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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Glamorous Ranch Life


This past week has been somewhat of a low one. I try to be as transparent as possible on here,  so I want to document the lows just as much as the highs. I get messages all the time on facebook saying how glamorous and dreamy our life looks…the animals, the land, the culture that we are immersed in. I’m sure it does to the outsider looking in. Who doesn’t love cute baby calves and bottle feeding goats and collecting eggs right outside your door? It is dreamy- it’s our dream, and we are blessed to live it. But I can also say honestly that I know every farmer and rancher will tell you the same thing…it’s work. It’s not all sunshine and bunny kisses.

Last Wednesday just days after joining our family, our livestock guardian puppy, Hoss, was diagnosed with parvo. I was naively under the impression that once they had started puppy shots they were somewhat protected. Hoss came having already gotten his first round of shots which had included the parvo vaccine. He came with paperwork with the shots and dates he’d received them. I already had an appointment later in the week for him to get his next round. I took him in early because he wasn’t acting himself and something in me knew something was up.  He tested positive right away and our options were to take him home and try to keep his fluids up and hope for the best, or leave him at the vet for rigid IV treatments. We decided to try two days at the vet before taking him home. They gave him a 50% chance of making it.

I called the lady I’d gotten him from since the vet said he’d obviously contacted the disease at her place since he hadn’t been at ours long enough to show signs. She sounded surprised and had already sold the rest of the puppies. She said she would call the other buyers to let them know. I’m not sure she did that though because she never answered any of my texts or calls when I tried the next few days. I am not sure if she knew the puppies were sick or lied about the shots or if it was just an honest kick of nature.

Hoss spent three days at the vet before we picked him up. I was hoping to find him somewhat better, even a wag of the tail would have convinced me we might still have a chance. But he just looked at me with sad eyes and sat in a weak heap on my floorboards as I drove home. He was skinny since he hadn’t eaten in days. I made a nice spot for him on the back porch and kept his fluids up all that day by syringe. I got a few wags of the tail but not much. I wanted to keep fighting for him but it seemed like he was hurting at this point.

It got chilly that night so we brought him into the laundry room and I got up several times that night to give him meds and fluids. Twice I woke up and found he had jumped out of his box in the laundry room and found his way into our bedroom. He was lying by the bed.  It seemed like already at his young age he’d taken up his role as guardian strongly. It was like he knew we were there and wanted to be there with us. As much as I hated to, I put him back in the laundry room. He was having horrible diarrhea and I didn’t want it all over the house.  

I lay there in bed praying in the early hours of the morning. Asking the Lord to show us when it was time to stop fighting. If he was going to make it, make it obvious, and if not, show us. First thing in the morning I got up to give him his meds and found him stretched out and really struggling. He was completely limp and unresponsive. I started crying because I knew it was time. He was done fighting and was letting us know.

I’m forever thankful that Sebron is a stronger person than me. People say I’m tough, but I’m a blubbering mess when it comes to losing an animal we’ve fought so hard for. Sebron took him outside and put him down and the kids and I went out later to help bury him.

The next day Sebron came down with the stomach bug, and I followed shortly after. These last few days we’ve been surviving on ritz crackers and trying to parent while not getting too close… We’ve watched tons of Disney movies and taken turns feeding animals and kids. Feeding sheep and rabbits doesn’t sound so glamorous when you’re feeling rotten and puking does it?

So, we’ve gotten nothing done. The fence needs to be finished, the eggs need to be washed, we miss our puppy and all we’ve been able to do is sit around in our pj’s feeling blue.

Thankful for new mercies every morning, emails from friends at midnight when you’re up sick and can’t sleep, kids who have been awesome, being able to eat real food today! God is good all the time! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

6 Months {Hayva Joy}


So I totally missed Hayva’s 6 month half birthday back on the 15th. Poor third child.

Miss Hayva is so full of smiles and literally grins from ear to ear. Her little blue eyes have kept their beautiful blue and are so sparkly!
Her hair is finally coming in and when she’s fresh from the bath it’s soft and fluffy on top. Her little bald spot is starting to fill in too.

I officially moved her to her room and crib upstairs this week and packed up the pack and play today. I was somewhat dreading her going upstairs… I always hang on to that worry the baby will need me and I wont hear her. Also because of her horrible sleep patterns, I was not looking forward to climbing the stairs all night. Thankfully, after a few nights of sleep training she has graduated to only getting up 4 times a night! This seems horrible, and there is still room for LOTS of improvement, but this is huge for us! I’m rejoicing!

We are eating more solids! She loves food but is SO stinkin’ distracted by her big brother and sister it is like a major act of congress to get the food in her mouth and not all over her. Even a decent meal has her covered with quit a bit of food. Those arms never stop waving and that little squirmy body never stops twisting to see what’s going on! Even Sebron says it’s exhausting!

Hayva loves to be outside and especially enjoys all the animals. I love watching her observe them. Her little legs get to kicking as she takes them all in.

She is happy to play on her tummy most of the day at this point. I’m working with her on sitting but that is not her favorite activity at this point! She isn’t showing any signs of crawling yet and just pushes up on her arms and then does the superman.

She was 15.5 pounds and 26.5 inches at her last appointment. She is wearing mostly 9 month clothes and even has some 12 month outfits she fits in comfortably. That little tushy is in a size 3 diaper!

Oh my goodness I cannot get enough of her! Happy 6 months baby girl! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nana & Opa's visit

We were so blessed to have my parents out for a week over Sebron’s birthday. Jancsi graciously gave up his bedroom during their stay and bunked in with Laughter (much to both their delight!).


We had amazing weather the entire visit which had us outside most of the time. I am not going to lie, I felt spoiled having two extra sets of eyes to keep up with the kids! Dad worked so hard putting together my chicken tractor and chicken house. He made them out of old pallets I’d picked up so his job was all the most difficult because he had to take them all apart. I’m so blessed with a Dad who loves us enough to come and work during his vacation. Nana and Opa came bringing birthday gifts for all our spring birthday babies and the kids were thrilled!


I really noticed a huge change in Laughter this visit. It was fun to see her calling my parents Nana and Opa and really interacting and having a relationship. It’s so hard when we live so far away from family. Jancsi went from seeing grandparents a few times a month (while we were in NC) to living here and seeing them twice a year. Laughter never had that opportunity to build a strong relationship like Jancsi did, so it has been so fun to see her really enjoying our visits with grandparents lately!


Mom spoiled me with clean laundry every day and amazing dinners! And, just like Meme, she stocked our pantry with wonderful goodies and special treats! Mom and Dad treated Sebron and I to our first kid free date since before Hayva was born! It was such a wonderful time to just get away, eat dinner and just be the two of us for a few hours. Opa had the magic touch and got Hayva to take a bottle and rocked her to sleep!


Our week went by all too quickly and long before we wanted to, we were dropping them off at the airport. 
 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Sheep listen to my voice

This blog has been suffering. I've fallen way behind in my posts and have a LOT to catch up on! We have been busy. Real busy. If you follow me on instagram you know we have started collecting all sorts of critters… It started with the goats. Then I traded a custom farm sign for three rabbits. Then just recently, there’s the sheep…Oh sheep.

It all started when our friend and old employer mentioned to us that mutton was in high demand and if we wanted to raise some sheep, he could sell all the meat we could do. We casually talked about it and then let it drop. A frew days later Sebron brought it up again so we talked some more. I began doing just a bit of research online and seeing what was in our area. I grew up working on a farm with sheep but I’d never had any personally. My opinion of sheep were pretty low to be honest. I saw them as wooly dumb creatures that were a pain to work with due to their stupidity. In my opinion, goats were (are) so much better! ;)

Anyway, we prayed together on it for a few days and I continued to do research. I started leaning toward Dorpers, a South African breed known for their feed efficiency (they grow quickly) and excellent meat quality. They are hardy compared to other sheep breeds and do well in heat. Another cool thing about them is they are a hair sheep and shed their coat so you don’t have to sheer them. Score!

The more I read about Dorpers the more I was sold on them. They are able to breed year round so you get more lambs per year. I began looking for ranches that raised them. Everyone was hours from us. Father west. I looked at several craiglist listings but they were either mutt sheep or the people were wanting an arm and a leg for them. We continued praying and just asked the Lord that if it was His will that He would lead us and open a door.

The next day I randomly stumbled on a post on craigslist that the guy had literally just put up. He had full blood dorpers and was only an hour from us. I called him and while we talked he said he had 6 people text and call saying they wanted them. He told me since I’d called first he would hold them for me if I wanted them. (Nobody ever holds things on cragslist around here!) So, I called Sebron up, told him I’d found some sheep and that night after work we all piled in with trailer in tow and headed out to look at them.

On our way we prayed that the Lord would make it so clear to us if we were to move forward to get the sheep. And that if not, we would not have a peace. We get there and the guy has a very strong accent. I couldn’t figure out where he was from. But When SEbron asked him how he got started in Dorpers the guy told us he was South African and had brought the sheep with him when he moved here! (Remember they are originally from SA?!) Well I totally took that as a sign! Lol I mean how cool is that! It was obvious that he had taken excellent care of his flock and had worked for ten years to get the genetics the way he wanted. Now on the phone, he had told me a price and that maybe he would do a deal if we took all ten sheep that he was selling. The price was good, lower then what I’d been seeing but still a lot when you’re talking of getting ten! After about an hour of talking to the guy, asking questions and all, he tells us he’ll let us have them for this price…. It was HALF the price he had told me on the phone!! Not only that but he said he was going to throw in another ewe for free!! Thank you God for a clear sign!!

We drove home that night with our new flock of ewes both excited and nervous. It’s so exciting to be starting a venture on our own but terrifying for the same reason. It’s all on us if it’s a flop!

I’m going to post some things here that might seem silly or no big deal to you, but to me they are clear images of God continuing to show us that He is in this, and I don’t want to forget how He has provided and blessed us! First, He provided the sheep at a lower cost than we had hoped or even imagined, second we got a free ewe thrown in. Third, when Sebron went to pick up fencing material, the manager overheard him telling another employee about the posts he was looking for. He walked over and asked if Sebron would consider a different post then we had been thinking. The manager went on to tell him that he had a ton of posts he was trying to get rid of and would sell them to us for $2 a post! This is LESS than half what they normally cost, saving us literally hundreds!

Then yesterday… We went back and forth about getting a great Pyrenees. A livestock guardian. We thought the sheep might be ok since they would be somewhat close to the house. However, we have a horrible coyote problem and each night you can hear them and they come right up to the yard. We decided it would be better to spend a bit of money on a dog now then lose a bunch of sheep. So I again started searching craigslist and local sell and trade websites. Since when did Pyrs get so expensive?? $300 for a puppy to guard sheep?? Yikes. We again prayed. I knew the Lord would lead us if it was meant to be. I was out playing with the kids yesterday morning and randomly felt urged to check craiglist one more time. There was a new post from a woman who had 4 puppies. She said make an offer…I called, they were full blood, raised with livestock from day one, up to date on shots…I made my offer- less then a 3rd of what others were asking, she accepted it! So yesterday we brought home our fierce 9 week old pyr puppy we’ve dubbed Hoss.

It gets better…. Today we had to deworm and vaccinate everyone. We had picked up the supplies we needed and after lunch we got everyone ready to go out and work the sheep and goats.

Now farming and ranching with children is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Is it wonderful? Yes! But it is difficult. Seeb and I always joke that the hardest part of ranching is keeping up with the kids. Working in agriculture can be dangerous. There are big machines and animals that can be unpredictable. I always have to know where everyone is. Plan for things to take way longer then planned, pack snacks etc.

Today was no different. The kids weren’t listening well so everyone got put in our child ‘cage.’ A play area that is fenced in. ;) I put the puppy in with them so he wouldn’t be in the way while Seeb and I worked. We built a small holding pen that we would grab animals from to vaccinate before letting them go back to the working pen.

Now these sheep are not tame. They have been left out to pasture and not worked much. They are also not cute little lambs. Yes they range in age from 3 months to 10 months old, but they are near 100lbs most of them. When Sebron went to grab one once we had them in the holding pen, the sheep freaked out and started jumping into the fence. They somehow got on the same jump pattern and as a whole group, jumped into the fence together. The fence couldm’t take the pressure and went down. Sheep jumping everywhere. It’s one of those moments that you see what is happening, your heart is stopping as you realize what is going on, but there is nothing you can do. We were able to keep 4 ewes in. Five had gotten out and were running for their life. I felt sick to my stomach. These are not pets. These sheep are a business venture and all I saw were dollar signs high tailing it as far as they could through the woods and out to the cow pasture.
Hoss, meeting his sheep for the first time.
I managed to get the 4 that were left, back into the big lot. Seeb and I were both in shock that this was really happening, that over half our herd was running free. As I took off after them Sebron yelled at me to leave them. That we’d never get them back and it was better to count our losses and just go with the 4. I knew he didn’t really mean it but I also knew he was right, the chances of us getting those wild, stupid sheep back into this lot was about next to nothing. I yelled back that we couldn’t do that, we’d lost over half our heard. We took off and the kids started yelling and screaming.

I prayed the entire time. I didn’t know what else to do. Seriously it was going to take a miracle to get them back. “Lord save these stupid sheep! Please don’t let us lose our investment. Father you are the Good Shepherd and YOU are going to have to lead these sheep back where they need to be! Please do this for us!” We chased them for probably two hours. Up and down the pasture, through the woods, through the pasture again. We’d get them somewhat headed in the right direction and then they’d bolt again. I ran back to the house and the kids had pushed over the fence of their play area and were running around screaming. I yelled at Jancsi to get his sister (Hayva was sleeping in the house) and go to the garage and stay there. He sensed the urgency in my voice and grabbed Lulu’s hand and dragged her off to the garage. Sebron had the sheep at a point where they were eating by the fence line and he was keeping them from running off the the lower field again. I went back to the lot and put the panels up to create and funnel to the gate of the holding pen. I grabbed the new panels Seen had just bought and drug them through the woods to the gate to the cow pasture. It was just up from where Sebron had them. I was able to make somewhat of an alley way with the panels and opened the gate. I ran back to Sebron and we walked them slowly up to where the gate was. They almost bolted but eventually saw the open gate and went through. My alley way pointed them in the right direction towards home and they plodded that way. Something spooked them and they took off again. I crashed through the woods and briers to get around them. We were able to turn them again and when they saw the 4 still penned up they headed over. They were right up on the fence at this point but would have to circle the pen in order to enter the funnel I’d made to the gate. They were looking like they were going to bolt again, but as I prayed again out loud, asking the Lord to lead them in, the lead ewe turned around and walked right into the funnel. The rest of the group followed and we were able to run up and shut close the opening before running them in the gate. God. All the way. God! Just this morning our Pastor had read the verse from John10:27- 'My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.' I couldn’t believe it! There they were, all 11 sheep! I’m still in awe and complete amazement at God’s provision!

Needles to say, we were completely exhausted, but we managed to rethink our plans and recreate a stronger and better holding pen. Everyone got their vaccines and dewormed! Praise God!

I am going to bed tonight completely exhausted and worn out, but I am so incredibly thankful for so many things! A hubby who fights just as hard and harder to save our animals, kids that listen and obey, sheep that are all accounted for and an awesome God!  

I am excited to see how this venture goes! Lord willing we wont have any more rodeos like today!
  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Jancsi is FOUR!

My boy is four! As I tucked him in bed last night I told him to sleep well because it was his last night being three. He smiled really big and squeezed his eyes shut as he wiggled under the covers. He has been counting down to his big day since Christmas! I love these days where he is so super excited about birthdays and special holidays.

I’ve never seen a kid as excited about life as Jancsi is. He comes racing down the stairs each morning welcoming the day with open arms and a smile. Everything is big, exciting, and has to be discovered and figured out. The smallest things make his day and when he tells you one of his stories, you can’t help but smile as he jumps around waving his arms for effect.

He can’t hardly sit still and is going all. Day. Long. He loves mud, trucks and diggers. He is in love with an old baterized four wheeler someone dug out of their barn for him when we delivered firewood. The thing has two speeds- fast and slow. He discovered the fast lever after a few hours of riding it the first day. It terrified him and I had to encourage him to keep riding. It still surprises me that with his vivacious spirit and outgoing personality he is cautions about new things. I knew it wouldn’t take him long and sure enough the next day I caught him smiling as he raced around the house on his four wheeler at the “too fast speed!” “Look Mommy I’m going super fast!”

He is funny. Hilarious! He has his collection of sayings and one liners that are so funny! He puts on accents and most recently has been talking in a hill billy southern accent…..:) My boy is full of facial expressions. He always has something to say about everything and you better listen up because he will just keep repeating it until you acknowledge him!

He likes a challenge and is the hardest working four-year-old I’ve met. He can out work boys three times his age. And he likes it. He is curious, inquisitive, loving and sensitive.

I love the way he throws his head back and belts out a laugh when I tell him he isn’t supposed to grow so big. “Ah Mom, I’m gonna keep growing bigger and bigger!” The other day he walked over, threw his arms around me and said “Don’t worry Mom, when I get big and don’t live here I’ll visit you every day.”

Jancsi adores his Daddy. I love how much he looks up to him and wants to be like him. They have a very special relationship.

Jancsi Sebron, you made me a Mommy four years ago and I’ve never wanted anything else since that day. You are strong and caring and I am so proud of the man you are becoming. I pray you will be like David, a man after God’s own heart. That you will seek His face all your days.

Love you so. Dream big kiddo. You’re going to do great things. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Laughter Grace is TWO!


My Itty Bitty is two! How is this even possible? 
I had her blog post ready to go on her actual birthday, but then my computer died and I was left waiting for my new charger to arrive in the mail...But it's here so here is to her, my birthday girl!

It literally feels like yesterday when we were in the hospital waiting for her arrival! Such an amazing birth experience with four nurses all encouraging us as we fought for a VBAC. Laughter was determined to make things difficult and after two hours of pushing my doctor gave me an hour to ‘get her out’ before he would take me for a c-section. We did everything we could but she wasn’t budging. 15 minutes before the hour was up I stopped everyone and prayed. I was exhausted and worn out. I was losing faith and I had to lay it down at my Lord’s feet. I knew He knew of my desire for a VBAC but also knew He had everything in control even if we had to have another c-section. I cried out to Him asking for renewed strength. Ten minutes later one of the nurses screamed, ran out of the room and came back with my doctor. Five minutes later, (Just one minute after the hour was up) Laughter Grace was born and the world has never been the same since.
She is full of sass and style. She has to have her boots that are two big, her hair in her face. If I try to put her in something that doesn’t fit her fancy she cries…. At Church on Sunday, someone gave her a pair of sunglasses- she wore them the entire service- upside down. That’s how she rolls.
She is totally precious with her “thank you” and “here you go” sayings. Laughter is hilarious and copies everything Jancsi says and does. She is sweet and caring. When Jancsi’s goldfish were eaten by the dog the other day, before Nana could replace them, Lulu had given hers to her brother, telling him ‘its ok.’
Laughter is my little snuggler. She crawls into my lap or into my arms any chance she can. Resting her little head against me as she molds her little body into mine.  Even when I’m nursing or holding someone else, she will come over and lay her head on my leg. She is simply precious and I love having one that is so snuggly.

She shadows her brother everywhere and enjoys the mud and rolling dump trucks just as much as he does. She quotes movies and copies funny things that we say. She is so expressive! Squinting or rolling her eyes and adding little gasps for effect.
My Lulu is curious and independent. She wants to do things herself and see what all the excitement or fuss is about. She is my animal lover and most days when she goes missing in the yard I can find her at the goats having a little conversation with them. : )She lives life big and loves hard.

She is cute as a button and a little one too. I have a difficult time finding pants that don’t swallow her up. She is just little. I was the same way growing up and always hated when people would say how petite I was. Petite sounded so fragile and weak. I constantly remember my Grammy telling me “Gracie, you’re small but mighty!”  I liked that better! Laughter is the same. She is small, but dang is she isn’t mighty!  I made a wood sign for her room that quotes Shakespeare: Though she be but little, she is fierce.
I simply love this age! Laughter is all over, energetic, inquisitive, learning and trying new things. She is so fun.
I showed her pink, yellow, white and purple frosting and she said "No Mommy BLUE!"

Sweet girl how blessed I am to be your Mama! May you come to love our Lord at a young age, trusting Him with everything….for everything. I love you so!








Sunday, March 29, 2015

My Man's Birthday


I have so much to catch up on. But first, Sebron’s birthday was the 25th. I love this man. My word I love him. He stole my breath and my heart that first day I saw him pull up in his truck into the apartment parking lot at school. He had his window rolled down and his cowboy hat was pushed up onto his forehead. He had his music blasting. We met for the first time just a week or so later. We talked for three hours that first day. I wanted to be by his side from that moment.
I had a hole in my screen on one of my bedroom windows. He would leave me little notes rolled up and stuff them through the hole. He is way more romantic than me.
Lollipops and feeding cows. 
I can honestly say that since we’ve been married, a day has not gone by that he hasn’t told me he loves me and that I’m beautiful.

I am so incredibly blessed. He is such an awesome Daddy to our kids. He is attentive, supportive, encouraging, and a roll model. He is giving, hard working and loving.
I love our little inside jokes. Just him and me. He can say one little line and I die laughing. To everyone else, we’re crazy, but to us we’re hilarious!

He knows how to calm my fears. He knows when I’m struggling and not sharing everything on my heart. I love how he pulls me close in his arms and asks the questions that go deep and draw it out. He is my safe zone. My protector.

Sebron is a lover. He is constantly smothering me with hugs and kisses. Wrapping his arms around me while I clean the kitchen and whispering in my ear how much he loves me. I’m so glad our kids get to see us like that. All mushy. 
My parents just happened to be in town on his special day and treated us to a KID FREE date! We went all out and we each got our own brownie for dessert! We had no one fighting for bites and we stuffed our faces, came home to apple crisp, and stuffed our faces again! It was glorious!

Here’s to you, My Love. Happiest of birthdays! May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face shine upon you and give you peace. May He make the trail to rise up and meet you. May He bless you with rain and your tanks always full. May your livestock be healthy and your grass green. May you feel His presence with you in the saddle. All my love.