils Tower, Badlands, Mount Rushmore. The typical family trip.

 

Don’t get me wrong, we take a family road trip every year. Since my boys have hit high school we have made it a habit to go on spring break and have made trips to Phoenix Arizona, Naples Florida, a big loop through Oklahoma and Texas including Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma and San Antonio, and most recently the week long road trip we took to Estes Park Colorado this past spring break.

 

The months before graduation I had been going through pictures of the kids in anticipation of Nate’s upcoming graduation and if there is any one piece of advice I could give it would be TAKE THE TRIP. Looking back at the memories that have been made throwing my kids in the car and driving across the country are priceless. Looking at pictures I am taken back into that moment in time and can remember each trip as if it were yesterday. I am so fortunate to have the blessing of the ability to share this beautiful country with my kids.

 

This past summer, as it had been the past three years, we were at home shuttling kids to sports and practices. We purposely took our family vacation to Estes Park in anticipation of the summer schedule we had. Down deep I will have a little streak of jealousy for those who are packing up the car and hitting the road on a family adventure in the sweltering heat of summer. When my daughter is the last one left at home and the boys are in college, I know our summer family trips will resume minus two boys who have started lives of their own. They will never be the same. We will have fun. And we will see new and exciting things as a smaller family, but I will most definitely cling to the memories of the family vacations and road trips we took while they were all home. I only hope when the have families of their own we can all take a trip together someday.

 

My mom will be turning 70 this year. For her birthday she has asked for a weeklong family trip to the mountains with her whole family. This is all she wanted. I know now where I get my wanderlust and adventurous attitude! We are headed to the Great Smoky Mountains for a week. All of us. I cannot wait to spend that time together in a big house in the mountains soaking it all in. This is truly the stuff life is made of!

 

So in closing- if you get the chance take the tri. It is so worth every minute together away from the hustle and bustle. I look forward to the time away with my nieces and siblings and parents and in laws. This is the stuff memories are made of, and I am already planning the next trip after this one J

 

Till next time,

 

Laura

 

 

 

 

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Fairtime 2017

How did I not get this posted? Not sure.. but fair time came …and went over 2 months ago. It was our last one showing cattle as Nate has now graduated and moved on. But the memories are priceless. The animals all have a name, Phil and Jack, Ace, Daisy, Junior….just to name a few. I can remember like yesterday the first animal Nate showed, the runt reject twin steer brought home in a dog crate from my dads farm. His name was Junior. We had him and showed him for two years, and when he left us we cried. I also can remember when Nate said goodbye to Phil, the first steer that won him a first place trophy, The night before he went to auction I sat in the showbarn alone late at night with him, talked to him and cried. It was so hard to watch my 14 year old son say goodbye to his best friend.  He knew it was time, but it did not make it any easier on him, on me, on my daughter. Like I said before, we remember each animal individually, all of them loved. All of them a best friend to my child and all whom have taught him about love and loss and friendship.

Fair 2017 was one for the books. Nate turned over the Cass County Fair King crown to the next worthy recipient as Addie was crowned Little Miss Beef Queen 2017. Nate showed his last steer taking top honors in his class and in showmanship. Addie handed out ribbons at the Feeder Calf show and showed our long time family pet dog, Cowboy who appeared to have the time of his life “taking the ring”.

I served for my last year as head of Addie’s Clover Kid Club and served my last shift in the FFA foodstand as a parent and not as a member of the FFA alumni. We parked our camper in the campground for the last time in the foreseeable future as I believe my daughter will likely be a static exhibitor in her future.

I am not done with 4H as I will take over in her 4H club as a leader there. I will continue to work shifts in the 4H and FFA foodstands and my husband is taking on a post on the grounds committee for the fairground. Our support of the youth and adults who live and love agriculture every day continues in a new way.

Whether you live in the midwest, the plains, the coast or somewhere in between I encourage you to support agriculture in your area and support your local fairs. I have witnessed firsthand the love and care put into these animals and in static exhibit projects and the work these kids put into raising an animal in an ethical, safe and healthy way. These animals are pets to these kids, best friends, confidants and partners. I am lucky to be able to live this and watch this in my life. I am lucky to have been raised in agriculture and married to agriculture. I hope you support the farmers, 4H kids, and FFA members in your community too.

As for the future time will tell for us what it will look like as our daughter matures and discovers her own path at fairtime. It was bittersweet to watch my son take the ring one last time, but he now turns his attention to his major in Animal Science at Northwest Missouri Sate and I am excited for what his next chapter will bring. His love of agriculture will evolve into a career doing what he loves and for that I am grateful.

So to wrap up the fair memories as I will quote a 4H poster I read one time while walking around at the fair. It read “We are more than just a 4H Club… we are Family”

This is so true when you set foot in a county fair show barn, and it will be missed.

Till next time,

Laura

 

 

Back to school… Back to school…

 

I have been wanting to go back to school for a long LONG time. I am not wanting to do anything new, just advance my degree as a nurse. This is one of those bucket list items I have always had on the back burner.

 

I have been so afraid to take the leap. I am not sure why… but somewhere along the way I have started to doubt my abilities in myself. I have told myself that I cannot possibly work full time, be a good mom and better myself. I have told myself that I am setting myself up to fail and that I cannot possibly do well as a student 20 years after graduating from college the first time. I have told myself that BETTERING myself (for some stupid reason or another) deprives my children of my attention and means I will miss out on being there for them and being a part of their growing up.

 

You know what? I was WRONG.

 

I have been back to school for only a few weeks. I have written two papers in that time and tonight I will be taking my third test and moving into my fourth section. I have received all A’s and one B.

 

I have been to every sporting even since I started, have not missed a single thing my kids have going on and actually seem like a BETTER mother since I started.

 

Why? Here are a few reasons…

 

  1. My kids see me trying to better myself, and that makes them proud. My son actually helped me with the format of my first paper, and my other son proofread it. Both my boys were as excited to see my grade post online as I was. Together we tackled one of my greatest fears in trying to succeed and they were proud of me. Let me stress that again… proud. Proud enough to share my grade with other people.
  2. My kids see me stress the value of lifelong learning and education. Do I need to be in school? Probably not. Do I want to be so that I can earn more, elevate myself in my position and increase my knowledge in the medical filed? Yes. They see me trying to learn and grow… and they see the value in it for themselves and their future.
  3. My children see that placing value on myself is important too. I am a good mom, cheerleader, wife, employee and etc. I take care of everything my family needs and make sure to be at every concert, game, meeting, church event, professional event for my husbands…. but what about valuing things that are important to me? They finally see me placing value on my own interests and that is pretty cool.
  4. They see me utilizing good time management skills. No I cannot watch TV, I have homework. Yes, I can go to the movies tonight because I got all my homework done last weekend. No, I cannot watch that show until I have my paper done. etc. etc. They see me balancing work and family and school and that it CAN be done and time can be managed effectively so everyone wins.
  5. They see me reading. I have to admit… I have not always been the best reader. I would call myself mediocre at best. I would sometimes read for fun, but it was not something my children saw me do on a regular basis. Now they see me taking the time to read… and carry on conversations about what I am learning about. It is a bonus when my kids can talk to me about what I am learning, because it is something they recently learned about too.

 

So as I approach the mid point of my first class back in school… Philosophy… I am proud to say that I am ROCKIN this back to school thing. I will continue to hack away at classes as long as I have the energy to. And to those neighsayers out there who say things like “why would you want to go back to school??? Ugh….” I say….

 

BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN MYSELF AND I WANT TO BE THE BEST ME I CAN BE.

 

Until next time-

 

~Laura