Header Image map

Home My Story Fancy Things Country Life Great Americans Entertaining Media/PR Contact Me Image Map

Fancy Things

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Mom is the Champagne of Beers

Wait....no she isn't.  First, she doesn't even like beer that much, that was dad.
She likes fun cocktails that her and her best friend Kimberly can make people.  It's their excuse for hosting soiree parties.

She is better than that.  Better than beer.
She is the champagne of our soiree called life. 

When mom was a little girl, her family that lived in town would pile in their car and every time they drove through the country, she would turn to her two sisters and say, "I want to own a plowed field someday."   
And each time they would look at her like she was crazy.....like they still do.  

Tim taught me to be country, Mary Lou taught me how to be fancy.  
She brings the sparkle even though she loves the dirt.

My mother is the one who took her girls to the big city of Chicago to shop with that best friend of hers.  They were both married to farmers, and we conveniently trekked up north during Fall Break to roam Michigan Avenue so the dad's couldn't go with us because they were harvesting.

My mother is the one who taught me to leave the shopping bags in the car until "later".  Later as in when your dad is asleep or has gone to work.  "There really is no need for him to see all this.  He already thinks we have too many clothes."  Well.....I might be practicing this little tip nowadays with my own farmer who thinks I have too many clothes when I don't think I have enough!  Mom would understand.....

My mother, an IU grad, suffered through Purdue football games with her Boilermaker husband, Boilermaker daughter and all their friends.  However, she always made fancy food for the tailgates, served it on nice platters, might have snuck some of those infamous cocktails in her secret purse into the football game (she had to get through it somehow)
 and ALWAYS wore red.  

My mother is the one who got mad at my dad when he and his brothers planned our annual hog roast the same Saturday night that Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Sully were getting married.  Who does that!?!?  So.....she made a cake shaped like a heart, bought some nuts and mints and made punch.  When it was time for the wedding she gathered the women in the little office to watch and told the men they weren't invited.

My mother taught us about "presentation. presentation. presentation."  And at a young age when asked to get her something in the kitchen to place her delicious food on, we quickly learned to ask 
"what kind of platter would you like, mom?" 

Photo courtesy of my best friend, Lindsay at Jean's Boots Blog

For my friends wedding shower and Bachelorette party, I basically wanted to have a one day event where we could be fancy but get country.  That party is a whole other blog post in itself.  However when I told mom, "I think I want to have a shower here early afternoon with cute, nice food, shoot guns afterwards and then have a slumber party, how's that?"  She looked at me like I was crazy, like her sisters looked at her about that plowed field, and then she agreed to let 40 girls take over her home and clay pigeons shatter in her front yard.

My mother is a fantastic baker and makes these famous sugar cookies.  She made sure we had cookies shaped like cows and others shaped like my Clinique lipstick.  And remember, it's all about the presentation!  

Photo courtesy of my best friend, Lindsay at Jean's Boots Blog

My mother worked full time at the bank and did all the cooking and most the cleaning and all the laundry.  However, sometimes we would get home and there would be baby calves in our yard and she would help with that too.  Dad would be in the field or at the shop and what is one to do?  Well, take your heels and panty hose off and run around with the kids to get them back in the pasture.  

I vividly remember her in a red suit once running around the yard chasing those calves.  
Remember, she always has sparkle even in the dirt.  And to this day, she still chases those 
calves out of her yard and back into that pasture.

My mother also bought Miller High Life once, the champagne of beers, for her Miller Lite loving husband, daughter and extended network of children.  Dad had called mom to pick up a case of Miller Lite on her way home.  She brought it down to us in the basement and when we saw what she was carrying we said, "um...what is that?!" 

 She said, "it's your beer you asked me to get!"  
Mary (as dad so fondly called her, "That ain't Miller Lite."  
"We can't drink that!"
My mother, "isn't it better than Miller Lite?  It's the champagne of beers!"

Sometimes, she didn't get it.  That Miller Lite was our chosen one and we would have it no other way.  We just laughed at her, accepted it and then never drank it.  

I mean we hold Miller Lite in such high regard that my girlfriend and I once covered a whole case of it with bows to give as a gift to one of our best guy friends.  It somehow ended up at a party, then back in my parents' basement.  And every time we would come home we would sit it on top of the big screen to signify, and tell the world, that we were home and we were ruling the roost that weekend.  

Well, it's still there.  Still at home in the basement covered in what's left of the bows.  And my mother, well she wants to get rid of it sooo bad.  But I think she understands it's significance plus it has some sparkle to it with the bows.  Now she gets it, it's our champagne, and she has it at all of our fancy soirees. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why Fancy in the Country?

It was the summer of 2005 and I was roaming the streets of Chicago with my sorority sisters.  One of the girls was meeting us on Michigan Avenue for some afternoon shopping and I was directing her where to go on the phone.  When she arrived she said, "so what suburb did you grow up in?"  I said, "I grew up on a farm south of Indianapolis."  With a stunned look she said, "wait, what?!  You grew up in the country?  Well then how do you know how to get around downtown Chicago?"  

That was it.....that is when I realized I was a little different.  I grew up on a farm in the country but could still enjoy the "big cities" and the fancy clothes.  And well, I did.  I loved high heels and all things shopping but truly enjoyed the smell of pigs, the joy of the cows waking me up in the mornings and the site of that tall green corn.

So after the years of contemplating how much to share about my "Fancy in the Country" life, I'm doing it, I'm taking the leap and starting a blog. Why?  Because every so often I like a good challenge.  And I am going to challenge myself to sit down and start writing and sharing about my life and all the things that bring me joy including those high heels and the cows.

And why today?  Well today is my mom's birthday and the blog in part is dedicated to her (that would be the fancy part).  She is the most hard working, strong willed, and passionate woman I know.  The woman who I thought was crazy for loving polka dots in the '90s, but who knew they would never really go out of style. I remember hating this burgundy polka dot dress she had with this ugly belt.  Well, guess what?  I have a navy blue one that resembles that same dress today!

My mom, otherwise known as MLT, taught me about being "fancy" in the country!

In college I had to introduce myself in a few words before my new, fellow interns.  Without really thinking I said, "I like to shop and shoot."  Clearly this is still the case.  

The second part of this blog, the "country" part, is dedicated to my dad, Tim.  My dad worked in the agriculture industry and was a farmer his entire life.  When he passed away from a farming accident in November 2009, it was like time stopped for hours as the harvest air came to a standstill and the clouds seemed to loom overhead.  But even though he is physically gone, dad gave my sister, mom and I was an appreciation for the quiet and calm of the country.  The phrase, "that's overrated" and our passion for agriculture and hard work among other things.  His presence is constant and remains with me day in and day out.  

Dad also liked to give me a hard time which always kept me on my toes.  "Katie, you think too much." or "Katie, now why would you do that?" were common phrases in our house and I am forever grateful for them.  When I was in high school, my parents and I went on a Mexico Mission Trip with our church and several other families and friends.  I turned 15 on the day we were mixing the concrete for the 3 room school house we were building.  Mom was nice enough to get me a cake and some flowers which somehow made their way into a trash can (all they could find I guess) and dad thought it was just hilarious.  Katie getting flowers in a trash can!  Well, they were the most thoughtful flowers
 I have ever received.  

I have always been a farmer's daughter.  And now as a farmer's wife, I feel like I have been blessed to continue to live in the country and on a farm.  While I still work in the city and love getting dressed for cocktail parties, I am honored to be married to a farmer who works day in and day out to care for our animals, the land we live and work on and the crops he grows for people around the world.  

And since dad's death, I have felt an obligation to tell the story of agriculture.  My sister, Sarah, and I have promised to do this in honor of him and all farmers in our great country.

When my mom gave me away to my farmer, I was holding her farmer's dirty glove along with her mother's Bible and some fancy flowers.  On that day I promised myself to challenge myself in this new adventure.  And this is one way I am doing it, sharing the story of agriculture and country life with a few fancy additions along the way.

I mean you never know when that fancy dress and colorful boots will get dirty doing chores on the farm.  As mom would say, "we can look for a new dress" and as dad would say, "that's just part of it."