The Toyn Homestead

Our adventures as we attempt to balance work, family, and our small homestead

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 19)


Just before we moved in, our next-door neighbors (a quarter of a mile down the road), had decided to take a job out of state. At the beginning of August, they contacted us to see if we would be interested in buying any of their sheep that they had to leave behind. Nick and I discussed it and decided to buy 3 ewes. One evening, we walked down the road to grab them and bring them home. We weren’t quite sure what to expect as far as trying to catch them and “walking” them back to our house. The owner’s brother met us there and what followed can only be described as a rookie rodeo. After some time, Nick was able to catch the 3 ewes we had chosen.
As we “walked” the sheep down to our house, I heard sudden screaming from Kylie. I ran to catch up to her only to find she had been stung by a bee on her head, and the bee was still stuck in her hair! I quickly grabbed a stick and was able to get the wasp out and kill it. I knelt down next to my 2 year old daughter and said “Sweetheart, I know your head hurts, but before I can help it feel better, we have to get back to our house. I need you to be super brave and run with me as fast as you can.” She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said “Ok, Mom. I can be brave.” Then, that brave little girl ran a quarter of a mile to our house without stopping! We got home and I gave her some Ibuprofen for the pain and swelling, pulled the stinger out of her head and put some baking soda paste on the sting site. After about 5 minutes, she was fine and wanted to go see the new sheep.
Since Brennan and Brayden had gotten to name the goats, the smaller kids got to pick out names for the sheep. Emma named the white ewe Isabella. At 7 years old, she was the biggest, oldest, and loudest. When she “spoke” it would scare everyone. It was almost like a loud belch. She was also the friendliest, and was the first of the sheep to let the kids feed and pet her. Austin got to name the brown ewe. He chose the name Rosie. Rosie had just been born a few months prior to us getting her, so she was a little bit smaller than the other two ewes, but she had this beautiful light brown fleece that was so soft! After a few days, she stopped being scared of us and would run up to all of us as soon as we went outside. Kylie got to name the badger-faced ewe. She named her Panda because she had black circles around her eyes. She was so proud that she got to name her and constantly referred to Panda as “my sheep that I called Panda”.
The sheep quickly got to work eating what had quickly become a very overgrown pasture. I spent a lot of time in the pasture that summer getting to know the sheep and goats and letting them get to know me. It was my favorite place to be.

The kids watching Nick catch the sheep.

Got one!

Poor sad Kylie, stung by a bee.

Our new sheep. Left to right: Isabella, Panda, and Rosie.

Left to right: Panda, Rosie, Isabella.

Last Baby-First Day of Nursery

Kylie’s first day of nursery was on Mother’s Day. I suppose it should have been exciting for me, seeing as for the last 8 years I’ve almost always had a baby or two with me all through church, but it was so hard. I feel like she’s growing up faster than I can handle. She hardly even seems like a baby anymore. She is so independent and always want to do everything the older kids are doing. I love watching her grow, it just seems like it happens way too fast! At any rate, we sure do love this little girl. When it was time for her to go to nursery, she walked right in like she had been there a million times before. After a minute, she looked back at me and the look on her face seemed to say “Mom, you can go now. I got this.” Of course, I’m a baby, so I cried. She had a great time and loves going in to nursery every week.

Memorial Day 2015

We had the best Memorial Day weekend this year. Friday evening, my mom and Lynn did a BBQ since all of my siblings were in town. It is always good to spend time with everyone, even if it’s just for a little bit. My siblings really are my best friends.
After the BBQ, we headed home and waited for Matt and Caramie and their kids to get here. Friday happened to be Matt and Caramie’s anniversary, and they still came to visit us. We felt so special. We let the kids play for a little bit Friday night then got them to bed, knowing they would all be up bright and early the next morning. Saturday, we headed down to my mom and Lynn’s new property to have some fun. They bought some property right on the river and it’s amazing. The day was spent “camping” there. We roasted hot dogs and did a little fishing. The fishing was so good that we caught a fish with every cast! Every kid was able to catch a fish. Lynn also gave all the kids a ride on his new tractor. I think out of all the kids, Austin enjoyed that the most. Lynn actually let him steer (brave man), and Austin’s was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. After a few hours, Caramie and I took the kids to play in my mom’s little stream and cool off while Nick and Matt cleaned up from the “camping”. We got the kids to bed and sent the men out to grab some dinner and bring it back to the house for a little double date.
Sunday we went to church and just let the kids play and watch movies. We also got some beads out and let the kids make necklaces.
Monday we headed out The Village to let the kids watch the dancing fountains. It was a hit. Then we went and played at the park and ended our weekend together with a pizza picnic at the park. It was hard to have Matt and Caramie leave after such a great weekend. It really was so great. The kids got along about 98% of the time, which is pretty amazing when you stick 9 kids in one house. I hope they can come play again soon!

Austin Turns 3

In December, Austin turned 3. It’s always tricky finding time to celebrate a birthday that falls 3 days before Christmas, but so far we’ve managed to make it work. On the 20th, my step-brother Brian got married, so that day wasn’t an option. We opted to celebrate with the family on Sunday, December 21st. It was such a fun evening. We made dinner for everyone, then opened presents and had cake and ice cream. He got puzzles, 1st responder toys, clothes, a matching game and a little plane he can take apart and rebuild.
Austin is such a fun kid. He has both a contagious smile and laugh. He loves to wrestle with his brothers and is always a good sport to play dolls and dance with Emma. He has been a big helper with Kylie, and recently as she has started to reach down when I play her diaper, he always run over to me when I’m changing her and grabs her hands to help me. Austin recently started preschool with the school district. He has been a late talker, so he qualified to attend preschool and get some extra help so he will be ready for kindergarten in a couple of years. When he was tested, he was only talking as much as an average 18 month old, but his understanding was equivalent to an average 5 year old, so he’s a smarty pants, but for some reason that “they” haven’t found yet, he just hasn’t been verbal. I was not ever worried that he wasn’t learning, I was just looking for a little help for him because he would get frustrated sometimes when I couldn’t understand what he wanted. Well, he’s been in preschool for a month and a half now and he’s blossoming like crazy! He is already much more verbal and he loves going to school. He has a best friend, and everyone from the crossing guard to the teacher calls him “smiles” because of his contagious smile. Austin is just awesome and I’m so glad I get to be his mom.

December Recitals

In December, we got to attend Emma’s dance recital, and Brennan and Brayden had their first piano recital. Seeing my children improve and learn new skills is one of my favorite things as a mom. Emma just lives to dance. Last year, she took ballet and loved it. This year, I found a different dance teacher that incorporates ballet, hip-hop, and tumbling in her classes. I switched her over to this teacher, and I’m so glad I did! She does an amazing job and Emma’s dancing has improved even more than I could have imagined in just a few short months. She was so excited for the recital. She did 2 numbers and had the time of her life. This recital was much more entertaining for those of us watching than last year’s ballet recitals. The music was lively, the dances were fun, and it didn’t take 3 hours, which was awesome!
I started teaching Brennan and Brayden piano lessons in July. I was really nervous to teach them myself, but they kept begging me to just teach them something about the piano. I relented and told them I would teach them as long as they didn’t give me a hard time and didn’t fight me with practicing. So far, they have really surprised me. They haven’t given me a hard time at all, and they are really enjoying it. They are learning quickly and it’s fun to see the different strengths they have. I hope I get to teach them for years to come. In December, they had their first recital. I have 12 students (2 of them couldn’t make it to the recital) and I split the students up into 2 recitals so they would be short since i know people are busy and they don’t want to spend an entire day at a recital when their child is only playing for a few minutes. The recitals were both great. I’m so proud of all my students, and it was fun to get to enjoy being both the teacher, and a mother of 2 of the performers. Each of my boys played a solo and I got to play a duet with each of them as well. I’m so proud of my budding pianists and my tiny dancer!

Kylie Bear is One!

On November 7th, my little baby turned 1! On her birthday, I took her down to my mom and Lynn’s house for a photo shoot. Shauna and my mom got some adorable pictures! Kylie loves the camera and the camera loves her back. The next day, we had a little party. First, Kylie opened presents. She got a lot of cute clothes, a toy dog, a shape sorter and a baby doll. Then, we had chocolate cake and ice cream, which was the highlight for Kylie. That girl loves chocolate!
We are so glad that Kylie is part of our family. She makes us smile every day. Here are some of the things we love most about out little lady:
-She is always happy. Even if I have to wake her up from a nap (which is every day) she just smiles at me.
-She talks! She has said so many words, including: mama, dadda, nigh-nigh (night-night), gin (again), more, no, done, Bubba, uh-huh, Diggy, uh-oh, Na-na (Shauna), and ru-ru (barking like a dog).
-He cute little waddle-walk. She started walking at 10 1/2 months, but now she is finally walking all over.
-She gives the best hugs and kisses.
-The way she folds her arms for prayers and “prays” along with whoever else is praying.
-Her tiny little toes. She has the littlest feet and can still wear size 0-3 month shoes.
We love you Kylie. Thanks for being part of our family!!

It’s Outta Here!!!

*Warning: This post might be too much information for some. If the word “uterus” makes you uncomfortable, please read no further.

My uterus has been causing problems for quite some time. The problems started probably after my second c-section and got worse after each birth, but I knew we needed to have more kids, so I was trying to tough it out and deal with the issues. When I was pregnant with Kylie, I began discussing the problems with my doctor. She thought I probably had something called adenomyosis, for which the only cure is a hysterectomy. I was feeling like we were probably going to be done having kids after this pregnancy, so I was kind of hoping my doctor could just do a hysterectomy when she took the baby via c-section, so I would only have to go through the healing process once. I was pretty disappointed when she told me I would have to wait for about a year after the baby was born to get it done. This past year, I’ve been in a lot of pain and so exhausted from bleeding about 17 days a month. I made an appointment to see my doctor for the beginning of October and was surprised when she scheduled the operation for October 22nd. The next 2 weeks were filled with me trying to prepare everything around the house because I knew I would be out of commission for some time after the surgery. I was still in a lot of pain and exhausted, so this was quite a struggle. With my mom and sister’s help, I got some freezer meals made and made arrangements for the kids to be taken care of afterward.
I was really nervous the morning of the surgery. We had to be to the hospital at 8:00 am, so my mom came to our house at 7:30 to take care of the kids for the day. She did awesome getting the boys to the bus on time and getting Emma to and from preschool, and then watching the little kids all day, and being back at the house before the boys got home from school. It helped me so much as I was laying in the hospital to know that the kids were taken care of. I’m sure by the end of that day my mom was exhausted and wondering how she was going to take care of all these little kids for another week or two!
The doctor told me I was supposed to be on the couch for 2 weeks. No laundry, no cooking, just resting and getting up to go to the bathroom. It’s been a week and the hardest thing is having to sit on the couch, while everyone around me is scrambling trying to keep up on all of my work in addition to their work. I haven’t had much pain, but I don’t want to overdue it and have my body take even longer to heal. The other struggle I’m having is the emotional factor. My baby turns 1 next week and it seems so final. I’m done having babies. I’m done making my family. I know people think I’m crazy for feeling that way. I’ve been blessed with 5 beautiful babies, and I am so grateful for that. It has just been a lot more emotional than I expected it to be.
I feel like I’ve got one more week to be completely back to normal. I start teaching piano lessons again a week from today. I’m sure my mom is ready to be done being a full-time grandma, so I’ll have all the kids back full time. I’m terrified that I’m not going to be able to handle it all, but I’m going to do my best. Thanks to everyone who has helped me out this past week!

Decisions, Decisions

I have never enjoyed having to make decisions. I’m what some might call indecisive. But, it turns out, as a mom, I have to make a lot of decisions every day. I have to make decisions that not only affect me, but also affect my husband and kids. Sometimes, this is really hard for me. Tomorrow, Brennan and Brayden will finish their fourth year of school (2 years of preschool, a year of kindergarten, and first grade). They have always been in the same class. A couple weeks ago, their teacher called me and asked me if I wanted them to me in the same class next year or have them separated. I told her I was going to need some time to make a decision.
I talked about it with Nick. Neither of us were sure what we should do. We talked with the boys and asked them if they wanted to be in the same class or be split up. They had different answers. I consulted their teacher. She thought that they had done well together this year, but thought that separating them might give them the chance to find their own strengths instead of comparing themselves to each other. Then, she added that she would be moving up to 2nd grade next year and Brayden was currently assigned to her class, but she asked the principal to let her have both boys if we decided to keep them together. The decision kept getting harder to make! Their teacher is wonderful, and I’ve always been scared that if I separated the boys, one would have a great teacher, and the other would get a teacher that wasn’t so great. After many nights of prayer and lots of pondering and weighing the pros and cons of each choice, I decide it was time to split them up and see how they do.
A few days after the decision was made, I got a call from the school to let me know that Brayden had tested into the challenge program. While I was thrilled that he did so well on his tests, I was also not sure if I wanted him to actually be in the program. While Brennan is very bright, he already thinks he is stupid because Brayden does even better than he does in school. That’s all he can see. He doesn’t see how well he is doing. It doesn’t matter that he has mostly 3.5s in all of his subjects. Brayden has some 4s. It breaks my heart that he doesn’t see how smart he is. It breaks my heart that he can’t see himself through my eyes. I worried that sending Brayden to a challenge class once a week would make Brennan feel worse. However, after talking to the challenge coordinator and going over Brayden’s scores, I just don’t think it would be fair to him for me to not let him have this experience because I’m afraid his brother will feel bad. I’ve spent a lot of night in tears lately because I’ve had to make these two decisions. I really hope I didn’t mess up! Thanksfully, Nick has been there every step of the way and we were able to make these decisions together. I know I’ll be really nervous when school starts, but hopefully it will all turn out ok. I’m so glad I get to be Brennan and Brayden’s mom. I just wish it didn’t involve making so many difficult decisions.


In the past year, I have started and completed a number of knitting projects. I really enjoy knitting. Most of my life is filled with noise and things that need to be done in a hurry. Knitting gives me a chance to do something quite, and take my time to make something beautiful while reflecting on the crazy wonderfulness that is my life. Nick got me some new knitting books for Christmas that had some new challenging patterns in them. Nick encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and try difficult patterns, and I’m glad he did because I love how they turned out and I had a great time making them, even though I had to restart a couple of times. Some of the things I made last year include:

-A BYU blanket for my mom and Lynn. I knitted 88 small, individual squares with a bunch of different patterns. Then, I sewed the squares together to make sort of a quilt top. My mother-in-law helped me add some soft minky backing and satin binding. I love how this blanket turned out. It took me over 150 hours to make, but I wanted to do something special for them since they do so much for me and I had never knitted anything for them before.
-Hats for all of the kids. I had never made hats before. I was scared to try because I didn’t know if I could figure out how to make them the right size. After some trial and error, I made a hat for each of my 5 kids. They turned out great and the kids loved them!
-Baby boots for Kylie. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I was really worried that these wouldn’t turn out. At first the pattern seemed so complicated, but it wasn’t that hard! The hardest thing was using such small needles. They will be for Kylie to wear this fall/winter. I’m going to make another pair of these for my sister in law’s niece that was born about a month and a half after Kylie.
-Mary Jane baby shoes for Kylie’s baby blessing. I added some extra pink bows to make them even cuter.
-A baby blanket for Kylie. I found this awesome pattern called “entrelac” that looks like a bunch of knitted squares woven together. Nick had to encourage me to try this one because I really didn’t think I could do it. My mom helped me add backing and binding to this one to make it extra soft and cuddly.
-Baby blankets for our new niece and nephew. I used a fun new chevron pattern for both of these.

I am currently working on three additional projects. I am making a baby blanket for my cousin, who is having her first baby in August, and I’m making big, quilt-type blankets for Brennan and Brayden’s 8th birthday. I’m really excited about some of the fun new things I tried last year and I hope that I can continue to find fun new things to try.

Here are pictures of some of the projects. I couldn’t pictures of Brayden or Austin’s hats.

2 Month and 3 Month Pictures

Our little baby turned 3 months old today.  The time is going by so quickly that I haven’t even gotten a chance to post the pictures that Shauna took when Kylie turned 2 months old.  Here are some pictures of our precious little princess from last month and from today.  I just can’t get enough of her!

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