Friday, December 27, 2013

More Bean

While my little Bean sleeps I figured I'd post some more cuteness...
A little monkey

There is a Bean in there somewhere...

Bean's first Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Welcome Samuel!

So the October-December update might come later, or it might not.  There's more exciting things to talk about now! Namely, one thing, who is actually a little tiny person!
Samuel David Ayala, December 13, 2013
What follows is Samuel's birth story, for anyone who is interested. As far as I can tell it's not overly graphic, but my perception may be a little skewed. In David's opinion the one thing I didn't stress enough is how loud I was towards the end - minor details. So here it is:
Samuel’s birth story started back in March, the way most every birth story starts.  If you don’t know how that is, ask your mother!  The first four months of his birth story were spent making me sick.  The next five were spent with me eating ridiculous amounts of food and sleeping lots…  All in all, pretty typical.  That is until Wednesday December 11, 2013.
David and I were both way overtired and decided to put ourselves to bed early.  Our lights were out by 9:30, which turns out to be a really good thing.  About 11:00 I woke up with a strange sensation of wetness.  My water had definitely broken. I wasn't having much in the way of contractions, but we called the midwife and made sure everything was ready, just in case.  Then we went back to bed.  I slept on and off until about 4am and then the combination of contractions and excitement woke me up.
At 6am, when everyone else got up for morning chores I moved to the bathtub to try and relax.  By about 9am, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart.  We called the midwife again and I crawled back into bed to try and rest.  Amazingly, I slept.  The midwife arrived about 10:30 (it was a busy day for the midwives!) and when I woke up about 11 she checked me.  I was only 2cm, so she told me to rest as much as I could and call when things changed. 
I had some lunch and got David to fill up the birthing pool.  Then I went and hung out there.  It was wonderful.  Whoever invented birthing pools with inflatable floors was a genius! David set things up so my laptop could be down there with me and I distracted myself online and breathed easily through my contractions. Once the water cooled off, I got out and walked around for a bit, still breathing easily through my contractions.
By 4pm or so, the contractions started to get stronger.  Breathing quietly through them wasn't working as well.  I was back in the birthing pool.  David got supper started upstairs and then came to join me in the birthing pool.  We worked through contractions together.  Things seemed to be picking up.  David called the midwife again and we continued to work through things.  Once the midwife arrived, she checked the baby’s heart rate (perfect!) and my blood pressure (also perfect).  Things continued to progress, getting more and more intense.  I handled things alright at first…time started to blur.  I decided that I wanted supper and Isaac brought me some (he was a very excited and attentive uncle-to-be).  I managed about half a dozen bites.  Then I started throwing up.   Time continued to blur, alternating between contractions and throwing up.  At one point mom brought me my evening meds and I promptly threw them back up.
After about 24 hours of labor (roughly… I wasn't watching the time too closely) I began to reach my limit.  The intensity of the contractions had almost peaked (I didn't know that at the time) and I was exhausted.  We moved from the birthing pool to my bed so that I could try and rest better between them.  That only worked so well, because no sooner had we gotten upstairs than the contractions came closer and closer together.  At one point I was shamelessly begging for something to ease the pain – even though I knew I really didn't want anything to interfere with the baby.   We considered a transfer to hospital so that I could get something for pain – however, the thought of making the transfer was almost unbearable – not just the car ride there in a worsening storm, but the psychological aspect of perceived failure at a homebirth.  The midwife checked me (first check since the morning) and told me that all I had to do was get the baby beyond the lip of my cervix and it would be done.  We were almost there.
We didn't transfer to the hospital.  Instead I moved to the bathroom where I continued to throw up and bellow through contractions (no more quietly breathing through them!).  David went to the bedroom to lie down.  I don’t think he slept though.  Soon I felt the urge to push.  I could feel the baby's head coming.  The midwife called David to come back in.  With a few more pushes Samuel was born into David’s hands and then placed onto my chest.  David moved behind me to support me as I cradled my newborn son on my chest.  We sat like that for a while until I passed out (oops!). David was a champ and brought me water sweetened with honey as well as a spoonful of honey while the midwife held my feet up and I laid flat on the floor. It didn't take long before my blood pressure stabilized and I was able to sit up with my baby on my chest again. Once the cord stopped pulsing, David cut it and we announced the name of our little Bean. 

While it wasn't the quiet, gentle, hypno-birth I had dreamed about, the result was a beautiful little boy – Samuel David, 7 lbs, 14 oz, and 22 inches long. 
snuggled up after a bath
Snuggling with Daddy

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Update July - September

Catchy title, right?  I know... I do what I can. So I haven't actually posted anything but five-minute Friday posts since July (!) so there is a lot of ground to cover!  So a summary will have to suffice.
July: Everyone in the big house was gone for Canadian Jamboree (big Scout to-do out West) and David and I ran the farm.  We dealt with a pneumonia outbreak among the crias and lived to tell about it!  Though the learning curve was steep for both of us.
This was one of our sick crias - he's healthy and rambunctious now!

August: David and I built a changing table for Bean. We also celebrated our first wedding anniversary and David left to return to school in Iowa for the year.

The unpainted finished change table
Celebrating our anniversary at the Lego store
Waving good-bye at the train station as David left to go back to school

September: Mom and I went to an alpaca seminar in Ohio and learned how to assist alpacas in difficult births.  Later in the month we went to a wedding in Iowa and got to visit David and other friends!
Alpaca course - learning to deliver difficult crias

Wedding in Iowa

David-Monkey waking up David-Human 

Sad good-byes (notice the growing belly!)

Visiting Summer

Visiting Chelsea Bell
Paying a surprise visit to Kathy

Visiting with Talia

And that's all for this post.  Hopefully I'll get October's update up soon...No promises though.   Facebook, of course, has more pictures!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Tree

This blog has fallen on the wayside...far too long without a post.  I'll try and get a post up in the next few days and let you all (if anyone actually reads this) know what's been going on.  However, it is Friday, and I'm sitting at the computer, so I'm going to participate in Five-Minute Friday.  You can join the party here. This week's prompt is "Tree"

When I hear the word tree I think of two things - first I think of the plant that grows in abundance around our house... tall, straight, pointing to the sky, fallen down, dead, chopped for firewood, covered in leaves, bare, sticky with pine sap...  And then I think of the other kind of tree.  The family tree.  Family trees have always been important to my family, on both sides.  Family trees tell us where we came from, who we came from, what our history is, and how we are connected in this world.  But what they don't tell us is our future.  A family tree only looks back - it cannot look forward.
However a plant-tree can look both forward and backward.  If it were sentient, it could look back and remember what it was like to be a sapling, a slender shoot coming up from the ground.  And it could look forward to what it will be - big and strong, growing both in height and diameter and weather, space and time allow.  For a tree, there is only one path it can take, and that is the path of all trees.  It will continue to grow, grow, and grow some more.
Our family trees are different.  We can look back but not forward.  We have the whole world in front of us and can grow to be whatever it is that we want to be.  There is no set path for us.  We can be astronauts or doctors or mothers....


Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: True

I've been absent the last few weeks...Number of reasons why, none of them terribly important and most only semi-valid, except for the one Friday when my wrist/hand were so flared up I couldn't type. Pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome decided to show its head as I entered the third trimester.  A reduction in the amount of typing I do and splinting have helped immensely.
So this week's prompt for Five-Minute-Friday from Lisa-Jo Baker is:  True. So here comes five minutes of unscripted writing...

True.  It sounds simple.  Four letters.  On the surface it's what everyone wants - the truth.  Openness, honesty, transparency, true-ness.  But how often do we actually get a glimpse of what is true, what hides behind the facade that we all put up?   I wonder why we throw that mask up, the one that hides the true-ness so easily.  Is it because we are afraid to be confronted by the deepest realms of ourselves?  Or is it because we are afraid that others won't be able to handle it if they new the true-ness of what goes on inside our heads and behind our masks?  
The thought of baring my soul, of sharing the bald true-ness of my life, my experiences, my opinions, my secrets, is terrifying.  What would people think?  What would people whisper behind my back?  Would people see it as a plea for attention?  An attempt to draw pity or sympathy towards myself?  Or would they be able to see it simply for what it was/is - the truth?

No picture this week.  I'm tired.  It's time to call David and leave him a video message with tonight's devotions and crawl into my bed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Worship

So, for the last couple of weeks I've put off writing for Five-Minute-Friday until the evening and by then I'm too tired or too busy to make a proper post, so it doesn't happen.  This week I decided to bite the bullet and do it now, while I'm awake and not currently occupied.  I've got lunch in my belly and Bean is not currently demanding that I go to the bathroom.  So here goes, this week's word is "worship"


Worship.  What comes to mind is not just being in a worship service with other believers, though that certainly is a form of worship I often engage in, but it's so much more than that.  It's what happens when I look up at the stars on a clear night on the farm and wonder in amazement at the details there.  It's what happens when I'm in outside in a beautiful countryside or out on a lake and see the life around me.  It's what happens when I pick up a new cria and and note the perfection with which it was made.  It's what happens every time (or at least often) when I feel Bean kicking in my stomach or hear the heartbeat at the midwife.  Those times and many others fill me with the desire to worship the Creator and Author of life.
Worship is also being in church or at camp and signing and singing songs and lifting praises towards the heaven, but it's also so much more.
Sometimes worship becomes corrupted and I begin to worship the wrong things.  I worship ideals.  I worship things.  I worship my image - both physical and otherwise.  I worship other people.   When I worship the wrong things I'm not singing praises to them in song, I don't pray to them, but I do put an improper emphasis on them and devote too much of my time to them....


Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

I'm joining up with Five Minute Friday again this week.  Today the prompt is "broken".

When I read today's prompt I wasn't quite sure where to start.  So much around me is broken.  This world is broken.  I am broken.  And today is one of those days where I'm feeling my brokenness in a large way.  The headaches have been pretty intense today, the pain in my hips has made every step hurt, and the exhaustion draws my eyes shut more often than I would like.   It's just been one of those days, one of my more broken days.
But when I look at the larger world around me, my brokenness seems insignificant.  There are whole social systems that are broken, whole nations that our broken.  The educational system in many senses is broken.  The justice system is broken.  In many parts of the world even the political systems are broken.
Yet in all the brokenness of this world, there is One who was more broken than any other and because of His brokenness, there is hope for wholeness in spite of the brokenness.  That hope is pretty hard to hold onto this side of heaven though.   When there is so much brokenness, when I am confronted every day by the brokenness in me and the world around me.  It seems like there will never be wholeness again.   It's all broken.


No picture this week... I'm too tired and my headache is ramping up again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Saturdays

During the summer my Saturdays have a predictable rhythm, and technically start Wednesday nights when I receive 6 data files from local swim team coaches. They continue on Thursdays when I sort about 200 swimmers into heats and lanes in 72 events. They pick on Friday afternoons when I make any last minute changes then print, cut and sort about 600 entry cards, (and typically only lose 2-3 of them).  They pick up speed in the wee hours of Saturday morning when we get up extra early to do barn chores and leave the farm in time to be at the hosting pool by 7:30am (sometimes it means leaving at 6:30am).  But it all becomes worthwhile at 8:30 on Saturday morning when this happens:
A pool ready for swimmers!
Swimmers being sorted (marshalled) for their races

More swimmers getting ready

And they're off!

 Coming in for a turn...


By about 1pm all 600 entries have swum, the meet is scored, and I go home and take my nap.  After nap time, I post the results online and e-mail all the coaches.  Then I get a few days off until Wednesday and we start all over again!  
It's a lot of work, but watching the swimmers succeed (a couple took 2+ seconds off their times this week!) and have fun is well worth it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Our internet is currently being uncooperative (read: not working at all), but I do want to participate in five minute Friday, a blog party put on by Lisa-Jo.  I missed last Friday for various reasons (long story), but I’m here today.  Before the internet crashed I got the prompt and I will post my entry as soon as we have internet back.  The prompt for this week is “Belong”.

Growing up I often wondered what it would feel like to truly belong.  I became an expert on being on the outside and looking in.  Everywhere I went I was on the outskirts somewhere.  To adults it may have looked like I was on the inside, but really, I was on the outside.  I never quite fit anywhere.  There was too much about me that made me different and I didn’t know how to embrace those differences.

I still often find myself on the outside of things, never quite fitting in.  I think that’s because I’m a product of my past experiences and my unique biology.   On good days I’m okay with not fitting in perfectly and can embrace what makes me different.   On less than good days – I cry.  I get lonely.  I long for even one or two close friends, who are actually physically close, not just emotionally and mentally close.  I’ve got “peoples” on the internet, groups that I belong to, but here, on the ground…  there are few to no people who I’m actually very close to, who I can sit down and share parts of my life with.

Except for my husband.  When I am with him I truly belong.  I belong in his arms.  I belong laying beside him, snuggled up in bed.  I belong walking through the grocery store with him at my side.  He belongs with me when we go to the midwife, or the doctor, or the social worker. And I belong with him.   His arms are the one place on earth where I truly feel like I belong.


*My timer malfunctioned after 35 seconds so I’m guessing that I was about at five minutes.   Next time I’ll have to remember to look at the clock when I start my timer, just in case it misbehaves.

Monday, July 08, 2013

A day in the life...

With the Big House (Littlest Brother, Middle Brother, Oldest Brother, Mom and Papa) gone out West for a huge Scout event (CJ '13, if anyone's interested), David and I are running the farm and overseeing the entire herd.  It means the structure of our day has changed remarkably and pretty much revolves around feeding some creature or another.  Here's a sample:
7:00am - wake up, weigh alpaca babies, feed mosquitoes, feed alpacas, feed mosquitoes, feed the baby alpaca whose mama isn't making enough milk, let alpacas out to pasture if it's not currently pouring rain.
8:30am - retreat from the mosquito invasion, feed the dog, feed the fish, feed Husbandy, feed Wifey, field phone calls and pass messages along.  Check in with the Big House and update them on any major happenings.
9:00/9:30am - Wifey takes her morning nap.  Husbandy either goes to the other farm to help out with chores or does whatever it is Husbandy does.
11:30am/noon - Feed Wifey.  Feed Husbandy if he wants.  Feed baby alpaca whose mama doesn't have enough milk for her.
1:30pm - Miscellaneous household chores, ranging from fencing and pasture maintenance to grocery shopping and school work and everything in between.
4:00pm - Feed Wifey, bring alpacas in from pasture, sort them back into their correct paddocks, feed the alpacas, feed the mosquitoes, feed the baby alpaca who needs a bottle
5:00-7:00pm (timing is flexible) - make and consume dinner of some sort. (ie: Feed Husbandy, and feed Wifey)
8:00pm - feed the baby alpaca, feed the mosquitoes
9:00pm - fall into bed and repeat the next day

Now if we actually had a day that followed that schedule without added adventures, it would be wonderful!  Really, the only thing that stays constant is that I'm feeding something or other all the time!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Beautiful

A week ago today a friend introduce me to something called "Five-Minute-Friday".  It's a blogging party put on by Lisa Jo.  Every Friday she puts out a prompt and over a hundred people spend 5 minutes - no more, no less - writing on the prompt, pure, unedited, and unfiltered. This is my first time attempting it. This week's prompt is "Beautiful".


Beautiful.  The hot summer sunset when the sky lights up purple and orange and red - like a campfire arching across the sky.  My alpaca babies as they learn to run in the wind.  Ghidora with her silky fawn fleece that sparkles and shines in the wind when she runs.  So much of what G-d has made is beautiful.  One of the most beautiful things I have encountered lately is hearing my baby's heartbeat - the quick rapid pulse of a tiny heart pumping a tiny amount of blood in my ever growing belly.  I'm learning to see that  belly as beautiful, as a reminder of the life growing in me.
Things unseen are beautiful too - forgiveness, grace, reconciliation.  It's beautiful to see people coming together after a rift has festered for years, coming together and being united again.  It's beautiful to stand in a large group of people and sing praises to G-d, to worship with abandon, with tears and arms raised, with laughing and dancing, with kneeling and praying.  It's even more beautiful when it's done with people from many nations and languages all together in one place for one purpose.
Beauty is all around us if we only open our eyes to see it.  It's in the trees and the sky and the grass and the flowers that bloom.  It's the butterfly that Littlest Brother caught in the garage the other day and released back outside to the sunshine.  It's the kittens that play in the barn.


Ghidora, just figuring out her legs

Monday, June 03, 2013

Introducing: Bean

David and I are pleased to announce the pending arrival of our little bundle of joy: Bean.
Bean is expected to arrive in mid to late December and we are eager for Bean's arrival.  In the  meantime, here are some question and answers about Bean.

Is Bean a boy or a girl?
Bean is either a boy or a girl.  We will find out in about 6 months, right after we see Bean's face.

Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?
We will both be happy as long as Bean is healthy, regardless of whether Bean is a boy or a girl.

Have you been sick?
Yes.  But as long as I take my Diclectin I'm okay.

What about school?  I heard that David was going back to Iowa...
Yes, David is going back to Iowa to finish off his BA at Central.  Due to visa requirements, he has been unable to get work in Canada.  Without an income, we can't afford to send him to school here.  Additionally, it would take 2-3 years here for him to finish his degree whereas he can do it in one at Central, and earn an income at the same time.

What about you?  Are you going with him?
No.  I will be staying here.  Because of medical costs it is not feasible for me to be in the US during pregnancy and delivery.  It would cost a lot of money that we don't have.  Here it is covered by the government, so financially it is better for me to stay here.  I will be continuing my schooling at Tyndale, taking online courses.

Won't that be ridiculously hard?
Yes.  There will be nothing easy about it, but it is something that has to happen at this point. Thankfully we have Skype and e-mail and Facebook...  we'll be able to stay in touch.  It won't be the same as being together, but it will help.

Will David be back before Bean is born?
Hopefully.  It all depends on when he writes his exams and when Bean decides to show up.  It is our prayer that Bean will wait until David is home before he/she comes, but Bean will come when Bean is ready to come.

What is the plan after Bean is born?
We will work on getting Bean a passport as soon as possible, ideally before it is time for David's graduation in May.  David does intend on coming back to Canada at this point and pursuing a Master's degree.  The college he has looked at would allow him to work off campus and thus be able to continue providing income for us, making it a lot easier for him to live in Canada and us to be together as a happy family.

How can I help out?
At this point not a whole lot of help is needed, but once David leaves to go back to school in August, and especially after Bean is born, there will be more ways to help.  In the meantime, the best support can be given through prayer - both for my health and for Bean's health.   I am planning on setting up a Facebook group where I can post specific prayer requests for Bean and I throughout the pregnancy.  If you would like to be part of it, let me know and I will be sure to add you.

Introducing Phantom

On May 26 our first cria of the year was born.
She was born at 9:30am on Sunday morning

She weighed 14.5 lbs

David carried her down to a sunnier paddock so she could dry off and warm up

By mid afternoon she was alert and running.  She's a beautiful black girl.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

May Photo Recap

And here come the photos from May:
Our alpacas enjoyed the sun - both before they were shorn...
..and after they were shorn.
They enjoyed the weather so much that they made Mommy a mother's day card!

(I can't figure out how to turn the pictures so they are right way up)

Thursday, May 30, 2013


So I realized that I haven't posted since April...welcome to spring on an alpaca farm.  I wonder if anyone missed me.  Anyhow, here come some pictures to catch you all up.
Candy the cat decided that David's hair needed washed (poor quality picture, sorry.  I only had my phone with me)
We worked at check-in at the Alpaca Ontario Show

David and Announcement competed in the obstacle course

David also very cleverly entertained some children as he show was wrapping...the best part:  The children didn't even speak English!

That wraps up the month of April, at least, that's all I have photos of for April. Stay tuned for May photos. :)

Monday, April 01, 2013

Fun and Games

I got David a "game cube" for his birthday.  And then promptly beat him at Parcheesi. (He later beat me at Chinese Checkers.)
   David's "fried egg".  Completely lacking any chicken byproducts. ;)
Playing trains with Lukie.
Of course, the guinea pig and cat had to play trains with us too...

Friday, March 29, 2013


Yesterday, like every other years since 1991 Mom's eighth grade Sunday school class was at our house to celebrate a seder dinner.  Here are some pictures:
The tables are set and ready to go

Matzah Tasch (three pocketed ceremonial Matzo bag)

Seder plate with ceremonial items (from top clockwise: roasted egg, lamb shank bone, charoset, horseradish, parsley. Center: bitter herbs)
David being a goofball while eating the roasted egg

lots of good food and fellowship around the table