She’s Here!

After months of waiting and praying, our latest addition finally joined us on May 21st. Little Emberly weighed in at 7 pounds 3 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

She is very sweet and has melted all our hearts already. Her arrival was dramatic and nerve racking, but all are well

We were scheduled for induction on the 21st and everything was proceeding as expected. Laurel was in active labor by noon and we were hopeful that Emberly would be with us before supper.

Although there were regular contractions, Emberly was not in the right position and the labor was not progressing so the doctor decided at 9 pm to do a C-section. There had been discussions in the previous weeks about performing a c-section as Emberly was breach, but she had turned the right way around the week before.

An hour later we were in the operating room.  We were both scared but were trusting in God to bring us through.  It wasn’t long and we heard her first cry.  I left the room with the baby and the nurses for her initial weigh-in and measurement while they finished the procedure.  They told me that it would be another 25 minutes or so before Laurel would be back out.

I got to hold Emberly and rock her as we waited…and waited…and started to worry as it was approaching an hour.  It turns out that after we left the operating room, Laurel’s heartrate dropped to about 20 beats per minute and her breathing stopped for about 10 seconds.  They don’t know for sure what caused this, but they figure the anesthetic moved up into her lungs after the delivery and had a negative reaction.

They had Laurel in the ICU until the next morning and monitored her closely.  She ended up getting a blood transfusion and an ultrasound of her heart.  No issues were found, and we heard some more theories about what happened, but nothing definite.  We stayed in the hospital for 4 days and had the greatest nurses and doctors; we can’t say enough how good they all were.  We were happy to come home, however, and be with our other children.  We were missing them and they us.


Its been a week and a half and mom is recovering well and little Emberly is growing.  It will be another few weeks before we can get back to regular life so in the mean time we will be taking things slowly and enjoying the heck out of our newest addition.

We thank God everyday that they both survived and that our family is whole and are looking forward to what He has in store for us next.


It’s A New Year – what we’ve been upto for the last little bit

Oh my, does time fly.  I don’t know how many times I’ve planned to come to the computer to put out an update on the blog, only to put it off.  We left the acreage in November, right after a crazy snow storm and during a crazy cold spell.  The first part of the trip was over extremely slippery high ways and the rest was through blowing snow and cold.  I was pulling the trailer with the bus and Laurel followed me in the SUV.

Abby and Eowyn in their Christmas dresses

We took two days to drive to Moose Jaw Saskatchewan where we’ve set up for now.  Laurel’s family is from here so we have some roots and we are currently renovating her uncle’s house while we rent it.  The last few weeks have been spent pulling up carpet, prepping and painting walls and trying to sort through everything we packed up and brought along.

Party of four, passed out

I suppose I should also let you all know that we are currently expecting baby number eight.  Surprise!!  We are due towards the end of May (according to the ultrasound) but we think it may be sooner.  This of course changed our plans for this winter as we would probably have headed south again, but with doctor visits and such we felt we should maybe stick closer to home.

Titus tuckered out at Grandpa’s house after supper…he couldn’t get down without help so he had a nap

So while we are here four of our girls are in snycronized swimming and another is in horse riding lessons.  We will get the boys busy in something soon as well.  We were too far out of town before to put the kids in these kinds of activities and they are quite enjoying them.

Syncronized swimming lessons

We miss acreage life, but were unable to afford living there anymore, even with me working full-time.  We’ve slowed down, are taking some time to get our affairs back in order and are trying to decide where to go next.  We miss life on the road and the friends that we made, plus there is so much more to see and do.  In the mean time we are enjoying family and figuring out what is most important to us.

I hope you all are having a fantastic New Year and I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks.

Had quite a few days of hoar frost this fall. 


A Mouse in the House

A bit of excitement this morning before leaving for work.  I was in the bathroom when a mouse came under the door, did a quick u-turn and back out again.  I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.  We have not had any mice in the house before so I was definitely surprised.

I quickly opened the door and frantically looked about my bedroom for the pesky invader, but to no avail.  He was nowhere to be found.  The commotion awoke my wife and a couple of kids.  I assumed (incorrectly) that he went back down whatever hidy-hole he came from and that I would not see him again.

A few minutes later, as I was trying to take a picture of the sunrise, a scream came from the kitchen window as the mouse darted from under the stove to under the fridge.  This got everyone up and the chase was on.  The cat was brought in to do what we got the thing for, which was mouse duty.

The vile thing made its way back into my bathroom and was hiding under a cabinet when the cat finally got involved.  A poke underneath with the broom handle brought the mouse out and grabbed the cat’s attention (finally, she didn’t understand why we were trying to shove her under the cabinet – she just wanted cuddles).  She caught the mouse under the toilet and headed for the kitchen with it dangling from her mouth by its tail.

We, of course, wanted her to take it outside and I picked her up (with the dangly mouse) and headed for the door.  She, unexpectedly, dropped it before I could go three paces (sigh) and the mouse escaped under the stove again.

One needs to understand that there were seven hysterical children and two adults freaking out, lots of screaming and shouting and running around.  I yanked the drawer out from the stove and the cat dove back into the fray.  The mouse dashed to under the fridge again with the cat hot on its heels.

I pulled the fridge from the wall and it again ran into my bedroom.  It hid in an empty box and confused the cat for a minute before hiding behind the dresser.  Cornered by the cat, it made a risky dash for the bathroom, only to get caught again.  This time we were able to herd the cat out the door with its prize, much to everyone’s relief.

Five minutes later, when leaving for work, I saw the cat under the deck playing with the mouse – which was still alive and trying to escape.  I told her to just kill the dang thing and get it over with.


Here’s the sunrise picture 🙂

Hope you all had a great day!

I think we have more Roosters than Hens

It is still too early to be completely sure, but it looks as though the roosters out number the hens. We knew that it was theoretically possible that we could end up with all roosters, but I figured we would be closer to a 50/50 split in a worst case scenario.

While doing the evening chores last night I separated them based on their size, combs and feathering. The ones with the big flashy combs, shiny neck and tail feathers and big bodies (not to mention aggressive) numbered fifteen. Those ten that remained were definitely smaller, gentler and less impressive looking.

Even with only ten hens we are still expecting between forty and sixty eggs a week as they lay between four and six eggs each. We sill have a couple more months before this happens.

This means we have to learn how to butcher sooner than later, or try to sell some roosters.

In other farming news, the potatoes are finally thriving, the corn is doing well and the onions are taller than the weeds. Our neighbour was kind enough to lend us his lawn tractor. The kids had been push mowing the yard and were doing a good job, but with the acres we have there is not way we could get it all done.

Abigayle is recovering well from her surgery. She is finally talking again and eating. She refused to take anymore Tylenol or Advil after day three (which is when it it supposed to be the most painful). We figure it was upsetting her tummy, and even though we were pushing the medication, she listened to her body and ultimately made a great decision.

It was hard for us though as the doctors and nurses were very insistent that the drugs be administered for seven to ten days consistently or she would be in lots of pain and would have to come back to the hospital. Plus the fact she couldn’t communicate with words to us. I am impressed at her strength as she endured this extremely well. It is so nice to hear her talking again and to see her eating.

Surgery Day for Abby

We had to get up before the sun yesterday to take Abby to the hospital for surgery.

So we were able to enjoy the sunrise on the drive in to Grande Prairie. We had to be checked in by 6 am and the surgery was scheduled for 8 am.

The surgery was successful and they said she did really well. She was quite cranky coming out of the anesthesia, which some kids are. There was a little boy in for the same procedure who’s parents said it didn’t slow him down one bit.

Abby had to stay overnight because she has had sleep apnea in the past so they like to observe those cases a little closer.

Laurel spent the night with her and it was a difficult sleep. But, she was released this morning and we are back home. We have to keep her from running around and hydrated for the next 7-10 days.

She is one tough cookie.

Happy Fathers Day!

I awoke this morning to eggs, bacon and coffee. It was awesome. I also received a pile of homemade cards, pictures and gifts from my kids. It is a great reminder of how lucky I am.

In this day and age there is a real and dangerous attack on the family and especially the father. Centuries of tradition and practice are disappearing and the ramifications of which are starting to manifest in our society in a very real and terrifying way.

Fathers are portrayed in mainstream media as bumbling idiots or childish and in need of a strong woman to mother them and keep them from doing stupid things. I have no issue with strong women helping their husbands, but the result is a generation of men that do not know how to be men.

We are being told that biology is subjective and that gender is a societal construct, both of which are demonstrably false. This style of reasoning is eroding the foundations of society and it scares me to think of what kind of future my children and grandchildren will have. We men are no longer allowed to be men, that being manly is sexist and has no place in our society. Our kids are the ones who will suffer for this.

The current push is to eliminate the days honouring our parents because of feelings. It is probably the saddest thing I’ve seen and it concerns me greatly. The traditional family has been proven to be the most stable and empowering environment in which to raise children and to destroy that simply because it might hurt someone’s feelings is ludicrous.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have both parents involved in their lives and those that do have to compete with careers and media for their time. It is a daily struggle for me to deny myself and put into my kids what they need and deserve. It is not an easy job to be a parent, but if it isn’t hard it ain’t worth doing.

I hope that my legacy to my kids is not an inheritance of money or of things, but of an honourable life. A life worth repeating.

To all you fathers out there, Happy Fathers Day!!

Time Flies and Stuff

It has been a while since my last post. Not from a lack of things happening, but because I recently went back to work full time. Trying to fit everything into the day something’s going to fall through the cracks.

The garden work continues although we’ve had some setbacks in the form of frost. The one evening I didn’t check the forecast we woke up to frost. Of course we had just planted our squash, pumpkin and cucumber seedlings a day or so before. We lost most of them and just a couple of the tomato plants. The corn and onions seem to be thriving, however.

The chickens are in the teenager phase already. I am amazed at how fast they grow. One can see the changes daily. They are out in the grass every day decimating the bugs and dandelions. I especially like the fact they seem to have a taste for mosquitoes, which have been terrible this year.

I got the lawn tractor into the shed and pulled the transmission. It was pretty obvious what the issue was.

I opened it up and one of the gears is missing 15 teeth.

A new transmission from John Deere is around $1000. I found the parts on eBay for around two to three hundred.

So much to do, never a dull moment.

Garden Work Continues

Work continues on the garden spaces.  I tilled up the main bed and raked it into rows for planting.  I think this is where we will plant the carrots, lettuce, spinach, beans and peas.

Transplanted the zucchini into a raised bed as they were starting to be too big for the jiffy pots we had started them in.  They look pretty good in there.

I managed to lock myself in the greenhouse (not the first time). The wind blew the door shut behind me as I was watering some plants. Luckily I had my phone and could call for help.  Unfortunately this was of little help as Laurel had left her phone in the house to charge.  She was close enough that I could shout her name and she came to rescue me.

We also prepared the spot for the corn and transplanted the seedlings we started earlier last month.  They were starting to look not so good in the green house so in the dirt they go.

We took a bunch of hay and the garden tiller over to the last garden spot and worked it in as deep as we could.  Trying to get some compost and fluff up the dirt a bit.  We then layered a bunch more hay on top and watered it excessively.  Then a layer of landscape fabric and we transplanted the pumpkins into it.

Tree Farm

Esther and I went to help out the people with the sheep on their tree farm.  They needed help getting pots in the ground and seedlings planted and watered.  We started the morning by rolling out a tarp and stapling it to the ground.

Then I helped to fill pots while Esther put the liner pot in the holes.  There were a few other kids around they they all followed her around for the rest of our time there.  Apparently they were fighting over who got to sit with her at lunch.

After the pots were filled we planted trees in them, placed some mulch around the tops and placed them into the liner pots.  Then I helped water them and we went for lunch.

It was a nice time, got to meet some new people and watch Esther interact with some new children.  She has a babysitting job in the future with this couple.  We got to go see the sheep before we left, much to Esther’s delight.

Rainy Day

Today, after three days of trying, we finally got our bottles to the depot for recycling.  Took them on Monday to find that the depot was closed.  Tried again on Tuesday and the lines were going outside the building (at all three depots in the area) and I didn’t have the patience to stand there for an hour.  So this morning we checked the hours and arrived ten minutes prior to opening… be the third person in line.  Sigh.

It was only a 20 minute wait and we walked out with $80.  Not too shabby.

They said on the radio this morning that it would not rain today, but just be overcast.  They lied.  Its been raining, off and on pouring, for most of the day.  We kept the chicks in the shed today as it is just a bit too chilly for them yet.

We made another trip into town to get supplies in order to finish the chickshaw as well as some groceries instead of gardening.  Sun is supposed to be back tomorrow so we will get back to it then.

So instead of the usual update I will get a bit personal with you.  We have had an acreage going on 5 years this August.  However, this year has been a year of first’s for us.  We’ve been talking about getting chickens and big gardens since before we moved here and never really got that vision off the ground.

First we stepped out, and over, our fears of failure.  Realising that failure is just a part of learning and its okay to fail we have grown in a lot of wisdom and confidence thanks to our little (big) journey.  Risks, big or small, can be overwhelming.  Especially if that fear of failure is present.

Second we had to get past the “being ready” phase.  We kept thinking we needed to have everything in place before we could get chickens.  That was a big stumbling block, but we just ordered the chicks and then got ready.  It was motivation to get these things finished and it turns out that they were not that hard to do (and did not have to cost a pile of money either).  Chicken coops from the store start at around $300, but we built the chickshaw mostly out of material we had on hand and spent less than $100 and took very little time.  It forces us to use our skills (some of which we didn’t know we had) and creativity to get things done.

Thirdly we had to work through our tendency to procrastinate.  I am especially bad for this.  My favourite saying is “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”  The sense of accomplishment from a hard (or not so hard) days work is definitely worth it, and really isn’t so bad.  They say you can eat an elephant one bite at a time and that definitely applies if you have a long to do list.

We have come a long way and learned a lot about who we are and what we can do.  There is so much more out there for us and we are eagerly looking forward to what comes next.