family

Faith for the Long Haul Involves Trust in Your Path

This morning on my drive into work, I started to reflect on some of the big changes that have happened in our life in the last year, and how much faith plays a part into success.

These past six months have been difficult for various reasons. It is a season in my life that I’m sure one day I will look back and see it as a small stepping stone and a time of profound discovery about my strength as an individual, a wife, a mother, and as our own little family unit.

I have quickly learned to adapt to changes – to rework – to think on my feet. Part of that is probably why I have enjoyed my roles in project coordination, management, and events, as there is always a fire to put out somewhere, a misstep to fix, or tasks to plan ahead on as part of an effective prevention plan. I continue to be convinced that hard work will win over a handout any day, and that work ethic plays a stronger role in the success of business deals, connections, transactions, and negotiations than anything else.

We will have been living in our little farm site for a year when May arrives. I sometimes forget how far we have come when I think about where we started with it. The big things that weren’t so fun that we did were a new roof, a new septic, new electrical, some new plumbing, and spray foam insulation throughout. I often forget about those major things we had to do first, when I see all that still needs to be done. I often catch myself wondering what our neighbors think of our poor yard or the weird front part of our house that we had to fix foundation on and remove a tree that looks so ridiculous…which it will for a while. I also tell myself, we can only do so much, especially when we are paying cash for all the updates, including the major ones. Uff-da. It definitely slows down progress. I see some beautiful renovations done in a month, and I’m just getting a finished kitchen ceiling a year later…not to mention the countertops still waiting to be installed.  It can be easy to feel discouraged when it seems as if we take one step forward with the house and then two steps back, but I try to tell myself, we are making small baby steps towards progress, and someday, all the trim will be finished…hopefully.

Where we started – no walls, completely gutted – and where we are today – a toilet, shower, tile, trim, and cabinet (and we do have a full sink top on now too!)

Our upstairs bathroom has undergone a significant transformation in the past month. I even had to remind myself at where we started with it. We completely gutted it and installed new walls, a new shower, new toilet and a new floor. I redid the solid oak cabinet that was in the bathroom – a good scrubbing and some paint later and it looked completely different. We are still searching for a few items to complete the bathroom (like a mirror and light fixture), but hopefully in a month or so it will all be tied together. Harper really loves having a big bath again needless to say!

We have been working to develop a plan for our farm-site that exists in 5, 10, and 15 year time frames. That often seems like forever when we could use it all right now! Our major things happening this summer are repairs to our shop and burning down the barn. We finally got the official “go ahead” with the fire department to use the barn for training. It will be interesting as my husband is already throwing out things like “water curtains,” “tanker stations”, and other firefighting terms. We are rearranging some of the critters to new homes to protect them from the smoke. Luckily, we have some amazing friends that will take the horses in temporarily during it all, and another friend busy building a small hog shed for us. The chickens will also be moved into a new building as we arrange the driveway a bit differently in the future. The plan is to reach some bigger goals of an office addition, some fencing for livestock, and reworking another shed for livestock in those 10 and 15 year plans. We have some amazing people on our team that believe in what we are doing, tell it like it is, and definitely build up our confidence that we can make it all work when there are plenty of days that seem to tell us differently.

I have really started to refocus my trust in Him. Sometimes it takes an infinite amount of strength to realize that He has a reason for what is going on in these various seasons of my life. When I seem to be saying, right now…He tells me to pause and wait. After a phone call to my sister a few weeks ago where she really stressed that I needed to give it all to God and truly trust in His plan, because later on, even though it may not seem like it now, it is the right path, and the right steps to take. Her words hit home. That I needed to remember who was in control of this crazy mess of a life I lead.

This is one of my favorite songs – Trust in You by Lauren Daigle – and I listen to it often.

Our journey has never been easy – we’ve had plenty of people tell us we should write a book with as much stuff that has happened to us before the age of 30, but like so many, we just keep plugging along. Hard work matters, even when it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. So when you feel like throwing the towel in, like you are getting nowhere, remember where you started, how far you’ve come, and all the hard work you’ve put in. That fire, that passion you first started with, is still there, it might just need some rekindling every once in a while. So for now, I won’t forget where to put my trust, and let Him fan the flame – it will all be just fine.

-Sara

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Introducing Harper Louise Hewitt

Almost 2 months later, and I am finally getting around to announce that we welcomed our baby girl,

Harper Louise Hewitt on April 16, 2015.

Our baby girl on day #2 of her entrance into this big old world!

Our baby girl on day #2 of her entrance into this big old world!

She weighed in at 6lbs. 12oz and was 21 inches long.

Harper Louise is named in memory of my father, who’s middle name was Louis.

She arrived at 7:35 pm after an overnight stay for me while contractions continued to increase and get stronger. I had an epidural around lunch time which finally meant I could get some sleep. We didn’t have any complications throughout the entire birthing process, until the next day. I ended up with a spinal headache from the epidural. It was nasty, and hopefully something I won’t have to repeat. I wish they would have told me that they had noted in my charts that they had a reflux of cerebral fluid back when they did my epidural and a whole lot of pain and a bad blood patch experience could have been avoided. I attempted a blood patch on Saturday before going home, to no avail. There seemed to be some miscommunication with lab, the nurses and the anesthesiologist on what needed to be done and what supplies were needed. I ended up going home with an unsuccessful patch with orders to drink lots of fluids and caffeine. By the time Monday rolled around, I told Mark that I was going to the ER for a second patch, as I barely could function to take care of miss Harper.

I am so thankful for my amazing husband who stepped right up to the plate and took Harper to her first appointment by himself while my mom took me to the ER. I had a different anesthesiologist and nurse, and 30 minutes later, a successful blood patch was administered. 100% better. My mom helped us out tremendously through all of this – so thankful for her. I came home that night and snuggled Harper as much as I could. I finally felt as if I could enjoy being a mom.

Miss Harper Louise

Miss Harper Louise

It has been challenging, rewarding, fulfilling and I wouldn’t change a single moment of it. Well, maybe I’d change all the spit up – reflux isn’t fun! You think you are prepared with 9 months to get ready, but they place this tiny little baby into your arms, and your entire world shifts. My heart is so full every single day watching her change and grow, worrying about every little thing, making memories with her and so much more. Something so tiny changes every waking (and sleeping) moment. I adore watching Mark with her as he is an amazing dad. From changing diapers to tummy time to going for walks, he does it all with her. Harper has him wrapped around her little finger, and he will fully admit it. I honestly never knew it was possible to love someone even more, but watching him with her has filled a whole other space in my heart. Our love for this baby girl is beyond words.

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I won’t lie – It has been a lot of coffee – bless my husband’s heart when he walks through the door with Caribou in his hand- loads of laundry full of pink clothes, pictures (check out that Instagram feed!), laughter, tears, diapers and a full vehicle for every outing. I now fully understand mommy brain. I also now know to pack extra clothes for myself and her for every time I go out. In fact, I keep an extra shirt in my vehicle at all times. I find myself trusting my instinct more than ever. I cried when Mark used the wrong bottle of  thawed milk from the fridge, and fully understand why mommas call it liquid gold. I have found a new relationship with my Television, and Harper will probably be a football fan with as many episodes of Friday Night Lights as we’ve watched. We are thankful for a baby who has been sleeping 6-7 hours a night since week 6. Don’t ask me how we did it – swaddling, lights out and a bedtime between 10 & 11 consistently apparently? I think we just lucked out. I have forgotten the stroller at home, more than once. I’ve nursed in my vehicle and totally respect mom’s who can do that for an entire year. I’ll just be happy if we can make it the 12 weeks of my maternity leave. That has been a challenge all on its own. Mark and I have laughed hysterically at baby burps, farts, dirty diapers and the number of outfit changes that happen in a day. Feed pails from Mills Fleet Farm work fantastic for soaking onesies in case you were wondering! We already made a decision on what age Harper will get her first pony at. Our nightly entertainment is now smiles, coos and laughter. We all have family tummy time together. I think I might like her toys more than she does at this stage. My mom already bought her her first Barbie. Family walks are more of a workout with a stroller, but a lot more fun too. I have learned to be more patient, something I was never good at before. I have been stretched to my limits, then stretched some more. I have been exhausted, only to get up and do it all again. I have relished in the sight of baby smiles, and perfected my singing voice with the ABC’s. I appreciate yoga pants even more now than before. Like most moms, I struggle with what my body looks like now, but work at it every day. I’m still working on the balance portion of being a mom, an employee, a wife, daughter and my own person – and I’m not sure there is ever a “balance” per se, but maybe a rearranging, a new normal with it all.

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Life sure is different, and if this baby girl is anything like the two of us, she will be giving us a run for our money. She has opened my heart to a whole new world of triumphs, hurts, worry, happiness and a future I am excited for.  I wouldn’t have our crazy life any other way!

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-Sara 

 

Halloween Fun!

Do you go all out for Halloween? Normally, living in the country, we don’t get many trick or treaters. Usually my niece and nephew and my cousins who lived up the road would come but that is it. Now that Mark and I purchased in town, we hope we get a few more trick or treaters! We have lights up, pumpkins out and a bowl full of candy ready to go.

Over the years, both of our families have sported some pretty awesome costumes.

Check out some of my favorites:

My brother and I for Halloween probably around 1995 or 1996. A witch and a clown.

My brother and I for Halloween probably around 1995 or 1996. A witch and a clown.

Beth, Mark and Ray probably around 1990 or 1991. A witch, Raphael-TMNT, and a cowboy. Adorable!

Beth, Mark and Ray probably around 1990 or 1991. A witch, Raphael-TMNT, and a cowboy. Adorable!

A group of us before going to some haunted houses in 2011. Karrie (Thing 1) and Brady (Hunter) are friends. The rest are: Dave, my brother (Maverick from Top Gun), Tara, sister-in-law (Cowgirl), Mike, my brother (Cowboy), Becky, my sister (Devil's Wife), Me (Thing 2) and Mark, (Indiana Jones)

A group of us before going to some haunted houses in 2011. Karrie (Thing 1) and Brady (Hunter) are friends. The rest are: Dave, my brother (Maverick from Top Gun), Tara, sister-in-law (Cowgirl), Mike, my brother (Cowboy), Becky, my sister (Devil’s Wife), Me (Thing 2) and Mark, (Indiana Jones)

Mark and Ray at a Halloween party in 2008. They both showed up as some form of beer. Can you tell they are brothers?

Mark and Ray at a Halloween party in 2008. They both showed up as some form of beer. Can you tell they are brothers?

At a Halloween party in either 2009 or 2010. I went as a Flapper and this will astonish you- I wore that same dress as a flapper in 2nd grade for a play!

At a Halloween party in either 2009 or 2010. I went as a Flapper and this will astonish you- I wore that same dress as a flapper in 2nd grade for a play! Mark is Maverick from Top Gun.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving! I love carving pumpkins! Finding Nemo is just one of the carvings I did this year!

Halloween Pumpkin Carving! I love carving pumpkins! Finding Nemo is just one of the carvings I did this year!

How do you celebrate Halloween? Do you go all out? Mark and I love to attend a local haunted trail that benefits the Fire Department and Community Center. Do you carve pumpkins? Decorate your house?

MN State Fair, Family & Legacy

The end of August. The end of summer. Yet, something magical awaits for those that dare go. Those that travel to Falcon Heights, Minnesota during the last weeks of August.

The Great Minnesota Get Together aka The Minnesota State Fair.

The Minnesota State Fair has a long running tradition in my family starting way back before I was even born, before the new Grandstand even existed. Back when there was still a race track, and a tunnel at the Grandstand. Back when the workers had a different colored T-shirt every year.

My dad started working the Grandstand over 35 years ago at the Minnesota State Fair. He eventually was Assistant Captain of Grandstand so he was kind of a big deal up there. He loved seeing all the people, greeting them, showing them to their seats. He did extra up there too just because he enjoyed it so much from unloading buses on the bus loop to working the Milk Run every year. He considered it his vacation. You only had 12 days, you made it fun. He would pack up my entire family for the 12 days and we would all stay in the campgrounds on site. Before I was born, it was in a pick-up camper, then a Winnebago, then a Coachmen, a year in there where borrowed a camper from a friend and then finally our big motorhome. It was a family affair. In fact, my brother and sister both went on to work at the State Fair too.

My corn-pops aka Dad who got our family hooked on the MN State Fair.

My corn-pops aka Dad who got our family hooked on the MN State Fair.

My mom and I visiting the Main Gate and all our friends at the MN State Fair.

My mom and I visiting the Main Gate and all our friends at the MN State Fair.

When they rebuilt the Grandstand, he switched to Captain of the Main Gate at the fair. Gate 5. The Big Kahuna. The gate puts more people through than any other gate on the grounds.

Now I guess you could say the MN State Fair is in my blood. After all, I’m 23 years old but have been going there for 24 years. Think about it. Yup. The joke around my family is that I was conceived at the State Fair.  Maybe that’s where my fondness for cheesecurds, milkshakes and creampuffs come from? I had no control, started before I was born.

Pancake Lollipop from Axel's anyone? My favorite part of the fair is the food!

Pancake Lollipop from Axel’s anyone? My favorite part of the fair is the food!

Some of my best memories are at the fair. Martha’s Sweet Cookies. Pickle Dog. Axel’s kettle chips. Bucket of Fries. Cinnamon Roasted Almonds. Turtle Cheesecake on a Stick. Kiwanis Malts. Footlong Hotdogs. Okay…a lot of my memories revolve around food. I may have even cried when they tore down William’s Diner on the fairgrounds. Okay, I did cry. But we did things like visit all the barns- the horses were my favorite. I got my first Build-A-Bear there, before they got big. I attended my first concerts from Christina Aguilera, Brooks & Dunn to Weird Al Yankovic. I watched animals get spayed and neutered in the Pet Center. I won t-shirts and other prizes. I watched the 4-H performing arts shows. The parade was at 2pm every day. You could see the fireworks from our camper. I was even interviewed by Darcy Poland from WCCO TV when the campgrounds switched to tighter spaces one year. It was a big deal. And let’s not forget the year Corndogus-eternus was a phrase all Minnesotan’s were saying.

I guess it was only destiny I would follow in my father’s footsteps and work at the State Fair too. My mom and I both started working the gate with him. I worked five years at the Main Gate. Four of them with him, one without. He passed away in 2009 in a construction accident. That year, I tried to work again. It just wasn’t the same. The fun loving guy who would buy the whole crew food from Jonathan’s family’s restaurant. Jonathan, is one of the lifelong friends I made while working. Or the same guy who made it so fun for us that Amee came back all the way from Florida just to work the fair. Amee, is another lifelong friend I made working on the gate. Or the fact that my Dad convinced my 8th grade teacher Mr. Timm to come work the gate, and he still does.

Visiting Mr. Timm, my 8th grade teacher, at the main gate of the MN State Fair. He's another person my dad convinced to come work up there.

Visiting Mr. Timm, my 8th grade teacher, at the main gate of the MN State Fair. He’s another person my dad convinced to come work up there.

We had a lot of fun in our 12 crazy, long days from things like catching all the fake, horribly drawn on stamps- sorry you aren’t that good at it, our code words for crazy things we saw, awful plaid pants, telling people sorry- no dogs allowed, and even busting fake tickets.  We put through thousands upon thousands of people each day through our gate. And yes, the gates close at 10. You can get out, you can’t get in.

The State Fair makes me miss my dad. But I also realize he left a legacy there too. Three of our friends from church now help operate the same gate. He got them all started and hired on his crew. They make it fun just like he did.  He has a brick down by the grandstand with his name on. He was also honored the last year he worked before he died as a MSF All-Star Award winner after he helped a lost little boy, as well as noticed a lady who seemed sort of confused and took the time to sit her down and help her. Turned out, she had Alzheimer’s and she was missing from her family on the grounds. When her husband came to get her at the gate, he had tears in his eyes. My father taught me a lot that day.

Me with my dad's brick down by the grandstand. I hope to one day honor him with a bench in his memory at the fair.

Me with my dad’s brick down by the grandstand in 2012. I hope to one day honor him with a bench in his memory at the fair.

Me with his brick in 2011.

Me with his brick in 2010.

This year, I feel honored in a way, to be working at the State Fair again, but in a different capacity. I am working the MN Farm Bureau in their building and in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center  with the Ag Cab Lab. This year, I feel like I’m honoring my dad in 2 ways: The State Fair and Agriculture in one shot.

The MN Farm Bureau building is located at 1305 Underwood St. directly across from the food building and is open from 9am to 9pm every day, August 22nd- September 2nd during the fair. This year they are featuring local authors, reading their books about farming. You can even enter a drawing to win these books! You can also complete a small quiz to try and win a insulated lunch bag. Maybe you have some questions about agriculture, you can talk to real farmers and ask them any question you have when you visit the Farm Bureau booth. Maybe you are looking for something to keep your kids occupied for a while for free, they can take a ride in the Ag Cab Lab, a real combine with virtual harvesting games on it. They can learn about the equipment a farmer uses on their farm while getting a hands-on chance to do it themselves. Ask a farmer a question, enter for a chance to win a set of children’s books, win a lunch bag, learn about Minnesota crops and get a recipe. Sounds like the best building on the grounds to me!

Meet us- real farmers and members of MN Farm Bureau and ask any questions you want during the MN State Fair!

Meet us- real farmers and members of MN Farm Bureau and ask any questions you want during the MN State Fair!

At the end of the day we know its about food. The farmers providing all that smorgasbord of food for the fair, and the fact that that is what we came there for. Food.

So don’t forget to get the garlic fries at Ballpark Cafe, and a Hawaiian Shaved Ice. If you stop at Gate 5, ask for the Captain, and have him tell you all about Marv Borchert, the guy who left a legacy at the gate.

Garlic Fries and Hawaiian Shaved Ice are 2 musts on the food list if you haven't  had them yet!

Garlic Fries and Hawaiian Shaved Ice are 2 musts on the food list if you haven’t had them yet!

The State Fair starts next Thursday, August 22nd and runs through Labor Day, September 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at the gate. Parking is available at the fairgrounds or shuttles are available. More information about the Minnesota State Fair can be found at mnstatefair.org 

Keep Families Farming

How many of you have heard about the new child labor law regulations regarding family farms? 

If you haven’t please go visit this website HERE

I cannot stress enough how utterly wrong these proposed regulations are. If they would get passed, Derek, Mark’s cousin who has been helping Hewitt Farms since he was 13 would no longer be able to help drive tractor or help work on equipment or anything of the sort. His work on the farm has been a learning experience for him about responsibility, safety and education. The money he earned, help him purchase his 1st vehicle when he turned 16 last year. Its okay for him to drive a huge truck according to state law, but not a tractor according to these new regulations. 

My niece, who is 6, wouldn’t be able to help feed our chickens or rabbit. She loves our silkies, whom she has named- Ruby, Glitter and Lola. Waffle, our rabbit, who gets shown in 4-H, would no longer be able to get shown and my niece wouldn’t be able to help with her. 

I was able to raise 5 cattle from baby on while I was in high school, and use the money for college. It taught me responsibility, the value of life and what it meant to be involved in something bigger than me. If these regulations go into action, I would have never been able to do that. 

4-H and FFA would cease to exist as the kids showing these animals would no longer be able to do so. Now think about that the next time you go to visit your county fair! No animals! 

Any equine facilities that you child may take riding lessons at and then help untack her horse or give her oats- nope, not happening! 

I urge you to visit that website or their Facebook page to see what you can do to help! Post it on your Facebook, send a letter to your newspaper…ANYTHING! 

Just realize that if these regulations go into action they will affect EVERYONE and not for the better!