Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Check The Vitals

With my $50 guitar in hand, I was just seconds from taking the stage at The Bluebird Cafe.

“Lindsay!” The urgency in Cody’s voice woke me in an instant.
A really poorly timed instant.
It was dark in our room. I opened my eyes wide but didn’t even look at the clock.
"Yeah?" I responded.
“K,” was all he whispered, rolling back over on his side.

I drifted back to sleep but The Bluebird didn’t wait for me.
And to think: We would have paid off the farm in an instant if I could have just sung one rendition of Strawberry Wine. I have, after all, been practicing for twenty years (take a moment to let that sink in).

Sleep came easy and it seemed like just seconds before he pulled the stunt again.

“Lindsay!” The urgency in Cody’s voice woke me in an instant.
It was dark in our room. I opened my eyes wide but didn’t even look at the clock.
“Yeah?” I responded.
“K,” was all he whispered, rolling back over on his side.

I’ve been told I’ve become a mouth breather in the last couple weeks. Not a snorer, but rather a mouth breather "louder than a 454 big block"- what ever that means.  And while I’m annoyed and in denial just hearing of this development, I have to trust my sources. Apparently Cody woke up twice last night and didn’t hear me breathing, so he decided to startle me awake to check my vitals. There are easier ways to do things (I suggested gently checking my pulse, holding his hand an inch over my mouth to feel for breath, lying in the quiet dark for five seconds and listening, etc.), but everyone seems to do what they think is right in certain situations, I guess.

While it was a shoddy night of rest, I’m grateful for a husband who doesn’t want to sleep next to a dead person.

This middle-of-the-night fiasco reminded me of someone I haven’t checked on in a while.
Someone who – I’ll admit – doesn’t enter my mind often, but when they do I feel a bit of a sting. They are a shining example of how I let time and distance drive a wedge in communication and I’ve frankly lost touch with them.
I don’t call to check on them. 
I don’t shoot them a text or an email. 
If memory serves me right (45% chance these days) I sent them a hand written note last summer because I felt the lack-of-communication sting, and that was the last of our correspondence.
No hard feelings, no fall out.
But rather, worse: No effort at all.
Which is a shame; they were a good lesson and good person in my life.

An old co-worker.
An industry mentor.
An aging grandparent.
A previous neighbor.
The one who takes you back to that tumultuous time in your life.
An old business partner.
That once-stranger on your old morning commute to the city. 
A teacher, maybe not even the kind who stood at the front of the class. 
A college roommate.
An acquaintance that changed things.
Your parent.

There is someone who could use a vitals check from you.
A hello.
A “I was just thinking of you…”
A sign that they're thought of every so often.

Do you have that person in mind?
Find them.
Write them.
Call them.
Email them.
Text them.
Do something to let them know they’re still significant enough to cross a mind now and then.
Your mind. 

But might I suggest waiting until daylight until you do your vitals check? 
Waiting until everyone is awake and aware of their surroundings just makes for a better morning, for everyone. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Long Way To Go, Short Time To Get There

We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. 

Late last week I marched into our Human Resources Manager’s office and let her know I’d need to get BabySank on my dental plan at some point in the next couple months. Her pretty face didn’t show much expression. After a few seconds of hesitation, she responded with a gentle smile and her head cocked to one side:
“You know they come out without teeth, right?”

It was my first and last attempt at being International Champion Mom of the World. 
I put up a short, but noble, fight.

Since making the expectation of BabySank JBO (Jean’s Boots Official), we have ordered a crib – who knew readers were so worried about where a baby would sleep? Ya’ll are on top of it. Now, who wants to come finish our Amazon registry?


Isn’t it cozy? 
Really pulls the room together.

Monday night we wrapped up our course of childbirth classes. We didn’t get a diploma but we did get the fear put into us and that in itself was probably worth the cost of the free class. 

There were 40 people in our class: 20 couples or mothers-to-be and their support person, whether that be the father, grandma, grandpa, aunt, etc. The gals were anywhere from 28 to 38 weeks pregnant; it was a packed house. One week we discussed encouraging words spouses can say while coaching the mother-to-be during labor:
You’re doing a great job!
You’re going to be a great mom!
This is almost over!
Stick with it!
Cody’s contribution to the conversation: “GRIP IT AND RIP IT!”
He did not write this down in the workbook as instructed. He spoke these words aloud in his born-without-a-whisper-option voice.
I reminded him we were talking child birth, not focusing on passing a row of cars in a short window to do so.
Grip and Rip: Two words black listed in the maternity ward and my husband somehow found a creative way to use both in one encouraging sentence. 

They also gave us nice little diagrams and ways to ease labor pains at home. I let Cody know he has yet use a rolling pin at our house up until this point, there is no way in heck he needs to get his hands on one now. I've since hidden all rolling pins, just in case. 

The next week we were introduced to exercise balls and the excitement continued. For those inquiring minds, exercise balls are available in a lot of hospitals these days as a relaxation technique for the mother-to-be. Personally, bouncing on top of a large rubber bouncy ball is probably the last place you’re going to find me when this deal goes down. Anyway, I was there to learn.

And Cody was apparently there for another reason.

Out of guilt, he did share his smoothie upon his return to class. 

I talked to someone over the weekend who listens to classical music regularly now that their baby is able to hear outside sounds. They want her to appreciate Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. I figure BabySank will very likely to come out singing Mama Tried and Are The Good Times Really Over since I’ve had straight Haggard on repeat for two weeks. At least they’ll be able to appreciate lyrics that tell a story, a fiddle and a steel guitar.

 Our goal is a well-rounded kid. 
Not a Mensa membership. 

Another week down, another to-do checked off the list and the 4th of July is creeping closer and closer. I reminded CS last week about one big thing (by no means bigger than the crib...) that I had put in his court: selecting a baby monitor. I sold the task to him like he got to pick out a new set of barn cameras, except these would be in the house. I told him to get whatever he thought was best, and I wouldn't ask any questions (It's all about marketing.) I just wanted this little project done.
I came back from a late lunch one day to read this:

Ah, Life with Cody Sankey is fun. 

We really do have a long way to go 
and a short time to get there. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Different Kind of Firecracker

An Oklahoma State onsie, a Certified Angus Beef bib and a pair of cowboy boot patterned socks: That is absolutely as far as we’ve gotten.

Since I’m in the third trimester and Momma continues to ask if we’ve considered buying a crib, we thought now might be the time to share with you the best news we’ve ever had:

Our first child is expected 
to shake up life as we know it 
on the 4th of July.

Cue Shooter Jennings:

Kinda destined to be a firecracker: Double bred crazy.

A lot of names float across my mind as I write this, this morning:

Bob and Barbara Jean
Larry and Melva Jean
Paul and Marie
Ralph and Martha Jean
And after them come Chris and Sharee, Phil and Linda
We have just a little bit of pressure to raise a great American, much like their grand parents and great-grandparents.
A well-grounded, cattle-committed, rooted-in-faith, humble-and-kind, kid.
I hope you’ll help us.

No, we’re not asking for a babysitter before they even hit the ground (figuratively speaking). We’re asking that you help keep this child on track at the 2031 Junior Nationals and you’ll encourage them just a bit if you ever notice they’re having a bad day.
It takes a tribe to raise a good kid and you’re part of our tribe.
We promise to do the same for you.

I’ve absolutely loved being pregnant, though I’m not clueless to the fact that the tough part lies ahead. Ask me again in June when I can’t see my boots and the Dollar General is out of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Side Note to the Losantville Dollar General Customers: You’ll leave the entire stock of mint chocolate chip ice-cream in the freezer case if you know what’s good for you. And Cody.

We’re almost done with our childbirth classes and that experience has produced weeks of blog-worthy stories. Just wait. I didn’t realize just how awkward Cody could get in certain situations until we sat him in a room full of 8-months-pregnant strangers and exercise balls. 

There are so many things I want to share with you about the hopes we have for this child. In fact, much of the six years of content inside this blog is reflective of things I knew I wanted to pass on, but wasn’t sure if I ever would. The news of an Independence Day baby has greatly changed my perspective.
And my sleep schedule. There have been Tuesday nights when I’ve fallen asleep mid-keystroke and never finished  five sentences of a weekly blog. Now you know why.

We’re often asked when the gender reveal party will be. 
We've approached parenthood - and enjoyed it - like it's 1995. Leaving it off Facebook allowed us to tell folks when we saw them and share that moment of excitement. There are no neck hugs on Facebook. And I really like neck hugs. 
Secondly, this is a baby, not a movie premier.
Thirdly, the party will be at the hospital. On the day of the birth. 
But please, don’t show up. 
Unless, of course, you're thinking of bringing a gift:

We could guess the gender now, but we would only have a 50% chance of being right. 
I think I better wrap this up; I'm getting hungry (shocker).

Thanks for sharing in our joy with us - 
We couldn't be happier. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Your Nest

There was frost on our quiet lawn as the December sun finally rose from the sky.
That’s when I first noticed the bird’s nest with pine needles; it caught my glance while I dried my hair one Saturday morning. 

The nest was a new addition to my daily view, only feet outside the bathroom window. I continued under the hum of the dryer as my eyes searched closely around the proximity of the nest.

I guess I was hoping to spot off-season robin’s eggs, or something.

I made mental note that the nest was obviously out of place, lying on the ground rather than in an elevated location, but didn’t even think about moving it to a more appropriate place. I went on about my day.

Weeks passed and often I’d glance out the bathroom window to see if the bird’s nest was still there. It was, remaining out of place. I wondered if anyone would be back for the displaced house and didn’t move it, just in case. I even considered putting on gloves to mask my scent, picking it up with a stick and setting it in a place with higher bird traffic, but never took the time to do that. 
It became a very brief part of my routine, if I passed by that window while the sun was up. 

Changes in the weather and calendar came and went, but that nest remained just beside our house.
No movement.
No occupancy.
No eggs.
I watched it with hope that someone – something – would swoop in and take care of it.
Move it to a more suitable place.
Make it into a home. 
Raise a family.
Hang some curtains.
I’m an optimist.

But they didn’t.

Now, months later…it’s too late.
I've watched it go from a displaced project to a complete waste.
The bird’s nest has officially lost its purpose.
What good is a high-rise apartment in the basement?
Grass and weeds are growing through the nest, keeping it from blowing away or being picked up by someone looking for a hand-crafted all-natural bungalow.
It is permanently somewhere where it doesn't belong. 

It reminded me of a few good things 
wasted because no one took the time 
to save them.

So what is your nest?

What have you noticed out of place?
What just doesn’t belong? Or, what is missing?
What is the thing that just isn’t right?
Who needs help, but can’t get there themself?
Who is in a bad place and can’t get where they need to be, alone?
What is the thing that someone has invested a lot of time into

Personal health
Only to lose focus and throw it away?

What comes to mind right now is your nest.

Will you sit idly by and watch it in waste, losing it's purpose?
Or will you proactively do something to improve the situation before it is too late?

What is your nest?

At our place, this little guy better move quickly up my priority list before the Little Mower That Could comes back from the repair shop. You all know how I lose all sense of reality when I'm mowing the yard. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Through The Lens: March in Indiana

I follow Nebraska Through The Lens on Facebook. I don’t know why I do so, or even how I found the page, but it is interesting to see what people deem photo-worthy and in what part of the state the shots hail from. Nebraska is a wonderful place where a lot of our friends call home. The work on the page is beautiful and inspiring and brings a certain light to Facebook that is generally lacking.

Snap back to real life.

This week I decided to emulate their inspiring NebraskaThrough The Lens example, dust off my camera and get out and enjoy the warmer weather.
Home Through The Lens, I thought I'd call this weeks blog.
I changed out of my work clothes and heard the weather guy on TV talk about the breezy evening we were experiencing.
I couldn’t even get out of the house because the grill had blown over, blocking the screen door, a patio chair had landed on top of it and the snow shovel was stacked as the cherry on top. I guess “breezy” was the PC way of saying windy as heck. I used one hair tie and seven bobby pins to get the mop outta my line of sight.

Once outside, I walked around the house and tried to find images of spring.
Home Through The Lens
In search of  beauty.

Beauty? No. 

Inspiration? No. 

Light? No. 

Snap back to real life. Sometimes there aren't enough filters in the world to dress up this life. 

When I really started to study our place, all I found was a long list of things that need attention.  

This is what happens when you forget to store the summer rockers:

This is what happens when your house is lacking bleach water and some elbow grease:

I think this is my year to run the bucket loader.

And this is what happens when you have absolutely crazy neighbors:

Let me back up.

Saturday afternoon I was watching the IU basketball game (it was that or Dateline re-runs and you know I can’t watch Dateline alone) and folding laundry upstairs. Only minutes after watching IU win, a slow moving vehicle caught my eye outside. I watched our neighbor - we'll call him "Mike Craig" -  slowly pull his SUV through the hayfield gates that sit directly across the road from our house, and drive east through his field.

What in the world is he doing out there on a Saturday afternoon? I thought. Like any good/nosey/bored rural neighbor, I continued to watch.

Mike then got out of this vehicle, squeezed between his fence and the long row of wrapped hay bales that line the highway, and began shaking a can.
And then the red graffiti started.

I squinted, watched and began recording video on my cell phone as I slowly realized what he was doing. (I have since removed that video from this blog; my language wasn't suitable for ears belonging to young, impressionable people or my grandma.) He was intentionally spewing Pro-IU trash directly into my line of sight.

I opened the window and yelled across the highway, asking him to stop. I could hear his laugh from our second floor bedroom.
There was no turning back. He was adding exclamation marks to his art at this point. 
Now this Sweet 16 jargon is the first thing I see every day.

Living proof that March in Indiana is cut throat.
And I didn't even have a dog in the fight!

As it turns out, his creative graffiti was just the beginning.

The community must really like Mike’s “art” because since he painted the bales, vehicles have honked non-stop. In fact, on Sunday afternoon I laid down to take a much deserved (ha!) nap. Every time I was seconds from falling asleep, some idiot would lay on the horn as they drove by. Cody was out of town and I expressed my frustration with the constant support of the IU wall that had been built across the road from our property.


When Cody got home one evening this week he calmly told me that he may have figured out why so many people – cars, vans, semis, implements - were honking as they drove by our farm since last weekend:

I hadn't seen this portion of Mike's "art",  far enough down the highway that I couldn’t view it from our bedroom Saturday afternoon. Positioned precisely so that once people read this, their honk is perfectly timed directly in front of our place.  I'm going to lose my mind.  Is March over yet?

Maybe next week the wind will calm, my blood pressure will lower, the honking will stop, IU will lose and this place can get back to some sort of normalcy. I have legitimate concerns about what Mike will do to the landscape if IU wins again, but we can address that can of crimson spray paint when we get there.

March in Indiana: There is nothing like it.

Thank goodness, for the sake of Purdue alumni and fans everywhere, 
it only comes once a year. 

My evening wasn't a complete waste.
A couple shots of our beloved (depends on who you ask)  Shorthorn herd in it's entirety: