My Baby in the Pandemic

Our baby Lyle was born on February 29th, 2020 at 11:52am. He was 8 pounds even and 21.5 inches long. He came into this world screaming and perfect.

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Truth be told, I wanted a girl all along.

Really, really, really wanted one.

Secretly thought we were having a girl, too.

I told everyone I didn’t care either way but deep down I knew I wanted a daddy’s girl as our first child.

When we decided not to find out the gender until D-day, it had a lot to do with keeping the nursery and outfit purchases simplified. Simplicity always wins me over. I didn’t want to go overboard and knew I would if I had found out the gender ahead of time.

The more motivating reason, though, amounted to the complete joy I knew would overwhelm me when Michael would tell me what our baby was at birth. That, my friends, was the best feeling in the world. I highly recommend waiting if you are in the early stages of pregnancy right now. The long months of wondering are simply worth the trade-off to experience that split-second moment of, “It’s a ___!” proclaimed through your husband’s tears.

Needless to say, not only was I overwhelmed…I was SHOCKED. I was also so utterly exhausted after laboring 12 hours of the night, pre-epidural. Soon after that beautiful medicine was administered, my body finally relaxed enough to progress and Lyle was born!

A boy? Really? Wow, my gut was completely wrong.

Oh, my God. A boy. A BOY. We have a son!

The moment that tiny human stopped screaming when he realized he was laying on my chest, his mama…well, that was it for me folks. I forgot all about the countless, “I really want a girl. Please give me a girl” prayers to God. He knew better for me and at that moment I felt it.

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It’s a strange feeling raising a baby during a pandemic. We were blessed to have Lyle at the hospital with family still able to visit and our photographer still able to come in to take photos. Serious media talk of Covid-19 was just beginning when we walked out the doors to head home. I’m incredibly grateful to have had those “normal” days and even a “normal” week afterwards; still allowing close family to visit us while we adjusted as first-time parents at home. When the restrictions became more intense by the day, it occurred to me that there are SO many pregnant women who were getting more anxious and worried by the day as well. My prayers still go out to all the pregnant mamas right now, especially any mamas forced to give birth alone at the hospital (I would love to hear from any mama who has had to do that and wants to speak on that experience).

But if there is any hope I can give a first-time mama out there during this pandemic, here is what I’ve learned through this unique period of time:

  • More time at home, isolated with your baby and spouse, is all the company you really need during a pandemic.

Having pets at home is great company too! 😉

I’m a huge family person. Both my husband and I have big extended families that love to spend time with one another often. I miss quality time with our parents. I hate not being able to invite our sisters, brothers, nephews and nieces over to hang out with us and our new bundle of joy. I want to go to the grocery store or to the park with my friends without fear of other people being too curious about what’s in my stroller.

I’m not even going to put a comparison here and say, “the sacrifice is bigger for someone else more than it is for you.” I’m not a big believer in the comparison game in any situation. THIS IS HARD FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY. There is no way around that statement. Your sacrifices are hard and mine are hard and so are your neighbor’s. Here’s the thing though: God designated my family to love, protect, and worship together as my husband, myself, and now our beloved child. “Two became one flesh” the day my husband and I exchanged vows (Ephesians 5:31). We became three the day Lyle was born. We are a bonded family placed together by God specifically during this moment in time. We need to be present together, pray together, and worship together within these walls of isolation. We need to sing our praises daily for this new life He created. Are we perfect at all of that…every single day? Absolutely not. But we now have a unique perspective more than others could possibly have on raising our baby as first-time parents. Rather than being constantly distracted by going places and committing to other people, we can soak in these moments of togetherness at home a little more sweetly.

I went ahead and asked my husband what piece of hope he could offer to any first time fathers during this pandemic. His response:

  • Time/Life/Natural progression doesn’t stop.

“New life most definitely does not stop. God doesn’t stop. It feels like things are on hold for most of the country and world, but in the microcosm of a household, life is pressing onward and even fleeting in certain moments. This new little life has no understanding for the fact that we can only get drive-thru or carry out, that people are wearing masks to protect themselves and others, that your employer is not considered essential and has temporarily closed its doors, or that you are an essential employee and the employer is doubling down with wartime-like care but working you 10-20 plus hours overtime.

This new life needs provided for, just as we still need to rest in provisions from God. So the single sentence answer to the significant thing I have learned about fatherhood in this pandemic is that Father/Papa/Dad isn’t something that is affected by the outside environment. From the first second to the final second it means providing.” -Michael

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One last thing. Remember above when I said, “it is a strange feeling having a baby during a pandemic”? While it is, remember this:

  • While the world is falling apart, you will be having the best time in yours.

Our wedding day was the best day ever. It was SO much fun and I got to marry my best friend. How does it get any better than that? It does when you have a baby, pandemic or not. I don’t care what other mamas say about the loss of sleep or the tears of postpartum hormones (it’s true, you will get to experience both)…you are still going to have so much fun learning and growing with your new baby. You will become so natural at it without even realizing how you’re doing it (thanks to our Creator for giving us such strong motherly instincts). The world may be in chaos and uncertainty around you, but nothing can take the joy that God has gifted you through this time.

While the world falls apart around you, yours will finally feel like it’s coming together.

Just as God knew it was better for me to have a son first rather than a daughter, He always knows better in everything for all of us. If you are a Believer, you know that. If you are a Believer, you often forget that too. That’s why we need to seek complete trust in Him where it lacks and be reminded to not trust in ourselves. He will always provide and His plans will always prevail.

God still expects us to have doubts and fears. It’s okay to have them. I would actually be highly suspicious of anyone who claimed to never doubt, question or fear God and His plans. But it is essential for us to find our way back to Him and to ask for His help in doing so through prayer. It is essential for us to simply trust His plans, but we can’t trust by our own merit or strength alone. We need to ask for that too.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3: 5-8.

Every day, baby Lyle sure feels like pure refreshment to my bones amidst this chaos.

Thank you, Lord.

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Photo Credit: Kandice Smith Photography.
Any use or sharing of any photo belonging to Farmhouse on Five Mile without permission is prohibited.

My Baby from God

Dear Baby,

I stared at that stick for a solid minute before I finally smiled.

I was on my way to the airport to pick up Michael when I found out our lives were about to change forever. He had been gone for over a week on his work trip to Italy. On my drive there, I had a hunch that I might be pregnant, but that wasn’t a new feeling. I had gotten my hopes up many times before with that same “hunch”…only to be disappointed month after month. But I decided to stop at the store anyway just to be sure.

Well, sure enough.

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I will never forget the look on Michael’s face and the tears of joy we shared.

I will never forget how completely blissful everything seemed.

I will never forget the fun of keeping “our little secret” from our family and friends until we were ready to share.

I will never forget standing in the baby aisle of Kroger trying to pick out the first onesie I would buy for you.

Watching you up on the screen move around my uterus like a snug bug under a rug will forever be ingrained in my memory.

Feeling your baby kicks for the first time felt like the butterflies inside of me were bursting at the seams.

And all of this, my baby love, is just the beginning.

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I don’t know how the rest of this pregnancy will go. I don’t know if you will decide to come into this world early or late. I don’t know if you will be a boy or a girl (by choice- we want to experience the true surprise of finding out on delivery day). I don’t know if you will be the healthy, happy little bug I pray every single day you will be. But what I do know is that I will never forget this time we’ve had together already- regardless of what happens next. There’s a lot of unknowns and yet a lot to be joyful over as a result.

And isn’t that just the most beautiful yet contradicting thing about something like this? The excitement amidst this uncertainty, that is. Yet, everything else we experience in life that even faintly smells like unpredictability is enough to make us cringe and run for our dear lives. Maybe not for everyone but for a lot of people- there is a huge weight of fear that comes holding hands with the unknown.

The mere conception of you is a mystery (and miracle) in itself. God carefully crafted you and continues to daily: knowing exactly how you will look, act, and feel for the rest of your life, while your father and I just have to take guesses until you arrive. You are fearfully and wonderfully made from His perfect hands, my baby. You were formed in my womb when HE declared you to be so- in His timing. Only He knows what is best for you.

Only He knows what you need.

Only He knows the mistakes and the sins you haven’t yet, but will, make in this life.

Only He knows your story.

And us? We can only pray for your health, your weaknesses, and your salvation. We can only do our best as God’s servants to be an example of God’s love for you, in hopes that maybe someday you will fully understand and accept that in your heart. We can only offer you wisdom and advice from what we know from His Word when you go through trials and doubts and unconfidence.

And only He knows the bliss that comes with all the uncertainty that is currently you, baby.

I hope you read this someday and understand, mostly, that the love we have for you- while still grand and never-ending- is a pebble to the ocean that is God’s love for you.

We try to run from uncertainties of our finances, careers, health…even from the uncertainties of our own feelings. In these cases, we often run away in fear and/or ignorance.

But we run towards the uncertainty of your life with joy.

Because you were made for such a time as this, my baby from God. Nothing changes that.

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We can’t wait for you, baby Moeller.

 

A Letter to my Clients and Students

As the 2018 Fall season of pony lessons has come to a (temporary) end, I have many mixed emotions weighing on my heart for this seasonal business venture at the Farmhouse.

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On one hand, I am grateful to have more time this winter that I need to reassess our business plan and prepare for our 2019 expansion of the program. I’m also grateful to give Sugarfoot a much needed mental rest for a few months (as well as pursue more training with her to help her become a more balanced lesson pony).

On the other hand, I have been completely overwhelmed with love for this profession and am incredibly sad to have to wait until next Spring to see all of my students and their parents again! I know a lot of you have reached out to me letting me know how much your children miss their weekly riding lessons. That warms my heart more than you realize.

As some of you may or may not be aware, June 2018 was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey with the Little Legs, Big Start Pony Lessons for children at Farmhouse on Five Mile.  It is everything and nothing that I expected it would be all at once.  I started this business hoping and praying to build up an average of 10 students per week through the remainder of the year. I am excited to report that I ended the 2018 season with 16 total students per week (most being RETURN clients from summer!) with an even greater number of people on a waiting list. In fact, I now have 82 people and growing added to our Farmhouse Enrollment Email Subscription list.

82 PEOPLE!!!!

While we dealt with undesirable hot and cold temperatures, rain reschedules, muddy arena footing, and sometimes a stubborn little palomino pony 😉 … YOU showed up and have given this farmhouse so much love and support that I never knew existed for this little dream of mine. And for that, I cannot thank you and your Little Leg riders enough!!

We have SO many plans for 2019. We are well into the grind of getting the details all worked out. As of now, our plans are to build a brand new COVERED and footed arena (can I get a hallelujah?!)! We also plan to add a new lesson pony or horse to our herd to accommodate more students and offer paired lessons again. Be sure you are following Farmhouse on Five Mile on Instagram and Facebook  to see announcements and updates as they occur!

Our expected start next year will be April 2019 and we expect to extend the season to offer riding lessons through November 2019. That means a lot will be happening around here January through March!

As a sincere THANK YOU to all of my 2018 clients, you will be receiving a special gift from Sugarfoot in the mail in December…just in time for Christmas! Be on the lookout for a cute package in your mailbox very soon!

Thank You Clients

If you and your Little Leg Rider LOVED taking pony lessons with Sugarfoot at Farmhouse on Five Mile, please visit our Facebook page and leave us a review! Doing this helps others see the Farmhouse page and gives a great testimony for future clients who are interested in lessons. Your support for this small, local business means the WORLD to me!

My previous clients should already be on our Farmhouse Enrollment Email List. If you are reading this and you are not on the list – visit the contact tab on the website or click the link above to add your email. This is how sign ups occur for our riding lessons!

All Email Subscribers: Be sure to check out our Small Business Saturday Christmas Special …details coming to your inbox this week!!

I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!

 

Saying Goodbye to Corporate Employment, Gardening, and Tuesday Tutorials.

Let’s talk being intentional and learning when to walk away.

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A LOT has been happening around here at Farmhouse on Five Mile. A lot of decisions have been made and a lot more to make still. I thought I’d jump on here to update you all thus far.

First, I want to talk about the doormat project that I was supposed to share about a month ago. I wanted to start using #TuesdayTutorials and share fun, simple, DIY projects on the blog. I even wanted to open up guest bloggers to share their projects here! While I am still open for guests to share their DIY tutorials, I had to reevaluate my own desire to pursue this idea. Do you ever question your motives from time to time? Do you ever pose yourself the question, “Am I pursuing this because it truly brings me joy, or because I think that’s what the world will think I’m supposed to do?” It sounds silly coming out like that but you should try it sometime. In fact, you should really start asking yourself this question in everything you do. Are you living the busy, hustle lifestyle because you truly thrive in that way of living or because that’s the world’s expectation that you have placed upon yourself? Do you really love doing DIY projects?? Or, are you like me, where you like the idea of them (and even love pinning them on your Pinterest board) but the thought of going the physical, mental and financial process is absolutely draining. Well, the latter is definitely where I’m at. I’ve realized that I only wanted to start DIY tutorial blog posts on here because I set an unrealistic and worldly expectation upon myself. I started a “Farmhouse Blog,” so that’s what I’m supposed to do….isn’t it? Follow in Joanna Gaines’ footsteps??  Isn’t that pretty much what everyone wants to read about?

No, I don’t have to do that.

In fact, that’s not what my Farmhouse blog is here for.

This is a Farmhouse, lifestyle, Christ-following, simplistic searching blog. This is where I share our adventures, our animals and our projects.  It doesn’t mean that I have to force myself to fall in love with “Doing It Myself” all the time. I do love simple projects and it doesn’t mean I won’t ever do a DIY again in my life, but I certainly don’t having a set expectation of what the end result should look like or the expectation I’ve placed on myself that all of my talent and energy has to go into doing projects in order to create something worthwhile in the blogging community. It’s simply not true. I should only pursue those things under the conditions of 1) I actually have the time for it and 2) the process truly brings me joy. Well, #2 is not necessarily true at the moment.

In this revelation, I’ve discovered what brings me even more joy than completing a DIY project: ordering said projects or items from local, small businesses and friends who are talented enough to create said them for me! There is a wonderful satisfaction that comes with supporting someone’s lively-hood and being able to appreciate their talents by purchasing from them. It gives me far more satisfaction through the fact that I can be intentional in supporting in that way instead of draining myself just to get a glimpse of sweat satisfaction. Being intentional in how you spend your time and money does not equate to draining yourself.  So, if something is draining you, whether physically or mentally, take the time to first recognize that it is. Second, evaluate why you’re doing it. Set aside what you think you should be doing and start pursuing tasks, hobbies, a career, and a general lifestyle that brings you joy and brings out the very best in you. That, to me, is being intentional. That’s a mindset worth pursuing.

With that said, we’ve also made the decision to discontinue our vegetable garden for the year. We barely even got it started to begin with. Not much planning and execution came with seed starting, planting or keeping weeds away. I had to take a day or so to apply the same concept of being intentional to our gardening. We have a Farmhouse…a farm even! We’re supposed to have a garden!!!! It’s a must!

No, it is not.

Not if you can’t even keep up with cutting your grass on time.

Not when your mind isn’t fully there to be focused on it.

So, we simply decided that this isn’t our year for a garden. My mind is running a million miles a minute in another direction and staying on top of gardening is only hindering and reminding me that I’m failing at it. I don’t need any added self-detrimental thoughts to weigh me down. Plus, there’s an upside to this decision. It’s farmer’s market season!!! I can enjoy fresh, local produce without having to sweat for it and while supporting neighbors in the process. That sounds pretty intentional to me! Now, all of this does not mean that we won’t ever pursue a garden again. I LOVE gardening and it does bring me true joy. But sometimes you need to take a break from even the things you love when your heart isn’t leaving enough room for it. Giving this up for now only means that gardening in the future will be that much more enjoyable and intentional with planning. I’ll be able to come at it with better ideas and better  execution.

One last update for you all if you’ve made it this far: I am leaving my corporate job. I’ve been working in Corporate America for the last seven years and I’m finally laying it to rest. I don’t have much to add to that other than this: it’s bittersweet, I will miss the people (maybe not the job itself but definitely will miss the relationships I’ve formed), and I am only looking ahead now. For now, I will try to focus on giving horse lessons and see where God leads me in my life. This is the most uncertain I’ve ever been when it comes to the direction I’m headed for and I am learning to lean heavily on Him.

I think that is definitely His…..intention.

Meet the Minis! Thursday Thoughts

I wanted to take a brief moment to introduce you to the super-star lesson horses that your precious kiddos will be working with when you sign them up for our Little Legs, Big Start courses in 2018!
Meet Jewels and Lola: both are sister miniature horse mares. Miniature horses are often confused as, “ponies” but I can assure you, they are different! Ponies are larger and stockier in build than miniature horses but still smaller than full-sized horses, meaning they are under 14.2 hands high (hands high is a unit of measurement used to differentiate how tall a horse is from their withers). Miniature horses are even smaller than ponies but are still bred to resemble full-sized horses in that they are not stocky like their pony friends. Most miniature horses you see are trained to “drive” carts and some, like these two, are also trained to ride for small children.
It has been officially one year since we brought Jewels and Lola home to Farmhouse on Five Mile. They were adopted from my sister-in-law who was looking to find them a new, loving home. After having received my certification as a riding instructor through the Certified Horsemanship Association in November 2016, these girls were on my mind as future prospects to providing lessons for small children. And now…here we are!
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May 2017, when we first brought the girls home!
Since then, we’ve been working on a lot of grooming, hand-leading, and groundwork with my young nephews. These girls have been so patient and willing for us through our training to prepare for these lessons.
My objective for this program with your students is to provide essential safety skills and build confidence in your little riders. Often times, small children in this age range of 3-7 years are paired with ponies or full-sized horses that much larger than they are. While ponies and larger horses can be safe enough for small children (provided they have received proper training), they can often times seem intimidating to the eyes of small children by their mere larger size. By pairing small children with size-appropriate horses, they can build a foundation of trust and confidence that will lead to further success as they grow older and advance their skills and are able to ride ponies and full-sized horses

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My hope for 2018, with your support, is to expand our facility even greater and provide an additional full-sized lesson horse (or pony!) that can cater to children ages 8 and older as well as adults. By signing up for these courses, you are helping to make this hope a reality.
A big shout out and THANK YOU to everyone so far who has purchased horse lessons with their kids for the Early Summer course starting June 4th! I am excited to offer a unique program that caters to the young and brilliant minds of your little ones!
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If you are interested in signing your kiddos up for horse lessons, you can contact me here with your email to get on the Farmhouse VIP list! We will be opening up enrollment very soon for our Late Summer 6-week course with the Little Legs, Big Start program!

“All horses deserve, at least once in their life, to be loved by a child.” -Unknown

Thursday Thoughts: Blooms & Unknowns

Farm update: April showers (and apparently April snowfalls) bring May flowers…

Our strawberry patch is looking great and the berries are starting to come in nicely! Hopefully I can beat the birds to them when they’re ready to be picked. I’m thrilled that we succeeded in relocating this patch last October. They look and thrive much better in this spot, next to the old brick smokehouse!

Also in bloom is our Catalpa tree in the front yard. If you’ve read through all my blog posts (and why wouldn’t you?! 😉 ), you might remember me saying that we planted this tree together after our wedding, which was held from the front porch of our farmhouse. In lieu of a unity candle, we poured soil from our parents’ yards into the pot of this tree which is now located in this spot. It’s one of my favorite things to look at as I roll into the driveway. Inch by inch it is growing taller and it’s simply marvelous to witness.

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In other news, I have a lot of unknowns in my life at the moment. Unknowns with the security of my current part-time job, unknowns with what the launch of the Little Legs, Big Start Horse Lessons will look like and how I’ll manage this new schedule, unknowns on when projects will get started or completed….somehow I’ve managed to keep calm despite all the uncertainties. I’m battling self-doubt and momentary failures simply with trust in God’s plan for my path. I keep searching and praying for specific answers but at the end of the day I have to truly give my worries to God and rest my head on my pillow in peace, and I don’t even bat an eye with how cliche that might sound to some people. Doing this really helps my days get started with gratefulness and focus on my definite, known blessings: my husband, his jobs that provide for us, this farm, our health, our loved ones…I never want to waste a moment taking these things for granted because I spent too much time worrying about things that are mostly out of my control anyway. No matter what happens, staying positive and picking up the pieces after they fall- they will evidently fall one way or another- is much better than wallowing in a constant state of fear. I also think often about my services and how I can love others around me better when I remember on how much God has blessed me. We shouldn’t make it a law for ourselves but out of desire and intent we can and should be an encouragement to others- every day, every moment, every matter of conversation. I write often about the subject of driving ourselves out of self-doubt, circumstantial stresses, and remembering our blessings- it helps to keep reminding myself- but also because it’s never enough to for us all to keep reminding ourselves this….known…fact.

You are loved and you have a purpose and you can thrive and rejoice in that. And when you cup overflows, you can pour it into others.

So do that. Thrive, rejoice, and pour.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23: 1-6

 

 

Thursday Thoughts: Launching Horse Lessons, Tuesday Tutorial Update, and Goats!

First, I want to briefly update on Tuesday Tutorials:

It is looking like I will be posting these DIY project posts on a monthly basis rather than weekly (unless I have guest bloggers that are being featured)! I have a full list of exciting projects to work on and share with you all. However, I am still working on finding a good routine in my week. It’s a process! I love it but it does take some getting used to as a beginner blogger. I am feeling good about not getting discouraged like I used to with starting something new. Every venture or idea I pursue, whether it be deemed a success or failure, is just one step closer to finding my niche. I know I’m supposed to be here…I know I’m supposed to blog. Figuring out how I want to fill these pages has been a challenge but I’m embracing it all to get there.

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Weeds can be beautiful too 🙂

Next, I’d like to introduce Thursday Thoughts….yet another idea that came to me for the blog. These Thursday Thoughts are going to be simple farm updates, where we’re headed next, what Jesus is teaching me and other things that come to mind.

Thursday Thoughts for today:

I’ve set an OFFICIAL start date of June 4th, 2018 for the Little Legs, Big Start horse lessons at the farmhouse! I couldn’t be happier to have made that decision. While I have much to do over the next month to be fully prepared, I have found a new drive to embrace this new small business venture for what it is, with what I have for now. You have to start somewhere, right?!  I’ve already had Farmhouse VIP members signing up and it’s only been 3 days since enrollment opened up! (Hint: If you want to be included as a Farmhouse VIP member: contact me here with your email and you’ll be added to the list!). Farmhouse VIP members get the first opportunity for reserving lessons as there are limited spots for every six week course. I am BEYOND excited that people are already signing up! Even if the enrollment number stays small for this launch, I am truly grateful for the interest I’ve been receiving. Everyone I know has been so supportive of this venture in one way or another and it doesn’t go unnoticed.  Thank you, all!

 

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I thought I would also include a little update on our two Nigerian Dwarf goats. They are now one year in age and we are nearing our one year anniversary since bringing them home. They’ve grown so much since they were 12-week old kids but they’re still dwarf and cute as ever. Chomper has a heck of a voice and Ducky is just a sweet, precious follower. People ask me all the time what I plan to do with them. I’d love to breed Ducky over the next year or two and add another doe and a buck to the herd. I’ll know when the time is right for that. For now they just make excellent companions.

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Chomper found a good patch of clover!
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Sometimes I let them out of their pen to follow me around as I do farm chores. They love participating in farm activities!

I hope you enjoyed the first edition of Thursday Thoughts! Looking forward to many more!

-Kelsey