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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

One Month {Lariat Brave}

Our little man is a solid month old today. He is giving little smiles here and there and is a lot more alert. Two to three times a day he has a really ‘awake’ time. He is following us with his eyes and is especially interested in Hayva.
Lariat is such a cuddle bug and is happiest when snuggling in my arms. He has started to be a bit more fussy when I leave him somewhere if he’s awake. He calms right down when I bring him into the thick of things.

I love that he still scrunches up and pulls up his legs when I pick him up. I could kiss on him all day. He’s pretty content to go with the flow (for which I’m extremely thankful).
We are working on tummy time and he is getting more excepting of it every day. He’s rolled over more then 5 times from tummy to back. What can I say? He’s amazing!

Laughter is constantly asking if she can pet him, and she always ads a kiss. Hayva is obsessed and her newest word is baby. Unfortunately all children are now referred to as ‘babies’ and she will point out 13 years olds at church and say “mommy baby.” (sorry guys!) She especially loves to pet his head and bring him blankets and dump them on him.
Jancsi likes me to try on all his clothes and he especially likes to pick out his socks for me. The other day he wanted to ware his bandanna and insisted Lariat ware his as well.

It is so much fun having another little boy and we are all smitten.

Happy one month Lariat Brave! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Behind the name...Lariat Brave

I am completely in love with our little guy’s name. I always am when the Lord gives it to us. That first week we found out we were pregnant, Sebron and I were blessed to be able to go on a lunch date (dates are rare treats around here and the only reason it worked out was because Meme was in town). We sat down at our table and Sebron told me almost first thing, that if the baby was a boy, he wanted to name him Lariat. I thought it was interesting that he already had a name picked out and was really already decided on it. His name has always been Lariat since then. We never had a girl name picked out, and no other name seemed to fit him from day one.

For those who don’t know, a lariat is a rope that a cowboy carries. It’s a tool and gets a cowboy through a lot of tough situations on the ranch. There isn’t really a meaning for lariat other than ‘rope’ or ‘cowboy’ when you look it up in the dictionary.

I really wanted him to have a name with meaning. Meanings are so important to me and all of our kid’s names have deep meanings and reasons behind why we named them what we did. As we began to talk about moving and maybe going back to North Carolina, the Lord really gave me a peace about Lariat’s name. As our plans became more concrete I knew the Lord had laid Lariat on Sebron’s heart for a reason.
Lariat is named for Texas. He’s named for all those hard times where we couldn’t see how things were going to work out and the Lord carried us through. He’s named for being on our own and having to figure life out. He’s named for our Cowboy Church. He’s named for the people who came along side us and became family. People who opened their homes and RVs when we had nowhere to go. People who came over in the dark to fix our well because they knew we were in a bind. He’s named for the big Texas sky that burnt us in the summer and froze us in winter. He’s named for the hills and the prairies that have become so dear. He’s named for how we’ve grown as a couple and a family. He’s named for this lifestyle that we love. For the cows and critters that drove us crazy and yet made us cry when we sold them. He’s named for the hours spent in the tractor cutting hay, planting and plowing. He’s named for riding bulls and working rodeos. He’s named for all the chapters in this part of our story that have been written with tears, sweat, love and laughs. Texas. He’s named for Texas.

His middle name, Brave, just seemed to fit him. To fit this time. This new season we have found ourselves in and are getting ready to start. As we head back east, we’ve struggled with a lot of fears, sadness and even anger mixed in with the joy. The fear of maybe never having what we have here, there, is big. The Lord keeps bringing the story of the Israelites to mind. They had no idea what the promise land was going to be like. All they had to go on was what the Lord had showed them. Their job was to follow. They didn’t know what awaited them; they didn’t know how good it was going to be. I feel like in a sense we are in the same boat as the Israelites.  We feel strongly the Lord calling us to pick up, pack up and follow Him. We don’t know what living back in North Carolina is going to look like. We don’t know if we will ever be able to have our ‘own place’. But we do know we are called to follow. To be brave. Yes it will be different, it’s going to take us awhile to adjust, but when you’re following the Lord, there is no telling what He has in store. But it’s going to be good.


The definition for Brave: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. Courageous, valiant, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, bold, fearless, daring and audacious. Aren’t those all qualities a cowboy needs? That a man of God needs? In this world that our little guy will be living, he is going to have to be brave and lionhearted to stand for what is right. No matter the cost. He will have to be bold and fearless to fight the good fight. When others question his beliefs he will need to be brave. Full of courage to face this world.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Introducing...

Our newest and tiniest is two weeks old. How can that be? So much has happened in that space of time I’m not even sure where to start. It’s been a two weeks we will never forget. Two weeks of laughter and tears and so many prayers. Learning once again what it means to trust the Lord in all things.

Lariat Brave was born at 39 weeks, Feb. 8th at 9:18AM. So thankful he was a week early because he was a healthy 8.4lbs and 21 inches! I began having contractions Super Bowl Sunday. Meme was in town and Sebron was streaming the game on her tablet. With the hospital being a solid hour drive away, I was torn- not wanting to go if it wasn’t the real thing only to be turned away and drive all the way home and waiting too long… The contractions began picking up towards the end of the game so as soon as it ended we headed out. Me in my comfy pj’s and Sebron in his best jeans, new belt, and church going hat and boots. (I scolded him on the way down for looking so nice while I on the other hand looked…rough.)

We got down there around 11pm and were locked out of the hospital. Yes. Locked out. There were two of us having babies that night and as we stood there banging on the doors to the labor and delivery unit we joked (in between contractions) that we might have to have our little ones right there!
After getting let in and put in a room, the night passed uneventfully with both of us sleeping when we could. Lariat arrived quickly the next morning.
I remember him not crying. At all. Even when they took him to the warmer and were rubbing him down. When they put him skin to skin with me a few minutes later and the nurses left the room, something in my Mama heart told me something was off. Lariat just lay there. He seemed very lethargic and limp. It was hard for me to tell if he was even breathing. I kept lifting the blanket to see if I could see his back going up and down. His feet and hands started turning blue and Sebron and I both started getting concerned. We called the nurse in and by the time she saw him he was completely blue and not breathing. The whole room flooded with nurses and doctors as they yanked him from me and put him on oxygen. Everyone was yelling and no one would tell us what was wrong or what was going on.

I’ll never forget the feeling of complete helplessness as I sat there clinging to Sebron's hand, crying. Praying. God, help my baby breathe. Whatever is going on, protect him. They rushed him to the NICU as soon as they got him on oxygen. Someone told us he would be ok and they’d send someone in to update us as soon as they’d run some tests and gotten him stable. They said it would be 20 minutes. It was hours. I felt sick. I started shaking uncontrollably to the point I couldn’t even talk. I was throwing up and starting to get a migraine from all the shaking. I prayed the whole time.

Poor Sebron. He was so worried about me and trying to get me calmed down. I knew he was horribly worried about Lariat but he didn’t want me to know. He doesn’t cry often, but his eyes weren’t dry much that day.

The doctor finally came in and talked with us that afternoon saying Lariat had fluid on his lungs but was stable and doing well. He was needing some help with breathing so he was on oxygen and would stay in the NICU. Sebron was able to go see him and took a few pictures for me. Once I was assured Lariat was ok, I was able to start getting control of the shaking and they moved me to a recovery room.
 It was another good hour or so before they let me go see him. He had so many wires attached to his little body, but I was able to touch his head. His color looked so much better which relieved me. Going back to my room without him was awful. I could hear babies crying in their rooms with their Mommas as we went down the hall. My room was so quiet.

The next morning when I went to see him, they told me they were concerned because he had such a hoarse sounding cry (you could almost not even hear it). They were worried it might have had something to do with his air ways and maybe why he stopped breathing the day before. They were having him transferred to the big children’s hospital in Fort Worth. The team from Cooks was on their way to pick him up and I felt the Lord’s peace all around me as I was able to call Sebron (who’d gone home the night before) to make plans to pick me up and get it squared away with the hospital to get discharged. They were all so wonderful. They let me hold Lariat until the team arrived and they brought all the discharge papers there to the NICU so I wouldn’t have to leave him. It did my Mama heart good to hold him close.
Lariat in his little caring case getting ready to ride in the ambulance. 
The team from Cooks were so very kind. I could tell right away that they truly have a love for these little babies they transport. They were talking to him the whole time and explaining to me what they were doing and answering questions that I had. As soon as they got him ready to go I headed to my room to throw things in bags.

Seeb and I got to Cooks shortly after Lariat arrived and we had our own room with him in it there in the NICU. We ended up being there for a week. They ran all sorts of tests. Xrays, bronchs, EKG, ECO… everything came back normal. They did two bronchs and they saw some redness which they thought could have been a floppy airway or just irritation from the bronch the day before. In the end, they aren't sure why he stopped breathing or what might have caused it. 
Once they cleared his airways and vocal cords, they had Speech come in to try his first oral feeding since he’d been fed by a feeding tube up until this point. He passed with flying colors and they gave me the green light to begin nursing! The whole time we were there, his stats would randomly dip and jump. The alarms would go off and it would send me into panic mode although he always self corrected as they called it. Meaning they never had to intervene. He always had the numbers back to normal by the time the nurse came in to check on why the alarms were going off. He was also having a hard time gaining weight. Those were the big things that were keeping us from leaving. Finally, on Valentines Day, he had gone 24 hrs without having any dips in his stats and he was up ½ an once… I’ll take it! They let us go home to our crazy family and it’s been non stop ever since!
That was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Being away from the kids and Sebron. Not knowing what was going on with Lariat and just really having to lean on the Lord for strength. The NICU is not for the faint of heart and I met so many amazing Moms who are still there fighting for their little ones.

God has been faithful and we’ve been home for a week! The kids have been crazy excited and it’s been pretty wild! Hayva wants to be poking and climbing on him every second so you have to be on guard all day. Sweet Lulu is full of kisses and “oh he’s so cute!” Jancsi is very proud and is always asking why he sleeps all the time and if he can hold him. We are blessed. So very blessed.
Lariat was up to 8.10lbs today! Up from 7.14lbs last week! I’m thankful. We are getting sleep here and there and soaking up these newborn days! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Little mess ups

We’ve been busy every moment Sebron is home from work. We’ve been slowly chopping up the trees that were pushed down last summer. The kids and I kept the bonfire going last weekend with all the branches we hauled. Later, we haul logs to the wood pile while Sebron chainsaws.

Back in January, when the lambs were born, we spent an afternoon separating part of the pen into a nursery so they wouldn’t get stepped on by the other ewes. The ram had to be moved off into his own separate lot and of course all of this just takes time.
We filled an order for firewood last week and at night after we put the kids to bed Sebron and I bundled up and chopped and stacked wood for awhile. I like to have a good stash up on the porch in case of a big cold spell or we get rain.
Once we made our decision to move, we went back and forth on if we should sell the sheep or not. We really wanted to take them with us but with not knowing what our housing is going to be, we decided it would be best to sell. I posted them on craigslist and literally two hours later we had a guy out here with his trailer and he bought all my ewes and babies. I was glad he took all of them, but it was so hard to see them go. I’d really spent a lot of time with them, sold the culls and really gotten our little flock to how I wanted them. I’m not going to lie, I was glad it was dark when I put those babies on that trailer. No one could see my tears.

Sebron and I had really wanted to be able to keep them through the lambing. You know, to see our work pay off, to do the whole process. I realized with a move date in March, we probably wouldn’t be able to do that and the ewes would be easier to sell while still pregnant. It’s funny how God works. When we first brought our ram home, he jumped fence that first night and got in with the ewes. I was upset because I was worried he had bred a few and I really didn’t want lambs in January. Well, the Lord knew way before we did that we would be moving. He knows my heart and how much I wanted to see our lambs. We had two ewes lamb the first week of January. I got to love on and enjoy them for a whole week. I got to dock tails and give shots and do all the messing around with them that I enjoy. I know without a doubt that God allowed the ram to get in that night. He did it for me; so I could see the whole process through. I love how He cares about the small things like that. Little things that are so big to us and mean so much. A couple of scrawny lambs, meant the world to me. Thank you Lord for the little mess ups in life that turn out to be big blessings.
The chickens left the next day and Gideon (the ram) followed the day after. All we have left is the horse and dogs. It’s so quiet around here. No sheep yelling at us when we walk out the door. It’s somewhat lonely.

We’ve sold off all the shelters we had built for the sheep and only have the chicken coop left for sell. Sebron has started slowly taking down fence and we hauled off a good load to the dump. We are making progress slowly.

I’m 38.5 weeks pregnant and Meme is here, so all of us are excited for Baby to arrive! She spent a morning this week packing up all my china and Christmas dishes into boxes to be sent home with my parents when they come.


There is still so much to do, but I just can’t get motivated because all I can think about is snuggling this little guy as soon as he gets here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Branded

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

This post has been going through my mind for a few days now. Thoughts running wild.. I’ve written it, rewritten, erased. I still don’t feel like I can get it right. Trying to put into words what is on my heart is so difficult. When we left North Carolina almost four years ago, we left our families behind and set out on new exciting adventures. I was born here in Texas, and have always felt a connection with this beautiful state and was excited to actually live here. I wasn’t prepared for how Texas would grab my heart. Jancsi was only Hayva’s age when we got here. Not even walking yet. We knew no one and were wet behind the ears in marriage and the hardships of life.
We had to learn how to work together, as a team, as a couple. We went from Sebron being gone all the time landscaping, to mending fence and working cattle together 24/7. It was hard. We argued. But out here under the huge Texas sky, loading hundreds of hay bales, we figured it out. Jancsi learned how to walk in those fields while we pulled fence, pulled calves and hauled hay.

We made friends and found our church. Friends became family as we dug our roots in deep. As we moved around from place to place, ranch to ranch, to farm and back to ranch, we learned more about life and the curve balls it can throw. We learned to lean on each other and depend on God.
We hauled more hay, milked cows and planted seed. We worked with deer and trained horses. We lived in an RV with only cows for neighbors. We built a house and rode bulls. We bought our first little flock of sheep and hid under the stairs when tornado came through. We brought our babies home and grew our family under this big Texas sky. We watched the sun rise through our kitchen windows and saw it set outside our front porch.

Texas has branded us and we will never be the same. We fell in love with not only this life and culture, but the people as well. We fit in and we didn’t have to try. Texas has everything we could ever want.
Except family.

It’s hard not having your Mama able to come over and help with the babies. It’s hard missing sibling’s wedding showers and engagement parties. It’s hard calling home and everyone is over for dinner but you. 
We’d always talked about maybe one day going back. But it was mostly just talk. Our talks got more serious last summer. We were pregnant with number four and the absence of grandparents, aunts and uncles was feeling bigger. We started praying and applying for jobs.
Back in December, Sebron flew to North Carolina to interview with the Corporative Extension Service. They called the week after Christmas and offered him a Livestock Extension Agent position in the mountains of NC. With much praying, tears and seeking the Lord, we have felt Him leading. We accepted the job. And so our path has changed once again and we find ourselves leaving Texas for North Carolina come March.

The thought of being closer to family is exciting, but leaving Texas is harder then we thought it would be. I will so miss this place that has been such an important part of our life. I have come to know and love this land. The dirt and the smell of earth. The seasons and storms. It’s become a part of us. Have you ever lived in a place that was a part of you? The crickets and coyotes have lulled us to sleep each night under this Texas sky that’s bigger than life.

The Lord is asking us to follow Him. Again. And so, bravely we are. I know He has something big. Something awesome for us. We are excited for what He has in store, but the goodbyes sure are going to be rough.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.” Isaiah 55:12-13

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today- to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied” Deuteronomy 11:13-15

Friday, January 15, 2016

15 Months {Hayva Joy}

I love this stage. So much curiosity and unruly hair. My feisty blue eyed girl is 15 months old. She is loud and messy. Her favorite thing is to go through my cards and stationary…throwing them all over the living room floor. Over and over. Unfolding and throwing the clean clothes around is another favorite...
She loves banging pots and pans around in Lulu’s little kitchen. She’s big on dancing and if there’s music on she will find her way to the source and will stand there dancing stiffly and clapping.  She is saying several words and will copy a lot of what you say. She knows exactly what you’re saying and you can’t slip things by her.

She refuses to drink her milk out of anything but her bottle, but has fallen in love with her new big girl nalgene bottle she got for Christmas. It’s just like her brother and sister’s and she walks around with it proudly.
Hayva loves the outdoors and helping with whatever we are working on. If we’re getting up wood she will pick up tiny pieces of bark and walk back and forth putting them on the pile. She waddled around picking up clumps of sheep poo while we docked lamb tails and vaccinated which left me feeling like a total Mom failure. She isn’t a bit afraid of dirt and usually covered in it about 5 minuets after being out. She loves all the animals and is right on level with the dogs, which results with many knock overs and face licks. She is my little helper getting feed for Darby. She loves playing in the feed bucket and fishing out pieces of hay from the water tank.
Hayva is none stop all day and it will be interesting to see how she takes to her little brother. She is growing up so fast and changing into such a little girl before my eyes. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lambs!

As we finished up breakfast this morning, I walked over to put a log on the fire and happened to glance out the window at the sheep. They were all huddled around something in a group. I looked closer and saw something small walking around in the middle, between all those legs. “She’s had her baby!” I yelled! Everyone at the table yelled “WHAT?” “Mama had her baby!”
Mama is our friendliest ewe and I knew from the beginning she’d be a good mom. She just has this soft nature about her. Maybe that’s why both Sebron and I started referring to her as Mama. We weren’t supposed to have any lambs until February, but our ram got in with our ewes back in August for one night. I thought he was courting one when we went to separate them the next morning but wasn’t sure. I did the math and figured if he was successful, we might have some lambs in January.  
I was quit sure she’d been bred early when she started bagging up about two weeks ago. We started watching her more closely and this week the poor thing was waddling around.

We all grabbed boots and jackets and ran out in our pjs. Twins! Dorpers hardly ever have more then one lamb, so I was so excited to see two stumbling around after Mama. Their coloring is also great! I didn’t know at the time we bought the sheep, but Dorpers are always all white or white with black heads. Mama is a slight mixture and doesn’t have the true Dorper markings. Because of this we’ll get docked on price if we ever try to sell her. I was worried her lambs might have the same colors as her and was thrilled to see those little white bodies with perfect little black heads!
The larger one is a ewe and the smaller with just a hint of droopy ears is a ram. They are everything adorable and Mama even allowed me to hold them briefly while she kept a watchful eye.

We have one other ewe that has bagged up and looks like she isn’t going to make it to February. Yay for one night stand babies! I’m so thankful for a healthy start to our lambing season!