Monday, February 28, 2011

Is Three Really a Crowd?

Gunner at 8 months.
Gunner is officially four now. Gauge will be two in April. And now everyone asks when number three is coming. An hour with my two and you would probably hesitate on asking that question ....which is where my hesitation comes. But social norms indicate this is about the time we should be planning another or be done. So people are searching....well we're searching too I guess.

Three feels complete. I look at my parents and my husband's parents and they all have at least four siblings, if not way more. Though my Grandma always told me never have an odd number and right now we’re evenly matched with a one to one parent/child ratio....yet, for some reason three seems to be the magic number.

Gauge at 7 months.
But three also comes with some financial implications. One more pair of cleats for baseball, registration for wrestling, feed for 4-H calves, guns for hunting, cars to drive, college to pay for, rehearsal dinners to organize and drinks to buy at their today's economic issues is it smart to intentionally add another person in the mix? We have put a major halt on buying anything....why would it make sense to have a baby??

Then my heart just aches for the excitement of a new life. Wondering who the baby will look like, watching he or she hit major milestones, rocking late at night with a baby on your chest anticipating the amazing impact they will have on others, on themselves, on me.....

Three days after this picture
 I delivered Gauge.
Yet, I'm kinda selfish... I'll admit it. I always have something to do and right now two is manageable, but once they start getting involved in their own interests, mine will be pitched to the wind. Adding a third would be one more schedule to juggle. Plus one more to juggle my body back into "pregnancy glow". I look back on my pregnancy photos and people said I looked sooo cute and was all belly.... Well I'm here to tell you people… you lied...I was all cheeks, boobs and butt...ALL I had was a BELLY to prove I should look as wide as a house...maybe you were just being smart knowing all too well the hormones of a pregnant woman….

Loomis cousins

     And finally, I'm assuming I'll have a boy IF we decide to have another...We have two already, Jesse's brothers each have a boy....yet, knowing our luck we'd have a before you get offended let me explain why I've always wanted three boys (and if we have a third child I'll probably eat my words when a little baby Eisenberger girl is born but here are my current thoughts right now and I'm sure you'll all remind me of my ignorance when the time presents itself  :)!) .... Nothing against girls and I'm sure I would love on her, she'd have daddy wrapped around her pinkie and her two older brothers would protect her....but I was raised with eight boy cousins and a brother, I am just not that sure I would know what to do with a girl.

My two little men, growing SO fast!

I guess we'll keep searching and be happy we have two healthy little boys until it either feels right to sell everything or get going on number three....if we could just decide by April 16th when I'm registered to sell everything at a Mom to Mom sale....maybe by selling all my boy clothes, it'll make all the pink stuff that much easier to buy! :) 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's good to be four!

Gunner with his cupcake cake.

The blog was put on hold a couple days in preparation for a very special weekend celebration ...Today we celebrated my oldest son's birthday. Gunner officially turns four tomorrow, February 28th at 8:16 p.m. but at the age of four I could tell him his birthday is next Friday and he would believe me, so we went for a Sunday sledding birthday party!

Quite the crew! Look at those smiles!
Thankfully his birthday landed on a beautiful Michigan snow day! I know a majority of Michiganders want the snow gone....and now that my little man thoroughly enjoyed his sledding party the snow could all melt and I would be all for busting out the flip flops and tank tops!

After a whirlwind of eating, present opening and cake & ice cream we bundled up all the kids and headed to the sledding hill! And from the smiles, giggles and little voices cheering for more - they had a pretty darn good time. (and the parents were extremely exhausted from hauling the sleds and their passengers up the hill.)

Once we were back home we took naps and started really looking at the gifts -I love how having kids means you get to be a kid again! I believe Jesse and I will be buying our own Nerf guns to defend ourselves from two tiny sharp shooters. We also played with tractors, are planning a game night to open up all the fun games and this spring if you see us all in the front yard staring at the grass we're catching bugs.
Momma & Gunner with his special birthday shirt
thnx to Gramma Cathy

Oh and now thanks to a super cute tractor watch, someone will know exactly when bed time is :). Tonight we brushed our teeth by just the light of a new being four again!

Happy birthday little man -
I love you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Share Your 4-H Story

I don't know the major workings of budgets. I do know Michigan, like every other state, is facing some tough budget cuts. I know sacrifices need to be made. Our own family budget is being tightened and spending is much more intentional this year.

At the state level, MSU Extension is facing a 15% cut with Gov. Snyder's proposed budget. At the national level, the Smith-Lever funding for Cooperative Extension is in jeopardy. Now, more than ever, it's time to share your message. I know every proposed budget, whether it is national, state or local, MSUE asks participants to step up and contact elected officials. And every time MSUE says... Now, more than ever....but it seems every time the reality is now or never.

Please share the impact any MSU Extension program has had on you and your family. You don't need to be an expert on budgets, financial statements or politics. You just need to share your story. 

When thinking about what to write or talk about, it might help to answer the question "What do I do today that developed while participating in (insert here....4-H, Master Gardener, Next Level Business Training, Citizen Planner, the Annie's Project)?" Then use your social contacts now, more than ever, to encourage them to share their 4-H story as well. Encourage them to use the hashtag #CESValue in all tweets. Join the Revolution of Responsibility at  Contact your Michigan legislature by going to and clicking on Legislative Branch.

We use Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family on everything from our daily routine to asking advice. Share your story and then share this information. Let your network, your state and your nation realize why the Cooperative Extension Service is vital.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Agriculture Education on the Run

My Mom & Dad with the boys and
my niece at Christmas

So I'm blaming my mother on my next adventure....My mom has never been one to just show up, enjoy an event and come home. No... Cathy McCune attends something once or twice and then some how, for some reason she takes on a leadership role. I know, I know... this is a good trait, one I'm blessed to have inherited....but it causes my husband to roll his eyes and say, "One more thing huh?" :) ... to which I tell him it's in my blood, I can't help myself. So on to my next adventure... planning a 5K, sponsored by county Farm Bureaus and businesses, for the end of this summer!!!

Yeah I know.. you're rolling your eyes and saying "one more thing huh?" Well it's for a cause I'm extremely passionate about....Food....sponsored by amazing people who grow it....Farmers.... all while doing something I love... Running! How could I not be involved!?!

My running buddy Wendy and I at the
Capital City River Run, Lansing, MI Sept 2010
Half-Marathon Time: 1:58.54

I've ran a lot of 5K's and last summer my first half-marathon. My 2011 plan is to run a couple 5Ks, a 6 mile and an 8 mile race this spring and a full marathon in the fall. Not one of them on the list though represents the agriculture sector. The farmers who milk the cows for the after race chocolate milk need a race, representing them - helping runners see how much care goes into the food they fuel their bodies to be in prime race condition. We need to take agriculture education to the people, in their them how it relates to them.

Tonight was our first planning meeting - putting farmers and runners/walkers around a table was inspiring, at times hilarious and definitely motivational! We have a whole long list of how we're going to educate the general public while they participate: farm facts on volunteer t-shirts and mile markers, an after the race agriculture expo, holding it at a location where agriculture is happening! Gives me goose bumps just thinking about the opportunities and conversations that will happen!!

Have you planned a 5K? Been a part of a 5K that has done some pretty cool stuff?? Share with me! And when we get the location and date finalized I'll post it.... so you can come run/walk with us.

Or you can learn from my mom and just join the committee... :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Awards Don't Make the Person....

Have you ever been asked to speak impromptu and after you were done you came up with 736 million other things to say?!? Last night I was given a chance to address the Michigan Young Farmer's Conference on my experience as a recent Young Farmer Award Winner.....and if given the chance again here's what I'd say:
Excellence in Agriculture Award Winner - Katie EisenbergerLast December, I was presented with the Michigan Farm Bureau's Young Farmer's Excellence in Agriculture award.  The Award recognizes young farmers, between the ages of 18 and 35, who do not derive the majority of their income from a personally owned agricultural operation but who actively contribute to and grow through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture.

In preparing to represent Michigan this past January at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting I connected with supportive, passionate agvocates. They spent their time, energy and insight on strengthening my application, presentation and answers to potential questions. I rehearsed my speech over and over the week leading up Atlanta. Channeling my throwback FFA days, I wanted nothing more than to hear my name as a top ten finalist and present. I knew if I could spend 30 minutes with the judges, they would like me. All the work I and so many others had put towards the event could be seen at the national level - HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?!?!?

As they began announcing the top ten names one by one....I quickly realized my chances were slowly decreasing. As the last finalist stood up and waved with a huge smile to the crowd, my husband hugged me and said "I love you" and I put all my energy into not breaking down in front of people I barely knew. It just kinda sucked....I hate losing.

Soooo.... I didn't come home with a new Dodge truck or $6000. There is not a big plaque with my name on it or a brand new chainsaw in our pole barn. A month later, I now realize the process opened my eyes and renewed my enthusiasm to so much more than any award as I quickly learned how lucky I am to One - be apart of an organization dedicated to my interests and Two -  be a member of the organization here in Michigan.

In Michigan, Young Farmers are fortunate. We are not token spots on boards. We run boards. We are not spoken to in conversations. We are leading conversations. We are just as much a part of this organization as those who have more experience than we have been alive. As a Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmer, my energy, ideas and skills are not only embraced, but given the tools to continually grow and develop.

Award or not....I am a proud agvocate. I am proud of my farming background. I'm proud to be apart of an organization allowing my voice to be one of many representing Michigan agriculture......and so much more...

Looking for a voice in agriculture? Between 18-35? Check out Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmers

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From a Three Year Old's Perspective

I handed my oldest son Gunner a juice box from the front seat of our car as we were pulling out to make the daily trek to day care. All morning we had been going over Spanish words because Handy Manny (whom I would marry if he was real thanks to his ability to calm my children down and have them focus for 30 minutes a day) speaks Spanish various times throughout the cartoon.

As Gunner began to open up his juice box, he said "Grass Ass, Momma." A very perplexed look came over my face as I scrunched my eye brows and quickly turned my head to ask him..."What did you say Gunner?" Trying to figure out if I should scold him for swearing or laugh because who would have told him Grass and Ass go together?

"Grass Ass, Momma" and in a very proud, confident three year old (almost four) tone he adds, "It means thank you."

I must be getting slower with each child, but after another moment of processing I realized he was trying to say Gracious. I smiled partly relieved that I wouldn't have to explain we don't  swear and kill his confidence and partly because only a three year old could produce statements like that...

As I continued to think about the conversation I starting thinking about how often, consumers say with confidence words and phrases such as  "organic", "cage-free", "free-range". They spread these phrases from one uninformed person to the next.  In the end, consumers want to know their food is safe and if buying something with the label "organic" makes them feel safe - whether it truly is or not is irrelevant for this conversation - then they'll buy it.

Because you can feel confident in what you say or the actions you take and still be way off base. It's when we as agvocates smile, look for that teachable moment and instead of killing confidence, shift the consumer's knowledge to correct information.

Consumers sharing correct information can impact so much more.....