Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Our Baby is ONE!

I want to do a post later on how we survived our flights to Australia (they went much better than expected!) and how much Gabby loved meeting her cousins. For now, though...we have a one year old. The ongoing theme of this year has been "she is that many months ALREADY??" - but it really has gone faster than I ever could have imagined.

Gabby has:

-started to take a few steps! She practices standing and walking all the time right now
-6 teeth in and working on a few more (4 on the bottom, 2 on the top)
-started sleeping through the night for real (up until our big trip to Australia she still woke up at around 5 or 5:30 am for milk a lot of nights - that feeding is now gone)
-one word: Dada. 
-understanding of lots of words - the names of a lot of our family, the animals, her different toys, etc. 
-started pointing at things and making a "what" sound until you tell her what it's called
-started to become a toddler...she now has opinions on what food she likes (fruit!!), on whether she wants to drop it off her high chair or put it in her ear, on whether she wants to be picked up NOW or put down NOW, etc. 
-an all encompassing love for Juice-cat. She screeches with joy when Juice walks in the room, follows her around, tries to be gentle but also wants to squeeeesh Juice...
-totally mastered the signs for 'more' and 'all done' (since about 8 months) - 'more' is used for "yes" and "I want that" (she points at something and then signs 'more'). 
-also mastered pooping on the toilet. This is one that I never ever thought I'd even think about with a baby but at around 8 months Gabby started becoming so obvious and regular about pooping that I just sat her on the toilet when I could tell she had to go. So many nasty diaper changes saved! So much time saved! Since then, it progressed into her looking at us an grunting if she has to poo. Pretty funny little girl...

I'm sad that my little squishy baby is already such a small person but at the same time I'm loving how fun and full of personality she is. Tonight after dinner we all just sat around and were entertained by her antics practicing her steps and slamming her beloved new dolly on the ground. We had a giant snowstorm for her birthday (same as for her birth last year!) and our power was out all day. Last year, our water froze as I went into labour. Lets home that crazy storms aren't her birthday tradition!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Lambs and Goats and Pumpkins, Oh My

Gabby is 10 months old! What? How?? Yes. 10 months already. This baby is just the happiest, silliest little girl!

Grandma and Grandpa are here visiting since they won't see us for about a month...because in just over 2 weeks we are flying to Australia to visit Molly, Poppy and the rest of Nathan's family. We are so excited and so terrified. Is it possible to entertain a 10 month old baby for a 13 hour flight and then an 8 hour flight? I feel like we'd have better luck entertaining Pippa for that length of time. This baby likes to move - she grumbles if a car ride lasts longer than 10 minutes and when she's playing on the floor she is constantly moving. Up, down, spinning around, crawling... So yes, that's the terrifying part. We are very excited for when we get there, and for our couple of nights in Hong Kong on the way!

I forgot to write in the last blog update that Gabby got sick for the first time in August, just when Nathan's parents first arrived. She had a high fever for a day and just slept and nursed all day. She slept normally that night and seemed fine the next day! Since then she had a cold that lasted only a day and was barely noticeable.

Amelia's daughter had her lamb! She had a little ram lamb born on September 29th. He is very cute and very bouncy - and he tries to mount Pippa all the time. Speaking of that goat, we had the sheep in the front yard the other day (fully fenced away from the house) and we were in the kitchen. All of a sudden our third dog walked into the kitchen...wait...we don't have a third dog...PIPPA! She had jumped through the fence and marched through the front door that Abby had pushed open and into the kitchen. I guess she liked the toasty warm house from the new wood stove :)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Baby's first summer

After reading some other blogs this morning, I am committing myself to updating my own!

As a side note, it's very hard to concentrate with the LOUDEST CHICKEN EVER announcing her egg right outside the front window. Why must she lay her egg in the harvested garlic/onion basket? Only she knows.

Gabby's nap times have been spent either in a frenzy of tidying/getting some task done outside or else lying down and recovering the endless energy that taking care of a small human uses!

Let's do a point form catching up of the last few months since I posted:

-took a wonderful girls (plus Loic) weekend trip to a beach house a few hours north with Erika and her kids, Jess and my sister. We were in the sweet spot of Gabby sitting well but not moving around, and not eating enough solid food to have to worry about 'meal times' yet. A large blanket kept her from ingesting too much sand...

-I think it was during either June or July that Gabby started rolling onto her stomach to sleep and also moved her only wake up to 5-5:30. Other than a short period of crying for a few minutes at 3:00 am for a week or so last week (while staying half asleep), she has been super consistent at night (knock on wood!!!!). I started to try and stretch that early feeding out to 6:30 am but she was sleeping very restlessly in that last hour and waking up starving and cranky (and then wanting to take a nap super early because she wasn't sleeping soundly for the last hour of the morning). So, for now, nursing at that early hour works well.

-We took a trip to the mainland to visit Grandma and Grandpa (we do this every month or two).

-Gabby tried her first pizza crust. Yummy. During July she hadn't really perfected her pincer grasp so I was still cutting her food into strips. She ate some of it, but a lot of it was accidentally dropped (and became chicken/pig/dog food). 

-We took lots of hikes to the river that Gabby either slept through or, if she was awake, she got to splash and dip her feet in the water.

-Our friends came to visit with Gabby's bff, Bailey. This was the visit where they started interacting more and, even though they are 9 months apart, they have started to seem closer in age.

-Gabby started really showing how much she loves Juice:


-we went to a Mother Goose music class series at the library in July and August. Gabby loved bouncing to the songs and watching the other kids, and sometimes screeching with excitement!

-we went on vacation to LA. We spent the first few days with Grandma and Grandpa, and then Erika, Loic and Jess came for a week. We had so much fun going to all different beaches and swimming in the pool!

-at the beginning of the month, Gabby started getting up on all fours and rocking. Crawling was imminent!

-by the end of the month, she was crawling! Before LA, she was belly scooting on beds but not really able to move on the floor. Just after we got back and started really moving!

-her sitting was stable enough to not need a pillow behind her anymore for the 'just in case' topples

-Gabby started ingesting a lot more solid food. Her pincer grasp all of a sudden got a lot better so I started cutting her food into smaller pieces. She was and still is nursing just as often (when she wakes up, before and after naps, and bedtime - so 6-7 times in a day but who knows how much milk she actually ingests total). 

-Gabby started taking 3 solid/predictable naps in August. For the most part they were 1.5 hours in the morning and after lunch, and then a 30-40 minute nap around 4:00. 

-Gabby got her first tooth! Bottom right. She also started waving, clapping, pointing, and getting into any position herself (from lying to sitting to pulling up standing, back to sitting, etc.). 

-Molly and Poppy came to visit for 3.5 fun weeks!! We got a lot accomplished, as per usual. The main big project was that we redid the basement stairs. They are now less steep, super solid, and much safer for trips up and down for laundry and wood stove refuelling (did I mention our new wood stove??? We shall be warm this winter!). 


-Gabby started the transition to 2 naps a day. We are still sometimes needing a third nap now, depending on whether they were two long naps or not. 

-The day after Molly and Poppy left, our friends came to visit for almost a week. We took a day trip to Saltspring and hung out on the farm the rest of the time, with a few hikes thrown in.

-The day that they left, Gabby and I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa and picked up my friend Ffion from the airport on the way there!

-When we got back from the mainland, Ffion and I took Gabby on her first camping trip to the wild west coast of the island. It.was.stunning. We got back yesterday. 

PHEW. All caught up in baby land! If this post doesn't have all the photos, it's because Gabby woke up from her nap and I decided to publish it rather than forget about it. 

In less point form and more thoughtful writing, this has been the best year of my life so far. I never realized how having a baby could make you feel so nostalgic each and every day. I love nothing more than seeing all of Gabby's new skills, but at the same time I look at her standing and playing and she looks closer to toddler than to the tiny baby that we brought home 9 months ago. It isn't like each day disappears in a blink, but somehow seeing her change so quickly makes time feel way too fast. I think the part that really gets me is that I can already tell that I'll be looking back at this time when she is 5...10...15...and yearning for it in some ways. Taking care of a baby is a lot of work but I haven't yet found myself wanting or needing a 'break' (except during the time when I chug my coffee while Nathan takes Gabby to do chores, and during her naps ;) ). 

Farm updates:

We have a freezer full of pork and chicken, as well as so much tomato sauce and relish and zucchini cake (thanks Molly!!). We will have lamb back soon (one ram and two ewe lambs). Nathan and his dad built a removable box for Nathan's truck so we could finally take the lambs in without using dog crates (and these lambs were huge!). It looks like Amelia's daughter is going to give birth soon...the ram lamb was born January 1st so I supposed he could have bred her in May. 

In a month of so we will process our 4 turkeys and 3 drakes for sausage. Our pork sausage this year is the best we've had yet. Maybe tonight for dinner we should have something other than pork...we've been eating it non stop since we got it back last week!

The garden is doing well (thanks to Nathan!). We still have lots of tomatoes and zucchini but everything is slowing down. Gabby and I might go to some gardening when she wakes up. 

And she's up! I'll add photos to another post later on...

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Flying by!

Oh dear, time seems to have skipped ahead somehow. I don't understand how it's going by so quickly. It seems like Gabby changes every day and I want it all to slow down at the same time as enjoying it all so much.

She tried solid food for the first time a few days before her half birthday. We are feeding her with a combination of purees and finger foods, but trying to let her feed herself as much as possible. She tried avocado first (a messy hit!), followed by yams and carrots (cut into sticks and steamed), broccoli (prefers it raw), egg yolk, apple and pear (also cut into sticks and steamed), and her very favourites: garden strawberries and raspberries. It is the perfect timing for her to be eating solid food - she gets to try all of the veggies as they ripen! Today she tried raw cauliflower and cucumber (both were popular). She is pretty good at grabbing the food but she's still working on her pincer grip. Peas are not possible yet...but she does love gnawing on sweet pea pods. Solid food has in no way affected her nursing. She still loves to nurse and likes an appetizer before solid food and dessert afterwards :)

She has been sleeping really well at night - most nights there is a quick wake up at 3-4 to eat, and then up for the morning at 6:30-7. I'll try to wean her from that last feed soon, but she does still eat a lot at that point (and that's after 8 hours of sleep) so I think I'll wait until she's eating solid food better. She still takes short naps - she'll throw a long one in every so often but it isn't predictable. So we are still at 4 naps per day, usually, with the last one ending around 4:30 and then bed by 7:30.

She can sit up on her own now! She looks so proud of herself and likes to sit with her toys to play now. Her current favourite sound is "DADADADADA". She has been practicing it constantly for the last week. She is all smiles all the time, unless she's tired. When she gets really excited, she does this hilarious full body wiggle. She is fascinated by chickens, still, and also by Abby (since she never gets to touch Abby). She really likes Juice, and pets her (...tried to squeeze her fur) all the time.

She rides on my back now when we hike (so much easier for me!) and falls asleep there on every hike. We had our first few trips to the river and she loved splashing her feet in the water even though it's still pretty cold.

In farm news, we are as busy as ever! Our meat birds go to the butcher this week so that will help ease our work load a bit (chasing them all into the coop every night it getting old...). We've got 4 turkeys that we're growing for sausage, and the 4 pigs that will be butchered in August. We're selling lots of eggs, and everything is growing really well in the garden. We got to eat so much asparagus this year! Our strawberries are really tasty but tiny for some reason.

And with that, it's time to go run outside and finish the chores!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Green Grass

Spring is finally here!

Gabby is 3.5 months old already. As we came out of what is referred to as 'the 4th trimester', Gabby suddenly seemed to change so much. She notices everything around her now; she turns to voices and follows people around the room with her eyes. She is working on rolling over both ways and has had a few successful rolls, especially when helped by being in a soft surface. She is starting to like tummy time more now that she can lift her head way up and look around. She also grabs things (now my hair really has to be up all the time!) and constantly has her fists in her mouth. Some days she is super chatty and other days she seems quieter while she works on rolling and grabbing. She still loves to lie on her playmat and most of the time she would rather be down there than held! Most days go by with very little fussing except if she gets too tired before a nap or bedtime. She is a happy, smiley little baby!

She naps about 4-5 times a day - each one is usually only 45 min-1 hr and then she goes to bed between 7:30-8:00. Bedtime has been going really well, and so have most of her naps. She seems to soothe herself to sleep well as long as she isn't over tired. Her arms are now usually out of her little swaddle sacks and if she is having trouble falling asleep, swaddling her arms helps. She likes her little lamb wubbanub soother but doesn't usually need it for sleep - which is good since she can't keep it in her mouth very well without help!

We had two weeks or so of difficult nights - the first 2 am wake up became 1:30, then 1:00, then 12:30, and then for about a week she was waking at 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 and then up at 7:00 for the day. I was exhausted! Only nursing seemed to soothe her back to sleep. I'm still not sure whether it was a growth spurt or whether she was having trouble getting herself back to sleep on her own. Either way, we moved her into her own room for the first stretch of the night and things have been a lot better this past week. She started waking to eat at 2 or 3 again (she wakes up around 12:00 and fusses for a bit but doesn't cry - and falls back asleep without us going in there) and then at 5/6 and back to sleep until 7/8. That feels soo much better for me and I feel mostly human again!

The most exciting thing these past few weeks has been Nathan's parents' visit! Gabrielle has been loved and spoiled by her Australian Molly and Poppy. They are here for 5 weeks altogether and we are sure going to miss them when they go. We went away for a night with my parents to an airbnb on the beach which was lovely. We took Molly, Poppy and Gabby on their first snowshoeing adventure!

Molly has been working hard in the garden and Poppy has been tiling our kitchen counter and backsplash!

First time being able to hang those diapers in the sun!

Squishy baby burrito!

The farm is getting busier! We're picking up new layers tonight (15 4-week old Bovans) and our 3 or 4 Berkshire piglets will arrive in 2 weeks. We have to fix our meat bird coop up to be ready for them at the end of the month. The 3 lambs are getting big and enjoying the spring pastures with their moms and auntie Pippa. We transplanted 3 rows of raspberries to start a new bed in the garden. The asparagus has just started coming up - this is year 3 so we can finally eat some! We've got mescluns, lettuce, spinach, cilantro and potatoes in the ground. Tomatoes, peppers and squash (hasn't sprouted yet) seedlings are growing well in the little greenhouse. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017


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 -


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!


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.