Monday, October 19, 2015


Reviewing from my last post - it was a FUN summer full of good memories.  
I'll catch you up on the highlights!!

Chris and I had a whole weekend away for the first time in more years than I can successfully count! REO Speedwagon's tour this summer included a July stop in Waukesha, WI,  
near where our dear friends Sam & Rich happen to live.  
Chris nabbed 4 front row VIP tickets.  
So much fun to spend time with Sam & Rich!
Concert was pretty cool too.
(Well, sweaty, but cool in that groovy sense)

We then continued to Appleton to meet Stacy & Kaya to
celebrate our cousin's daughter's wedding reception 
(married in Iceland, we missed that event)
My favorite picture of the WHOLE weekend!  :)

Early summer break with Mom.  One of our good visit days.  :)
This is the summer we have to acknowledge the disease is winning.  Mom & Dad had so many 'level' years of fun, travel, re-living memories.  This summer was a lot of downhill sliding and frustration with smaller moments of recognition and joy.  
Dementia is icky.  Advanced dementia at 70 is cruel.

August brought Bremer County Fair & Brody's last year showing cattle.
A very different fair for us as Chris and I have both retired from the Executive Board of the Fairboard.  We were much more relaxed for the week!  M'Lynn, Chris, Brody & Alecia had a really fun beef show day together fitting.  It might be the first time there was no tension or yelling or name calling for show day!  ;)

Three Generations of Knapp guys. 

 How lucky are my kids?  Two great grandma's to come watch!!

Fair continued the summer trend on a different level, as well.  My parents were not able to come.  Mom's dementia had reached the point that it simply wasn't feasible for Dad to travel with her.  I spent these events snapping pictures to share with them and working very very hard to focus on all the blessings of the day rather than the gaping hole of what was not possible, or expected, along with the distance Mom has had to travel down this particularly ugly path.  It has been a summer of conflicting emotions and very notable highs and lows.

~~ ** ~~

Moving on to Norwex travel!

Norwex Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN
Leaving in the middle of fair (gasp!) and heading North with three members of my team to meet up with a few thousand other Norwex peeps.  Always great training and inspiration.

~~~ Funny Story Break ~~~
(Brody with best buds Russ & Alex)

We've had this hot tub for a long time.  It has been non-functional for *several* years.  The task of figuring out where the leak might be just too daunting to start.   Brody got a wild hair one day and took apart the NW corner of the deck (left side in the photo) to access the panel and see if he could tell what was up....   He noticed a drain tube that did not have any cover on it.  Asked Dad about it.  Sure enough, it should have a lid.  Which happened to be right beside it on the ground.  Cleaned the pipe, the lid, replaced it and tested.  That was the WHOLE problem.  

Lesson Learned: Procrastination is the thief of Time. 

No, Brody doesn't give his Dad crap about that.  Not at all. 

~~ * ~~
On to State Fair and the State Hereford Show

The crew:  Brody, Bethany, Alecia & M'Lynn

Cow & Calf pair

Alecia's Rosie II

M'Lynn's Pretty Girl

Chris and I were honored to be inducted into the 4-H hall of fame this year.  Erica was there, too, but had to go work at the U of I booth before we could take photos.  Was super cool to have the whole family there.  Especially since neither Brody or Clayton are real fond of the big crowds.  
They came anyway.  We love our kiddos.

Best surprise of the day - college roomie Coleen came for the event.  :) 

Just because I love this photo. 

~~ Brody's diversion for G'pa ~~

We do have water here near home, but the biggest thrill for Brody in making this purchase was the idea of taking it up to see Gpa & Gma and taking Gpa out for a spin.  The speedometer on this little beauty goes up WAY to high, but they sure had a good time!!

Brody taking Kai, Raelynn and Kaya for a spin

I got to take some rides, too, and this time was with the girls! 

The weekend had some challenges in visiting with Mom, but Brody never failed to make her smile and he made sure to take good care of her.

Stacy and Kaya.  Because it's such a sweet photo!

Who knows what they might be discussing?!

Partners in crime.

Oh, my heart.

Brody's 18th Birthday.  The tall one in the hat.  
My baby is EIGHTEEN.  

Senior Night for Marching Band.  
Ignore Chris in the background - I think they weren't playing good Football right then.
His sisters love his scrawny behind.

And then the summer got a bit rugged around the edges.  Stacy and I visiting to give Dad some respite.  Mom in a unsettling place of knowing she was safe and cared for, but not really feeling like she was home.  If only ANY of us could create the home for which she was searching.

Because some days, even the birds were flying too fast to enjoy.  Autumn leaves weren't beautiful this year, they were messy and unsettling (is that tree going to fall now?). 
Mom and Dad's rockers.  
Dad's from his Dad.  Mom's from her Dad.  
One of the items that provided her reassurance and comfort.
And we finally arrived at the point where Dad couldn't keep her safe.  
Mom's in an wonderful Memory Care facility that feels like home.
She's comfortable, smiling and visiting with other ladies there.
If you know someone who does this kind of work for a living, will you please hug them for us?
This is heart work.  Hard heart work.

And boomerang my heart - slam - back into my chest.  
Senior Pictures at harvest, because this is my Son's favorite.  
He combined this corn to fill the wagons just so.
Carefully drove full loads to the yard to wash the equipment.  
See the sparkling windows? (Thank you for the help, M'Lynn, Alecia & Norwex.)
The ever-so-slowly drive them all back to the field.
Positioned them. Just. So.

One quick snap before my phone battery died.  
It was a beautiful day for photos. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

And then it was Spring!

The apple trees are in full bloom, promising a nice crop this year.
The calf crop has started arriving, new life full of excitement - anxious to check out every little thing!
The tulip (yes, I have just one) has bloomed.  The allium is close and the Peonies have buds!

 Wonderful, beautiful reminders of beginnings.  I love Spring.
             My allergies...  well, they would prefer I enjoy the view from inside.
I am grateful for allergy meds and decongestants so I can ignore that sentiment,
           and enjoy blooms and calves and even weeding.

This Spring has had other fun things happening, too!
Brody received his Iowa Degree (along with a couple buddies) and has started renting crop ground.  He was particularly anxious to be planting this year!

(hair cut one week too late, but we do love him anyway)

perusing his passion

M'Lynn and I got away for our first boat ride of the season on the 'ole 65!

And oh, the graduations!  M'Lynn graduated in December.  Erica and Alecia are graduating in May.  All three of our girls college grads.  Huh.  Weren't we just graduating from college a little while ago?

Alecia presented her under-graduate research scholarship award and we went over to listen.  I was thankful she worked hard to use ordinary language.  Some of the other presentations were a bit harder to follow!  ;)

Alecia will be returning to Waverly area for her job hunt.  
Erica has just been accepted into the graduate program for Library Science at Iowa.
 M'Lynn is home working with cows and deciding what's next.  
Lots of exciting changes and challenges for each of them!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We are at the final week of January.  How did this happen?  
...and is the year off to the start you were wanting? 

I honestly could not have asked for a more glorious start to a year.  A road trip with three incredible women to a beautiful house right on the white sandy beaches of Destin FL. 
Who's life is this?!

This is truly the view from where I laid my head for a whole week.

I took time to really relax into my soul.  It was an amazing week.  Having several days to slow down really allowed me to be present and hear and digest all that was offered at the 
2015 Norwex Leadership Conference.  
Road Warriors.  Love them.

And some highlights from Conference.... 

#1 Team in Norwex.  So blessed by these leaders.

Last year, when I traveled to Dallas for Leadership, I was able to connect with a Cottey friend, which was just the coolest thing.  And this year?  DB and her whole family drove two hours to let us visit.  It was such a special evening and so much fun to meet her family for real.  In person.  Just too cool.  

Meanwhile...  back at the farm, it was the coldest week of the winter so far.
I wasn't sorry to have missed it.  Not one little bit.
Wow, they worked hard to just do basic things on the farm that week.
And here I was......

luckily, they don't hate me!

....moving on.....

I present to you....   the very exciting farm improvement of 2014!

We haven't had those before....  projects, goals, dreams.
We've functioned in the land of "what needs to be fixed most?" and "How can we possibly?"
This is what Norwex has brought to our family.
I'm IN.

Oh, and when the stove dies?
 (Christmas eve, during dinner prep, no biggie)
While you've got resources committed to that big concrete project?  
No panic.  No waiting.
Not having to sort every list by "cost, lowest to highest".  
But really - what would we like to have for a replacement.  
Small bits of freedom.
We're hooked. 
I'm IN.
Of course their trial run would be cookies. Of course.
It's darned cold outside, Mom, and you're in FL.
We're baking cookies.
I think it was the perfect choice.

Reviewing this post, my love of Norwex would seem to stem from the life-saving financial benefits.  I have to state, just for the record, that I completely am loving saving time, eliminating toxins and most definitely helping others do the same.  
That last bit is way more fun than I ever believed it could be.
I'm IN.

And I've met the coolest people.

We were kind of sparkly that night, weren't we?