2015 Expectations

It is hard to believe I am sitting here looking at my expectations for 2015.  My husband was remembering the last time we celebrated the New Year in Reno (a former  annual tradition).  It was the 2000 Millennium.  We watched as we marched into a new century and it is amazing that was 15 years ago.  So much in our life has changed, changes we never anticipated, changes we hope for, and changes we wanted to make.  But now as I stare at a new blank 2015 year of “365 days” (what I have seen ALL over FB posts), I am putting together my expectations for the coming year. Why expectations??  I think goals leave room for failure or an excuse for when you don’t achieve them.  To me “expectations” mean I expect to accomplish, achieve, or finish these goals.  So here are a few expectations for 2015:

1.  Let some things go.  I know this may sound cheezy but I need to let some things just “GO”.  I want to take this year and try to repair or rekindle some relationships I had in the past.  Things happen.  People say and do things.  You never know why someone does something to you, but I need to just “Let it go” and try to move on (Darn Disney movie…)

2.  Increase number of heifers calves born on our farm.  This is the way we expand internally and now with our new calf barn, this will be so much easier.  A good calf raising facility makes raising calves easier for everyone!!

Chocolate at 2 days old

Of course I want a few more of these cuties!!

3.  Learn to Artificially Inseminate Dairy Cows.  I want to learn this for a variety of reason.  A few a obvious – 1.  Help increase the number of pregnant cows in the herd.  2.  Help my husband.  3.  Because I want to be able to say “I Can Do It!!”.  This one will be a tough one to accomplish.  It involves time away from the family but if I can swing it I want to learn.

4.  Increase the visibility of the farm.  This is the year to start the publicity for the farm.  I’ve got the farm logo, now it is time to take the next steps.  It is going to be fun to see where we can take this.  Luckily I have kids that help this “techie” challenged mom and hopefully do it right!!

SunTon Farms_LogoRe-Design

So as we steam into 2015, I hope all your dreams come true.  As for me and our family, we will be hard at work trying to meet or surpass my expectations for the year!!  Lots of hard work ahead but I would definitely not have it any other way!!

What a great 2014!!

As I sit here and listen to “Let It Go” on the Ryan Seacreast New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show, I sit back and realize what a great 2014 our farm and family enjoyed.  As with any year on a dairy farm, there are always highs AND lows.  But overall our farm and family had a pretty fantastic year.  Here are some of the highlights:

Dairy Cow Shows – Our family participated in a record number of cows shows in 2014. We had the pleasure to participate, develop friendships, and make memories at the 1st Annual Evergreen Junior Dairy Show, Lewis County Youth Fair, Washington State Black and White Show (1st time!!), Southwest Washington Fair, Pacific County Fair, Western National Jersey Show, Western National Brown Swiss Show, FFA Dairy Show for Lewis County and Washington State, and the 4-H Lewis County and Washington State Fair.  Here are some of the photo highlights:

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The 2014 Washington State Black and White Show

 

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Junior Champion – Grand Champion Female Washington State Black and White Show

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Washington State 4-H Show Junior and Intermediate Fit and Show Champion

New Calf Barn – We are almost finished with our new calf barn.  At this point we have raised almost 75 heifers in this new facility.  It is so amazing how a new facility does so much to help such a critical component of our farm.  Raising healthy heifers helps transition to healthy productive milk cows.  Here are some highlights of our new calf barn:

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The doors we uses to move in and out with tractors.

The doors we uses to move in and out with tractors.

IMG_1818 IMG_1817Healthy Happy Family – I am happy to say we have had a wonderful year as a family.  We had one child enter high school as well as our youngest 2 are now middle school kids.  We have transitioned to a whole new high school environment as well as a new principal at our Catholic School.  Our kids love school, love to play sports, and enjoy the farm.  While every day is clearly NOT “disney” happy, in general we are proud of what we were able to accomplish in 2014 and we are looking forward to what we can accomplish in 2015.  A few of our highlights:

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2014 National Holstein Convention

 

First day of snowboarding and it was successful!!

First day of snowboarding and it was successful!!

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2014 Western National Brown Swiss Show

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Too many great accomplishments to list with Zach’s favorite show cow!!

Looking forward to a new year with so many possibilities!!  We have many goals and stay tuned to see what the goals are for our farm and family for 2015!!  In the mean time, I will enjoy the rest of the Ryan Seacrest New Year’s Eve Rockin’ Party.  The ONLY time I will enjoy Ryan Seacrest……..                                                    

Insisting on Snowboarding

I have 3 kids.  3 kids means lots of soccer, basketball, t-ball, swimming lessons….. You get the idea.  Our kids have participated in all things sports with the exception of our youngest son who is autistic.  Every thing I have read and people I have spoken with usually same the same thing.  Team sports are very difficult for children with autism.  Our youngest definitely falls into this category.  Soccer – he could not be a part of the team because he did not understand and want to pass the ball and interact with his teammates.  Basketball – the buzzer was way too loud and again the interaction with the teammates.  T-ball -never even tried.  Swimming – worked a little better but couldn’t keep him paying attention long enough to move beyond the “guppy” level type class.  My husband had the idea that this year skiing would be our big gift to the kids.

I have to admit I was a HUGE skeptic.  As i hurried around looking for ski socks, gloves, pants, etc. I couldn’t shake the feeling this was going to be a disaster.  Especially because Joey has expressed that he only wants to snowboard.  When asked, he explained “I am really awesome on the wii”.  OK…….. So the husband, brother-in-law, and the kids set off yesterday for their first ski adventure.  I am happy to report Joey did amazing.  He would only snowboard and lucky for him, his super patient uncle helped him figure it out.

Another small victory in our journey with Joey.  When I listen to parents complain about all the different sports they are driving their kids to, instead of being envious because their children have the ability and desire to participate, I can now take comfort that we have found something Joey can do.

First day of snowboarding and it was successful!!

First day of snowboarding and it was successful!!

My Last Minute Gifts – Do I have the time??

My last minute Christmas gifts that my kids (all are on break!!) can help with.
Christmas is next week, and time is running short for gift buying. What could be more perfect than a gift that’s quick and easy to make and packaged with love? We have a large family and circle of friends so I spread the holiday cheer with a jar full of cookies.  It makes it more special when the kids have helped put them together.  My holiday favorite cookies are:

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

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Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Cookies for Santa

Santa-Cookies

We Survived Sedation and the Dentist

A few days ago I wrote about our impeding visit to the dentist with my autistic son.  I am happy to report he tolerated the sedation and dental work very well.  No parent is ok with having their child sedated or under anesthesia.  Unfortunately this was our only option to do some necessary dental work on our son.  I was worried about all the normal things you worry about but then it was amplified to whole new level because I had no idea how he would react.  The doctors prepared me for the “devil” child to emerge when he started to wake up.  “Oh great…….”  I am pleased to say all he did was act like he was waking up from a super duper nap.  No bad behavior, aggressive acts, screaming (the girl before him did plenty of that), or crying.  He simply took his own “sweet” time waking up.  I actually was able to breathe some relief when the doctor said he is good, you are welcome to go home anytime.  Later in the afternoon at home, he asked if he was ever going to have to wear that awful “gas” mask again.  I smiled and nicely stated “As long as you do a wonderful outstanding job brushing your teeth twice a day, you will probably never wear the gas mask again”.  It seems this is the motivation he needed to do a better job of brushing.  Another hurdle was cleared today………. what will the next one be??

 

Our son Joey who was diagnosed with autism at age 3

Our son Joey who was diagnosed with autism at age 3

Autism and a visit to the Dentist

My youngest son is Autistic and last week I posted a blog about the challenge of “Secret Santa”.  Well, we are working our way through “Secret Santa” week – just a few minor issues.  But now it is the Dentist.  No human on this planet likes going to the dentist – PERIOD!!  No one likes to have their teeth poked, scraped, drilled, filled……  I think there is nothing like a dental visit that generates a consensus among people about the “wonderful” world of dentistry.  But what if you have an autistic child?  It is a challenge on a whole new level!!  I am blessed that we have found a wonderful dentist in our home town.  She and her staff are so wonderful and understanding with our son.  But, when it comes to the cavities and such she prefers to have someone who specializes in pediatric dentistry.  Luckily, we have someone close (45 minutes away) who can treat him.  I would love to say that it has been all rainbows and lollipops.  It has been successful so far but now we have a very large cavity that needs attention.  I have 2 options, the traditional method that we all hate (the most painful shot in the world) or sedation.  Sedation scares me but after praying and trying to decide what would be best and most tolerable for my Joey it seems this will be best.  My biggest fear is that if we tried the conventional method (the most painful shot in the world), I would forever create a negative unpleasant experience that would forever make Joey want to avoid the dentist at all costs.  I fear that would be more dangerous and unhealthy for Joey.  So for now we will try the sedation route.  My hope is he will be so preoccupied about how hungry he is and maybe it will be easier for him to get through the procedure.  He will know that when he finishes this procedure, an amazing lunch of his choice will be his reward.  Wish us luck!!

Our son Joey who was diagnosed with autism at age 3

Our son Joey who was diagnosed with autism at age 3

A Boy and his Jersey

A Boy and his Jersey
Many friends talk about how moody, grumpy, hormonal, and genuinely difficult their 15 year old son or daughter can be. I am not here to say our son is perfect and does not have his moments (He does!!) But there is something about him and his 1st jersey. He loves her and takes care of her, it makes me so proud to watch. She responds to him and follows him in the barn. It is such a great relationship to watch. YoYo is such a special cow- she will never know the lessons she has taught our 15 year about life, love, and relationships.

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YoYo – A 5 year Jersey Cow

What does Autism look like? Many times p

What does Autism look like?
Many times people think they know what they typical autistic child look like. I am not sure where they get their idea or opinion but I want people to know what my son looks like. He is 10 years old and a highly functioning autistic child. As we enter the holidays, we are now working on the “Secret Santa” project at school. When you have an autistic child, normal takes on a whole new meaning. My son’s secret santa made a “wish list”. Without going into detail, if I had not seen this list my son would have bought him all of it. When does a “Secret Santa” deliver a Subway card, Pepsi, fritos, and other junk food. I must remember that I need to explain to my son the true meaning of “Secret Santa” and how we can fun with it. So while my son’s “Secret Santa” may be disappointed he did not receive junk food, I know I will have helped my son learn a more valuable lesson.