Archive for July, 2009

Barn Love Week 8

July 31, 2009

It is so exciting to see the barn really starting to shape up. Big news…the steps to get up to the dance studio are almost complete. Enjoy this little video documenting our progress so far. We are projecting a 2-3 week completion date. WAHOO!!!!!

Barn Love from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.

To learn more about the Buttercup Farm Barn renovation:

Barn Update #1
Barn Dreams
Barn Sketches

Also, don’t forget…it is “A Beautiful Life” Friday over at The Inspired Room . Take a few minutes to check out all of the post links you will find there. It is a great weekend treat!


July 30, 2009

Dear Girls,

As we hit the August mark of this summer of 2009 I am taking the time to remind myself that among the bickering over the stuffed animal cat that has been going on for over one week…..
…and the screaming matches about who needs to get out of the other’s room….
…that one day you will be a great team. You will share the things that you love….like your children, your homes, and vacations. You will be best friends.
And hopefully, just hopefully, when you get to that point in your life, the only thing you will fight over is….who gets to spend more time with MAMA!


Your Mama

“The World is your Oyster”

July 30, 2009


In exactly 4 weeks my youngest will be entering the first grade. Each day I try to spend at least 20 minutes working with the girls on “Summer Bridge” work to keep them fresh for school. Last week we reviewed familiar sayings from “What your first grader needs to know” by E.D. Hirsch Jr. Here are a few of my favorites:

“If at first you don’t suceed, try, try, again”.

“Never leave till tomorow what you can do today”

“Practice makes perfect”

While reading these, I’m thinking…”Heck Yea! first grade is going to be fun for “mi, bebe” This is good stuff. Buttercup Farm approved. I LIKE IT!!!

Excited about teaching a few familiar sayings got me thinking about one of the most quotable figures, BENJAMIN FRANKIN…so I pulled out a few of his quotes and read them to the girls……

“A good conscious is like a continual Christmas”

“Energy and persistence conquer all things”

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good at anything else”

“Work as if you were to live 100 years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow”

“Well done is better than well said”

“God helps them that help themselves”

YES, YES, YES!!!!!! (Not to sound too much like Meg Ryan in when Harry Met Sally)…but seriously….YES, YES, YES!!!!!! We need to slam these up somewhere, read them every day. THIS is the stuff I want to teach and show my children everyday. I want them to understand how much PERSONAL power they have in their lives.

Reading all of the quotes also reminded me of this story:

Recently I was on vacation and was talking to the most LOVELY 22 year old girl. I asked her if her friends had felt the effects of the economy and if so how. Here is what she told me…

She has two friends, college graduates, who were working in corporate jobs and were recently laid off. “That must be difficult”, I said, “so what are they doing now?” “Well”, she explained…”each of them have actually been offered several jobs but they turned them down because they are currently making more collecting unemployment than they would if they took the job”…

I’m thinking, “UM WHAT?????DID????YOU?????JUST????SAY??????”. I say, “They have been offered jobs?”

“Yes, they have both been offered several jobs but they make more on unemployment so they are sticking there until something better comes along.”

Um…maybe these girls need to go back to 1st grade to learn some “familiar sayings”. What about the opportunity cost of what they might learn while working at these jobs and staying employed…what about the fact that they are smart able bodied young women who could work more than one job to make ends meet? what about the gap on their resume? what about “God helps them who help themselves”…what about “A good conscience is like a continual Christmas”….what about “Work as if you were to live 100 years” what about….what about…what about….Oy Vey, I could go on for hours here but….SERIOUSLY??????

Ok…I’ll step off of my soap box now.

So, I think first grade is going to be fun.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack

July 25, 2009

I tell them when they get older….they are only allowed to date boys as great as their Daddy. I can tell you now…it will be like finding a needle in a haystack…


The whispers of Winslow Homer

July 22, 2009

photo by Mama Buttercup
On a recent carriage ride in Vermont, I took this picture. When I opened up and viewed my newly downloaded image, it awakened visions of my favorite Winslow Homer paintings.

Boys in the Pasture

Snap the Whip
and…Waiting an Answer”

I LOVE these paintings…always have….more than ever now. In our very technologically advanced world, these paintings whisper to me to work hard to preserve (what I think are) life’s simple pleasures…passing the day away with a friend, planning a day to be outside (all day), playing simple games with the children that need no pieces or electronic plug-ins…and taking the time to be with and enjoy the special people in my life away from the computer and cell phone. I sometimes struggle to find enough time to be outside, in nature…TRULY present in the gifts that the great outdoors offers. Certainly, it is challenging to connect with friends in this way.

I want to make sure that I am providing enough opportunities for my children and myself to make an everlasting imprint on our memories of time in nature…time spent aware…looking, listening, playing…and…being. I want my children to know enough of nature that they can be grateful for it, value it, and use it as a source of connectedness and happiness in their lives. I want them (us) to use nature as a 100% escape from the electronic connections that we all face each day and to learn that it is IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE to stay in the moment.

Especially when hearing stories like this one from a friend of mine:

She is the mother of an only child, 12 year old girl, no cell phone. My friend offered her daughter the opportunity to bring a friend, 12 year old girl, with cell phone, on a beach vacation with them. Heartbroken, my friend explained to me that the 12 year old girl guest, spent more time texting and talking on her cell phone to other people while on their vacation, than she spent at the beach, playing games with their family, or generally engaging in the fun moments of the week.

I listened intently…and thought “I don’t want my child to grow up to be the 12 year old girl guest with cell phone…not connected to her present moment….HECK….I don’t want to become like the 12 year old girl guest…not connected to my present moment.”

I recently read a book review “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature deficit disorder” by Richard Louv that sounded interesting. Responding to the Whisper of Winslow Homer….I ordered it…


July 19, 2009


I am not sure how long labor lasted…but I am sure it was longer than usual. Poor, poor, Mama…she did it without an epidural too. She is the “au natural type” ya know. We are thinking that we possibly have a triplet situation on our hands….maybe quads. Perhaps I should contact TLC…I hear they might have a time slot available for a new “multiples” show.

She has recovered well…I think she is even fitting in her old feathers again.


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