Tag Archives: work exchange

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?)


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…


-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.


-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



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

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.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Here It Is!


Ok, so maybe I am a little bit more excited than everyone else is, but I feel like this construction project was never going to end. But it has, it is beautiful, and it’s just in the nick of time. I’m not sure if I would have had my sanity if all of this was going on and we had a newborn baby.
We finished around October 1st, there are still a couple finishing touches to complete but nothing big.
The house really is better then I could have hoped for and I am so happy. This is the best birthday, push, and wedding gift any girl could ask for. Dirk and the cats were pretty confused for awhile. Every time Marley went into our new room, and we walked in, she bolted out, acting like she had done something wrong. The first night sleeping in our new room was noisy. The cats spent a lot of time playing in my clothes in my new closet, half of my clothes were pulled off the hangers by morning.
Now on to getting the crib made… yes I said made. Here in Ecuador, for the price it would cost to buy a piece of furniture at a store, usually at a much lower quality, you can have a carpenter make for you, exactly how you want it. Not to mention that in our area of Ecuador, which is mostly an indigenous population, who use most of the same customs they have for hundreds of years, having a baby in a crib is fairly uncommon, so they are kind of hard to find. Most here sleep with their babies, and/or use a hammock, which we have as well. The hammock will be our baby swing. Strollers are pretty uncommon as well, considering the minimum amount of side walks and/or paved roads, most moms here wear their babies. What has become a recent trend in the United States, women have been doing here for centuries. When I asked what the baby sling was called or where I could buy one, they told me it was a sheet and directed me to a sheet store. Oh, ok…
The idea of it makes so much sense to me, my body has been carrying this lil boy wrapped up, snug, inside me for the last 9 months, I can only imagine how comforting it will feel to be wrapped up snug against me after making his entrance into this foreign world. I know he moves less when I’m moving, the whole idea of being rocked to sleep, even now at the ripe ole age of 31, I have a hard time staying awake in a moving car, makes sense doesn’t it? Women here do everything with their babies on their back, look into some of the fields and there are woman weeding, using hoes, with a happy lil baby along for the ride.
Next week we will be selling chickens, as well as making hams and sausages. The work never ends, but at least this work produces and income, instead of the other way around.

Shawn and I need to thank everyone that helped us out.
The volunteers who helped build EVERYTHING. Ian, Emma, Cousin Dan, Spud, Lizette, Aussie Paul, Charlotte, Mauricio, Dek, Paul (Korean cowboy), Jon, Rosie, Maria, and Rafa.

Ecuadorians Humberto, Byron, and Jorge.
Our expat friends Deb and Bob
Of course our families