Category Archives: Having a baby abroad


Live the life you love, love the life you live.

~Bob Marley



Photo credit Wendy Dechambeau


Happy First Birthday Marley Jo Geer.  You share a birthday with your Grandma Teresa, and that means the world to me. A day that was once one of sadness has turned into one of the best days of my life.  I can only imagine that this was her way of saying “I see you guys and I’m looking out for you.”

Some would argue that this was supposed to be one of the most challenging years of my life trying to care for a baby, a 2 year old, and a 3 year old. It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, but after going through the “terrible two’s” twice now, and having a “threenager” I think maybe the next couple, or the teenage years, may give it a run for it’s money. Please, I’m begging you, take it easy on me.


Before this year I never really understood the saying “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Really everything seemed so long, but this year has flown by in my mind.  Maybe because everything was moving so fast. Your brother and sister always on the move, never ending work and tasks to be done around the farm or house, and you Marley, just seemed so completely content to be along for the ride. You have been the happiest baby.



Riding floppy. Photo credit Wendy Dechambeau


You grab attention and hold it anywhere you go.  From the time that you were a tiny baby you find and lock gazes with me or anyone you want attention from.  A quality I hope you keep, but guard well as you grow.  The world is a scary place my dear and I think that you will gather attention wherever you go.  My dream for you is that you use that attention to make the world a better place.



Photo credit Wendy Dechambeau


This year we really found our village here.  People went from close friends to family.  They were all here for us.  To help with your brother and sister when I needed a break 9 months pregnant, to keeping us going when you and your sister were in the hospital with pneumonia, even volunteering to brave all three of you so I could have an afternoon with your daddy.  Life without them would have been much more challenging, and there wouldn’t have been as much fun or love.  I’m so grateful you have so many people who love you and protect you.



Tracy and tiny Marley on one of the days Tracy came out to give us a hand.




Our Christmas cookie exchange party.



Nancy and Caroline admiring our tiny tree.





All dressed up like Nancy.


And while I am so proud of myself for surviving this first year with all of us fairly unscathed, it is bittersweet for me.

I’m already missing our newborn days together, but watching you start to explore and be in command of your own choices is thrilling.  You already know how to play.  You love to zoooooommmm your cars just like your big brother, and cuddle and take care of your stuffed animals and babies just like your big sister. You adore water, playing in sand, and eating dirt (trying to anyways) and do the best Chris Farley impression.




Photo Credit Wendy Dechambeau




All my girls. One of our first days together.


I won’t feel a tiny human move inside my belly again. I won’t again know the anticipation of what a new baby will look like, or the giant decision of what in the world to name another human. But my body is mine again, and it can start to return to it’s own shape.  No more exhaustion, food aversions, or body aches because growing another human inside you is a lot of work.

Marley and me

I can now leave a room for two minutes without worrying.

But you guys are more independent now and while I’ve longed for the tiniest amount of space, that space hurts just a little right around my heart.

Marley, may you be strong, independent, happy, always feel loved, and know how important it is to give love.


Your Momma




Did you know that trying to get a one year old, two year old, and a three year old to take a nice picture all at the same time is a little like herding kittens?




She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And up she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin’ at all.


It’s funny how time passes.  I look at the clock and an hour passes in what seems like seconds, at other times five minutes feels like an eternity. How is Gus two already?!

Oh!  The dogs are barking.  Is someone here?  Wait, it’s 2 in the morning, I hope no one’s here.  I hope they aren’t chasing the cats.  Should I go outside and check?

Is that someone looking through the window?  Nope, just my plant.

I wonder if Gus is cold?

These are the thoughts and conversations I’m having with myself while I’m up in the middle of the night with a certain baby.  Who hates to sleep.  I may be loosing my mind.  I wonder how long someone can keep it together running on so little sleep, because I don’t think I’ve slept an entire night since Gus was born nearly 2 years ago.  And I’m positive I’ve had, at the most, 4 hours of consecutive sleep at a time since Caroline was born 7 months ago.  Lately (like for the past month) 2 hours at a time is the norm.  And this girl likes to party.  We have little parties a few times a week in the middle of the night.  She will decide that rolling around like a mad women is much more entertaining than sleeping.  Because her crib is too small for such shenanigans, she prefers my bed.  It’s my job, apparently, to make sure she doesn’t dive off the bed or suffocate herself.  Usually these parties last about an hour or so, that’s about the time she tires herself out and we are allowed to go back to sleep.

Good thing she is so darn cute


How can something that feels so rewarding, be so boring, exhausting, and infuriating all at the same time?  Hello parenthood, I hate you and I love you.  But I’d love you even more IF YOU WOULD JUST LET ME SLEEP.

So it’s been awhile since we last spoke, I’ve been trying to keep everyone alive, while also not succumbing to madness from sleep deprivation. Priorities.

We ended August saying goodbye to Sam and Amy.  They became our family, and the moment they left their presence was missed.  We were back to teaching the ways of the farm to new volunteers every couple weeks, I had to adjust to being able to take care of Gus full time.  Amy and Gus went on adventures every morning while I took care of Caroline and worked on my end of the business.  So many adjustments.  Sam knew the ins and outs of the butcher business, and I don’t think we will have anyone cut bacon better than he did. Frankly, life seemed a little empty there for awhile.  You can follow their adventures on instagram at karmathekombi.  I know they will go far, and I can’t wait to watch.

We’ve had some really interesting and great volunteers come through in the last couple months.  Andres and Amy from the U.S. And England.  Cami and Dennis, a French couple.  Tim from New Zealand,  Elaine and J.J. from Ireland (Elaine could be my best friend if only she accepted Tuna in to her life) Sam from the U.S. and Adrienne and Lawrence from Canada.

Shawn and Gus got to go to the United States for a couple weeks.  I was very jealous, and it was very quiet around the house.  The quiet was especially felt in the mornings and evenings.  No one dancing on the couch, asking to go for a walk or play “choo choos.”  (And that’s just Shawn) I thought the quiet would be nice, it wasn’t.  I realized how wonderfully full my life is.  Isn’t there a saying about this?  “You don’t realize what you’ve got till it’s gone,” or “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  All those apply.

They got to spend time with Grandma Betty, Grandma Jesse, and Gus got to hang out with all of his cousins, Aunts and Uncles, and of course his Nana and Papa.


Isn’t this how everyone travels?


Go Gus! Proud Mommy over here.

Something very cool happened while they were there.  I am apart of a Mommy Group on Facebook. We all have babies the same age as Caroline, well they put together a care package for me that Shawn’s mom picked up.  It really was such a cool and amazing thing.  All these ladies I’ve never met in person pull together and help each other out. So much love and support, I was honored.

While they were gone our good friend Washington helped the volunteers harvest honey from the hives.  So far its been a great year for honey, the bees have been busy.  The volunteers who helped learned a lot and Washington really enjoys teaching.  My house smelled amazing too.


Photo credit to Amy (of Amy and Andres) some honeycombs from one of our hives

We think it was such a successful honey year because we had some late rains at the beginning of the “dry season.”  Ecuador has two seasons, Rainy Season (during the North American Winter) and Dry Season (North American Summer).  The rains encouraged the Eucalyptus trees, which are abundant here and from which the bees get 99% of their honey, to bloom late.

Big Momma had some heartbreaking news (our big sow).  We thought she was pregnant, but as the time for her to give birth came and went we realized something was wrong.  Dany (our vet) came out, turns out it was a phantom pregnancy.  We just can’t catch a break these days. Everything else on the farm is trucking along.  We have 10 “piglets” running around. Everybody had their pastures moved around some, and the rainy season has begun which is always a refreshing change.

image2 image1-1

Caroline has started to eat solid food, sits up by herself for the most part, and is starting to be mobile.  I fear crawling is only about a month away.  She loves her walker and bouncer, and really likes running over her brother.  From his screams you would think it was a train running over him, and he was tied to the tracks because he doesn’t get out of the way. She does this adorable thumb sucking thing too.


First food!


Gus is quite the jabber mouth, he adds more words to his vocabulary every day, and practices them constantly.  We’ve started preparing him for potty training, which has also added some great words to his repertoire. He loves trains, and trucks, and spotting airplanes flying overhead. He will help you out doing anything you ask him to.  Wanna dance? Just turn on some music and he’s there ready to bust a move. He can jump, pretend to be a frog or bear. You’ll know if a dog or cow is within your vicinity as he promptly moos or barks when one is near.  There are quite a few cows and dogs on our drive to town.


Helping with lunch


Finger painting fun


Some of my girlfriends and I are throwing a Halloween party and Gus will get to get dressed up and go trick or treating. I am not going to miss this particular tradition with my kids, and we are so lucky to have friends willing to help. I’m sure I’ll have lots of pictures to share.

The tradition of trick or treating and getting dressed up for Halloween is not something they practice here.  Shortly after Halloween, on Nov. 2nd is the Day of the Dead.  The indigenous bring a meal to the cemetery and have a meal with their ancestors, remembering and celebrating them.  They make bread in the shape of babies and horses, and a drink called Colada Morada out of the tiny wild blueberries that come in to season this time of year.

November and December bring visitors!  An old roommate and good friend is coming down in the beginning of November.  I think it’s been about 3 years since we’ve seen each other. I’m ecstatic to show her around our paradise, and meet her husband for the first time.

Shawn’s family comes in December, and we are going on vacation!  The Mindo cloud forest, sightseeing in Quito, and the beach for a few days, who hoo! We are using AirB&B for the first time, I’ll let you know how that experience goes, but the thought of my two children sharing a room to sleep in is already giving me anxiety. But who knows maybe Caroline will figure out this sleeping thing in the next two months and it’ll all go smoothly. (Hopes and dreams eh?)


Here’s what I’ve been reading/watching:

This fed my adoption bug – The Child I didn’t adopt

This is pretty rad, a language that’s around us all the time as it’s the native tongue of most of our neighbors, this Girl rocks out some Michael Jackson in Quechua.

Cotacachi from the air – so cool

Chronicling The Adventure

imageMr. Edward Magorium
37 seconds.

Molly Mahoney
Great. Well done. Now we wait.

Mr. Edward Magorium
No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.”

Well, it’s been quite awhile hasn’t it?  We’ve been pretty busy over here at the middle of the world.  In fact, baby number 2 should be here by the end of the month.  Ahh!  Gus is a busy, energetic, 16 month old toddler.  He has his own agenda every minute of every day and definitely lets us know what he wants.

It feels like a lifetime ago since I’ve updated this blog, and in the Internet world it probably has been. But in my everyday, day to day life, time has passed in the blink of an eye.  We’ve had litters of piglets, many volunteers, lost a cherished pet, lost a litter of piglets, and I’ve grown a whole new human.  I think back trying to decide what to write and I don’t know where to start? But when did all of this life happen?

Then I realized it happened while Gus and I were chasing after cows mooing like mad people. It happened when I looked at the first little stick with a plus saying we were going to be a family of four, and then the second little stick because I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It happened when Gus didn’t just start walking, but seemed to start running right off the bat.  It happened while we were in the United States visiting family for the holidays, but desperately missing Shawn at the same time. It happened while we buried our beloved Marley, and then the world seemed to unravel on us in one week.

So I’ve decided it was time to keep all these things written down again.  Another huge life changing event is upon us, and like Grandma Betty so wisely pointed out, I’m going to appreciate writing these events down, reflecting, and most importantly letting my babies read them when they’re bigger so they know what our life was like when they were small.  Their crazy parents who decided to leave the norm and chose to give them a different kind of life here in Ecuador, one that may take a little more struggle at times, but when I watch my one year old son climb a fence so he can play with some pigs, or run to the mora (berry) vines to have snack, I know it’ll all be worth it.
And this life will be the ultimate adventure.














Five Months Under Our Belt

“How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet
“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” -Pooh

Ugh, I’m embarrassed I’ve neglected writing for so long. I’ve written this blog, the next one after Gus’ 1 month blog 4 times now! But for some reason I just haven’t posted it yet. SO MUCH KEEPS CHANGING! It’s nuts! It takes me a lot longer to write a blog now (you know, the baby business) by the time I feel like I’m ready to publish, its been a month and life is so different. I can’t keep up. Just when I’ve gotten used to something, everything flips around again.

Gus is officially 5 months old. He giggles, from way down deep in his belly. Probably the best sound in the world. What makes him giggle? Monkey noises, his daddy tickling him with his whiskers, leg tickles, rib tickles, fart noises (which he’s got really good at imitating, thanks Daddy) toe tickles, Ecuadorian ladies fawning over him speaking Spanish to him, little tosses in the air, and playing airplane. We have a lot more fun now that he’s less delicate, and more rough and tumble. The gymnastics coach in me had a hard time in the newborn phase, I didn’t know how to “play” with him, and was worried I’d break him.

Smiley Monster

Smiley Monster

He’s rolled over a few times by himself. He scoots when he’s laying on his tummy. He ADORES standing, and pushing off his legs. He stares at his hands intently, and has found his feet. He will put anything in his mouth, my hands, his hands, my chin, toys, clothing, you name it he will chew on it. I’m pretty sure we will be seeing a tooth sooner rather then later. I’ve given him “tastes” of avocado and banana, which confuses him greatly.
Gus and Mommy

Gus and Mommy

Up until about a week ago Gus didn’t pay much attention to any of the animals. Now he watches the cats intently when they walk into the room. Reaches for them, and touches them when he can.

Gus & Cuddles
We visit the piglets, he smiles and laughs when they nudge him. Piglets and babies, you can’t get any cuter than that.

Gus and piglets

Gus and piglets

After a week long protest he’s back to sleeping 8 hour stretches at night, then back to sleep for 3 more. The week he turned 4 months he woke up every.single.hour. I almost lost my mind. We discovered he liked sleeping on his side, and it’s been a lot better since then. Even with my rocking, walking, and nursing him to sleep, all those no-nos I did, he prefers to just roll on to his side and go to sleep. I almost cried the first time he did it. He was fussing nonstop while I was putting him down for bed, I laid him on our bed to give my self a 10 second break, low and behold he rolled on his side and was out like a light. I pray everyday that all our children have the same sleep habits… Not holding my breath though.
(Of course I took a picture the first time)
Beautiful sight

Beautiful sight

We got to go to Quito and he now has his American birth certificate, and passport, as well as his Ecuadorian passport, and I.D. To get his American identification we had to bring in medical records, pictures of us and me pregnant, Ecuadorian paperwork, and sit through a pretty interesting interview. All the Ecuadorian identification was easy peasy. Less then an hour in the passport office. I am very relieved to be done with it all.
Passport photo

Passport photo

So What’s Been Going On At The Farm You Ask?
We had a new litter of piglets born to CiCi. They were adorable of course. There was one little guy we were worried wouldn’t make it. He was either kicked in the mouth, or was born with a defect, but he had a really hard time nursing. We’ve been feeding him milk in a bowl and he has since started thriving. He’s still the littlest one but he sure has a lot of spirit.
CiCi is the only pig left of her generation. Saying goodbye to Muddy was really difficult for me. I had to leave the farm for the day.
Muddy’s piglets are getting really big. They aren’t quite as friendly as their Mom and Aunts and Uncles were.
We’ve had to say good bye to some cows. Sabastian, Two Horn, Salvador, One Horn, Mercedes, and Josephine have all been sold. We still have Loki and Perdida and are hoping they will make the next generation of cows for the farm.
The garden is back in full swing and it’s beautiful. We’ve been going behind the pigs and planting. Most everything is still seedlings but it’s really exciting to watch everything grow.
Josephine, Mercedes calf

Josephine, Mercedes calf



CiCi and her new brood

CiCi and her new brood

Newly planted garden looking pretty good.  Can't wait for everything to grow

Newly planted garden looking pretty good. Can’t wait for everything to grow

As for me…?
Of course everyone says that the first 6 weeks are the toughest. Things have certainly fallen into a routine, but I don’t think Gus has gotten any easier or harder. What I think changed was me. I became more at ease with what life as a mommy is. I’m not nervous or anxious about much anymore. I no longer worry that he’s sick or hurt when he cries, babies cry. Most of the time he’s just a little bit bored, or teething, or hungry, or tired. All of which I am confident that I can fix now.
Gus - Brent_03

Gus - Brent_02

Gus - Brent_01
Christmas was VERY tough for me. I had this little being and his great daddy, both were incredible, but I was a little lonely and homesick. All holiday seasons since my mom died have been bitter sweet, but this one seemed more intense. I read an article about having children after the loss of one of your parents, it really resonated with me. I can’t find the blog again, I wish I had kept it, but it talked a lot about how having a child reopens the wounds of loosing a parent. I look at Gus and think about how much my mom would have loved him, and how much I wanted her to see me as a mother. As Gus grows more and more people say he looks like Shawn, and I agree, but when I look at his eyes I see my mom, and I’m grateful.Gus floor

Officially Eli Gustavo Geer , But It’s Gus to Us!

My love, my heart, my new reason for existing is here. “They” say you will never feel love for something like you will for your child. It’s true, I didn’t believe them, but here I sit, after 10 days of fretting and worrying, and loving, and living for this little bundle of cuteness, I’m totally enamored and in awe of him.
I actually went into labor on my due date. We went in for an appointment early in the day. They checked to see if I was dilated (I was 1cm), NOT a pleasant experience, and hooked us up to a monitor. In the 40 minutes they monitored us I had about 5 contractions, but I couldn’t feel them. Gus’ heart rate was dropping too low for my doctors comfort so I was told to come in at 7am to be admitted the next morning. I didn’t make it that far.
By 8pm that evening I was having contractions I could feel, by 11 they were intense and 5 mins apart. By the time we left the farm they were 3 mins apart. We arrived at the hospital in Ibarra at midnight. Doc Viteri arrived shortly after, I was still only dilated 1 cm, he estimated I still had about 8 hours to go. Holy WOW contractions are intense! A couple hours later I opted for an epidural. Women who can do this without one, I commend you.
Unfortunately, after the epidural everything came to a screeching halt. I stopped dilating, and my contractions slowed down.
By 5:30pm – ish the next day, yup 18 hours and a few doses of pitocin later, (Nov. 6th, my dad’s birthday and Shawn’s brother Nick’s birthday) I had still only dilated 8cm, the doctor decided to break my water. As soon as he did that Gus’ heart rate dropped very low, and they rushed us in for a Caesarian.
Definitely not my ideal birth plan. In hindsight had I known the epidural may have had that dramatic of an effect on the progression of my labor, I would have tried to tough it out. But who knows, if my water had broken naturally if Gus’ heart rate would still have been unstable, they might have had to do the c-section anyways? Lots of ifs. But we made it, and we’re grateful both of us are healthy and happy.
The hospital stay was better then I expected, well, except for the very first night. They didn’t have enough hospital rooms, so Shawn and I got a bed in a “room,” in the emergency department, (they stored things there too, so one might have called it a closet as well.) Shawn slept on the most uncomfortable looking set of chairs, poor guy. I’m a lucky girl, he held my hand, reassured me, and was my rock through the whole thing. I commend myself for making such a good choice in husbands.
A note on a few things.
First, circumcision is not a common practice here. So we were thinking about whether or not to have Gus circumcised, and asked the doctors about it. Our doctors didn’t do it, turns out a urologist does them here, and the method was different then the way it’s done in the U.S. It was also a very expensive procedure in the grand scheme of the Ecuadorian health care system. One of those situations where I wish I was armed with more information, and a better grasp of the Spanish language. Something I definitely need to work on so that I can be a better advocate for my children. It’s not fair to always rely on Shawn for communication.
Second, the administration at the hospital is similar to the administration most places in Ecuador. It was our responsibility to keep track of most of our records. It’s our responsibility to register Gus’ birth, and we need to do it with in 30 days. I wonder how many unregistered births there are here?
Finally, payment for everything is expected up front. We literally couldn’t leave until we paid our bill in full. Could you imagine if the U.S. worked that way? Keep in mind that we opted for expensive health care, but our 3 night hospital stay, which included a c-section, meds, food, doctor fees, the whole 9 yards, came to a grand total of a little more then $2000. Almost $700 of that was Gus’ circumcision. Not much compared to American standards and we were satisfied with our care.
As for the last 10 days, there have been ups and downs, mostly ups. I am lucky (knock on wood), my newborn sleeps about 4 hours at a time at night, and we’ve fallen into a routine of going to sleep around 8, waking a couple times in the night, and then sleeping until 5:30/6:00 in the morning. We have some bumpy moments at meal times. It seems when I’m eating he wants to be “Gus Grumpy Pants.”
So here are a few things I’ve learned about being a mama in the last 10 days:
1. If you projected baby noises, the cute coo ing ones, over a sound system, you could end wars.
2. Meditation is necessary to breast feed.
3. Hormones are intense, and make you do crazy things, even when you are completely aware they are crazy. Like irrationally checking over and over that the baby is breathing, that there is nothing that could get in the way of his breathing, and that he’s laying in a safe position, and that noise you heard wasn’t him choking, and, and, and… Holy crap for the first few days at home I pretty much sat and stared at him.
4. Reading, researching, is no substitute for advice from those who have come before you (I miss my Mom.)
5. All of us that are first borns are tougher then those who have come after, we absorb the mistakes of inexperience, go ahead and argue with me Abbey.
6. Little tiny beings can get really dirty quickly… How?
7. I may not be so great with high stress situations when it comes to my kids.

Lastly, Shawn’s dad, Papa Tom, has been staying with us for the past two weeks. He left yesterday, boy were we sad. It was amazing to have him around. Sometimes I feel like we live on our own little island out here. I know I talk about missing family and how important they are to me a lot, and I know that our families are just on the other end of the phone/Internet, and have demonstrated they would do anything for us, but actually having someone around was different. I felt safer, and comforted by his presence. He helped us out so much, from taking care of the animals, to bringing Shawn PB&J sandwiches in the hospital, to holding Gus so I could eat and everything in between. I realized I have this beautiful family because Shawn and I have amazing families.

So here we are, the beginning of the Shawn and Lindsay Geer family, brought to you in part by the collaboration of the Geer and Numedahl families.

Our very first picture together.

Our very first picture together.

Looking like a little angel.

Looking like a little angel.

He's already looking at me like that.

He’s already looking at me like that.

Kittie protection

Kittie protection

Gus and Daddy post bath

Gus and Daddy post bath

Looking Back, As We Look Forward

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Rather ask – what makes you come alive? Then go and do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” – Howard Thurman

The house is so quiet. The last couple of volunteers we will have stay with us until after the baby is born just left. This is the first time since June it has just been the two of us, and one of the only times over the last year we haven’t had a traveler or two staying in our home. Funny enough, this is probably the last time we will just be Shawn and Lindsay, I’m looking forward to enjoying the peace, quiet, and intimacy of the next few days.

We have been hosting volunteers for a little over a year now. I was curious what everyone has been up to and where they are now so I sent an email out to everyone we’ve had the privilege to host at our house. We’ve had over 40 young people stay with us. Five of them have been traveling by bicycle. We have had people from England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Australia, France, and the U.S.A. These amazing people have helped us build a greenhouse, an earth sack building, part of our house, and multiple other small structures to house our well, our water pump, our septic system, worms, and some newborn pigs. We’ve sodded and planted a very large garden, planted over 200 trees on our property, erected a fence to protect garden and trees from hungry cows, and given those cows a new corral area. We have built a new driveway, with a new gate. They’ve helped us raise countless chickens, six dogs, six cows, ten pigs, and three kittens. We have had some great times, and eaten some great food. Watching the farm evolve with the help of these amazing people has really been a gift. We have learned so much from these people, and hope we have been able to teach them about the way we live.

I received some great responses to my email, many are still traveling, in South America, as well as other parts of the world, some are back in college, others have kept in touch with some of the travelers they met here at the farm, one volunteer is even working with a NGO in Nigeria to eradicate polio, they are amazing people. There is hope if these are the kind of people to shape the world.

Steve, Leah, Mona, and us at Lake Mojanda

Steve, Leah, Mona, and us at Lake Mojanda

Chris and I on the beach

Chris and I on the beach

Chiqui, Emily, and Jose in front of earth sack building

Chiqui, Emily, and Jose in front of earth sack building

Christmas dinner with volunteers Tom and James, and good friends Justin and Kerry

Christmas dinner with volunteers Tom and James, and good friends Justin and Kerry

Ali and I in silly hats

Ali and I in silly hats

Shawn, Spud, puppies, and Luna

Shawn, Spud, puppies, and Luna

House crew: Mauricio, Charlotte, Dek, Paul, Rosie, and Jon.

House crew: Mauricio, Charlotte, Dek, Paul, Rosie, and Jon.

I wish I had pictures of everyone, but these were the only ones I could find. If there are any volunteers reading this that have any I would love if you passed them on.

I am on week 39, and am getting impatient. I am prepared mentally (I think) for labor, but I am terrified of going past my due date too far and having to be induced. I keep thinking I will know when the day comes and will feel different somehow, but so far I feel the same, tired, big, uncomfortable, and cranky. I had a burst of energy today after the volunteers left and cleaned the house in anticipation of not wanting to do it later, Shawn’s dad arriving, and an uncontrollable need for the house to be clean.

I need to introduce the newest farm family member. His name is Seven, he is dog number seven (creative naming I know). He showed up last Saturday, by Sunday he was sleeping under the car with Manny. Now most would say that the last thing we need is another dog right now, but it was fate. The fact that our pack of dogs didn’t run him off was a miracle, and he was so skinny and emaciated we couldn’t turn him away. So now the little bugger is sleeping in our fireplace (where sick dogs recuperate), and we took him to the vet yesterday who thinks he’s about 5 months old. He is trusting us more and more, and slowly gaining confidence and energy.

My visa has been approved, which is actually really pretty ironic, since I can go pick it up anytime, but most definitely won’t be traveling to Quito anytime soon. By then the baby will be born, and I will automatically be eligible for a visa as a dependent on the baby, which would have been much easier then what we went through for me to be a dependent on Shawn’s. We basically had to prove Shawn’s visa all over again. We did all of my visa on our own without a lawyer, and it was pretty easy. I did need someone who spoke better Spanish than I to help out at the office, but they were very kind, helpful, and even have someone there who speaks some English, and the requirements for the visa are in English on the Ecuadorian website. There was, as always, the bureaucratic run around. We needed multiple official or original copies of the same documents, all of which seemed to go to the same office. But all in all a little bit of hassle was worth saving us the $800 it would have cost to hire a lawyer.

We will have to go through some of it again once the baby arrives. We will have to register his birth here and with the U.S. embassy, and if we want to travel home with him he will first need an Ecuadorian passport. All that information we found here Children born in Ecuador

I hope my next post will be pictures and a birth story of our little man. But until then here’s a picture of Dirk and Tigger.

Crazy Daze

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King

Whew! So here’s what has been going on, and there is quite a lot since I last wrote (I am aware that it was a VERY long time ago).
I feel like we haven’t stopped moving.  You know a couple of posts ago when I said I didn’t think we could get much busier?  Well I should have kept my mouth shut. 
The first exciting news is that we have a new calf on the farm.  “One Horn” the one horned cow has been pregnant for what seems like forever and finally, out of nowhere, gave birth to a baby boy we named Loki.  Loki is the Norwegian god of mischief, and my sister was hoping I would name the baby Loki.  I don’t think I’m ready for a mischievous first born, we have more experience with cows at this point, so I thought it was a good name for him.  It fits him well, even his birth story fits.  (But as I write this I’m thinking that our cows may be mischievous enough and I may have made a mistake).
One morning all of the cows were missing and Shawn went to go find them.  They had made it past two fences into a distant neighbors field.  What Shawn thought would be a quick trip to grab them turned into a couple hour ordeal as he discovered the new born calf and momma.  In the end he wound up carrying the calf out, with momma, and our stubborn bull who refused to leave them, in tow. We still aren’t entirely sure why he was so protective of them.  We are almost positive he isn’t the daddy, but it was possible he was protecting his chance to mate with her when she goes into heat again. So now we have Loki, who runs and plays, even teases the dogs.

Loki's newborn picture

Loki’s newborn picture

At this time the only volunteer we had staying with us was Spud.  Shawn’s cousin Dan had headed out to continue his travels.  But boy did we need more help.  The house construction was in full swing. So we lined up four volunteers to come, but the earliest any of them could make it was the next weekend, and Spud was leaving.  So we did something we had never done before, we accepted a last minute volunteer request from an English couple.  Charlotte and Mauricio have now been with us for four weeks.  Those two plus four more volunteers and we have one full house.  Dek, Paul, John, Rosie, Charlotte, and Mauricio have been life savers though.  Without all of them this addition project would have taken A LOT longer, been more expensive, and I may have lost my mind.  I am so grateful. 

Right when Charlotte and Mauricio arrived I realized that I was about to be an illegal immigrant.  My tourist visa was about to expire, like in days.  I had gathered all the documents I needed in the U.S. before I came back to Ecuador.  Lucky for me Charlotte went to college to be a translator.  So her and I had to make a few hurried trips to Quito to apply for my permanent residency visa.  I will be a dependent on Shawn’s visa, and it was fairly straight forward.  They even have a gentleman there that speaks English (not that we needed him, I had Charlotte).  The website has all the different types of visas with the required documents on it, and in English.  Just a lil bit of luck and research before I left the states saved us about $800 in lawyer fees.  

I also had a doctors visit.  I have been having to see the doctor about every 14 days because I had developed polyhidraminous.  It’s a condition that affects 1 in 100 pregnancies, where I have too much amniotic fluid. I have never been so scared in my life.  Half of the time it means I have gestational diabetes, but I was tested for it and tested negative.  Half the time they don’t know why it happens, and means nothing except that I’m more uncomfortable.  The reason I was scared was some of the time it means there is something wrong with the baby.  He keeps the amniotic fluids level by swallowing it, and breathing it in.  So when there is too much it may mean that he has some sort of developmental problem.  During ultrasounds the doctor checked his bladder, kidneys, stomach, and brain and everything looked normal and healthy.  It also means I am bigger then I’m supposed to be.  I was short of breath often, and pretty uncomfortable.  But at this last doc visit, my amniotic fluid was down by three centimeters, and I was almost the right size.  The baby weighed 3.75lbs, and I got to see his little face.  I’m sure he’s going to have some chubby cheeks.  

What a month it has been.

So here I sit, writing this to all of you, almost feeling sorry for myself for all these dumb reasons. I’m uncomfortable, I’m tired, I’m always running around and busy, our house is always busy and I have no privacy, my house is under construction, my baby’s crib isn’t made yet, we have no where to put the baby’s things, the animals get hurt and need time and money we don’t have blah blah blah.
Then I check myself and realize how truly blessed I am.  

I have never been homeless. I’ve never been hungry, lived in fear, or been abused.

I look at the things I DO have. I have a cow that gives me fresh milk when I want it, and bees that turn the medicine provided from the plants around me into a sweet, tasty treat (we got our fist small amount of honey from our bees a few days ago, it’s heavenly).  A garden full of plants that will make sure I never go hungry. Pigs that dig up the ground, and fertilize it so that I can grow the things I need, and will eventually sacrifice themselves to feed my family.
I am never lonely, I have cats to cuddle with, and provide entertainment all day.  Dogs that give unconditional love and protection.  These amazing people who are willing to come into our home, provide our home with life, companionship, and give their time and effort to make this place into that much more of paradise.  Shawn’s birthday was yesterday and they helped make the day extra special for him.

I have a loving husband who works really hard for me and our son. I will have a son to love and care for in less then two months, who reminds every hour, minute, second, that he’s there and coming, and how lucky I am to experience this pregnancy.  Last but not least I have a family, that no matter what happens, no matter how hard I fall, I know that they are there to help me up, put me back on my feet, give me a lil shove and tell me to get going again.  Gratitude really is the key to happiness. 

Oh and on top of all this I’m going to have one kick ass room, in the mountains of Ecuador, that is as big as some of the apartments I’ve lived in in my life.

I'm sure there was meat involved in the taking of this picture.

I’m sure there was meat involved in the taking of this picture.

Seed fair we attended, we found jicama and some beautiful beans.

Seed fair we attended, we found jicama and some beautiful beans.

Seed fair

Seed fair

Loki and One Horn's first picture

Loki and One Horn’s first picture

Our first batch of honey

Our first batch of honey

32 Weeks!

32 Weeks!