Category Archives: Jabber

Evolution

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

~Bob Marley

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

 

 

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Our Christmas cookie exchange party.

 

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Nancy and Caroline admiring our tiny tree.

 

 

 

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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.

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Photo Credit Wendy Dechambeau

 

 

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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.

Love,

Your Momma

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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?

 

 

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My Life is Ruled by Tiny People

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.

— Song of Songs 4:7

 

With Baby Geer #3 on the way, (oh yeah? Did I tell you?)

Announcement

I thought I would reflect a  a little, and write a post detailing what my life has become on the day-to-day with two toddlers running around.  So much different than 6 years ago when I was going to parties (aka getting a hangover), rock climbing (miss this), and complaining about being bored (I wish).  So here we go, a glimpse into the glamorous life of the Geer clan.  I’m sure many of you can relate.

Bathroom trips:  Something that is a necessity of life and something all of us do multiple times a day, right?  Well in my life it usually results in crying or death defying stunts. It takes about 5 seconds for them to realize I’ve disappeared and that I will be unavailable for at least 30 seconds.  One of three things proceeds to happen.

  1. Someone sits outside the door crying because I’ve left them out.  This is the ideal situation.  It means no one is trying to die, kill the other, or do something gross.
  2. Someone climbs on top of the table/counter/chair/any high place really so that I have to rush through whatever it is I may be doing. I know this is the case because it’s quiet.  I walked out of the bathroom this morning to find Caroline standing on top of the table.
  3. I am accompanied in to the bathroom where there is the opportunity to play in the shower, unroll the toilet paper, flush the toilet over and over (with me sitting on it of course), or try, to my absolute disgust, to dig through the bathroom trash.  All done juuuust out of reach.

 

Fun! Fun! Fun Mommy!


 

Food:  If you didn’t know, now you will, that…

-A banana breaking in half while peeling it makes it inedible.

-If we are at our house a peel on an apple or peach makes it inedible.  I have yet to figure out why this only applies to being at home, because a peel is totally acceptable in public.

-The only reasonable thing to do when we are finished with food or drink is to dump the remaining on the floor (or me).  Same applies to wrappers or peels.  But only in the house, outside I am handed everything. At least we aren’t littering.

-Everything I have is for sharing.  Food, tools, computers, writing implements. This is not reciprocal.

-If I am wearing clean clothes, this is a big freaking deal.  Everything that anyone in the house under the age of three eats, I end up wearing, because…

Clothing:

-My shirt is a safety line.  Worried about falling? Grab on!  Need help standing up?  Here I am! Feeling happy, sad, nervous or devastated? Here’s my shirt!

-The only acceptable thing to grab on to when throwing a temper tantrum is my pants.  Since baby number three has expanded my waist line, most (all), of my pants have elastic waist.  I have a whole new reason to fear tantrums in public, loosing my pants.

-Talking the two year old into changing clothes in the morning is like negotiating a multi nation trade deal.

-My favorite… if you stood outside our house during a diaper change or clothing changes you would imagine we were torturing children.  Screaming, crying, everything you would expect if I was say, poking them with a fire poker.  But alas all I’m doing is trying to keep them comfortable and to not smell bad, but I’m pretty sure they consider this torture.


Miscellaneous:

-I’ve given up trying to sit on furniture, of any kind pretty much.  This includes eating at the table or sitting on the couch.  Someone always insists on joining me, and then tries to dive off. And then they cry, not worth the comfort.

-I have many children’s books memorized, because I read them 20 times in a row, every night.  Too bad Vice articles weren’t as entertaining to them.

-If I do anything I require assistance.  Laundry involves help emptying the clean clothes out of the basket, while typing I always need help hitting the right keys, and I absolutely can not do dishes with out a small person standing under me or staring at me and trying to crawl on the counter.

Every single one of these moments is peppered with humor.  Either of the absurd situations I find myself in multiple times a day, the variety of faces a one year old can make, or the imagination of a two year old.

 

 There is so much love too.  Seeing them help each other with a task (usually something they aren’t supposed to be doing, but hey?) Give endless kisses and hugs, or the simplest, what would be meaningless to anyone else, gestures that I can never get enough of.  Every moment of this experience is completely worth it and gratifying.  Though I’ll be honest, there are about 50 times in the day I would say I lied to you about this.  I go to bed every night exhausted but overwhelmed with love.

 

 

Farm Life

So what’s been going on at L&S Farm over the last few months other than growing a new family member?

Well… life hasn’t been easy, there has been quite a few ups and downs, but things are looking up, dare I say it too loudly for fear of jinxing us.

We have 12 pigs who are coming of age which will be great for business.  We had two new litters of piglets born in the last few weeks totaling 16 new piglets.  They are adorable.  We have one more mama almost ready to give birth and she is huge.  It will be exciting to see how many babes she will have.


We have successfully plowed and planted our large field in preparation for all these piglets.  They will be raised on a rotating pasture system, moving from fenced off area to fenced off area eating the high protein crops as they go. We lucked out with the timing of planting.  Shawn’s been keeping track of the rain and moon cycles for the last few years, and successfully predicted a good time to plant.  It’s rained nearly every day since we put the seeds in the ground and a week later the whole field started to sprout.  I can’t wait to watch the process happen the way I know Shawn has been planning for the last few years.  He’s also been training the pigs to come when called and Caroline has started using the call too, it’s freaking adorable.  How cute is it going to be seeing this little blonde head leading the pigs out to pasture.

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We’ve also had the opportunity to experience how truly lucky we are to have our people around us here.  The last few months would have been devastatingly hard if it weren’t for our friends.  From helping kid watch, to helping build fences (in more ways than the obvious), bringing us food so we could have a small break, and even just listening ears and solid advice. I feel so blessed and lucky to have these people in our lives.  There were many times their kindnesses had brought me to tears.  So I say from the bottom of my heart

Thank You.

 

Some interesting links for you:

The life of a Russian Rhythmic gymnast

Today I Lived and You Did Too

AwakenWithJP

Here We Are

“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

Two years ago today, May 25th, Shawn and I got married in Holdrege, NE under an apple tree in Grandma Betty’s backyard.

Our wedding day

Our wedding day

Three years ago this month I landed on the farm.  If you had told me then that in three years I’d be married to this guy I had just met and we’d have two children, I would have told you you were crazy.  But, here we are.

My first day on the farm

My first day on the farm

Cows my first day on the farm

Cows my first day on the farm

Tiny cuddles

Tiny cuddles

So much has changed since then.  The weekend I met Shawn was the weekend he got his first five piglets.  All of our pigs now are decedents of Cici, Big Nose, and Muddy, the ladies of that group. What started as a permaculture project, using pigs to work the ground and soil as animal tractors has turned into our livelihood, and business.

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We have a business!  Four years ago Shawn started smoking a few chickens to fill a small demand. Now we sell a wide variety of smoked and fresh meats.  Pork, chicken, and soon beef.  We have an official name to our business (L&S Artisan Meats) a cool new logo, and soon a website.  Best part is we’ve held on to the values we started with.  We are still using sustainable, permaculture practices, with happy, healthy animals.

Our logo

Our logo

Rafael and his family no longer live on half of the farm. Our partner in the US decided to sell and they moved a short distance away, but visit often. The house they lived in no longer exists, a new one is being built. There is only one coop left, half of it still holds chickens, but only a fraction of what we once had (they used to hold 20,000).

The fruit trees are slowly growing, but look like trees now rather than sticks in the ground.  The native trees, the Aliso, Poraton have taken off.  We have mora vines, taxo vines, zapato vines, alfalfa, Rocoto plants, kale, achocha, arugula, and dill that all pretty much grow on their own amongst the trees and the pigs. Which is great because we no longer have time to keep up with a garden like we once did.

We, along with some really dedicated volunteers, have built on to the house to accommodate our growing family.

Dek painting the mural

Dek painting the mural

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The kitchen cabinets have doors now! Oh and the stairs?  They are no longer throwing people down them.  When Caroline was born Papa Tom built us some new ones.  I remember holding on for dear life walking down the sloping stairs the first day I stayed here.

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We’ve had a greenhouse go up, and come down. A chicken coop turn into a carport.  Built an earthbag bodega, built a roof that evolved into a loft for the volunteers, then a butcher kitchen. Built a fancy new entrance with a fancy gate, that was promptly knocked over in an unfortunate chicken manure truck incident, now there’s a not quite so fancy new entrance, forget about the gate.

Building of the earth bag bodega

Building of the earth bag bodega

Adding mulch to the sides

Adding mulch to the sides

What it looks like now

What it looks like now

The mountains still watch over us, and the Big Dipper is still in the wrong spot.  I always used it as an anchor when star gazing in the summer time at the lake growing up in Northern Minnesota.  Nowadays Orion’s belt helps me find my way as the Big Dipper doesn’t break the horizon until after 11.  The fireflies are still mesmerizing, as long as they stay outside.  Piolin is still the noisiest dog, Luna still obsesses over rocks, and Dirk is still the boss of them all.

Shawn fan club

Shawn fan club

Patience

Patience

Piolin in doggy bliss

Piolin in doggy bliss

Teeny tiny Tony, Tigger, and Cuddles

Teeny tiny Tony, Tigger, and Cuddles

Our evenings no longer consist of playing gin or kings, instead they’re filled with jumping on couches, chasing toddles, diaper changes, bath time, and 8:00 bed times (adults included).

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To be honest one day last week after I was particularly sleep deprived and overwhelmed I was telling Shawn about how much I missed our carefree, responsibility less days sometimes, and he put it in perspective. He told me he didn’t, he didn’t miss trying to find things to do to fill time, he said he had a purpose for every minute of the day now, and that he has fun and laughs more, even if it’s just to keep from losing it with the toddler. He’s right.

What will happen in the next two years? Only time will tell, but I hope it’s filled with more of this. (Maybe a little more sleep)

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Great group of volunteers

Great group of volunteers

9 month pregnant family photo

9 month pregnant family photo

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Brother and sister meeting for the first time

Brother and sister meeting for the first time

Caroline doesn't like headbands

Caroline doesn’t like headbands

Giant Tony

Giant Tony

Being goofy

Best picture ever

We are still working towards our gofundme goal.  If you want to help us out visit our page and donate.

http://www.gofundme.com/nf1w6g

Some places I’ve been:

This is amazing, and should be read by all mothers, especially the new ones.

http://www.carrotsformichaelmas.com/2015/05/13/have-you-ever-felt-like-being-a-mother-has-ruined-you/

I’m going to start this today, we’ll see how it goes

http://awildgreenlife.com/making-traditional-ginger-beer-from-scratch/

I just really liked this one

http://www.scarymommy.com/want-kids-remember-about-their-childhood/

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.

 

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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


Escape!

Escape!

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

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.
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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!