My Other More Exciting Self

Farm Raised, Shoe Enthusiast, Turkey Talker, Wine Lover, Mom

How can it be Friday already? Seriously. This week went crazy fast!

Teacher Man and Joe had yesterday and today off from school (fall break) and were very busy around home while I was working. The house is completely clean, top to bottom; lawn is mowed; several of my large perennials and shrubs in my gardens are cut down and ready for winter; and the patio furniture has been put away. Fairly impressive!

As for me, here are a few of my highlights from the week:

High Five for Friday! | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Last Saturday, we spent the day with my sister, her husband and their daughter, Morgan – or #MyGirlMorgan, as I like to call her. Of course I took a zillion photos. How could I not? She is the cutest little bug! This is one of my favorites, though – Joe read her the Eric Carle book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and she loved it. Funny story: when Joe got to the part that reads “I see a blue horse looking at me,” he proceeded to tell Miss Morgan that “for your general life knowledge, you will never see an actual blue horse.” That’s my Joe – he’s very factual.

#AgCatalyst Conference | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Mid-week I attended the “Ag Catalyst Conference” in the Twin Cities, an event specifically for those of us in agriculture communications so I was in #AgNerd heaven! I took back so many ideas for the social media platforms and websites I manage in the office, but I think my favorite part was meeting up with several ag friends – like my ag blogger friend, Teresa (above) who is a farm girl from Canada. (You can check out her blog here.) We met a few years ago at an AgChat Foundation conference and we stay connected on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Anyone who thinks social media doesn’t bring people together should come to one of my agriculture conferences and learn otherwise!

Earl the #Pug | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comI post this picture of Earl the #pug under my sister’s piano bench for no other reason than it makes me smile.

Duran Duran | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Is there anything better than driving home after a full day of speakers and presentations at a conference, turning on the radio to the 80s station on Sirius, and hearing my favorite 80s band, like, ever?

Fall Bike Ride | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Some of you may have seen this photo posted on my Facebook page this week. The weather was quite glorious for mid-October so Joe and I went for a bike ride after supper one night. Like any good mother, I made him stop by the corn field near our house and take a selfie with me. Surely these are mother-son moments he will remember forever, yes? :) Bike rides are actually a great way to have some good conversations with my son – we get away from the distractions of the house and we end up talking about all sorts of topics.

I hope you  all had a great week and enjoy the upcoming weekend. Any fun plans? If so, please share in the comments!

I’m linking up for High Five for Friday! with The Lauren Elizabeth and The Diary of a Real Housewife.

 

What is it about October that feels like it moves too quickly into (gulp) November? The impending doom that is winter in Minnesota? Surely yes, at least for me. All the garden prep work: cutting back the perennials, pulling up the frost-hit annuals … to get ready for winter and be ahead of the game (at least a little) in the spring.

And then there are the leaves – they appear to slowly, ever so slowly change colors but then all of sudden, when I just happen to look out the window – boom! – the vividly bright reds, oranges and yellows pop out in a heartbeat and go away almost as fast.

Sigh.

For now, I’ll relish the Autumn Blaze Maple tree in my yard that looks so amazing next to the pristine blue sky.

Autumn Blaze Maple | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

And I’ll sneak under that maple tree to capture the bird house blowing in the breeze and the multi-colored leaves, some not quite turning to the tell-tale shade of red yet.

Autumn Blaze Maple | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

It’s a funny time of year, really. I crave soups and chili. I long to wear my boots and tights and dresses and sweaters. But … I’m not quite ready to say good-bye to fall and hello to winter yet.

October … please don’t move so fast.

I’m trying something new today. A few weeks ago, I found a new blogger I really enjoy – Marisa from A Lovely Living. She blogs often about fashion, and I enjoy her sense of style – wearable, fun, age-appropriate (but in a good way) and definitely not high-end pieces I could never afford. (Sorry, but I’m not buying $190 jeans that are on sale. I’m just not. If you’re that kind of blogger, good for you – but chances are I’m not a regular follower.)  She’s also a busy mom and wife and includes stories and pictures of her family and throws in a good recipe once in a while, too. In other words … she’s very relate-able to me. Except that I can tell she is way taller, for which I will forever be jealous. ;)

Every Friday she links up with other bloggers from around the country for “High Five for Friday!”. Everyone shares five things from the week – photos, funny stories, everyday moments, whatever. I think it sounds like a great way to end every week, so here’s my first attempt:

1) This is what I see almost every weekday morning – Joe, pretending to sleep so he doesn’t have to get up and get ready for school, along with Earl the #pug, patiently waiting for either a) Joe to wake up, or 2) me to come in and pick him up and take him downstairs to get some breakfast. Earl, as many of you know, is nearly 14 and cannot jump on or off beds (or chairs or couches) anymore – in fact, we need to carry him down steps, too. But he’s got the biggest heart of any dog I know and he loves cuddling up with Joe. And really, how could you resist that pug face? It’s impossible!

High Five for Friday! | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

2) Once I got downstairs this morning and let the dog out to do his business, I noticed it was actually pretty dang chilly out. (If you look closely, you can see frost on the lawn.) Thankfully, I had pulled in my hibiscus plant along with my succulents a few days ago, so they warmed up our porch with color. My plan is to over-winter these pots inside – this worked last winter so wish me luck. I’m really good at gardening outside, but not always the best at remembering to water my indoor plants. It’s a weird genetic defect or something.

High Five for Friday! | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com3) Speaking of gardens, I took this photo of my Limelight Hydrangea (dwarf variety) this morning and I am totally IN LOVE with the color. These are fast becoming my favorite plants in my garden.

High Five for Friday! | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

4) My sister is going to be so jealous! And now that I think of it, my mom would look totally adorable in these. Behold … my newest pair of shoes, old school Converse sneakers! I happened to get a coupon in the mail from DSW Shoe Warehouse for my birthday, and well, I just had to use it before the end of September. I mean, I just HAD to.

High Five for Friday! | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com5) I leave you with #MyGirlMorgan, who will soon turn 10 months old. We’re heading to my sister’s tomorrow to see her (well, and the guys are going pheasant hunting). This little bug is crawling now, which will be so fun! (I say this as an auntie, not a mom who needs to get stuff done around the house.) While the guys hunt, the girls + Joe are planning to do a little shopping. My sister needs some new work clothes and Joe is in desperate need of a winter jacket. The thing with Minnesota in October is, the weather can go from sweatshirt to parka time in about 30 seconds flat, and currently I am totally unprepared. Joe is less than enthused about shopping, typically, but as long as Morgan is going, I don’t get the eye roll or one single complaint. It’s good to have adorable cousins!

High Five for Friday! | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comEnjoy your weekend, everyone!

I’m linking up for High Five for Friday! with The Lauren Elizabeth and The Diary of a Real Housewife.

 

 

Oh, Joe.

On Saturday Teacher Man and I decided to take a little family drive to explore some of the countryside and check out the fall colors. We had a trip plan from our friend, Jim, who recommended a route just a little north of where we live. We effectively banned screen time in the car for Joe, which he agreed to without complaint (although he rightly reminded me that iPhones have screens too), and got ready to hit the road.

Joe is, I think, a pretty typical 10-year-old boy. He has no interest in clothing and has these requirements when getting dressed in the morning:

  • Being comfortable is absolutely key.
  • No jeans. At all. He hasn’t worn jeans since he was a toddler – he doesn’t like anything about them.
  • T-shirts typically are of the video game variety – i.e., they must show Minecraft, Mario, Skylanders or the like. Exceptions include an Iowa Hawkeyes t-shirt (Teacher Man is the Hawkeye fan), a Nebraska t-shirt (from his cousin) and any t-shirt his mom brings home from her work travels. But still, it’s important to note these are all t-shirts.
  • Socks are worn begrudgingly, even in winter, and can only be short (no long crew socks). Socks are also the third thing that is taken off immediately upon getting home from school – the first two being his jacket and shoes.
  • No “fancy” shirts or pants, unless it’s for church or a special occasion. And even then, there will be an eye roll. And to more clearly define “fancy” for you, this refers to all other kinds of pants except for athletic wear and any shirt with a collar. Joe does have one exception to the fancy shirt rule – he has a pink and gray golf shirt we bought him Arizona that he loves and he’ll wear that any day.

With all these specifications, sometimes a mom just needs to have a little fun, so I pulled out this sharp looking outfit for Joe to wear.

Joe and his mom | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

 

Yep, I got the eye roll and the subsequent question, “Why do I have to wear these pants?”

The shirt – while not showcasing a video game character – is a long-sleeved t-shirt with a hood, so that wasn’t the problem. The pants, though, were bordering on “fancy” in Joe’s mind, even though they were pull-on cargo pants in a very lightweight material. Hardly dressy or even uncomfortable in my book but to a 10-year-old boy with very specific comfort rules, the pants were not the usual Saturday attire.

I was so pleased with the results, however, I took another photo, made sure I got a very nice smile, and promptly texted it to his Grandma Marilyn and Auntie Jodi, proclaiming how handsome he looked. This 10-year-old boy can clean up well!

Joe and his mom | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Joe, to his credit, didn’t really argue about the outfit – he’s smart enough to know when to pick his battles. We, in turn, had a fun family trip to explore the fall colors and ended up at a tiny little lakeside bar and grill for lunch, where we enjoyed the food, the lake view, and our family time after a busy week.

And when we got home? Joe immediately changed into his favorite pair of athletic pants. :)

The other night while eating dinner, my 10-year-old son asked a very valid question.

“When I’m old enough to vote in elections, how will I know which candidates to vote for? All the advertisements we see on TV tell different stories and I don’t know what to believe or who is telling the truth.”

Have I mentioned before that Joe is a bit of an old soul?

Teacher Man and I explained to him that it will be important to do his own research on candidates – that we can’t always trust what we see in a television advertisement or read on the Internet. We told him we would help answer his questions but that, ultimately, it would be up to him to formulate his own opinions and make his own decisions on which candidates are the right choice for him.

His question is one we all – no matter what our age – should be asking ourselves during election season. I watch the ads and I often cringe at how blatantly misleading some of them are – and this is from both major political parties. I worry that most of us are too busy, too apathetic, or too lazy to do our homework and know what is truth and what isn’t.

I totally admit this can be a daunting task and I am as guilty as the next person, rarely carving out enough time to truly get to know the candidates beyond snippets I read or see. Where do we look for good information? Whom do we trust? I don’t have all the answers, but I can relate this type of discussion to a current project going on in Minnesota that is seeking to elevate the stature of agriculture and farmers in the minds of both candidates and voters.

Why is this important?

Because we all eat.

And there are three things we can all get behind: good farms, food and jobs.

A Great Minnesota's 5-Point Pledge | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comEnter “A Greater Minnesota,” a coalition of several agricultural organizations (like the ones I work for, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota) that seeks to make connections with legislative candidates, provide information about the strength of Minnesota’s agricultural industries, and ask them to make a 5-point pledge to support the following:

A Greater Minnesota 5 Point Pledge | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

A Greater Minnesota 5 Point Pledge | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

A Greater Minnesota 5 Point Pledge | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

A Greater Minnesota 5 Point Pledge | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

A Greater Minnesota 5 Point Pledge | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Wait, you say? This is all great for rural communities and legislative districts, but what does this have to do with larger, urban cities?

Did I mention … we all eat.

And Minnesota’s diverse farming and food landscape equals a strong overall economy:

A Greater Minnesota - 5-Point Pledge for Farms, Food and Jobs | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Truth is, our abundant food supply is often taken for granted and agriculture can still be stereotyped as an overalls-wearing, manure-slinging guy who has straw in his teeth. (This is not a rip on overalls – I love overalls as much as the next person. I wore them, perhaps unfortunately, throughout the early 1990s.)

The real story: farmers come in all shapes and sizes and ages and fashion styles. They might even be – gasp! – female. Their farming methods are just as diverse and, as I’ve written before, I believe we need all kinds of food production to be successful.

I also believe that farmers and their families have more in common with their urban neighbors than is often let on in the media:

  • Good farming practices that preserve the land for generations to come? Yes!
  • Treating animals with respect and providing the best care possible for them? Yes!
  • True and honest food labeling (not any of this fear-based or pseudo-science stuff) and best practices that produce safe, affordable food for our families? Yes!

See, what’s not to like?

If you agree and you live here in Minnesota, I urge you to contact your legislative candidates via A Greater Minnesota’s website and ask them to take the 5-point pledge. By doing so, you add a layer of accountability on these candidates who decide to the take the pledge – and I think we all know accountability can be a good thing. (You can also see the list of 80 House candidates so far who have taken this pledge. Is your candidate on the list?)

And please and most importantly, do some homework and plan to vote. I’ll be taking Joe with me to the polls this year so he can watch the process. It’s a right and a privilege and I never want him to take it for granted.

 

Note: I was not asked to write this post by my employer or A Greater Minnesota; the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

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