Sunday, February 26, 2017

Seeds!

The 2017 garden has officially started! Yesterday we planted some arugula, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. We'll use the little glass greenhouse when they sprout, but for now we have the trays in the kitchen so that we can make sure they stay damp and warmer. Last year we had a really bad year for starts (maybe there was too much variation in moisture and temperature in the glass house?) so hopefully this year they'll do better. We will only start a few tomato plants since we have so many 'volunteers' from the compost!


All of that fresh air must have made baby Gabby tired. Last night she slept from 8 pm until 7 am with just a 4 am feeding. What?! That would be even more amazing if I had managed to sleep that whole time...instead, I couldn't sleep because I kept wondering when the baby would wake up! Sigh. So frustrating. Oh well, cross your fingers that this sleep pattern continues. Until then, coffee!



Fascinated by trees!


After yesterday's spring like weather, we have snow on the ground today. Again. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Two Months Old!

I really need to keep this blog updated! I love reading other peoples' blogs with baby updates, and I know I'll want to look back at this later on. Babies change so quickly! I'll try to organize this somehow...how about starting with the topic that people seem to ask about the most -

SLEEP!

I told myself before Gabby was born that I didn't want to stress too much over sleep. I know that not sleeping well can affect everything in life, but nobody ever sleeps well with a new baby and they are only little for a short amount of time! Our main strategy is just get sleep to happen however that needs to be, with some 'future sleep habits' practice.



For the last week or two we've started a bedtime routine - she gets her pjs put on, we read her a short story and then she gets swaddled and I nurse her, burp her and put her down in that magical 'drowsy but awake' state in her sidecar mini crib that I made. The time depends on her last nap, but is generally around 8:30 (and we go to bed just after that to get maximum sleep!). We've had a few nights where she loves looking at the story book, and then some nights where she is overtired and can't handle life anymore and starts to scream! The actual going to sleep part is pretty good. Sometimes she falls right asleep, sometimes she fusses a tiny bit and then sleeps, and other times we have to go in and soothe her (usually give her the pacifier - or 'dummy' as Nathan is making me call it) once or twice. Her best night of sleep so far was a 6 hour stretch followed by two 3 hour stretches. There have been a lot of nights close to that, and then of course some less fantastic nights. The good part is that she hasn't yet been really awake at night. If she wakes up, she's either hungry or has gas and she goes right back to sleep.



We've been aiming for one nap a day in the crib (the first morning nap usually). That nap has been pretty good - she is up for about an hour in the morning after she eats, and then she can be put down awake/relaxed (and swaddled) in the crib and 9 times out of 10 she falls asleep easily. A few times that has been a nice 1.5 hour nap, but most times she wakes up at 45 minutes and then soothing back to sleep in the crib doesn't really work, so into the wrap she goes. I never knew how much I'd love the Moby wrap! It gets used multiple times daily. I also made a ring sling and we were generously hand-me-downed an Ergo - both of those are useful too, but the Moby gets used the most right now!


Eating:

I feel really lucky that breastfeeding started out well and has continued to go really well. Gabby eats every 3 hours or so during the day. It probably takes her about 10-20 minutes per side right now (sometimes she is happy with one, sometimes she wants both). We weighed her today and she is 12 lbs! Last weigh in was at 6 weeks and she was 10 lbs 3 oz then.

Everything else:

In general Gabby is pretty much perfect (not that we are biased or anything ;) ). But really, she seems to be continuing to make things easy on her new parents. She only really cries when she is hungry or over tired. When she is neither of those things, she is all smiles and is happy to lie on her play mat cooing at her toys (and herself at the mirror). She loves to lie on her back and stretch out and practice kicking and opening and closing her hands. She is so aware for the past few weeks and tracks us and the dogs and cat around the room. She loves being on the change table and having her diaper off :) She is always happiest first thing in the morning; we chat to her while we drink our much needed coffee! When she does get herself worked up, she can always be calmed down with either nursing or being put in the wrap carrier (phew!). Sometimes she also needs her 'dummy' but sometimes just being close and snuggled in the wrap is enough. She seems to like riding in the car and she usually falls asleep. She has such good head control now! She isn't a huge fan of tummy time but she puts up with it for a few minutes at a time (then she just starts mouthing at her blanket on the floor). She *loves* bath time, especially when she gets to go in the big bath with me and kick herself through the water. She definitely does not like being cold, so we have to be quick getting her out of the tub and into pjs!



In those pictures you can see that she has some very crusty cradle cap. Now it's mostly on her scalp but it started all in her eyebrows!


Useful baby items:

I read a lot of lists before Gabby was born about 'baby must-haves'. We got a ton of hand me downs and found pretty much everything else used. The one thing we just bought new is a high chair (hard to find any used that aren't disgustingly and permanently dirty!). We have a swing and a vibrating baby chair for her and she definitely likes the baby chair more. She has fallen asleep a few times in that. We also have a pack and play with a bassinet on top that I thought we would use but so far naps have been in the crib, carseat (in the car) or carrier. For sleeping, I love the Halo swaddle sleepsack that you can use with arms in our arms out. It's so nice and snug and warm. A few weeks ago I made a water ring sling out of athletic mesh jersey and we went to the pool - that sling worked like a charm! We took Gabby out for a little swim around the pool and then when we put her back in the sling she fell asleep for the next hour. I think she would have gotten cold and fussy right away without being up against me in the pool.



We started using cloth diapers a week ago. I had bought some before Gabby was born because I was interested in trying them - when one of the least expensive companies (Kawaii diapers) had a buy 1 get 1 free sale I bought 14 bamboo pocket diapers. Each one came with 2 bamboo inserts. I first tried one on her when she was about 2 weeks and it leaked - either her legs were too skinny or else I might not have done all the snaps up right. In the last week, though, they've worked really well! I think we've had one leak and that was from a very wet diaper. We've just been laying the inserts in the cover instead of actually putting them in the pocket of the diaper. Because the bamboo feels damp against her skin when it gets wet, I cut some pieces of microfleece to use as liners. It only takes a second to put the layers in the diaper during a diaper change, and then the whole thing can be tossed in the wetbag lined diaper pail. For night times we put her in a disposable diaper because there are no middle of the night diaper changes around here!


We had a crazy snowstorm two weeks ago!

Here was my attempt at a snowy photo shoot...


It isn't possible to put into words how much I love this baby!


At some point there will be farm updates...once we can actually get back out there! We did prune the fruit trees today, and wrangle Pippa back into the paddock - naughty goat is still naughty!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Four weeks!

How has it already and only been 4 weeks?? We are loving our new life with Gabby!

Still a layer of snow/ice covering the farm...melt, please!! Another photo of us all bundled up...going to be the only outdoor baby photos for awhile!


Zoey looking depressed that baby play time is happening before dog play time today.


Haven't seen any 'real' smiles yet, but lots of sleep smiles!


I was brave last week and I took Gabby to meet a bunch of our mainland friends. I managed to time all of the feeding so that there was never a hangry baby in the car seat - high five for me! (And for a baby who falls asleep in the car!).

Loic and Maelle were so sweet and cute with her! It was kind of surreal that 'my' baby Lolo (the first baby I was around all the time!) was holding my real baby!



First story time with Bailey! 9 months apart is a lot at this age.


Abby says enough baby photos now, time for farm running please!


So frozen out there on the pond that we could cut a bunch of branches on the far side that we've never been able to get to before.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Introducing...

Ms. Gabrielle!


Born December 19th at 2:05 am, weighing 8 lbs 10.5 oz.





So many photos already - it's impossible to choose just a few!



Other than the actual pushing out a giant baby thing, Gabby has been making this a smooth few first weeks (oh so scared to even type that and jinx it!). 

But really, I had mentally tried to prepare for possible difficulties feeding her at first and for no sleep. Instead, she latched on within half an hour of her birth and has been feeding like a little piggy ever since. She is pretty much hungry every 3 hours on the dot and is oh-so-happy every time she gets near the 'feeding stations'. At night, she and I both half wake up (she is in her bedside crib co-sleeper that we made her) and I slide her over, nurse her while still lying down and then slide her back over to her bed. We've been going to bed at 8 pm..so sleeping from 9ish-midnight, then until 3ish and then 6ish. Usually we get up around 8. 12 hours in bed means at least a good number of sleeping hours! The last few nights she has been up for awhile in the middle of the night doing the loudest grunting and pushing noises. Poor girl is a bit gassy (don't even get me started on the diaper-less projectile poo incident).

Loosened swaddle so she could bicycle her legs!


We've been doing daily hikes now (Gabby in the ergo carrier) which is really nice even though it's so snowy and icy here. We've also gone out to dinner and breakfast, to the farmer's market, and on a bunch of errands. We went to Victoria for the day last weekend and had a lot of fun even though it was freezing cold! 



Everything is good on the farm. We had a surprise ram lamb born New Year's Day! So glad we live where it isn't normally this cold...definitely a lot more work to haul water around and make sure our house water doesn't freeze!








Monday, December 5, 2016

The Countdown is On

Approximately 10 days left until everything changes!


Better get some photos of the farm on the blog before it becomes a whole lot busier around here. We are pretty excited!


Ok, that one is maybe not so excited to have a tiny human around...but she is certainly happy to make cozy couch nests at every opportunity. 

I took Abby back to the vet this week to have her blood rechecked after her kidney failure diagnosis in July. I had my fingers crossed that her kidneys hadn't gotten any worse. Much to my (and the vet's) surprise...her blood results were perfect. Kidneys do not heal themselves! It is very strange, and the only real explanation is that something odd was going on with the results in July. Still waiting for more info from the vet after she calls the pathologist, but I'm feeling pretty happy about my 12 year old Abigail's sudden excellent blood results!

We woke up to a white blanket over the farm this morning.




Our little snowy flock. Those are Amelia's twin ewe lambs that were born October 20th (ish! Should probably have written that down...). We could tell that Amelia was close to lambing in the next few weeks and then, in Amelia style, we went outside to do chores and two little lambs were up and nursing!



So cute and curly!


The rare ginger bearded snow goat..


And the rare snow hunting Juice cat:






Our chores are minimal right now which is perfect. We just have the chickens, ducks and sheep and it only takes about 10 minutes morning and evening to feed and lock in/let out. The nursery is all finished and we've cleaned and organized the whole house. I think we're about as ready as any soon to be parents can be (as in...we have no idea what we're in for!!).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Summer 2016

Time to attempt to re-awaken the blog! I hadn't felt like blogging too much after we lost Ryan (plus we were so busy all summer), but I think it's time for a summer 2016 update - because oh so many updates!

We miss our Ryan boy like crazy around here. He had such a huge presence and he was the goof to the girls' serious. The first time we went to the river him, Abby and Zoey got all excited after swimming. The normal go-to activity had always been Abby beating up Ryan while Zoey danced around them with a toy in her mouth. Without Ryan, they had no idea what to do with themselves. They kind of tried to wrestle, then just...stood there looking confused. 


They've figured out how to play, now. Still isn't the same without our Ryry. Abby is feeling pretty good on her special kidney diet (it basically consists of cream of wheat, egg whites, some veggies if she'll eat them, and either lamb or pork). 



Shortly after losing Ryan, Erika's Tyler came to stay with us for a week. I'm so glad we got to have him on the farm this summer. He had such a good time. A few days ago, they had to let Tyler go, too. Two amazing boys gone this summer :(


Going back again to July, the baby goats grew up and went to their new homes! The little boy lives as a pet on an acreage iwith a goatling sister. The girls went to a farm to eventually be milk goats. After the babies left, I started milking Pippa (otherwise I think she may have burst!). She produced a ton of milk for such a little goat! I was getting a sandwich bag full every day. After a few weeks I went to once a day, then every other day, and now no more milking. We have a freezer full of goat milk that I've been giving to the dogs. They love it.


Those kids were so much fun - but also TROUBLE! They were pretty easy up until they started eating 'real' food about about 5 weeks. Before that, they'd escape (easily, through any square in the wire fencing) and just jump around and be cute. Once they started eating, though, they'd escape and try to get chicken grain, strawberry plants, etc etc. We thought Pippa was hard to contain - try tiny popcorn goats! Impossible.


But totally worth the trouble.


We had lots of friends come to visit and get used as a climbing gym.


We brought them to the vet to have them disbudded - we couldn't bring ourselves to do with without anaesthetic, which is the norm on farms.


Pippa was an excellent mom. She never minded us or the dogs near her babies, but she was always on alert and very protective of them. When they went to their new homes at 8 weeks, though, I guess she was done...she never even cried for them!


Nom, nom, nom maples!


In mid July, I shocked the sheep and chickens with this:


Introducing Juice! She is an awesome little cat. We set up the pump room for her with a bed, litter box (we kept her locked in for a few weeks so she'd get comfortable here and not run away when let out), food and water. After the first couple of weeks, we'd let her out during the day and then lock her in there at night. Then one night she pulled a crazy cat move and escaped through the roof somehow. We stopped locking her in at night (pointless!) and soon after that:


Juice decided that she wants to be an indoor/outdoor cat. I put a pet door in the back door so that Abby has constant outdoor access (kidney failure = has to pee a lot). Juice decided that a pet door suits her just fine, thank you very much. We actually don't see her indoors that much but I'm pretty sure she comes in around midnight and stays until early morning. She seems to sleep either in the living room in a little dog bed or in my sock basket... 



She is the friendliest little cat - super cuddly - but she's also an excellent rat hunter. For awhile we were finding a Juice kill every few days! Zoey really likes her and they've almost started cuddling together...Abby is not the biggest fan of cats but as long as Juice doesn't come near her bed she mostly ignores her.



Ball??




Just chillin'


The pond looked lovely this summer!



At the beginning of August, we had an unplanned hatch... well, not quite unplanned. It was more that this duck started sitting on her eggs right when Ryan died and I didn't have the heart right then to take them away. So, about a month later:



Daddy drake:


The sad part about the duckling story is that the mama duck is extremely protective of her babies, to the point where it was almost impossible to get the other 2 female ducks to go into the coop at night. She would chase them around even if they were far away from her and her ducklings. I would keep them separated until dark, and then let the other ducks into the coop so they wouldn't get beaten up. A few nights ago, Victoria refused to come off the pond, probably because she didn't want to be anywhere near the mama duck. I had a bad feeling about predators, but after half an hour of trying to get her off the pond, we had to give up. In the morning, Victoria was gone - we found piles of bloody feathers all around the pond and coop. Poor poor Victoria. She was the best duck!

Nathan with his favourite ram lamb, Block Head.


We had a very productive garden this summer. Our tomatoes this year all came from seeds in the compost! Weed seeds in the compost are a pain when you don't heat it up enough - but tomato seeds were a bonus! So many tomatoes. And look at how many green gage plums (SO delicious) were on this tiny tree that we planted last year:


Partly so tiny because the sheep and goat got to it one day...

I think that's about it! Oh, except for this:


If you made it this far in the blog, you probably already know this news ;)



Our family will be expanding in a big way in mid December! We can't wait!!!