Happy New Year...almost

We are sitting at 13 hours away from the new year. EEEEK!!  We are having some of my husband's family over tonight for a relaxing night of fun games and junk food.  What part of that doesn't sound amazing, right?  

I have a ton of stuff to put away since we spent 4 days at my parent's house with my sister, her husband & their 2 kids.  When we got home Saturday we plopped everything in the living room.  That night I came down with some crazy stomach bug that has kept me mostly in bed since then.  Now, today, with 15 people coming over tonight, I haven't a lot of Christmas stuff to put away!

Lots to blog about in the coming week(s).  

* Birthday parties for our 'non-blood' niece & nephewa
* Christmas eve
* Christmas Day w/ hubbie's family
* Christmas Day #2 (the 26th) with my family & the rest of the week
* Wonderful picture session with all my cousin-in-laws
And so much more!!

Just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year & be safe tonight!!

I'll be back next year!

Perfect Christmas card holder!

So the past couple of years, the Christmas cards that we've gotten have ended up in a stack on the coffee table or somewhere during the Christmas season.  What a terrible way to display them when people spend so much time putting them together and mailing them out.

I saw a pin on pinterest several months ago and just couldn't resist making it this year.  A great way to showcase all the awesome cards from the people we love the most!  The original post was just to use it as a decoration to hang it on the wall, but I thought it was a great idea to pin cards to.

First you will need: a foam board, I got mine from good ol' Wal-Mart, 3/4 of a yard of any material that floats your boat, hot glue & gun, ribbon or rafia to hang it with & push pins.

I glued one end down and then pulled the other end as tight as possible and glued it down.  Then I folded to corners down like I was wrapping a present so the material wouldn't bunch up.  Then glued one side down and stretched and glued the other side, making the material fit tight around the foam board.

I had some rafia, so I glued that to the back of the board.  Make sure you glue it well so it doesn't pull off when you hang it on the wall.  

 I also had some extra ornaments that I bought at the Dollar Tree last year for a pinterest project that was a major fail.  Just a little extra something.

And voila!  A cute card holder that I can pin all our Christmas cards to.  It's hanging in our living room for everyone to see!

I am really surprised that I actually love how it turned out.  That never happens when I get crafty!

Now, we just need more Christmas cards...

Christmas Tree Lane

After I finished a short Christmas picture session with our good friends, the hub & I went to a quick dinner & decided it was a good time for Christmas Tree Lane!

Here's one of my favorite pics from the afternoon

We love them!
I've grown up going to my hometown's Christmas Tree Lane, but nothing compares to the one where we live now!

Found out last night that it's the longest Christmas Tree Lane in the WORLD! Amazing!  We love gong every year.  This is their 90th year and there is no city financial support, it is run strictly off of donations and a group of people get together every year and string the lights in all the cedar trees and each house is responsible to do their own lighting.  You can also tune your radio to a certain station and hear "Christmas Tree Lane" music.  I love it!

Here are some pictures...a lot of them. :)

The entrance

This is the last house on the street, and boy oh boy, they go all out.

Beautiful sunset

Driving home tonight and I was admiring this as I turned down our street...

Nothing like a train through your backyard

So, many of you have probably heard about the high speed rail coming to good ol' California.

Last week we got a letter in the mail from an attorney that was advertising their services to help us get our property appraised before the High Speed Rail Authority comes at us.  We haven't had any 'official' documents sent to us saying that they are for sure going to take our home and our land, but we are always getting information flyers about the HSR  I know we are extremely close to the boundary line, if not within it.  In the past our place has been on lists that show properties that they are taking and then the next one we get we are safe.  It keeps changing every other week.

I tried to do some research this morning on the current standings and there really is no good information out there.  All the newspapers are just opinions and he said she said crap and the HSRA website really doesn't have a whole lot of updated information.  I think they are keeping us all in the dark as much as possible so there is less to fight against.  However, the number of people sueing the HSRA is huge, which is just continuing to set back the date when they would like to break ground. 

So I guess we'll find out if they are taking out place when the show up with a million dollar offer. Hah.

Our only hope is that IF they do decide they want our place...lets just hope they take the whole 10 acres and not the back 100 feet or something stupid.  We are pretty darn close to the tracks that they are going to build it along, so I have a feeling, we are in for some trouble.

No matter where we stand on the list of victims, it doesn't change the fact that this stupid thing is going to take thousands and thousands of acres of agriculture land.  I don't see how that is beneficial since CA is THE largest producer of food in the nation.

So I leave you with this.  It pretty much sums up the feels of every single farmer in CA...and a alot of other people that actually have some common sense.  

If you think this whole high speed rail boondoggle is a great idea, I'd love to hear why exactly you think removing thousands of acres of food producing land is a good idea.  

She's gettin' (partially) fixed!


I love this truck for many reasons:

- It was the first vehicle decision I made all on my own
- My grandma helped me purchase it (against my will, that's just the way she is :))
- I bought it before I even met my hubby
- It's big, it's diesel and 4-wheel drive...everything I wanted when I was 20.

It ran great for a little while.  Then little things started happening.  Totally normal for a '97 with 175,000 miles on it.

We had just gotten it out of the shop a couple months ago and a couple days after that, something happened with the brakes and you couldn't hardly even push the peddle down.  No bueno.  So there it sat.  On the side of the house not being used.  We had just bought a stack of hay and had corn in bulk, so we really didn't need it to pick up any feed and it's our 3rd vehicle, so neither of us needed it on a daily basis.

Yesterday when we picked up my car from the shop from getting its brakes checked, the owner is a friend of Chris's, and he runs a towing business as well.  I told him to come pick up the truck when he had time because I'm tired of it sitting on the side of the house not being used.

There it goes.  My baby.  Should have it back by next week.

Then we have to take it to a dealership, because there is one more thing going on that no one can figure out.

We've thought about selling it, but you can't sell a vehicle that doesn't work properly, and so we have to get it fixed, but once we get it fixed, we might as well keep it because we DO need a truck.

Clear? :)

Just want to kill her...kidding...kind of

So I went out to our freezer in the garage today to pull out some hamburger for dinner.  I try not to go into the back yard unless I have to.  It just makes me depressed.  When I spend time outside, it's usually either in the front yard or out behind the backyard.

I know this has been going on for a while, and there was no stopping it.  Our dog, Mallie, is relentless.  She. Ruins. EVERYTHING.  

A couple weeks ago she decided that it would be totally fun to rip up our entire sprinkler system in the back yard.  She figured out where all the pipes ran underground and dug them up and used her mouth to rip everything out of the ground.  I literally watched her do this.  Damn dog.

Don't let her "Oh crap, you caught me.  I'm really really sorry, I'll never do anything like this again!" look fool you.  She just didn't like me capturing evidence that she is a pain in the you know what.

Luckily we already had plans of having our backyard redone.  We traded some livestock for a backyard remodel.  

Now I'm just wondering if we should wait a little longer on that deal.

A whole new look, check it out!

So, I was tired of just changing my blog look with the seasons or changing the color according to my mood.  I wanted a look that says something.  That kind of exemplifies what this blog is about.

I've been scouring the internet for a great new template.  The generic blogger ones just don't tickle my fancy.  I found a couple that I liked on the preview and then when I applied it to my blog, it just didn't flow.  I wanted a simple look with simple colors and something that helped display what I had in my mind.  

THEN, I can across this template.  I fell in love.

It was 95% of what I wanted.  The graphics were just perfect, but the layout wasn't all the way there.  So, I set it to my blog and found out that blogger allows you to go in and adjust the HTML coding for the templates.  Freakin' awesome!

The company I worked for my last semester of college and a year after that, did a lot of website design work for agriculture companies.  I learned a lot about website design and HTML coding.  I don't know nearly enough to write it out, but I can figure out what I need to in order change it to how I want it to be.

Needless to say...I've changed alot of the fonts & colors, spacing, margins, etc. to make it how I want it.

I still have some work to do on the pages in the navigation bar, but the look is 99% there.

What do you think?


I've spent several hours tonight trying to upload a new template.  I want one that isn't the typical blogger template.  You know, the 20 or so they give you to choose from.

I've found a couple that I like but I can't seem to get rid of my old background.  I've tried to go in and delete the html widget, but it won't let me.

Quitting for the night, so I apologize if you are here and my blog looks like a big pile of crap-o-la.  

I'm working on it...hopefully I will have hair left when it's all figured out.

A week of thanks...day 3 & Thanksgiving

This was a pretty busy week.  I kept thinking about how I needed to keep up with my blogging, but it just didn't happen.  So here is the rest of the week...

Day 3, Wednesday:  Knowing that I had been asked to bring a vegetable dish and a dessert to the Thanksgiving gathering with Chris's family, I knew exactly what I was going to make.  I took our family's rendition of green bean casserole and a blackberry cobbler.  So, I am VERY thankful that my mom taught me how to be a great cook!  I grew up helping her in the kitchen, and she definitely knows how to prepare a good meal, so I learned from the best!  Thanks mom!!

Day 4, Thanksgiving:  I can't be thankful enough for the man that I'm married to.  Almost a year and a half ago, I lost my job (a total blessing) and I have not had a full time job since then.  He works his tail end of which allows me to stay home, work part time from home and keep up with things around the house.  Not only does he work full time, but he also farms 50 acres which is a great supplemental income for us.  I don't say it nearly enough, but Christopher, thank you for all that you do for us.  I love you.

His lovely makeup after getting off the tractor

A week of thanks...day 2

This is a stay at home Thanksgiving this year.  My parents are currently on their way to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with my sister & her family.  We did that last year, so this year we will spend time with Chris's family.  I will miss being with my family, but it's always fun to be with my in-laws too.

So today, I am thankful for these little guys...

We miss you Greyson & Sawyer, but so excited to see you at Christmas!

A week of thanks...day 1

I know a lot of people that have been posting on Facebook and on their blogs something that they are thankful for every day.  Love that idea, I just haven't had time.

So, I decided since it is Thanksgiving week...I'll start now. Better late than never.

Today, I am thankful for our friends and my parents that came out to help us fill a 20 yard dumpster last weekend.

The barn was FULL of all kinds of crap, not just animal.  The renters that lived there for 18 years and probably whoever lived there before them used the barn as their dump.  So. Much. Trash.  Filled a 20 yard dumpster in like 6 hours.

The whole area was piled with boxes full of trash, couldn't hardly walk through there

We burned a lot of weeds and wood.  No reason to take up space in the dumpster with things that can go up in flames!

There is still more stuff out there to get cleaned up, but it is looking sooo much better!  

Thank you dad & Mom & the Marino family for helping out!  Couldn't have done it without you guys!

Who's business is it anyway?

Strictly written just so I can vent...

The hubby and I were together for almost 6 years before we got married.  Got engaged at around 5 1/2 years, had a 4 1/2 month engagement and got married about a month and a half before our 6 year anniversary.  For about 3-4 years, were were constantly asked "when are you getting married?"  "are you ever going to get married?"  "so when's the big day going to be?"  

We got these questions long before we ever got engaged.  Frustrating? Yes.  

Maybe like a month after we got married, was the first time the topic of pregnancy came up.  "When am I going to get more great-grandchildren?"  "When you guys going to have a baby?"  "Do you plan on ever having children??"

It just gets frustrating.  Over & over again.  

I know everyone who asks is just curious because they are excited for us to have kids, but holy crap.  We will have a baby when God chooses us to have a baby.  It's obvious it's not right now.  Don't worry, we will tell people when we are pregnant, but now is not the time.

When will we get pregnant, who knows.  When the time is right.  Don't even ask when we are planning.  It's not up to us to plan.  Being ready isn't even a legitimate question.  Is anyone ever truly ready for a child?  Probably, but they do change your whole world.  Depends on each individual couple.  Maybe someday I will share more details on here, maybe not.  I don't know.  But for right now, the time isn't right for us and that is OK.

We will not have a baby when other people want us to, or because other people want us to.  It will be because God wants us to.  Imagine that.

Just watch out, I might hit the next person who asks.  It's getting close to that point.  Nothing personal, it will just be an involuntary reaction to what my mind has been preparing for.

This is not directed to any one person in particular, just what has been happening over the past year and a half.  Are there any other girls out there that are with me?

Avert your eyes!

For those of you that are queazy, now you can't say I didn't warn you.

So during the fair a couple weeks ago, as if it wasn't a busy enough week as it was, we were right in the middle of lambing as well.  We implanted 5 of our ewes with CIDRs to bring them into heat during their 'off' season.  4 of them got pregnant. 80% success rate is crazy good.  We do this so we will have lambs in the fall instead of having all of our ewes lamb in the springtime.  Just opens up our market for different fairs and jackpots.

I came home from the fair in the the middle of the day on Tuesday.  I knew we had one more ewe to go, so I wanted to check on her while Caylob was taking a nap.  She had to go anytime because she was already 2 days late.  I went out to the barn and lo and behold, there were two hooves sticking out.  Not knowing how long she had been in labor, I was going to give her about 15 minutes and see what happend and if nothing, I was going in.  With sheep, you want to give them about an hour for labor, if they don't progress you need to assist.  I went and grabbed my camera, because who wouldn't want to see this? :) (Erin).  When I came back...

Another buck lamb.  Thank goodness, because we only had 1 other one.

I walked away for a little while, because unlike humans, having people around only stresses them out and could prolong labor.  Came back about 10 minutes later and saw...

See the white tips on the hooves?

if you get queazy easily, don't continue scrolling.  it's all part of agriculture and this is what our livelihood is all about.  out with the old and in the with the new!

This particular ewe had one of our best lambs last year.  However, she is a TERRIBLE mom.  Since she was a yearling last year, we decided to give her one more chance since 90% of the time they are just fine the next go around.  Well, not this one.  She is getting a free ride to the sales yard once her lamb reaches 60 days old.

Did you can't that?  Once her lamb reaches 60 days old, not lambS.  Yeah, we tried for several days to get one of them to nurse, we ended up bottle feeding it for a couple days and then the mom decided to either step on it or kick it and unfortunately broke both of its back legs.  There is only one way to go from there.  It's unfortunate, but it's a fact of life.  If we had tried to cast them, his quality of life would have been terrible, and it just wouldn't have been right.  A phone call was made to the vet and she came and took care of him.

All part of living on a farm.  Unfortunate? Yes.  But it is our responsibility to give these animals the best life possible while they are here on our farm.  We take it very seriously and no decision is made lightly.  It's tough to make a decision to get rid of one of our top 5 ewes.  But, if she is going to deprive her lambs of milk and severely injure them, then she isn't worth keeping.

Too many boots??

So if you come over to our house, this is what you would see when you walk in the front door...usually.

4 pairs of boots (a work pair and dress pair for both of us), at least 1 pair of flip flops and a rope for the dog since we are working with her on property boundaries.

Our entry way is also part of a short hallway that turns the corner into another part of our hallway.  It can get crowded if they aren't nicely in a row.

I've almost broken my neck a few times in the dark.

Fair Week

We are always exhausted after fair week.  Pretty sure everyone is!  Chris has been the sheep showmanship coach at our local high school since before we met.  I have been helping out ever since.  It is always a test of our patience, but we just keep going back year after year.  This year we had 12 students showing at the fair and most of them did pretty well.  There are few students in the group that really don't care about showing, they are just out there because their boyfriend or girlfriend is showing or their bff convinced them to get a sheep.  Although it is a good experience to have taken care of and shown and animal, some kids just aren't cut out for it, and that's totally fine.  

Now the rest of them that actually try, are always a pleasure to work with.  I think this was our best year yet in terms of showmanship.  In FFA, our fair has a novice, Freshman/Sophmore & Junior/Senior class.  So if they have never shown before, then they are able to show twice on showmanship day.  They started with the older kids and worked their way down to the novice classes this year.  It gives the new kids a chance to watch the more experienced showman and to listen to the judge to see what he likes or doesn't like.  It was evidently beneficial for some of our kids.

We had 3 of our kids in the top 12 of the Freshman/Sophmore showmanship final drive.  One of them was a freshman who had never shown before.  It was sooo exciting to see her make it into the 12th place spot, because when she got her lamb 4 months ago, she was so afraid to even touch it.  Then we had a sophmore in the 8th spot.  She had only made the first cut last year, so she was proud of herself and so were we.  THEN, a girl that we have been helping for many years, and Chris helped her older sister, is a sophmore this year.  She won her novice showmanship class her first year showing in 4-H (6 years ago), and she won her age division again this year!!  Showmanship is pretty tough at our fair.  Lots of kids that are really good at what they do.  However, she had it hands-down this year.  The crowd went wild when he placed her first because she beat two other girls from another local high school that is well known for their sheep showman.  

In the picture, she is showing one of our keeper ewe lambs, which got 2nd in it's class to the reserve crossbred.

It was a great year.  Now we have a few months off and then jackpot season starts up again.

Trip to San Diego

**Did anyone else's pageviews get completely deleted?  I haven't signed in in a few weeks, and tonight I noticed that I have 1 pageview.  Last time I checked I had over 8,000.**

About a month ago I headed down to just north of San Diego to watch my two nephews for the weekend.  My sister and brother in law had a wedding to shoot down there and needed a babysitter.  They forced me to go.  I hate when that happens.

I just uploaded a bunch of pictures off my camera last week and forgot that I never posted the pictures of them.

Friday night we all went and had dinner on the beach, which was super fun!  Saturday morning we were kind of in a rush to get ready since the shower head flew off the wall when we turned on the water and water was spraying everywhere.  Then we had to wait for the maintenance guy come fix it before any of us could shower.  That was fun, too.

Then the boys and I headed to the duck pond so they could get ready to go to their wedding.

Duck Pond.  Lunch at In-n-Out.  Naps. Dinner at Pizza Hut.  Desert at Yogurtland.

Throwing bread to the ducks

Two finger sucker

Not exactly sure what he was doing in this picture, but it made me laugh

Nothing like chocolate yogurt and sour worms
Next post will be all about the fair.  We just finished our week long county fair, and boy was it a great week!  So proud of "our" kids!!

2nd Round of the Year

Most, if not all, of our ewes lamb in the late winter/early spring time.  We try to have a handful of them lamb in the fall, in order for some of our lambs to go to earlier fairs and possibly some jackpots.  Well, last year we just didn't get it done, because about the time you are supposed to implant we were kind of busy!

So this year, we did.  We implanted 5 ewes and 4 of them got pregnant.  That's an 80% success rate wich is really high.  Your lucky if you get a 50-55% success rate.  

We attended a beautiful wedding on the Central Coast this weekend and got home this evening.  As we pulled in the driveway, I just said to Chris that we needed to start watching for lambs.  We went straight out to feed and sure enough, I was spot on.  :)  He won't admit it though.

First babies out of our new buck we bought at the end of last season.

Can't wait to see what they look like at a couple months old!

Checkin' things off!

So I haven't done a check off post in a while off of my list.

13.  Go to Saddlebag
I did this this past summer.  Met my sister & her family and my parents up there for the night.

40.  Send flowers to a friend
I did this on July 2nd for my BFF's birthday.  Speaking of...I got to see her this past Sunday for the first time in several months.  We live about 300 miles apart, so we don't see each other very often, but when we do, it's always a good time!!  

48.  Sell my car
We ended up trading it in for our new vehicle

51.  Go camping
This was also a part of my summer overnight trip with my family.  I don't know if it really counts because I just showed up.  Everything else was taken care of...or maybe that's the way to do it?

54.  Buy a new (to us) vehicle
Did that, here.

66.  Reach 100 Blog posts
Did this last week as well

90  Put up bookshelves in the office.
The office is still a work in progress, but my dad stopped in a few months ago on his way home from my sister's place in AZ and spent the night.  The next morning he helped me put all the bookshelves together that I had bought like 10 months ago.  :)  Thanks again, dad!

Not too shabby.  I don't always realize that I'm doing things that I'm able to knock off my list.  Like I forgot that putting the bookshelves together was on the list.  It's always a nice surprise to be able to cross off more things than I thought.  I'm the kind of person that loves to make lists, and I will add things to the list that I have already done, just so I can cross it off.  Weird? Yeah, maybe, but it makes me feel more productive on that day!

New Car!

A couple weeks ago, we finally made the plunge and bought a new (to us) car.  I have been driving around a 2008 Hyundai Eantra since I bought it new in August of 2008.  It worked great to finish out my college years and our first year or so of marriage.  However, with a car that small it makes it virtually impossible to go to Costco and get dog food in the same trip.  Since we live 20 miles from any good store, it's not a trip that we can just make easily without burning a good amount of fuel.  So the less trips I have to make the better.  

I needed a vehicle that would allow me to hit Costco and other stores in the same trip and not have to go back several days in a row just to get everything we needed.  

So, anyways, we have been looking for an SUV for about 6 months or so now, and finally found one that we like and that was in our price range.  We had to do a little haggling, but we finally got them to where we wanted it and drove home with it the next day.

A 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe.  It is a year older that my car but had 12,000 less miles.  It has some great storage area in the back and has plenty of leg room, even with a car seat in the back.

I love it, and it has been so nice to drive it lately!  Just another thing crossed of my 101 in 1001 list!

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