Internal Change

This particular summer had been insanity. It had taken a toll on every aspect of our life. Not all at once but slowly as time went on; and I never realized it. When we moved back to town B, started into our old routine, and the school year began it became evident that I was sorely slacking as a mom. My kids were nothing like they used to be. They had become downright BRATS. They were fighting non-stop, hitting, shoving, slapping, screaming, throwing toys at each other. It was awful. I couldn’t believe this was my children. It made me take a step or two (or three) back. It was time to regain some order in our home. While my husband and I’s relationship has grown stronger, the other areas in our life started falling apart. My house(s) were not spick and span anymore. Clutter was through the roof (not literally but it felt like it). There was no organization. No discipline. No good routine. We were living on fast food and junk to get through each week which is a huge no-no to my usual semi natural, eco friendly out look. To top it off, we just seemed to be hitting a wall of, “Where do we go from here? What’s next?”

I had to sit back and really think about where our life is headed and what we really want. In my mind, I went over and over and over the questions I needed to be asking myself.

Do I really want to work on my degree? Yes, more than anything.

Ok, Great; but is the timing truly right? Maybe not.

How badly do you want to be a Wildlife Biologist? Is it something you really want or is it something you want because you need to feel like you’ve done something with your life and that career path just feels like the right thing to go for? For sure, I want to go to college for that particular degree and I want that career. Right now though, I’m just not sure if the timing is right with my children’s ages and everything else that is going on.

Do I really want to be working on my degree right now though, while my kids are growing up more rapidly than I can keep up? No…Maybe…Not really…Ugh. I really want to be working on my degree but what I want most right now is to watch my children grow and to be available to them more at this point. My last child is coming out of the toddler years and I’m missing out on all of those fun things I love about being a mom; not to mention, I’m missing on all of the “firsts” and “lasts” for all of my kids. I hate leaving them when they are sick or having a bad day. I want my degree more than anything but I want my kids to feel loved and cherished more. I want to be that mom; teaching them how to cook, grow and preserve produce, identify objects/animals in nature, work hard, and love hard. I don’t want to be grumpy with them because I have too much to do when it’s not their fault I’m so busy.

Is this how I pictured my life when I first became a mom? NOT AT ALL. I’m grumpy, exhausted, overly stressed, and mentally checked out most of the time.

Am I proud of my accomplishments so far? Yes. As a student. I’m proud of myself for powering through and doing a pretty bomb job. As a mom, yes and no.

Can I continue to juggle life as it is now with enough steam to make it through at my best? No way. Not at all. I’m completely beyond burnt out.

Do I want to be a stay at home mom or a working mom while I have little ones in the house? Without a doubt, a stay at home mom. I want to be there with them when they need me…not stressing because Gramma has them when they are sick or feeling extra needy. On the other hand, I get stressed out easily when I’m with them 24/7 with no breaks. I guess I just need a break once in a while for the time being.

Do I want to be a homemaker or have a career? Can’t I just have both? I guess, for now I want to raise a family on a home cooked, home grown, home spun lifestyle. It’s never too late to finish my degree. I can always take a class once in a while and just slowly work through it until the kids are all in school. Once they are in school, I can work on my schooling with a lot less guilt and distraction and can also be available to them when they are home.

What is the most feasible plan for my life in this current time? What do I *really* want right now; at this time in my life? I suppose if I really think hard about it, I just want to be a mom who is available for my kids and to be present in the moment with them, rather than worrying about when I will get my coursework done. I feel like in the long run, they will be happier that they had a present mom.

These are the main questions I’ve been struggling with. These are the answers I ultimately came up with. I still plan to finish up my degree and become a wildlife biologist; right now with our current lifestyle, I need to be a mom and a wife. It just flows best. I have 4 kids; they need me to be available. They have become unruly, bratty, mouthy, ungrateful, unhappy…you name it. We are working on that (with great improvement!)

I also need time to work on my physical health and my mental health. What people don’t see on the outside of someone who seemingly can “do it all” is that sometimes you get so busy “doing it all” that you start to miss out on the important things in life which is exactly where I’m at right now. I’m missing out on my children growing. I mentally can’t handle much more information in my brain at any given time. My body has several things going on that need taken care of including stomach issues, unexplained weight gain, extreme fatigue to the point where I can’t wake up easily in the mornings no matter how much sleep I get, joint swelling, and mild depression. I know a lot of this has to do with just not taking care of myself. I stress eat, mostly junk food. I drink six to eight cups of strong coffee a day and yet don’t feel like I drink any at all. All summer, I lived on fast food and sugar. This lifestyle is not doing well for my body. I need a change. I am a natural minded person and yet somehow I’ve become the very opposite of that outwardly.

I’m dedicating this blog to write about my newest endeavors in getting our life back on track through healthful and natural living, conscious parenting, and healing my workaholism.

Making it back to heaven on earth

I started this blog a few months ago and life got in the way so I never got a chance to actually write or do anything with it. I wasn’t sure where to start or where to go with it. Today, I could feel the words begin to flow so here I am.

This summer, I renovated the smaller of two old houses on the family farm while taking two back to back, 6 week long classes (12 total weeks). The family farm is an hour and a half from where we currently live and where I take classes. I have four small children. Each week I was on the road approximately 18 hours, working on the farm and the house 45-50 hours, sitting in class for 6+ hours, and keeping up with laundry, dishes, four children, and everything else a mom has to keep up with.

At the end of July, we took the plunge moved our family to the farm. The farm is nestled in a beautiful little valley, right the middle of the Appalachian mountains. There is a town on one side of one mountain and a town on the other side of the opposing mountain. The valley between seems untouched; this is home. We don’t have much cell phone reception there and the internet connection is weak most of the time. The drive is a winding route on a road that leads through the most peaceful “middle of no where” valley with a state road on both ends. It is absolutely beautiful all year round. It is it’s own little peace of heaven; a country girls dream.

We have a few streams trickling down out of mountain, cutting their way peacefully through the farm; each feeding into a creek that gently flows across the land. There is much to feed the soul there. Wildlife is abundant there. For three days, we had coyotes less than 100 yards above us yipping and howling in hair raising chorus, while we were clearing out some trees for a new fence line that is going in. Each evening we watched whitetail deer meandering down through our hay fields, munching on the green growth. Mornings were full the smell of fresh coffee and frying eggs; the sound of crickets playing their calming tunes before dawn. The sun rose with the sound of birds cheerfully singing their songs, along with squirrels chattering in the trees around the house, as well as the smell of dew on the grass. As the day went on cicadas and cows would be sure to remind us of their presence and the smell of diesel fuel, cattle, manure, and hay filled the air. The aromatic smells of the garden produce tempted us with lots of fresh snacks throughout the day. We sweated while we worked on various projects and played with the sets of sweet, soft farm kittens. I would cook a big hearty meal for dinner. Mornings started at 4 a.m. and we crawled into bed at around 10 p.m.

It was heaven for me. I could have stayed and given up college and every single creature comfort the modern world has to offer for the rest of my life just to live on the farm and homestead; living completely off the land. I felt spiritually alive and connected to mother nature and God. My soul was absolutely ablaze.

The one thing that made it all not worth staying? My husband’s 3 hour, round trip, daily commute to work. During the day and during the morning and evening drive, he was miserable. When he had the weekend off, our souls were connected at the very core and his soul was ablaze as well. He couldn’t handle the drive and he missed us. See, he had to leave at 4:30 in the morning and didn’t return until 7:00 in the evening. The timing was all wrong, but being there felt perfect. We sat down and had a long talk. We talked with his parents throughout the week. A lot of praying was done. School was beginning and we had limited time so we needed to decide whether to stay or move back.

A plan was formulated: move back to the town he works in (the house was thankfully still ours), power through the credits we each need to finish in each of our degrees over the next year or so, and then when the time is right (or the right job close to the farm pops up), we move back. Every weekend he has off, every holiday vacation, and during hunting season, we will travel to the farm and stay in the house I renovated. In most ways, it’s the best of both worlds.

This is no easy feat but after our experience living there, and feeling the fire return to both our souls for the homesteading/farming/country life, weekends must be spent on the peaceful mountain farm; renewal of feeling our spirit and soul is that one thing we crave all week long. One day, we will move back for good and what a wonderful, joyful day that will be.

Until then, I get to keep up with and style two homes.

One Country Girl’s Journey

My name is Danielle. I am a mom of 4 kids born over a 5 year span. We have 2 boys and 2 girls. Currently one toddler, two preschoolers, and one school aged. I’m married to my high school sweetheart of 12 years. We live quite a {blessed} life. We are currently living in the rural part of a town where my husband works. Summers and each weekend, we travel the hour and a half drive to our family farm to…farm. There we are raising beef cattle and make hay in the summer. I grow produce to can, freeze, and sell. I am a “modern” mom in many ways but I am also very “old fashioned” in most ways. I hunt a variety of wild game and process our own meat. We do a lot of home made everything; eating as “clean” and home cooked as we can though with traveling, drive through food happens here and there.

Hubby is working on his Master’s degree. I’m slowly working on my Bachelor’s degree in wildlife sciences.

We often get asked how we balance it all. My usual reply is “We just do.”  This blog is for me to share my endeavors as a young mom; determined to take on the world; raising kids who are not assholes but are respectful and compassionate; dreaming of working with wildlife and conservation of natural resources; sharing tips on how we “do it all”. Our life is not easy by any means. It’s messy and chaotic. It takes a lot of work, sweat, love, and determination. It also takes a lot of balance, understanding, and a few tears but in the end I’m confident it’ll all work out one way or another.

You’ll find recipes, produce growing and preserving tips (Disclaimer: these are OLD FASHIONED tips my family have used since way back when so they don’t always align with the FDA “rules” of today), some sewing and crocheting, and overall homemaking tips. MOST of this blog is just sharing my adventures though since I love to write and feel that this is a good outlet to share our lifestyle.