Thursday, March 30, 2006

We got a baby.................calf!

We got our first calf last week, he was born on a cold but sunny day, and was a little slow in coming around, so we had to warm him in the hotbox at Kim's dad's place. A bottle of newborn booster milk, some heat and he was ready to go. He's about a week old now, and doing quite well, running and jumping like he has springs on his feet. We've been calling him Buster, it seems like the frst calf we get each year gets that name, so we'll keep up the tradition.

Like babies of all kinds, calves can be frustrating, two can be born in similar circumstances, and one will thrive and one will struggle to live, or perish. The calf is the "harvest" for a cattleman, and to lose one is to lose a portion of the crop for the year. Even so, dealing with a weak calf can be a struggle, you never really know if what you're doing will work, and if you have it in a warming box, you can't keep it away from it's mother too long or she might not claim (bond with) him/her.

Calving time is wonderful though, seeing the newborns stuggle to their feet and take a few hesitant steps over to mama to look for that first drink of milk. Then just a couple of days later, they're running and jumping around like its really easy.

Springtime is full of wonders on the farm, seeing the grass green up, the flowers poking up, the new calves romping in the pasture, all bring home the sense of renewal that comes this time of year. Soon we will also be getting new kittens (as if we don't have enough cats already) and they're so much fun to watch, their little tails sticking straight up as they follow mama around and begin to explore the world. Jumping, pouncing and ambushing each other, they almost seem to be playfulness embodied.

Soon it wil be planting time and the beginning of another cycle, one that traces back to man's humblest beginnings as farmers, placing seed in the ground and hoping and praying for a bountiful harvest. We farmers are always so optimistic and full of hope this time of year, when everything is possible and the hot, scorching, dry days of summer seem so far away. Yes, spring is a wonderful time!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

You have a duty to .....................

A couple of weeks or so ago, we went to see a high school production of the musical Cinderella, we knew several of the students appearing in the production, and wanted to wish them well. One is the girlfriend of our nephew, and without bias, I can say she played her part with gusto and skill, staying in character as one of the stepsisters whether she was up front or not.

The lovely young woman who played Cinderella stole our hearts with her talented performance. She played the part to perfection, at least to my unsophisticated eyes, her singing voice well trained, her stage presence and acting skills remarkably well developed for one of her age and experience. It was an experience I'll long remember and perhaps one day I'll be able to say "I knew her when..........."

Occasionally in our lives we meet someone with a talent that makes you want to tell them they have a duty to share that talent with the world. I'm not sure if I've ever had that experience before, but it is a delightful experience indeed. For one such as myself who has no real talent in the performing arts, it would seem a shame if such a talent were to remain unknown. I love to sing, but have no sense of pitch, I would like to play the guitar or piano, but my lack of rhythm and manual dexterity is also a hindrance. Kim and I have taken ballroom dance lessons which we enjoyed, but I have a difficulty finding the beat in the music.

Perhaps it's a good thing that I have been a farmer working alone most of the time, that way I can sing along to the radio in the tractor or combine without inflicting pain on those around me. It's something I really love, but without even a modicum of talent, it's frustrating. Kim tells me that if I 'd taken chorus in high school, I would be better. Perhaps, but it still requires some basic ability. That's the one redeeming thing about American Idol, I have seen several people with even less ability than myself!

I wonder about Miaya, will she have a talent and a passion for something? If so, I will be there to support her and encourage her if it's something she wants to pursue. To me that's the important thing, if you don't enjoy it, why bother? I'm often baffled by people who become obsessed with certain activities, in particular with sports. Ok, my family was not big on sports, so maybe that's why I feel this way. To see parents living sports fantasies through their children is a very sad thing. Especially when the child is only there because to give in to the parental wishes. The high school champion who still clings to that brief moment years later becomes a sad example of someone who's identity was defined by those few brief moments and was unable to rise above them as they were never given the skills to move on to other things.

What causes people to become so obsessed with a sport that they memorize thousands of trivial facts about games played long before they were born. Someone who can recite the roster of the every Yankees team and all their statistics is looked up to as an expert, while the poor fellow who is obsessed with a fictional universe is ostracized as a freakish nerd. What is lacking in our society that people feel the need to identify with a group, even an artificial group of grown men who are paid obscene amounts of money to "play" a child's game. Especially when those who command the highest salary often seem to be the most lacking in sportsmanship, and are celebrated for their scandalous actions both on and off the playing surface.

We'll give Miaya the opportunity to participate in sports for the positive aspects of learning teamwork and cooperation, and the sense of fair play and sportsmanship. But we want her to also experience music and literature and all the richness the world has to offer. I pledge to never push her to do something just for my benefit.

We face the raising of Miaya with certain trepidations and doubts, and opinions on what to do that will probably be wrong in many instances, but hopefully we'll learn from our mistakes and not mess her up too badly. Perhaps we've learned from watching the parenting mistakes of others and will not repeat them.

We all must make compromises in life, and I hope when Miaya comes to those decision points in life, she chooses wisely and well. I spoke of a sense of duty earlier, and that can mean many things, but I feel it also means living up to your potential, using your talents and abilities whatever they may be to the fullest. We hope to give her the tools to live a life rich in experiences and full of satisfaction in her accomplishments.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thoughts about waiting for Miaya

This was originally a reply to a post on a Yahoo group we belong to that I wrotewhen I could not get back to sleep one night. I felt very good about it so I reposted it here.

I heartily agree, the waiting gets really bad some days, but I know it is all for a reason. And, I cannot fault the CCAA too much, after all they are entrusting us with children. So it's good they try to be as thorough as possible. Yes, we would like to have Miaya home sooner rather than later, but again, I have to believe there's a reason.

I've been a farmer all my life, and we become accustomed to waiting, we plant seeds in the spring and must wait for fall to harvest the bounty, we plant wheat in the fall and must wait till the next summer to harvest. We breed a cow and must wait nine months for the calf to arrive. Some of us plant fruit, nut or other trees and must wait for years or even decades for the harvest to arrive. There are cycles in life that must run their course and I feel that applies here as well, every thing will happen in it's proper time.

Kim and I were both older than many when we met and married, and we soon decided to begin our family. We were very excited at first as we thought it was happening, but alas it was not to be that easy. We went to a clinic where we lived in Illinois at the time to no avail. After moving to Iowa near Kim's parents, we put things on hold for a couple of years, then began in earnest with a clinic in Omaha. Things looked possible, but in the end nothing was successful. Last summer we made the decision to suspend those attempts and focus on adoption instead. China emerged as our favorite choice for many reasons, and we began the process.

Though we endured many years alone before we found each other, when we did meet, it felt like all the alone time had been for a reason so we could find each other. We feel the same way about Miaya, and the time we must wait for her. We will get her when the time is right, and we and she are ready to be together. Yeah, the waiting part really sucks swamp scum, but we'll get through it and we'll get Miaya when the time is right. The key seems to keep busy and not think about it too much. And, it's mainly just about the wait, after all, it's a near certain
thing this way versus the uncertainty we faced with the infertility path.

Thinking calming thoughts in Iowa,


Monday, March 20, 2006


For the second day of spring, this sure looks a lot like winter. We're supposed to be getting up to 6 inches of snow tonight, with strong winds so it will be blowing and drifting. Kim's already gotten the call for a two hour late start at school.

(Tuesday morning) And it's off! School that is, Kim got the call this morning, no school today, the snow is pretty intense yet, but should taper off soon.

After all the warm mild weather this winter to have snow on the second day of spring seems a bit much. But then, we didn't have much of a winter this year, mostly just chilly nights and warm days. Although about 30 seconds after the last flake landed, the snow began to melt, and a lot of the grass was peeking through by evening. There were quite a few tulips poking through the ground, and the irises have begun growing, but even though there's snow, the temperature is not cold enough to damage the flowers.

On the good side, we didn't spend a lot on heat this year!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Miaya's First New Dress

Miaya got her first fancy dress tonight! Michael's parents have been visiting for a couple of days, and they brought Kassondra(age 11), another grandaughter along with them. All the way out from Illinois, Kassondra kept wanting to stop and get a present for Miaya. On Sunday afternoon, they dropped grandpa off at the motel, and went to WalMart. Kassondra found the baby section, and picked out the cutest fancy dress for Miaya. At supper that night, she gave Kim a gift bag with a tag that read: To Miaya From Kassondra.

Kassondra's not the only one of our nieces who's impatient for Miaya to get here. Kim's niece Ciara is very eager to see her, and has been babysitting other kids in the neighbor hood to get experience so she will be "qualified" to look after Miaya.

It was nice to see how excited my mother is about Miaya. I'm the oldest child, last to marry, and last to start a family, perhaps that is part of it. But she knows how long we have tried, and all the disappointments we've suffered. It's only natural to be happy when your child's life is getting better. It is getting better, I know Miaya will be a challenge to both of us, both physically and the changes in our lifestyle. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Still hanging in there

I guess I haven't been keeping up on my posting lately, I've been rather busy and distracted with other things. This week I've been at training for one of my other jobs, it's been pretty good other than being cooped up during some pretty nice weather. Very nice for Iowa on the first of March.

The company took us out to a racetrack/casino for supper tonight, good meal and enjoyed the view over the track. It was really weird walking through the casino though, kind of eerie in fact. The sight made me think of a bad science fiction movie, all the people mesmerized by the machines they sit in front of pushing buttons and dropping coins into them in hopes of some reward. For something that's advertised as fun, less than one in a hundred showed any kind of emotion at all. Most just had blank looks on their faces.

Well that's all I going to say about that. We've been getting quite a few postcards and quilt squares from people on the various adoption groups, it really does help to make the time pass quicker. At six weeks plus into our paper pregnancy we're holdingup well, some days are a little difficult, but they pass. We decided we're not going to get to carried away by worrying about things we can't change, and to just let the time pass as it will. The hard part is not knowing when it will come to term!