It's hump day of spring break and can I just put it out there that breaks from school are my favorite thing in the whole world. We typically don't go anywhere far (okay, never) but just being home with all the kids and not having as regimented of a schedule is so fun and freeing. Today I slept in until almost 8:00am and once I actually woke up I laid in bed for another hour, nursing Ira and cuddling Gagey. Neither of whom sleep with me but both of whom one way or another find me in the mornings. "When Gage wakes up in the morning he always says good day" repeat. "He says, I'm hungry, I'm hungry, that is what he says." We sing this song together and laugh because my little #4 is always hungry. No one knows where he puts it all! And Ira... he's always hungry too if he is close enough to me to smell milk, and if you've seen him you know where he puts it. Thighs, backside, middle... little chunky man.
I come downstairs after the bed is made and everyone is up. Emmett is by the fire reading, predictable. Braxton and Adelle are comfy on the couch talking to their dad about... I have no idea. Jeff is eating an apple and walking out the door after a goodbye kiss. He's already been out feeding the chickens and setting up new electric fencing but he's in farm mode and that's his happy place. Besides husband mode and dad mode which he is the very best at. He says he's off to work and after I kiss him I ask him what he's got to prove to which he laughs his contagious laugh and answers, "nothing," while closing the door behind him. He's my favorite thing and I pinch myself some days that this is our life.
Last night we fed the missionaries from our ward, dinner. I made Hawaiian Haystacks, which is a favorite, and there was plenty for all of us. Plus the cookies which I also made, mainly because I wanted to munch on dough yesterday afternoon and they are a "healthy" recipe. During dinner one of the Elder's told us that farming is good for kids. It teaches them how to work he claimed, being from an Idaho farm himself. He didn't have to tell me that though because what I didn't know already, I am growing to know. Jeff and I always wanted to raise outdoor kids and the farm helps that be a reality.
After dinner we talked about General Conference which we all had participated in last weekend. We shared our favorite parts and messages and I was once again uplifted by the truth received by my family members. The opportunity to feel the Spirit testify of truth is one that I try not to ever pass up. Listening to perspectives and testimony rejuvenated me once again and made me so grateful for the knowledge that I have of why we are all here on this earth and where we are going after we die. Gage said he loved standing up and sustaining President Nelson during the Solemn Assembly and I'm thankful Jeff suggested we go to the local Stake Center to participate in that memorable event. I hope none of my kids ever forget how that made them feel, sustaining a Prophet of God.
Once the company had left, Braxton and Adelle did the dishes and cleared the table while Emmett cleaned up the front room and Gage and I, with Ira's help of course, emptied out all the Easter eggs and cleaned up all the Easter decorations. Jeff went out to finish cutting the boards for the roosts out in the new pasture coop. After all the inside duties were done and Ira was put to sleep we went out to get our farm on, family style. It was almost dark by now and Jeff wasn't quite ready so the kids and I played flashlight tag as the sun finished setting and the sky turned black. I silently prayed the whole time that I wouldn't fall and sprain my ankle because that ground is sure not flat and running in boots is sure not easy. The kids were falling all around me but I later learned they were doing that on purpose. Makes for a more exciting game apparently. Some moments can't be captured and although I brought my phone out to periodically check the time and with the intention to document and get some good pictures I soon realized that the pictures were too dark and too much of a hassle to get having to take off my farm gloves. I just want to remember the feeling. The stars, brightly shining. The moon, which was hiding and which we never actually saw when we tried looking. The squeals from the kids laughing and running amuck. I asked Adelle while we were walking through the field if she liked where we lived. She responded that she did and that nights like this when the coop was lit up and she was outside she imagined all the neighbors and the people driving down the street looking at the lighted coop and seeing her out there and wondering what she was doing. So sweet and innocent, her little thoughts.
The kids unloaded the boards and the nesting boxes from the tractor. I put the roots in their notches that Jeff had cut and lined the nesting boxes up in their spots. Then we started moving chickens. Jeff attached the big ol' dog crate to the pallet and handful by handful and without slipping in poop we tossed all 362 chickens into the crate from their temporary winter home in the barn. Jeff is the man and takes 5 at a time and Braxton and I take 2 or 3. Adelle and Emmett usually count as they are loaded and Gage is moral support and sometimes helps us corner the birds that don't comply. It was cold and dark and stinky and we took turns coming back to the house to listen for Ira. On one check Ira was awake and Gage was cold and Emmett was tired. We came him, the three of us. I tended to Ira while Emmett got his jams on and Gage grabbed a coat. I tucked Emmett in and he zonked. Gage and I got a snack and went back out with more layers of clothes. They were just about done outside so we helped get the last 30 birds or so and then came in. Job done. We stripped in the laundry room, clothes automatically into the wash, and kids into the shower (only one of them actually needed the shower. The one who doesn't wear farm gloves! Braxton).
There is nothing glamorous about moving chickens. It takes time. It uses upper body strength. It stinks. But every few months we have to do it. That's just how it is. Once the birds are old enough to leave the barn and go out to pasture they get moved, one a time. And then when winter comes along they get moved back, one at a time. But the kids think it's seriously fun. They get to stay up late. They get to work hard, together and play in the dark. I love their perspective and good attitudes. They truly do not complain one single bit about it. We knew the rain was coming today and so we got it done last night while it was clear.
We do a lot of fun things during spring break, and always for that matter. Parks and playdates, friends over most days hanging out, water park in Canada on Monday with our friends and my mom and Lesha's kids... there really isn't ever a dull moment around here but my favorite moments are honest and truly when we are working the farm. It brings us together and that's the best place to be.