And then the Sun Breaks Through the Clouds….

I’ve been working for the past 2 days getting the blog software updated and trying to come up with a post about our move.  I even have a draft written and pictures uploaded.  But I will have to save that one for later.

After being up noIMG_0642rth for six weeks I am not any closer to knowing why we needed to move so far away than I was before the move.  God is at work and even though I haven’t been faithful in my devotions he is.  I’ve wondered about the time I spend with the kids every evening reading a devotion and doing prayers. I’ve worried over not finding a church right away. We’ve had hay get rained on.  We’ve struggled to find storage for all the hay. The kids have been bickering and uncooperative. I feel clueless about which school we should send the kids. I’ve worried about whether I should try to find a job outside of the home or not.  We still do not have a closing date on the farm.Sun Breaking through clouds

So despite not having the answers I want to have, I want to share with you where we have seen God at work!  This evening while the kids I were out playing after supper, Paul pointed out the sun breaking through the clouds.  He wanted me to take a picture, so here it is. We had a good talk with his sisters about heaven.  Then the kids saw a small rainbow before coming inside.  Our devotion tonight was about Noah.  Again we had a good talk about the flood and how different the world is now.  Even Ruth who often stays out of such talk joined in. A glimmer of hope!  The house is very well suited to us, which is a huge blessing.
IMG_0605Jeremy has made all the hay here at the home farm and has enough additional acres lined up that he will be able to make hay until the snow flies! Our hay buyer is very happy with the hay we’ve made. While visiting the different churches we are making many friends.  Many who are praying with us that we find the church God has for us! We have met complete strangers who tell us that they’ve been praying for a family just like us to buy this particular farm and farm it.  For now this is where we need to be. God is good, we don’t need all the answers, just Faith and Trust in Him.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield;
    I hope in your word.

Leap of Faith

By now most of our friends and family know that we are moving 475 miles north to a new farm.  If you don’t I apologize, while I love Facebook for pictures and sharing, it has never seemed quite right to share about our move on there.  I am going to do my best and explain what has been going on the past year to cause us to take this leap of faith!

Jeremy and I have been learning more in the past years to listen to God’s leading and improve our relationships with him.  On Christmas eve 2010, a tractor showed up on our door step from a family who were growing closer to God as we now are.  Since then we have felt at peace with him continuing to farm.  He was offered an agronomist position in 2013 that allowed him to continue to farm.  It also allowed us to pray and open our ears to God.  At that time God clearly called me home from the workforce.  Everything has not been a bed of roses.  Jeremy travels a lot, and things have not improved for the farm.  While we were still making payments we knew that something needed to change. We just weren’t sure what.

Last fall God led us to find a farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with enough acreage for us to justify our current equipment and cheap enough to make it a feasible purchase.  It has been through a lot of prayer, and seeking guidance that in February we began the process.  The sellers were also praying and felt like out of all the potential buyers that we are the best fit for the property.  Jeremy will continue his agronomist job and will be closer to a lot of his clients.  We have been able to spend some time with the current owners and will miss them when they leave.

Everyone asks, if I am on board, and yes I am.  Once we started considering the property I felt like it was God calling us there.  In fact I’m really excited about moving to a new place and meeting new friends.  At the same time, I’m hoping for a lot of visitors and phone calls from down south!  While it doesn’t completely make sense to move a way from family, friends, and our established business here, we know God is leading us.  We are taking a leap of faith, and trusting him.  I’ve very excited to find out what he has in store for our family as “Yoopers!”

The property is an old dairy farm and includes a 5 bedroom farm house.  The kids are excited to be spreading out some.  We plan to keep one room for guests and also have plenty of room for campers.  Please keep praying as we need one more financial issue to be resolved but are planning to move up and rent the farm until then.  We will be keeping our current email addresses and cell phone numbers.

A Damp, Dreary Day

You know those days when you really just wanted to stay in bed?  When nothing is bad, but it doesn’t feel “right” either.  I have so many blessings in my life that I really struggle on these days.  No matter my best intentions, I am cranky and snap at my family.  I don’t understand why I can’t be happy, but at the same time I’m all wrapped up in what I don’t have.  2015 has brought about an incredible opportunity for the Sweeten family.  Many days we are looking forwards to the changes with excitement and anticipation. Spring fun!

But there have been many days when we all we could do is wait, and pray.  In my head that doesn’t feel like enough.  I want my hands to be busy! It came to me, (while changing yet another diaper) that these damp, dreary days are doing more than I can imagine!  After years of trying to have some nice spring flowers, I finally have some beautiful tulips and paper whites this year.  My peonies and hostas are emerging as well.  But they wouldn’t be able to grow and bloom without the rain and dreariness.  Yes they need sunshine and warmer weather too, but they need these days when it doesn’t appear that anything good is happening as well.

It is the same for us.  To grow and bloom, we need days when we learn to turn to God for our strength.  Even when things seem off and nothing is making sense.  He is there, his Holy Spirit intercedes for us, even when we pray the same prayer over and over.  Slowly but surely we will emerge into the men and women he desires for us.  For me I am slowly learning to turn to God, and know that in these times when I can’t see progress He is working.  In the midst of our crazy lives he is working!  How is God working in your life today?

IMG_2012Yet God my King is from of old,
    working salvation in the midst of the earth.

Psalm 74:12

No Grace?

January (ok so I had trouble getting this to work and now it’s February but this is still applicable) it’s the time of year where I get to work on the computer and figure out all the tax related issues.  Not my favorite job, but I have improved over the last few years.  While checking on some personal rebates from 2014 purchases I was informed that I was denied for the rebate due to mailing date.  An issue (in this case)that wasn’t my fault due to a wrongly dated rebated and shipping issue.  Despite contacting (even worse than working on taxes!) the rebate company I told me, “There is no grace period for issues like this”.  I wanted to get really mad as I had made the purchase counting on the rebate.  Heifer drinking

But the words, “No grace” stuck in my head.  How many times do I need grace and or need to give grace and do not give it?  Yet Christ gives us grace with each and every breath we breathe.  We are all sinners, without Christ we all fall short.  The winter of 2014 certainly did not give us much grace.  There have been a few weeks this year when it appeared 2015 was going to be the same.  Our automatic waterer froze up and cattle had to be watered from our pond.  Kids were out of school for 4 days straight!  Jeremy was traveling for work.  So I had to focus on being patient and kind with stir crazy kids.  It took a few days, but the kids’ are back into their school routine and the waterer thawed out.  I find it a lot easier to receive the grace God has given me when I am handing it out to others whether they deserve it or not!!  So when things aren’t going our way and we aren’t getting the grace we think we deserve, why not start with giving a little grace!

DSC_0038Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Christmas 2014

This was supposed to be published December 24!  Here it is anyway and I’m working on something for later today as well!


Christmas is nearly upon us and I wanted to share our 2014 Christmas card and letter!


Dear Friends & Family-

Four kids growing, growing, growing, and several trips kept us busy in 2014.

We went to Cousin Meri’s Florida house for Spring Break.  It was a long road trip for Henry and he did cry a good bit.  However we all had a good time.  We visited the beach, the Tampa Aquarium, the American Victory Ship, and the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  Mostly we hung out at Meri’s and swam in the pool!  Paul was able to fish in Lake Tarpon.  However, it is hard to catch fish with an alligators nearby!  We have also been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and plan to go to Texas soon.  Jeremy has traveled a lot for work and hunting as well.

Henry has been growing by leaps and bounds.  He crawled in June and was walking early November.  His choice of words changes daily (and their meanings) however, he does consistently sign a few words now. He is a happy toddler and loves playing with the big kids!

Amy is nearly 4 years old now.  Her language has exploded but she still needs an interpreter at times.  She enjoys being able to keep up with Paul & Ruth now.  At almost 4 she enjoys preschool activities and helping me at home.

Ruth continues to challenge us with her slender frame and creative side.  She adores kindergarten and her teacher.  She is just below average in size, but makes up for it in personality!  Having just turned 6, she loves to help and has a lot of friends of all ages!

Paul at 8 excels in school and enjoys hunting with Jeremy.  He dreams of 4×4 trucks with brush guards.  He is learning a lot of memory verses through a local church’s after school program.  He is counting down the days until he can shoot his own buck!

I have settled into my stay at home Mom role and really enjoy it!  We mostly hang out at home and try to keep up with things here.  I have increased my scouting acres and hope to continue to do so to help out with family finances.

Not only is Jeremy taking on more responsibility at work, he continues to make hay and raise a few cattle, and stay involved with the Denver Fire Department.  October was an interesting time for him as he had two surgeries for a detached retina.  It was scary for a while, however he is healing well and there is no reason to think he will have future problems.  His good eye is healthy.  He will need one more surgery in the spring.

I’m sure we will have many new tales to tell in 2015.

God Bless you all!
The Sweeten Family
Jeremy, Michelle, Paul, Ruth, Amy, & Henry


IMG_0266October brought some unexpected issues to the Sweeten Family.  Jeremy had to hurry up and finish up the hay season so he could have eye surgery.  He had a detached retina due to being born premature. We worried about what lifestyle changes he would have to make.  However, the doctor has assured that despite needing a second surgery 3 weeks later and 1-2 more in the future, that he should continue being as active as ever.  IMG_0264

IMG_0273We traveled to the Michigan Upper Peninsula for Fall break and saw some gorgeous autumn color.  We also did a lot of driving and enjoyed seeing how they farm.  It was a good distraction from doctor visits and surgeries!

So why the title “Thirteen”?  Ruth has been struggling with counting to 20.  Jeremy and I sat down with her and realized she could not pronounce 13.  She could say, Thursday, Thirsty, and so on but not Thirteen.  So we kept encouraging her and wondered about speech class. Last Saturday she came home from Grandpa’s proudly saying “Thirteen!”  Now it’s not perfect every time, she still substitutes fourteen on occasion. What a lesson this has been to me!  Did she cry and want to give up?  Yes she did!  Very loudly in fact.  Did it take sometime?  Yes much more than I expected.  However she didn’t give up!  God doesn’t give up on us either, even when we think he isn’t listening or can’t hear us.  His plan and timing is so better than ours!  To Him be the Glory!IMG_0317

Summer….is Here!

IMG_3616I mean nearly gone, though hot weather has finally arrived.   Kids are back to school.  We had a full summer of swimming, vbs, zoo trip, and helping in the garden.  Amy is adjusting to Ruth being in school and Ruth adores kindergarten.IMG_3643  Paul is doing very well and we had fun celebrating his 8th Birthday!  All the kids have gained inches. Henry is crawling and finally getting teeth!  We are looking forward to celebrating his first birthday next month. He is adored by all and spends a ton of time on my back.






I just completed the summer’s corn & bean scouting.  Lots of weed escapes this year due to early wet, and later dry weather.  Otherwise disease and insect issues have been minimal.  We had one of the coldest July’s on record.

IMG_4064   Farmwise hay making is stop/start with more stop than start.  It has been a huge challenge to put up any dry hay.  The big heifers left to go start their lives on a dairy and the 2 lonely steers will go to butcher soon. IMG_4081 We did plant a trial of summer annuals for a field day and they grew very well.  Now if only we could get a few days dry weather to get them harvested.

Spring is Here!

IMG_3407After a winter that broke all records, spring has finally arrived to northern Indiana.  The woodstove is still in use, however the spring flowers are blooming and Jeremy is planting hay fields.  Amy and I even found a newly hatched turtle.IMG_3513

The old minivan found a new home.  We decided we didn’t ask enough for it, as it sold 4 hours after I posted it.  However I fell confident it will be a help to the family we sold it to.     We replaced it with a new to us suburban.  Maybe having a 4×4 will jinx us into having a milder winter next year.

IMG_3508All seven of the mature steers have been sold and we have 9 heifers and 2 steers ready to hit this years’ pasture. We have been really pleased with the meat from these animals.

After such a winter we needed some sun!  We spent a wonderfully warm week in Florida for spring break.  The kids are expanded their swimming skills.  We visited the Tampa Aquarium, toured the American Victory Ship, and the Homosassa Springs Wildlife park.  We enjoyed the extra room in the suburban, but still managed to fill it up!  Paul and Jeremy spent one day hunting boars, so we had to allocate the room for the meat.IMG_3510

I did finally put away the winter coats and boots; however we are still awaiting warmer days.  Both Paul and Ruth have lost teeth, Paul’s was ready, Ruth’s wasn’t.  Planting has begun and Jeremy has multiple fields in various stages of readiness.  The garden is even partially tilled.  Hopefully this year my potatoes and onions make it into the ground!  I am planning on continuing my scouting service and have enjoyed scouting some wheat already.IMG_3519

Snowed in again…..

IMG_3266The winter of 2014 will be remembered at our house for many years!  We have snow and the extremely low temperature is making it very “squeaky” to walk outside on the snow.  Paul has had school cancelled more days than he has gone this year.  We have been able to send the kids out at least once a day to “blow the stink off” Ruth has gone from saying, “Daddy, I don’t stink” to asking, “Daddy do I smell?” IMG_3300


Of course with the cold temperatures come many other issues.  Our dishwasher has froze up twice.  Which is minor compared to reports from others of toilets, to whole houses.  We only had a few days this month above 25 degrees F. 


Our outside hydrant became an all day repair for Jeremy.  The young heifers needed water!  Yes they can eat snow, but with the cold weather it is much better for them to have fresh water. 


IMG_3287The minivan has been kicked out of  the garage so the skid loader could have its’ spot.  Not that we are going many places anyway.   


We cannot see the road from our house.  So it has been fun connecting with the neighbors to determine if we have been plowed, if we will be IMG_3306plowed, and who is stuck!  One big difference from this storm and past ones…. the internet and cell phones!  Apparently a lot of cooking and baking has been going in the area as well!  I know we have been eating well.  The break from going anywhere has allowed us to spend a lot of time together and even get the farm finances ready for tax season. IMG_3309

Hope everyone is keeping safe and warm! Rumors are that we may have another system later this week!  How do you keep busy when being snowed in?





Blizzard 2014

IMG_3233After a good snow last week and a blizzard this week,  we are up to 14 inches of blowing snow!  So far the critters are fine and no one has gone completely stir crazy!  Though we have been close!  We made it to church but had some trouble getting home.  Jeremy had to get out the skid loader to get the van up to the house. All the kids were able to play outside yesterday. They had a blast, but today the temperatures IMG_3245have been about -12 degrees F.   We let Paul go out for a while, but once was enough for him!  I’m hoping it warms up tomorrow!

IMG_3235Jeremy has been trying to plow out ourselves and the neighbors as well.  Life is never boring and I’ve been working on my patience by letting the kids make cookies.  Henry is growing out of his clothes so I have been sorting those.  He is a good baby and sleeps well at night.  IMG_3258

They have already closed school for tomorrow, so we get at least one more day to sleep in!  If you call 7:15 sleeping in!  We prepped for the storm by buying a new VCR to watch the 3 boxes of VHS tapes my cousin gave us!  It’s been fun sharing old shows with the kids!  I feel very blessed that I am home fulltime now and Jeremy works from the home office.  No wondering if we need to get out in the weather!  Our only concern is if Jeremy has a fire or medical run.  So far everything is ok.  It will be a few days before things are running normally, the snow is predicted to thaw this weekend.

Goodbye 2013!

IMG_3117The Holiday and Birthday season is over and we are looking forwards to a warm winter next to the woodstove.  Amy and Ruth are now three and five.  Both ready to start school!  Not sure how Amy will deal with being left behind next fall.  My favorite Holiday memory is being asked to give the Advent reading during our Christmas Eve Service at church.  It was a bit daunting to have all four kids up front!

Paul is enjoying his Christmas Break.  IMG_3182Hard to believe he is half way done with the 1st Grade.  He is reading chapter books now, though reading now has to compete with his favorite Christmas gift, his DS (game system).


IMG_3171Ruth and Amy received lots of accessories for their dolls, some movies, and other toys.  Both seem happy and with the cold we have watched the movies over and over!

We have adjusted to becoming a family of six.  Henry didn’t get much for Christmas this year.  However, he has become quiet adapt at giving smiles and a few giggles.  We have discovered that he adores his baths!IMG_3168

Things are pretty quiet on the farm.  Jeremy is selling baleage and hay.  The market is full this year, so we’ve been seeking new buyers.  The cold weather has been helping.  We have nine heifer and two steer calves who have added to daily chores.  Two grown steers are gone, and five more will be gone in three weeks.  Jeremy shot two deer this fall and the freezers are full!

2013 Forage Harvest is Complete, On to New Adventures!

We have an overabundance of white “marshmallow” bales and quite a few other types in the barn as well.  Jeremy is slowly getting equipment home and winterized.  Beans should all be harvested soon and then the only thing left to bale is corn stalks.  However, Jeremy hasn’t slowed down, he is back up to full time for his agronomist position and is out hunting when time and weather permits.  Paul is especially enjoying hunting this year.  One group of steers are nearly ready to be butchered, and we now have a second group of heifers for 2014 meat.  We are out of hamburger, so I’m back to being more creative with our meals. We still have four steers available as freezer beef!

IMG_2965We are all adjusting to having a newborn in the house.  We are finding a routine and even get to town at least once a week.  Some days go better than others!  However, we are focusing on enjoying each day as it comes.  Henry is growing well and becoming more alert.  I so enjoy snuggling with him and reflecting how much I have learned since Paul was born seven years ago!  God has been so good to provide a way for me to be home with the kids and I am extremely grateful to not have to be preparing for the end of maternity leave!

We picked apples last week!  Henry was snuggled in my wrap and barely knew he was out of his carseat!  So far we’ve put 5 quarts of apples in the freezer, made one batch of dehydrated apples, and 1 cream cheese apple crisp.  We still have plenty to peel, core, and slice.  Paul is learning to play basketball and the girls are learning to put shoes on to go outside! Life is never dull at our house!

God’s Blessings!

IMG_2714We are enjoying the blessing of a new son!  On Wednesday September 18, 2013, Henry Keith, was born at 7:43 in the morning via C-section as planned.  He was 6 lbs. 15 ozs., and 20 1/2 inches long.  Despite wanting a girl, Amy & Ruth are as taken with him as we all are.  Amy is quite proud and invites everyone to meet “my baby”.  Ruth wants to hold him and ignores him the rest of the time.  At the hospital once that was done she wanted to go home! IMG_2709 I think Paul was a little surprised to get his desired brother but also very happy.  Henry is healthy and growing well!  I am pretty sore, but healing and have been blessed by a lot of help from friends and family.

IMG_2691It was an incredible week with wonderful care at the hospital and so many times we can look back on when we felt God’s presence so very close.  It even rained a lot so Jeremy wasn’t tempted to be in the fields!

This week Jeremy is hitting it hard trying to get one more cutting in most of our hayfields as well as help a neighbor mow his hay.  It makes life a bit hectic!  However we trust God will see us to the end of this season just as he has the past ones!

End of Season & New Baby Preparations!

I am feeling very blessed that hot the weather has cooled off!  We finally had some more rain so should get one more cutting of hay in most of the fields and the soybeans should be bigger we hope!  That will have to wait a bit longer though since the forecast is calling for more rain and we will also be welcoming our 4th child!

Jeremy and Paul have been squirrel hunting quite a bit, but so far have only gotten one.  Both are ready to deer hunt this fall!  The girls have asked to go as well.  We will see if Daddy, gives in!

IMG_2658It has been very enjoyable to have the kids old enough to understand we are getting a new baby.  They’ve been pestering me for a week now to just go to the doctor to get him or her!  Overall I think we are ready.  Little clothes and cloth diapers are washed and put away.  Sitters are lined up.  The IMG_2657pantry and fridge are stocked up as much as possible.  Our church will be helping with meals, so that alleviates a lot of the stress.  My bags are mostly packed.  While a planned C-section certainly isn’t the ideal way for a baby to come, it does has its perks and I try to focus on them.

Here Comes September!

IMG_2507IMG_2500August was super busy this year.  The kids, Grandpa and I, did make it to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.  It was definitely the coolest August trip we will take.  The kids had a blast, especially playing in the fountains!

Jeremy made it to Ohio for his shooting matches and had a great time.  He has been making lots of hay.  Mostly big square bales finally the barns are getting filled!  Most of the rain has missed us, but stress levels have still been high.

We enjoyed participating in Denver Days.  IMG_2601Jeremy took a tractor for the antique pull, Paul took his bike for the bike rodeo.  IMG_2590The kids also were able to ride in the fire truck during the parade. Jeremy is briefly caught up.  So he and Paul have been enjoying the woods hunting for squirrels.

IMG_2617Tomatoes are going crazy and I’ve put up salsa and plain tomatoes.  We also froze some peaches and defrosted both freezers.  Paul is back in school and everything seems to be going well there.  The bikes have been repaired and all 3 kids are enjoying them.  Ruth cut her hair.  Not what I wanted but turned out ok.  IMG_2620

We are down to just over 2 weeks until our 4th child arrives.  While I’ve reorganized some of the kid clothes. I still have a lot to do!  Jeremy reminded me this morning that despite it being “Labor Day” I’m not allowed to go into labor.

Enjoying Summer….. or Maybe I should say Surviving!

IMG_2379While our garden is still waiting for us to finish planting, we have enjoyed some banana peppers and should be getting tomatoes soon.  Hopefully the potatoes, onions, and beans will be in the ground soon now that we have some clear days.  My sprinkler died last year and has not had to be replaced yet.  At this point I’m planning on waiting until the end of season sales!IMG_2387

Yes, after the drought of 2012, we have had more rainy days this summer than dry.  Jeremy is having one of his most challenging years yet.  Mid-June a 10 day predicted dry stretch unexpectedly turned into only 4 days.  We are still working on getting some of that hay up.  Thankfully we have found buyers. In the middle of all the rain the brand new hay rake has broken IMG_2391twice.  It should be up and running again soon.  We rarely buy new equipment, and this has been more than frustrating!  Wheat harvest has also commenced and we have quite a few acres of straw to bale. Praying this dry stretch lasts and Jeremy can catch up a little!

The kids and I went to a local u-pick blueberry patch this morning.  It was challenging keeping Amy & Ruth on task. However, Paul did a lot of picking, and with some help from some friends, we came home with just under 15 pounds!  I can’t wait to try some new recipes and know they will taste extra good this winter! We may even go and get some more! Ok so Mommy might find a sitter for the girls IMG_2364first…..

Ready to get some more garden produce in the freezer and cupboards before the baby gets here.  The countdown has begun!

The kids are enjoying the outdoor creatures, so we set up an old aquarium for some baby toads!  They are enjoying catching crickets and other insects to see what they will eat!  And Mommy is happy that they don’t bite, scratch, or smell!



Farming Season is Here and Paul turns 7!!!

037While it seemed forever at the time, it didn't take too long for spring to finally arrive to northern Indiana.  For a while it felt like things were moving in slow motion.  However time keeps moving.  The lilacs are blooming, weevils are eating the alfalfa, and Paul celebrated his 7th Birthday.       I've enjoyed being able to hang out the laundry and being outside!


094As I write this 2 fields have been successfully harvested and the upcoming possibility of rain has slowed progress as it normally does in May.  One hay mower made it's way to a new home in Iowa and has been replaced by a newer semi truck and hay rake.  It is still debatable whether or not the old hay rake will stick around or not.  Corn and bean fields have been planted all around us.  Hopefully our beans will be planted sometime in the next week.  Jeremy is learning the ins and outs of juggling a regular job and farming.  Thankfully it is a slow time for his job.

Paul and I are counting down the few days left of school.  We've enjoyed celebrating his 7th Birthday despite the hectic time of year.  The school even planned their field trip to the zoo on his Birthday!  Next week he graduates from Kindergarten.  He's not sure how he feels about that yet.  He is very comfortable where he is.  Many of the fields I will be scouting have been planted and will be emerging soon.

Birthday Cakes

A late frost last Monday made me glad the garden wasn't planted.  But now I am anxious to get the tilling done and get the plants in the ground. Next year I am definitely learning towards a No-till garden.  However this year we've been adding some gypsum and


Florida via Two Lane Roads

074It wasn’t really planned that way…..but then what trip goes as planned?  We left for our Florida spring break vacation on Good Friday.  We didn’t leave until 9:30, but with 3 kids knew it would take a while anyway.  When it    took over 4 hours to get to Elizabethtown, KY we gave up on the interstate. We saw some beautiful Kentucky and Tennessee country.  Three miles from our selected hotel Amy threw up, the hotel should be happy, we wouldn’t have stayed there otherwise.  Saturday started out pretty good, then we started seeing more taillights in Alabama.  So once again we took off from the beaten path.

We saw some beautiful hills, pecan groves, cattle pastures, and parks we would like to visit some day.  Finally about 11:15 that evening we found our destination in Tampa, Florida.

003Unfortunately the girls did not sleep in much Easter morning or any morning for that matter!  We had brought a ham with us and put it in the crockpot so we could have an Easter Dinner with all the family.  We spent the week enjoying the pool, visiting with family, and at the beach.  The kids did very well and took turns sleeping in the big bed or sleeping bag.  Even Amy, who had been in a crib up to that point! The weather was very nice!  We visited some new places and re-visited some older ones. 079

We headed north on the following Friday. Traffic wasn’t too bad until we got to Birmingham.  We made it through finally and stayed at a slightly better hotel in northern Alabama.

069The next morning we parted
ways with my Dad and traveled to Columbia, TN for Mule Days!  Paul had to get a cowboy hat!  He looks great in it!  We really enjoyed watching the National Pulling Mule competition and seeing the WIDE variety of mules ready for almost anything from riding to working to driving.  They were all sizes and colors.  We stayed several hours.  I would love to get a few more long ears and visit again once the kids are riding better!  Overall it was a very awesome restful trip!  We made it home late Saturday night.


It is hard to say when we will get to take another vacation or where we will end up!  But this one worked out great with the kids!  I’m very thankful to have some giving relatives who opened up their house to us!


Winter is not forever…….

Even though time has flown since my last post, our winter has been hanging on this year. We had more snow days in March than in the previous whole year at school. While we had several 80+ degree days in March 2012, this year our winter coats are still out and we have only enjoyed a few days over 50 degrees! Makes me realize that it truly is the extremes that are added to together to make the averages and the nearly nonexistent “normal”.

2013 has brought as many if not more changes than the previous years have
to the Sweeten Family. In January, Jeremy accepted a job as an agronomist for a forage and cover crop company. While he wasn’t looking for a job, we felt it was an opportunity he shouldn’t turn down. It has been a challenge to sync his new schedule which now requires some travel, with his fire fighter’s class and my school schedule. The job brings a long the perk of enabling us to pay off debt and he will get summers off to farm!

It was about that same time in January, that we discovered that our fourth child is on his/her way! While I have had a few early ultrasounds, the baby is doing well and is due September 25th.

The kids are growing fast and are looking forwards to having a new baby. They are divided as to whether they want a boy or girl. They have really enjoyed playing in the snow! Paul of course is convince a brother will be 10 times better than his current sisters.

While gearing up for the summer scouting season, I am also preparing for leaving my teaching position. I have been treated very well my first year back into teaching. It has been a very tough decision. Jeremy’s job
has really changed a lot of things. However I have always wanted to be a stay at home Mom. We’ve gone over finances and prayed a lot.

We ordered soybeans for several fields this year, and Jeremy has taken a lot of forage crop seed orders. I will be scouting at least as much as I did last year. We also sold the extra hay mower and are making plans to buy a new rake. So even with the snow still melting, we will be ready for the 2013 farming season. It will be here before we know it!


Online Christmas Card

Somehow this year, I’ve missed making my Christmas card and letter!  In some ways this blog has replaced that, though I know I will have to print it for a few non-internet friends.  The years go faster each year and we seem to be busier as well.  Our church not only left our denomination, but we also changed the church’s name.
We continue to grow both spiritually and in numbers.  So this year it was decided to do a picture directory!  I thought our picture came out well!

Jeremy had his longest hay season ever.  It began in mid-March with planting some annuals, and finally ended about December 8 with a broken tractor and a broken baler.  So Jeremy will have plenty to do this winter!  It was without a doubt our most challenging year, with the early start, drought, new big square baler, fencing building, and no heifers!  We do have a few steers that will be ready to butcher next year as well as Barney and Rusty.  So Jeremy has still had a few daily chores. We continue to learn to trust God to show us where he wants the farm to go.

My job with Ivy Tech ended in July.  It was looking pretty bleak at that time for the farming year.  So I scrambled to get my teaching license renewed and was rewarded with my first Agriculture teaching position!  Paul and I started school on the same day! He loves school and is doing well as a kindergartner. I am doing well also.  It has been nice to be on the school schedule and the girls enjoy going to the sitters on a regular schedule. We were all ready for Christmas Break!

Paul is reading many sight words. He can count over 100 and loves to play games on PBS kids. He seems to have outgrown his love of Thomas train, but is still a big fan of Cars. He changed his favorite color to Green this summer. He loves recess and lunch. The only issue his teacher has had is he wants to rush through his assignments. He is nearly to my shoulder!

We celebrated Amy & Ruth’s Birthday on December 15th this year.  Ruth turned 4, is completely potty  trained, loves Dora, babies, the color purple.  She knows her colors and can count to 10. She will chatter your ear off about tractors, combines, and kitties.

Amy will be 2 and loves anything the other two love. She is very loving and even lets me rock her on occasion!  She is catching up to Ruth in size, which makes life interesting. Her favorite animal are cats, and she also love to imitate elephants!

I was able to write my second devotional/planner, and am really happy with the results.  It is amazing what you can get done, with the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear!  Please let me know if you would like one!  I’m hoping to start next years during my summer break!  My Agronomy business is also growing! I picked up some soil sampling, though it was interesting getting samples pulled between school and Jeremy’s busy fall.  I have plans to continue scouting during my summer break.

Jeremy is really enjoying his time with the local emergency response unit and is taking classes to be on the fire department as a fire fighter as well.  He also has been cutting firewood and is working on wood for the 2013-14 season!

We hope and pray everyone has a wonderful Christmas season!