the moments that create my life

Friday, December 29, 2017

Hello 2018

This past year has been such a wonderful year for our family. I have stepped out of roles and into new ones. We took lots of great trips and saw great growth in several areas of our lives. We moved our family out of our local downtown area and started our little farming adventure. We've learned a lot about ourselves and our kids over the past few months and a lot about what our goals are. I'm sure that as we grow and expand to meet our goals over the next year that we will learn even more. 



 Over the past few days, I've been thinking about what our 2018 may look like. For right now, we are looking at having a few more breeds of animals hanging out around here! Hoping to really educate ourselves and our family (and anyone who will listen!) on the process of where the animals come from and how we can give them their best life while providing quality nourishment for our bodies. Hopefully we will grow some produce (if we can protect it from the chickens!) and really be able to bring our meals from farm to table! 





As is generally the case, our calendars are already starting to fill up with sports tournaments and BMX races that we'd like to make, business trips, and pleasure trips. My biggest goal for 2018 is to simply enjoy the life we've been given. I tend to get wrapped up in the stresses of making it to everything, saying yes too many times when I should say no, and having everything be perfect. This coming year, I plan to say no when I need to, purge the junk and simplify our lives, and just soak it all in. 





My greatest desire is that in all we do that we will be a light in a dark world...whether we are in a school, working on the farm, speeding around bike tracks, throwing softballs or lacrosse balls let it all  be done for His glory. We are ushering in 2018 with great anticipation for all that the Lord may do in us and through us! 




2017 was such a blessed and full year! Bring on 2018! We are ready for you!











Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Merry Christmas Weekend


Our family was blessed with the sweetest little Christmas. Our weekend was filled to the brim with quality family time with our entire group. This year we were able to stretch our visits out over four days which allowed us great quality time rather than rushing about everywhere. We love our crew and enjoy all of the time we get with them! It was such a sweet time celebrating the birth of our Savior with our kids and our entire families. 






Some group favorites as far as gifts go were all things Lightning McQueen and Cars 3, new rain/muck boots, and lots of legos! Everyone got some new Georgia football gear to wear as we look forward to the College Football Playoffs. Hess got his most wanted 'real blower' that actually blows leaves. Hutt has loved his Cozmo robot. Addi Kate got her top of the list item: a boy baby doll and stroller/carseat combo. 

I am currently trying to dig myself out of that weird funk between Christmas and New Years where kids are out of school and ALL OF THE THINGS need to be done, but none of them actually get done. Anyone else there? 

We have had just the best year this year, but we are excitedly and expectantly looking towards 2018.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Our newest little chicks


One of my favorite parts of living on a farm has always been the wonder of new life. No matter the animal, I have always loved seeing the birthing process bring forth new life. I have witnessed many a cow and goat give birth, but never observed chicks hatching in real life. 
So! In November, when one of our hens went broody, we jumped at the chance to hatch out some chicks. Our initial thought was to let her handle the whole deal on her own. It was still warm enough that I didn't worry and just let her do her thing. That is, until she kept collecting eggs and ended up with 28 (yes, twenty-eight!!) eggs that she was sitting on. The large amount of eggs was a little much as she kept rolling partially developed eggs out of the clutch, causing them to get mixed in to our egg collections if we weren't careful. Since no one wants to accidentally open up a partially developed egg, we decided to move our eggs inside our house to an incubator rather than set up outside since it was so cold.
This was an egg that accidentally got picked up
because it was outside of the clutch. Since the
development had clearly stopped, we used it as an
opportunity to show the kids the beauty and
wonder of creation.
 Initially, we brought the twenty-eight eggs inside and candled them. It was a little difficult to see a great deal of detail as our shells were dark brown and very thick. But it was so neat to see the development of veins turn into movement and eyeballs. Of the group, twenty-six eggs showed signs of development. We kept the other two eggs in the incubator just in case, but didn't have high expectations for them. The kids were faithful to check the incubator and eager to check development as often as we could. 



In early December, one early morning I just knew I heard bumping in the incubator. [I get up at 5:15 just about every morning. I don't like mornings. I don't like talking before my two cups of coffee. I have to get up really early to beat this crowd and not want to pinch their heads off before our day gets started.]I could never see it, but kept hearing it since it was basically silent in our house. I just left them alone and got everyone off to school. When I got back though, I heard chirping! Chirping! From inside the egg. As I investigated, I realized there were three chirping, moving eggs. 
I moved those eggs to another incubator and began the waiting process. The most valuable lesson that I learned during our first hatch starts here. Since our hen collected eggs over the time span of days/weeks, our eggs were not on the same development schedule. That one fact made it very difficult to keep condition optimal. Egg turning, temperature and humidity are all different at the varying stages of development. I had to move the eggs out of the larger incubator as they showed signs of hatching, but you're not supposed to touch them within three days of hatch. 

On our very first hatch day, we had four little chicks hatch. Two of them were flawless hatches. Two of them were not very beautiful to watch, a little worrying really. We didn't think they were ever going to make it out and may have broken a few rules to help them. 
Over the course of the next week and a half, we had a total of thirteen chicks hatch out successfully. Only one of those showed signs of weakness and an ability to really "get going". He was the only chick that died expectedly overnight after hatch. All of the others were completely healthy. After their twenty-four to thirty-six hours in the incubator, we moved them to our brooder boxes. 
 

Last Monday, we had two more chicks hatch that evening. One of them was the most beautiful chick that we had had so far. There were three other eggs showing movement and chirping. I went to bed hopeful for a lot of new chicks in the morning. I did hear the chicks chirping in the middle of the night, but groggily chalked it up to new chicks hatching. When I did wake up Tuesday morning, our newest chicks were dead. There were some partially hatched chicks that had died. Our remaining eggs had died and showed no signs of movement. I believe that our incubator thermometer had a malfunction. The eggs and chicks were very hot to the touch, but the thermometer was giving off a too cold temperature warning. 

We were admittedly a little sad and very disappointed. The first hatch has taught us many lessons. The most important one is to collect all of the eggs and incubate them based on a uniform development timeline. Doing so will make tracking and controlling conditions much easier. The second most important thing that I learned is to have multiple methods of temperature measurement. I did not have an additional thermometer in my incubator as I was using it in the brooder box. I may have noticed a temperature change had I had one. 
Overall, we were pretty pleased with our first hatch. We are now so excited to see what our chicks look like and whether we have hens or roosters. Our roosters are Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds. The hens that seem to have contributed to the clutch are Plymouth Barred Rock, ISA Browns and a Rhode Island Red. Their initial colorings are pretty interesting and look to be very unique! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Young Living Essential Oils

When Hess was only a month old, we learned that he has a dairy allergy. He was allergic to every milk protein, not just lactose. And he was nursing which meant this mama had to either completely take milk proteins out of her diet or stop nursing. So....out went the dairy. I was forced to read ingredients on every single thing I bought. As I read, I became so alarmed at what we were putting into and on our bodies. Reading labels turned into research and the more that I learned, the better I wanted to do. 
So, around six months later, I began researching essential oils as an aide for our bodies. I was looking at something to help keep our bodies above our wellness line (hello...baby at home and kids in school!), help everyone get the rest that they needed, and help combat stress and keep us calm. After I had researched and chatted around with people that I knew, I jumped and purchased my Young Living starter kit (eleven of the most commonly used oil + a diffuser)



Fast forward almost three years and those little bottles of goodness are a huge part of our lives. If we have an ailment or a need, we turn to our oils first to naturally help our bodies. Of course, we still believe in the wonder of modern medicine and absolutely believe there is a time and place for it. But we love our Thieves oil for immunity support, Lavender for a good night's sleep, TummyGize for upset bellies. 




If you don't use oils & want to learn more, you can email me, follow along @savannamcmichael or search #oilandco on instagram to see what all the fuss is about. 
I hope you'll join me on this journey so that we can learn more together! 
Monday, December 11, 2017

a surprise snow day

This weekend we got the sweet surprise of snow in Georgia! For me, it is always a big surprise to actually get snow. In Georgia everyone generally loses their minds, buys all the milk and bread, drives around like maniacs and waits in anticipation! I always try to downplay the prediction of snow because we have had quite a few very disappointing mornings were there just wasn't any snow! 
We were a little too far south of the bigger snowstorm, but we still got around an inch or so of beautiful white snow. We were a little jealous of our friends and family who were closer to Atlanta and further north that got 10-12 inches, but our kiddos were so happy to play in the little bit we got. This was the first time that Hess really saw snow and was able to enjoy the wonder of it. Addi Kate enjoyed playing with friends since she had gotten to go to a sleepover the night before, but our boys were just having the best time. They kept saying that it really feels like Christmas now and just couldn't believe we got snow before January! 


The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is
 a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world 
and wake up in another quite different, and if
 this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
 J.B. Priestley


Waking up to snow is something truly magical. We loved watching at the big, beautiful flakes falling from the sky. We just marveled at them, knowing they were all unique. We live in such a gorgeous world created by such a good, good God. One of my favorite things is seeing it through the eyes of my kids. We loved the cold, the extra snuggles, way too much hot cocoa and the opportunity to just take it all in! 

the boys are wearing my favorite snow bibs!
Similar ones here
They are great quality and have lasted through several
winters with both older kids. 




All of our snow was melted by just a bit after lunch. The sun came out and began to dry everything up pretty quickly. We were so thankful for our short time in a winter wonderland! Now, we have high hopes for the rest of this winter. Believing in some really great snowy times! (and thinking we may need to invest in a little more good snow gear!) 










Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Brothers

There's just something special about our pair of brothers that we have! At 4 1/2 years apart, it took them a little while to really become buddies, but now they are really loving and playing so well together. They are high-spirited, wildly adventurous and so stubborn! They are really good at making their presence known wherever we are.




It is so fun to see their little boy imaginations working together. They love everything American Ninja Warrior, fast cars, and bikes! BMX, lacrosse and trying to be exactly like their daddy are their most popular hobbies. We are always watching obstacle course races, talking about Bugatti's fastest car and their favorite Lamborghini that they're going to have one day! Reach for the stars, little dudes! 


There was a time when they really battled for attention and they still do at times. But, their little relationship is really becoming a beautiful thing in this season. Praying for their friendship to continue to grow and that it stays strong for the rest of their lives.