Tag Archives: having a baby abroad

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

Advertisements

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

image

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).

image

image

image

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)

image

image

Great group of volunteers

Great group of volunteers

9 month pregnant family photo

9 month pregnant family photo

image

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/

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

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

While We Wait…

Tomorrow is my due date. Like I’m saying tomorrow is THE Official (note the capital O) day this baby is supposed to be born. Everything I’ve read keeps encouraging me to be positive and patient, while acknowledging how uncomfortable and impatient they know I am right now. I want them (whoever they are) to know this encouragement doesn’t help at all. I’m bored, uncomfortable, and I feel like my body and the baby are teasing me. I’m having all these weird sensations, mood swings, random contractions, and obnoxious happenings to my body. I, a glutton for punishment it seems, keep looking these things up on the Internet, and it keeps telling me “it’s a sign you’re close!” Well here I still sit, bored and purposeless, yet tired and unable or unwilling to do much.
I’ve been going on walks around the farm for two purposes really. One: hoping gravity will do its thing and this baby will start to fall out of me, and Two: (the sad one) the puppy we found on the farm two weeks ago has gone missing, so I’ve been wandering around looking for him, hoping he will turn up. We started to encourage him to go outside more, he hasn’t hardly been outside since we brought him in, and was reluctant to leave the house, but I was starting to get frustrated with the gifts he was leaving everywhere, and he was getting stronger. I was hoping he would start to get along with the other dogs a little better as well, be integrated into the pack you might say. We also figured that since he’s been consistently fed and sheltered here he wouldn’t go too far. He had even begun to follow Shawn around, which he was doing the morning he vanished. He was outside in the morning, followed Shawn into the house around noon, he ate some food, followed Shawn back outside and in the blink of an eye disappeared. We have been searching the farm for him since. It’s been three days now and we think he’s either being confined by someone or is lost. Either way I’m pretty bummed out about it.

What else have I been doing during this endless wait you ask? Well…

Shawn’s dad Tom arrived on Wednesday and showered us with gifts and goodies from friends and family in the U.S. So I’ve been washing baby clothes and organizing baby things. On that note, the crib is done! We had a little snafu with it not fitting through any of our doors and had to bring it back to the carpenter so they could dismantle it a little. But it’s back together now and gorgeous. Hopefully the new dresser/changing table will be finished today or tomorrow so I can really put stuff away. Cloth diapers take up a lot of space.

We have processed mass amounts of pig into sausages, smoked ribs, hams, and bacon over the past week. I’ve been helping with that as much as I could, e.g. labeling, organizing, spreadsheeting. Boy, did we have a lot. I am grateful that almost all of it has sold out, there are only a few hams left to be smoked, and we are taking Thanksgiving orders already so we are prepared when the time comes, and things look good.

They (them again) say to enjoy the quiet and peace you have now while you can so I have discovered a few wonderful things on the Internet.
This fantastic blog which had me crying with laughter called Pregnant Chicken
My friend recommended it and I wish I had checked it out earlier. I want one of those t shirts for the next baby.

This YouTube video my sister showed me that every woman, and man, and especially daughters needs to watch.

I’ve been sleeping, and sitting, and staring into space as well.

I’ve been looking back at pictures, and blogs.
Thought you might want an animal update before the baby takes over. Loki is getting bigger, and changing to a darker brown color. He has a little friend as well now. I woke one morning to a weird sounding “moo” and this little white cow walks past my window. We have no idea where he came from, and keep thinking someone will show up looking for him soon. But he’s still here wandering around with the herd. Next time they’re close I’ll get a picture, but waddling around the farm to look for them is out of the question today.
Oh boy have the piglets grown. And they are sassy little buggers. Here’s a comparison picture.

First picture of first piglet on top, bottom two were taken today 11-04-13

First picture of first piglet on top, bottom two were taken today 11-04-13

Until the next time!

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.
image