2 years & 4 months party

Yesterday was a celebration day at our house. Mila turned 4 months old and the pups 2 years old! It is hard to believe time has gone by so fast! For the pups bday we got them big bean bags to replace their old beds. When they were young they used to share a bean bag chair as their bed at my dad’s place. Now they can each barely fit on their own. We also went for a long walk in the beach and got them some delicious treats! We owe so much to these dogs, for they are, and have been for a very long time, constantly putting smiles on our faces. They, as all dogs are, unconditional and have taught us what this type of love looks like. We love them so deeply and are so happy to have them as part of our family.

To celebrate her little bday, Mila learned how to grab things that are hanging above her. She also only took two naps and stayed up until 8:30pm farreando (partying) with us. (Note to self – drink no more coffe). She is the absolute joy of our life!

Baby M* – take note. This months is when it all started.


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Mila & the third trimester

I sit looking out at the Atlantic ocean from our home office, contemplating how for the first time in many months my work to-do list is not two pages long and surrounded with whale sketches suggesting I’ve been avoiding my duties. To my right I have Jaxon tapping rhythmically on his keyboard, managing way too many projects and a whole bunch of people. He laughs as he and our sexy-accented British marketing director Hari joke about olive skinned women and coffee with milk. Yaku and Yana play outside on the deck chasing too-smart-for-their-own-good lizards, pretending they are on a ship in the middle of shark-infested waters (or at least we imagine this is why they have not left the porch or touched the newly trimmed grass on our yard for days). Regardless of how much we try to entice them, they have decided that when we go to the beach is the only time they will walk on “lava” and also the only time to “use the bathroom”. Terribly inconvenient considering Jax has a sprained ankle and we have not gone out in two days. As each of my family members go about their lives, I sit here in my own world, one only known to Mila and me.

As Mila’s due date approaches, my heart grows anxious thinking about how in just a few weeks our lives are about to change beyond our imagination. These last two trimesters of pregnancy have been so rich, so powerful and so different from the first, which led me to email my closest friends’ to advice them against pregnancy. Today, as week 36 cruises by, I have a dancing Mila in my belly who has the power to control how much I can eat, breathe and pee by just adjusting her position slightly. The added unbalanced weight in my body has made me a slow walker and crossing the 100 meters of soft sand that separates our street from the Atlantic has become an almost “labor-inducing” trajectory. There are many things about this pregnancy that I could not explain without simply saying “it’s just like having a human growing inside of you”. A human whose face we have yet to see, yet who is in our minds constantly and we love deeply.

Now, we await the birth, which “should” happen at any point from next Tuesday, when she will be legally allowed to be born at home, until a month and a half away, the week 42 deadline for leaving my cozy belly. I’m hoping she makes her entrance soon, so that Jax, Mila and I have a bit of time to be together and adjust our schedules before the excitement of visiting family begins.

Below, a bunch of photos of the last few months in St. Augustine.

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Back to the vet… for the night

Tonight will be the first night that Yaku and Yana sleep away from Jax and I since we got them. They are spending the next 18 hours at the vet hospital due to complications in their surgery-wounds. Both of them started to retain liquids and the area around the their stitches swelled up a lot.

The doctor said two different names to describe each of the dog’s condition, however the reason was the same – too much activity. He did not warn us that the dogs might get this, if they ran around the farm. In fact he specifically said that they could just do their normal stuff. No intense jumping, etc. but basically, no limits. Unfortunately, he just really did not get what “normal” means for our pups living on the farm, despite us trying to explain how crazy-active they are to him quite a few times. This all lowers him a notch in my favorite vets book – which so far only contained him!

Anyway, the pups are in cage together, surrounded by a bunch of other caged dogs, so hopefully they are having a great time!…


It won’t get any easier?

I think few posts have sparked so many answers from moms as this last one. Jax and I have laughed and almost cried with many of the replies via facebook and email. They all were different, yet the one thing they all had in common was something like the following phrase “It does not get any easier”. Well, I think I am now legitimately afraid of being a mother – not in a bad way, but rather in a more respectful way.

It is not that I am a paranoid dog owner, because for the most part I am pretty relaxed about their daily activities. But the thought of having something always in the back of my mind seems like so much to handle. Oh well, the day will come some sooner or later and I’ll have to deal with it – for now Yaku and Yana are excellent training. Especially this coming month, when we’ll leave them for a month and a week!! Just kidding.

Anyway, Yana got her stitches with our amazing vet and she spent the rest of the day doing what we did not want her to do – jumping and fighting. She is now playing with her brother outside – hopefully tonight her stitches will stay attached and our night will go smoothly.

Now, three random blue photos


Our family drama, Yana is hurt & Caye cries!

After yesterdays and today’s events, I have concluded I am not fit for being a mother. Jax, mentioned on yesterday’s post that Yana had gotten lost after her surgery in our “backyard”and that I had teared up. Well, that is only moderately true. I cried my eyes out imagining everything that could had happened to our drug-induced puppy.

Today, I could not spoil the pups more! I gave them buttermilk after making butter, three bones, lots of food, milk, an apple and pretty much anything else they lay their eyes on. I opened the door for them about 30 times, which stirred up a discussion with Jaxon about spoiling the pups. Which, he is totally right about – but again, he has never had surgery.

Tonight after a somewhat active day for both Yaku and Yana, were getting ready to head to bed. As usual, Yaku pushed the door open from the outside and when it was time to close it, both dogs hustled to be the first to jump up and push the door closed – the winner would get a dog cookie. Yana tried once, then Yaku, then Yana. Jax was standing next to them and I was looking at the three of them happy that the pups were being so active. The whole day they had being playing and jumping, so we didn’t feel weird about having them close the door. On the third try I got a really bad feeling when I saw Yana turn around with eyes wide open.

I called her right away and saw that all her stitches had just pulled out. Yana looked at me, then at her stomach and started panicking, along with her Yaku. Jax grabbed her and I proceeded to call the emergency phone number on the vet’s emergency card – no answer. I started to panic. I called my dad who, at 10:00pm, offered to come help – thanks a lot dad. But we needed to do something before he came. Yana was screaming and panicking every other minute, Yaku was barking, I was on the verge of a panic attack and Jax held Yana tight. While pacing back and forth, I tried to remember all my health classes and all my memories led me back to 11th grade Biology – CLOSE THE WOUND. I hurried to our medical kit, which only contained band-aids (Note: buy/make First Aid kit – Top priority)

After a bunch of screaming by Yana, my dad’s calming dog-noises, Jaxon’s strong grip and my nursing practices, we got her wound disenfected and covered with gauze. I am now sitting next to her, wondering if I should spent the night awake making sure she is okay. Jax just said goodnight to Yaku, downstairs and he is now crying – and me too.

How am I ever going to be able to handle this with my children? Did I mention that the cut is only 1.5 inches long and not bleeding.


Chop chop

Today was a tough day for the puppies. It started out fine, around 6 am, with a nice ride in the car – a favorite activity of theirs. They were a bit hungry because they had not been allowed to eat since lunch the day before, but handling it fine. Anyway, everything was going great for Yaku and Yana. We dropped Manuel and a friend off at their schools and headed over to the Veterinary clinic, where Yaku and Yana would get to see one of their top 5 people, the head Vet, Milton. Milton is a super great guy, who studied veterinary medicine in Cuba, drives a sweet old Jeep and is always ecstatic to explain ANYTHING about dog health. “Do my dogs have fleas?”, “No and here’s a 10 minute explanation of the life-cycle of a flea, complete with whiteboard drawings and explanations of which types of medicines work and which don’t”.

None of this mattered today though, because Milton betrayed Yaku and Yana. I personally think Yana knew something was up, as she got pretty nervous when we put her on the operating table. Then again that may just be because she has finally built up an association between that table and having thermometers inserted in her bum. Anywhoo… In less time than it took for Caye to ask, “How long before the anesthetic takes effect?”, Yana was flat on her face and out cold – or apparently just REALLY high according to Milton. That’s where we left the two – with two huge rawhide bones for when they woke up and an extremely nice vet.

4 hours later, we picked up the puppies, who were super happy to see us, Yana even pee’ed herself with joy, and looking surprisingly good and  considering they just had their reproductive capabilities removed. Unfortunately, the good humor was not too last. 1 hour after getting home and Yana was in a lot of pain. She looked totally miserable, could not sleep and just cried a bit every so often. Then, she got lost… seriously, just gone! We searched in every nearby building, field, pasture, hole, river, every corner of the house and all of her favorite places. Nowhere. After 30 minutes of searching and calling her name in vane, things were seeming pretty desperate, especially because there is a bit of history of dog theft here. Caye started tearing up and I was ready to hop in the car and start searching the village. Before that though, I decided to peek inside of an old collapsed out-house and their was Yana looking up at me, drugged and confused. Very “emotional” Caye came over, we extracted the pup and headed back to the house for some serious cuddling. And that’s what we are still doing.

A lot of the photos are from today’s two round-trips to Ibarra. The road there is gorgeous and I finally got over my stubbornness (again) and took Caye’s very kind and constant advice to take photos while she drives. Have I mentioned that I am terrible at sharing cameras…?


Our dogs and the table – a love story

The last few days have been spent working on exciting new projects, that will be launched soon. We have barely left the house in 72 hours and it looks like we have been permanently to our couch – aka the office at the moment. Our dogs on the other hand have been very active, going and coming from the “yard” aka the whole farm. Yaku has learned to open the door and Yana is in the process of learning how to close it – amazing right! Jaxon taught them both skills. When the dogs are inside, they have found a new castle! The living room coffee table base. Yana was the first that saw the golden spot and quickly made it her protected “fort”  when they are playing. However, yesterday Yaku realized what she had “in paws” and stole it. Within minutes Yana was barking so hard and giving him the puppy eyes, so Yaku moved over and they both climbed up and fell a sleep – super cute.


The poodle fear!

As mentioned before, our days are mostly filled work, however we do make sure we go outside to take short walks at least twice a day. Today, during our “break hours” we went to get the 100 pound bulk bag of whole wheat and regular flour we ordered from Zuleta’s kitchen’s bulk ingredient provider. We also dug around in old storage sheds to find old 10 gallon milk cans to store the flour in.

In the last few days we have been noticing that our dogs are increasingly fearful of the tinniest dog ever. Her name is Princess, a tiny 3 month old Poodle, she is owned by the three year-old granddaughter of one of the guys who works at the horse shed. Princess, constantly appears squeaking from her yard, where she spends her days being another one of the little girl’s doll. Everyday, Princess has another outfit, but the pink ribbons in her hears are always the same. Yana and Yaku used to find her weird at first, now they are just simply terrified of the miniature dog.


Gardening half-day

Yesterday was our first day (well half/day) dedicated to our garden, I had spent a couple hours poking around but nothing serious. I was excited to do this, because after digging around the field (that will be occupied by our vegetables in a future) I have found out that it used to be the dumpster for the last family who lived in La Casita. I always though it looked a little trashy, plastic bag corners poking out, candy wrappers, and bits of fabric poked out of the dirt. Thinking it would a pan comido (easy) job, the first day we were here I got a shovel and started trying to clear the garbage. To my unpleasant surprise, I found a lot more than the objects mentioned above, rotting shoes where countless, greenhouse-type plastic went deep into the ground, two burried bikes lay rusted way below the surface. I also found a grill, old truck parts, iron bars, an old chicha brewing pot, a house worth of roof tiles and gross bottles full some liquid that managed to kill all plants that touched it, its label read “veterinary use only” – weird.

Okay, after listing every gross thing I have found within a half-day’s worth of digging, I will tell you that after cleaning it, the spot will house some healthy grass, vegetables and a beautiful green house. Yesterday, Jax and I went to the hacienda’s big vegetable garden to get some spice plants that will decorate our kitchen, bigger ones will be planted in our herb garden. We also got Taxo (a local fruit) and lavender seeds to plant along the entrance of La Casita. A two tomato branches sit in water as we speak growing some roots, we also got a huge chunk of growing strawberries to replant outside our little porch and a Cedrón (Lemon Verbena) branch is ready to replant also. This weekend, we plan to dedicate to our garden and maybe my mom and sister will come visit, which would be the garden’s lucky day, because my mom has an amazing hand for plants.


Our puppies today

Today, we spent the day working in bed. We are both a little sick, so it was nice to stay tucked away being productive. We went to check on La Casita twice, both times with our very cute puppies. 160 photos we had stored in our recently emptied memory card at the end of the day. However, we just wanted to share the two below – Yana and Yaku.


Not a very good day

Today was not a particularly good day at all. I started out angry due to “the who knows what was on the mind” of the constructor of our house when they did the electrical wiring. Nothing made sense, black electrical tape connected exposed and disorganized cables throughout the kitchen. The switches to the lights were at head height and the light fixtures where attached with giant nails – bent in half to hide how giant they were. Due Jaxon’s attempts to calm my anger, we ended up fighting which led to nothing productive. After 1 hour of not being in a happy place, we talked with the maestros and hopefully got it all resolved.

Next… well Jax got upset, then I got frustrated, then Jax and then well, we decided to step outside, just us and the dogs, and remember why we are doing what we are doing and indeed, we found lots of pretty stuff, mist rolling down the mountains, friendly donkeys, silly puppies, that all made us smile. Life is not always easy, but we try to remember our privileges and power through.



One sick puppy

Good morning world. This is going to be one of those “internet generation” updates where I tell the “entire world” about what I ate for breakfast and the color of socks I chose to wear for the day – or the “why do these youngsters think they WE WANT to know about this stuff?” theme. (looking at you Caro;)

So, as Caye mentioned yesterday, she was out of commission for most of the day yesterday. Just feeling miserable, aching, flu-ish, etc. She also mentioned that the rest of the family had all dealt with some variation on the theme over the last week or so. What she did not mention is that Yaku, the male half of our awesome puppy duo, ALSO is really sick with what seems for all he world like puppy stomach flu. This is a lot of sick to deal with for everyone involved.

To make a long story short, the great thing about humans and flu-like symptoms, is that they have good bodily control and understand why they are feeling bad. The (really) bad thing about 7 week-old puppies and flu-like symptoms is that they already don’t have virtually no control of their bowl movements… add massive and regular diarrhea, lethargy and… oh ya, no bladder control to the mix and you have last night in a nutshell. I cleaned up super-gross doggy diarrhea no less than 5 times at 1.5 hour intervals throughout the night, with the occasional digression to cleaning up pee . Caye was a total champ and despite an achy body and fever, managed to join the cleanup crew during all of the worst bits and offer moral support for the other times.

Did I mention the part about humans understanding why they are feeling miserable? Well that’s the hardest part of the whole thing, Yaku, after doing something terrible in the lawn (or on less appropriate surfaces) would just sit down, totally worn out and stare up and Caye and I with these huge “please help me… I feel terrible and have no idea why” eyes. Just sitting there, not blinking…. Ahrggg… so hard. and did I mention that I don’t even speak Dog, so I couldn’t explain it to him?

So, this morning, Caye rallied like a master (again) and hitched a ride to Ibarra with her dad and little brothers on their way to school, to take Yaku to the vet for a much needed checkup. I stayed behind to take care of an incredibly worried Yana (more confused puppy eyes) and try my hardest to get caught up on piles of work. They won’t be gone too long hopefully, but I’m definitely not going to be 100% until they’re both back within hug-range.


Meet Yaku and Yana – our puppies

Meet our two new puppies. They are siblings, born to the same mother and we suspect the same father as well. They can best be described as, 50% Golden Retriever, 50% who knows what, they are 10 weeks and 1 day old and adorable. Jax and I swore to not have any more pets after our hedgehog Mochila, we even mentioned this on the blog a number of times, but one look at these puppies and I was sold. Jaxon was not so sure (he is more focused than me), Morgan’s puppy eyes made him think it might be a good idea and a long conversation about our priorities plus some puppy time convinced him all the way. Is it a good decision? Who knows, but we are willing to try it out.

Meet Yaku, which is water in Quechua. He is male, born in Hacienda San Jose – Amaguaña. He is golden with dark brown stripes, has bright blue eyes and sleeps whenever he is petted. He enjoys taking any toy, bone or leaf away from his sister.

Meet Yana, which means loved one in Quechua. She is a female, also born in Hacienda San Jose – Amaguaña. She is dark brown with golden stripes (the opposite of her brother), has a white nose and bright blue eyes. She is a guard dog and is always alert and ready for action with every sound. She likes hiding every toy she gets.