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/

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Happy Mother’s Day

Today is one of those trigger days if you’ve lost your mom.  Today forces me to remember her, which isn’t bad, until I remember she isn’t here.  

I think about what an incredible mom she was, and know that she would have been the most incredible grandma.  How she used to take care of us when we were sick or hurt, and how unfair it is not to have her here to help take care of me while I recover from birth and try to take care of my babies. She was supposed to be here for this.  

But then today forces me to really see. See my two beautiful babies and their amazing daddy who takes such good care of them, and me , and puts things in perspective for me when I can’t (and who bought me five bouquets of flowers for today.) 

And then I choose to see my courageous father, who made sure we survived the loss of our mother, even while he was trying to survive the loss of his wife.  Who still takes care of us even now while he fights his own battle with cancer.  

I choose to remember all of those people in our lives who are here, who give me great examples of what motherhood looks like, our Nana Peggy, Grandma Betty, Papas, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, and lifelong friends.   Some of them don’t even have children of their own but help me take care of mine and love them just the same.  

I miss her with every piece of me, but I choose to be happy thinking about the wonderful person she was, and how happy she would be to see how beautiful my life of motherhood is. 

   

       

   

             

 

Little Miss Caroline, Welcome to This World

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good

– Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond

She arrived Friday, March 27th at 9:25am, via a scheduled C-Section.  She weighed 7.33lbs and measured 19 inches long.  Smaller than Gus, but she rocks the cutest chubby cheeks, and double chin.  

We named her after Shawn’s grandfather, everyone called him Curly, but his name was Carol Dean Geer.  He was one of the most influential people in Shawn’s life, I never got to meet him, but from what I’ve heard he was a pretty amazing guy.  Her middle name comes from my Mom, who’s middle name was Rae Ann, and she passed it down to me, and I’ve passed it down to Caroline.  

So far she’s an eater, and a sleeper, but I guess most newborns are.  She also sleeps all day, and parties at night, working on that now. 

As for me ouch… This time around I’m in more pain, it’s much harder to get up and move around.  But it’s so much harder not to. I miss my little man, he’s so active right now, and I can barely walk across the house.  But he’s having quite the time hanging out with his Papa, and his Daddy.  Their redoing our stairs, you know, cause there wasn’t enough to do.  But I’m impressed at their ability to multitask with Gus helping out, and I am so very grateful for them.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself. Gus can’t even really hug me, and I certainly can’t pick him up right now.  I’m feeling pretty useless right now. 

Let’s talk about Ecuadorian hospitals for a minute.  Keep in mind this is just my experience with them.  They have certain ideas about babies, some are the same as ours in the U.S. Some are very different.  For instance in the U.S. babies are only supposed to be laid on their back, and nothing is put in the crib with them.  Here in Ecuador, they lay newborns on their side only, and they get a pillow and a blanket in their crib with them.  Then there’s the temperature, they dressed her in three shirts, pants, and a blanket, and then pointed a space heater at her.  The room was already too warm for me to be comfortable, I almost lost it. And don’t argue, they are the doctors and nurses and they know better.  

So, we are happy to be home, and learning how to adjust to being a family of four.  

   

       

Looking Back As We Look Forward 2.0

And forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

I am ever so grateful to again have some amazing volunteers and husband in my life. We are just a few days out from the birth of our little girl and Gus is a very active 16 month old.  He is most definitely a farm kid, and is not content being indoors, and to top it off he climbs everything. Fences, tables, chairs, dogs, and I am at the point where my body says no more, frankly standing is a chore. So thank goodness for others who are willing to chase the little bugger around the farm because I can’t anymore.  My friends here in Cotacachi have really helped me make the most of the last few weeks. We’ve gotten in a few girls nights and ladies luncheons.

9 months pregnant with little girl

9 months pregnant with little girl

Shawn's fan club

Shawn’s fan club

Because I haven’t written in so long I thought I would recap what has happened over the last year. I think where I left off last Holly and Brent had just arrived. In the end they stayed with us for more than 5 months and really became like family. They knew the ins and outs of the farm. I can’t believe it has been more than a  year since they arrived.

Helping

Helping

A long while ago I gathered all the past volunteers email addresses I’ve collected and sent out a “Where are you now?” Email.  I am really anxious to do this again, and because this is a year in review blog post I’m going to include it in the email.  I can’t wait to see where everyone is and what they’re up to.  Last time some were still traveling, and we got responses from across the world.

So here we go, here’s what’s been going down in our lives.

I’ve been back to the U.S. twice now since Gus’ birth. Once when he was about 6 months old, and the second time through the holidays. Each trip we were entirely, completely, overwhelmingly spoiled with attention and love. Not to mention that we came back with entire suitcases full of toys. Though I have to say, as fun as all these toys seem to you and I, nothing beats playing in the dogs water bowl, or “helping” daddy.

The most important thing to me on these trips was for Gus to meet, and get to know, all the people who have helped make Shawn and I who we are and whom we love and miss daily. I am so grateful we had those opportunities. I needed a little breather as well. I could relax some, I wasn’t Gus’ sole source of entertainment. There were Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandparents to play with. I got to take a step back, and settle back into myself. I even got to connect with friends I haven’t seen in a long time, my dear friend Becky threw us a baby shower, Jana came to North Dakota with her new little one, Celissa came to Omaha to see us, and I had the chance to spend time with some life long friends, not enough time, there never seems to be enough of that.

Jungle garden

Jungle garden

The farm is always busy, as of late here’s what’s been going on: The last time Shawn’s dad was here (Papa Tom) he helped us build a loft for the volunteers to stay in. Humberto, our maestro, returned to help us build a butcher kitchen under the loft. Gus has moved into his own room, which meant it was time for the volunteers to move out. We just don’t have enough space. They now stay in the loft, they have a kitchen and their own bathroom out there. I think it makes everyone a lot happier with us all having our own spaces. We still eat lunch family style, and often dinner, part of the fun of hosting volunteers is getting to know them, and this part was really important for us to keep up.

Volunteer loft upstairs, butcher kitchen down

Volunteer loft upstairs, butcher kitchen down

Wow has the butcher room made a huge difference in our business. It’s easier to do everything. It is 100% dedicated to making great meats. We re-purposed a bathtub into a huge wash basin, Shawn made a stainless steel table, and all but one of the refrigerators/freezers is in there now, as well as every piece of sausage, ham, bacon making equipment is kept there. We have a lot more space in the house, and it makes things a lot more efficient. Best part is 97% of the materials used inside and out were taken off the farm, or re-purposed from things we already had.

The garden is a jungle, and because of a lack of time being so busy with the business and the babies we are focusing more on long term plants.  The pepper plants are a good example, because of our climate we can have pepper plants that live and produce for years.  One of these are a Peruvian pepper called Ricotto, we use them in our spicy cilantro chicken sausage. We’ve had jalapeños growing for a long time as well, but the greenhouse fell down a few months ago and we had to transplant them, they are just now are starting to bounce back.  We also have asparagus, alfalfa, Uvilla (also known as ground cherries), a random eggplant, and kale all growing. The lavender, rosemary, oregano, and thyme are all doing miraculously well, and we have a taxo vine growing which produces beautiful flowers and fruit. A neighbor came over and helped us prune the trees and we’ve finished fencing around them so we’ve created a pig paradise. We can now let the pigs free between the trees and they’ll dig and fertilize the soil for us.

Pig paradise

Pig Paradise

Mora berry vines

Mora berries

Taxo vine

Taxo vine

Taxo flower

Taxo flower

Now for the downside of trying to make a life on a farm. We don’t use antibiotics regularly for any of our animals, well awhile back we had a male pig start to act sick and unable to walk. Dr. Dany came out, the pig had a common bacterial infection that was brought on to the farm from the outside by a visitor. We quarantined the pig and started him on a round of antibiotics.

At the time we had two pregnant Mommas, about two weeks away from giving birth. One of the Mommas started to act sick as well, and gave birth to her litter early. She had 11 piglets, and the volunteers and Shawn spent most of a night trying to keep the litter alive. Unfortunately, two weeks was just too early and we lost all of the piglets. Momma was put in quarantine and given a round of antibiotics, she has now recovered.

The other momma pig we thought was healthy and well, and we had stopped the spread of the infection to any of the other pigs. Two weeks later momma gave birth to her litter right on time, 11 healthy piglets. To our dismay, tragedy strikes again. After labor she wouldn’t get up. Dany came out and we discovered she had the same infection the other two pigs had. She stopped producing milk, and a few of the piglets started to get sick. We spent an agonizing week bottle feeding and trying to keep as many of them alive as we could. In the end 5 survived. In a two week period we lost 17 piglets which was a huge blow. It has put the farm in jeopardy for the latter part of 2015. Shawn has found a healthy reliable source of piglets, now we just need to work on purchasing them.

Only 5/11 of these little ones survived

Only 5 of these 11 survived

We’ve had to ask for help. We set up a gofundme page hoping to recover from the piglet tragedy. Each piglet was worth $80 to us just by being born, most become much more valuable as they get older, at least 10x more, as they are the farms primary source of income. It’s already a struggle starting a business, and this really hit us hard. Without the pigs we can’t have volunteers, water the trees, everything we’ve worked so hard for. There’s always the underlying fear of our whole business failing. If you’d like to help us here’s the link, we are grateful for anything anyone is willing to give. http://www.gofundme.com/nf1w6g

We also lost a family member this year. Marley the cat, was my 30th birthday present. Very outspoken in private, but always a tad bit of a scaredy cat. She had finally started to get a bit more adventurous and started going out side more often. We aren’t sure how it happened but one night she was chased and killed by a dog. We were heartbroken, and she now sleeps forever in our garden. image image imageWe have no more cows.  The two we had left, Perdita and Loki disappeared one day.  We are pretty sure they were stolen.  But on the positive side we let a few of our neighbors bring their cows in to graze.  In exchange they bring us corn, avocados, lemons, and milk from their harvests.  One even helps with yard work.

The big coop side of the farm has been sold by our partner to a very nice couple who plan on turning it into a horse/mule farm.  This means for us we can have egg laying chickens. Hormone/antibiotic free, free range, fresh eggs are a couple months away!  I’m so excited, it also means it is one more product we can offer Cotacachi.  We will still be selling our own fresh chicken, and chicken products, but hopefully we will be able to offer them on a more regular basis.  Before we were raising 20,000 chickens at a time.  Now we can have batches of 100 chickens at different ages and offer chicken products every couple weeks.  The drawback is we are almost starting from scratch with this so it will take us a couple weeks to get going.

Egg layer chicks about a month old

Egg layer chicks about a month old

What about the volunteers this year?  We’ve had people from China, Argentina, Sweden, Germany, Italy, England, Austrailia, U.S.A. Poland, Ireland, France, a few return visits, and so many more.  Each one has left their mark on the farm. I’m sure I’m forgetting so much of what’s happened this year.  Gus’ first birthday, our chili cook off party, but a year seems like such a long time.

If any of the volunteers have anything to add please do so in the comments, and please comment, or send me an email to let us know what you’re up to, I’d love to know how everyone is.

A corner of the farm at sunset.

A corner of the farm at sunset.

One of the most recent groups of volunteers to pass through.

One of the most recent groups of volunteers to pass through.

House crew: Mauricio, Charlotte, Dek, Paul, Rosie, and Jon. An oldie but goodie

House crew: Mauricio, Charlotte, Dek, Paul, Rosie, and Jon. An oldie but goodie

Just for fun here’s some things I’ve enjoyeod reading lately.

http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Mom-Love-Firstborn-Child-37019357

http://the-toast.net/2015/03/09/comment-section-every-article-ever-written-breastfeeding/

and of course my favorite website right now http://www.pregnantchicken.com

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

One Month Old

Ok, so I’m a little late, he’s now 5 weeks old, and I’ve been trying to write this post for two weeks now, apparently time flies when you’re really focused on something. Like keeping a baby happy and healthy. I’m a little sad that he is a month old already. Then I remember the older he gets the stronger he is, the less I have to worry about, and the possibility that he will cry less.
Speaking of worry, I was a nutcase. Gus had started having a little fussy period between the hours of five and seven. As well as any other time he was crying I had convinced myself that there was something wrong. I’ve spent almost all of my free time googling a myriad of different things, what a terrible idea. Turns out he’s just a baby. A baby who is thriving. (He has a great appetite, and we have this breast feeding thing down, he’s over 10lbs now.) Even though he gets fussy at times he is also getting more and more aware. In between sleeping and eating he sits and watches us and “talks,” completely content. It’s my favorite part of our days.
After coming to this realization I decided to stop listening, well kinda, you know what I mean. I was driving myself crazy. So I stopped. If he falls asleep laying on my chest instead of worrying that he’s going to be spoiled, I’m going to embrace the sweet feeling of this little human I love so much snuggling with me. Who knows how long we can snuggle until he’s too big or too busy. Besides, this is my purpose now. I started to see how much I was missing because of being so worried and uptight. I look around the world at all the “parents” out there, if some of them can do it, Shawn and I can too.
I still have moments when I get frustrated, upset, or worried. It’s usually when I don’t take naps when I can, or something new happens, most notable was our first projectile vomiting incident.
As far as sleeping goes he’s doing great. He will sleep for about five or six hours for the first stretch of the night, after that we are on to two hours at a time. We go to bed around seven and we are up around five. We’re keeping “old people hours,” and I’m pretty ok with that.
Much to my reluctance we have discovered the awesomeness of swaddling. Wrap him up, he complains for half a second, and then passes out. It’s magic. He even puts himself to sleep at night now, we walk him a little until he gets sleepy, then lay him down and he talks a little but falls right asleep. Our mornings are a combo of outrageous cuteness, and heartbreak. He hasn’t coordinated the outgoings of his digestive system yet, so I wake up, not to him crying, but to him grunting, growling, and farting quite loudly. It’s hard to see him struggle, but it’s sooo adorable.
All in all I’m feeling a lot more confident in my new mommy abilities. Learning to go with the flow.
We’ve started the process of getting Gus his American birth certificate, and both his American and Ecuadorian passports. He already has the Ecuadorian birth certificate. It looks like we will be taking a trip to Quito sometime soon. He needs to be present at the embassy, and they also need me there, pictures of me pregnant, picture of the three of us, and medical records. It’s kind of incredible.
The farm has been keeping us busy too (actually Shawn’s been kept busy.) Mercedes gave birth to a calf on Thanksgiving day. She’s also super adorable. The piglets are working hard digging up the garden behind their new electric fence. The farrowing den has been moved and set up for when Cici’s ready to give birth, and sadly Sebastian was sold last week.
Of course I’ll add more when I have time lol!

Photo credit goes to Wendy DeChambeau.  That's why it's a million times better than any picture I've been able to get so far.  We have great friends.

Photo credit goes to Wendy DeChambeau. That’s why it’s a million times better than any picture I’ve been able to get so far. We have great friends.


This car seat was pretty hard to find.  Another item not commonly used here. Gus obviously loves it. This car seat was pretty hard to find. Another item not commonly used here. Gus obviously loves it.[/caption]
Our Little Family

Our Little Family