How in the world are we coming to the conclusion of the SECOND decade of the 2000's??? What a way to make us all feel super old! Year 2020 will be here in a few short weeks, Christmas is just around the corner as I've been reminded each morning when "The Littles" ask Alexa, "How many more days till Christmas?" They started counting at exactly 99 days. It's like that song, 🎵 99 bottles of beer on the wall 🎵, we all sang on long car rides... it's never ending!
November was a full month of excitement, giving, illness, travelling, family time and planning for the busiest time for our little business. So let's get right to it!
Oh, and before we start... I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you here! You may not truly realize how thankful we are to have you here. But our Patreons and our special Black Friday Members help put food in our animal's bellies. And we all know how hard it is to maintain Moo's full belly status. But seriously, we can only grow because of your support. We refuse to sacrifice the quality of food and care our animals get and because of you, those monthly bills and unexpected Vet bills are easier to pay.
Ok, sappy time is over... let's get to the good stuff that happened this month!
What were in those Pumpkins?????
After what seemed like an eternity, all but 2 of the girls were finally far enough along to confirm pregnancies via ultrasound. Ultrasound day is one of the most exciting days on the farm! Now, I'll briefly explain for those who may not remember or missed my Q&A explanation, just why we ultrasound our girls and not just say, "Hey, I didn't see her come back into heat, so she must be pregnant!" Well, we've seen it too many times (with other goat breeders, of course), day 150 rolls around and the doe hasn't developed an udder, her belly isn't round and after some veterinary exams, turns out she isn't pregnant at all. So, that's reason #1. Reason #2... assuming your goat is pregnant based on whether she came back into heat after breeding or not, doesn't account for how many babies she could be carrying which will greatly change how we grain her towards the end of her pregnancy. A Doe carrying a Singleton, for example, will require different nutrition than a Doe carrying Triplets. Those are the two BIG reasons WE ultrasound.
Now, the morning of the ultrasound, I felt like an expectant mother nesting before going off to the hospital. I spent the morning dusting the whole barn and setting up the milk stands perfectly for Dr. Cara. There's always a chance the Doctor will text or call saying an emergency popped up and need to reschedule so I always go into our routine appointments cautiously optimistic that it'll actually happen. But our scheduled time came and Dr. Cara was right on time!
Knowing there would be many, many Villagers watching with hopeful eyes and ears, the vet asked us to mute the audio. As much as we know our Villagers don't love this, we are very respectful to our vet's wishes and thankful she allows us to continue recording at all. Think about it this way... Do you go to your doctor appointments and bring hundreds of people into your exam room? Would your Doctor appreciate that? So, we are thankful she is so patient with our somewhat public life. With that said, we prepared to communicate with the Village via a whiteboard! Honestly, the morning was a bit of a blur and I don't remember what order we went in. All I remember was Moo was somewhat first and we saw Triplets right away! Then Sadie, MORE Triplets, Greta's babies were so big we could only find 1 and a lot of placenta, I was surprised to only see 1 on Deanndra's ultrasound and NOT surprised to see only 1 on Genevieve's.
Based on the ultrasounds, below are the confirmed pregnant goats, their due dates and the number of babies we expect them to be carrying. Spoiler Alert.... since this first ultrasound, we have since confirmed Amy and Harper to also be pregnant so their due dates and expecting number of kids are listed as well!
So now, let's do some math! Based on the chart above, we are expecting 21 babies (assuming Harper's pregnant with a singleton which her family tends to have). And Kidding Season will be FOUR MONTHS long instead of our usual 1-2 weeks!
7 - LaMancha Babies
5 - Togg Babies
2 - Al-Mancha Babies #EarsOrNoEars ?
7 - Alpine Babies
Now let's see some Belly Pictures!!!
Moo at 57 Days Pregnant Moo at 79 Days Pregnant
Greta at 90 Days Pregnant Greta at 132 days Pregnant
The Winter Crud is Among us!
From Halloween until half way through November, there was only 1 school day we didn't have a kid home sick! For most of the month of November, somebody was home with me or was being sent home from school. This made getting ANY work done leading up to Black Friday nearly impossible.
The Saturday after Halloween, Tyler woke up with a sore throat and overall feeling of crumminess. We really thought he was overtired and strained by the Logic Concert the night before. By Sunday, he had a fever, body aches and a sore throat that made swallowing his own saliva pretty painful and we knew it was way more than Post-Concert tiredness. Hoping it wasn't Strep throat or the Flu, we brought him to his pediatrician first thing Monday morning. His lymph nodes were awfully swollen but his Strep test came back negative and the doctor said there hadn't been reports of flu yet so she highly doubted it was that. They chalked it up to a nasty virus and that it would just have to play itself out. We stopped at the grocery store, on the way home, and grabbed him gatorade, soup and jell-o. There may have been some Rita's Italian Ice thrown in there too :-) We didn't this virus would keep our guy down and out for a solid week of school and his muscle weakness would linger for 2 weeks.
Tyler's second day back to school, I got a call from the Elementary school nurse, Maureen. She's the sweetest lady who has cared for our children since Jake was in 5th grade. She's always been so nurturing and caring of our kiddos. And we connect because she has 4 of her own children as well (the opposite of our family with 3 girls and 1 boy). That morning, Quinn had been sent down to the nurses office after his teacher noticed he just didn't look well at his desk. He hadn't complained of anything but he just had THAT look all us moms recognize. After arriving to the nurse, she took Quinn's temperature and called home saying he had 103.2 fever and needed to go home.
Now, that made me pretty nervous as there's a family history of Febrile Seizures and we know they commonly occur with the initial quick rise in body temperature. Because we live 40 minutes from the school, I asked if they could give him any Motrin or Tylenol before I could get there. I don't even know why I asked because I already knew the answer. Sure enough, the answer was no. At the very least, I asked her if she could put ice packs on the back of his neck and under his arm pits until I get there with the Motrin which she gladly did. Thankfully, once I arrived, his temp had dropped to 102.7 and Motrin was popped on board before the ride home. My little Quinny was so rosey-cheeked and tired but never lost his smile. We went home to snuggle on the couch, get some fluids and jell-o! (and more Rita's Italian Ice... which I'm now thinking we should buy stock in)
When "The Littles", aka Quinn and Livie, get real sick, we bring a twin mattress into our bedroom, snuggle it all up with blankets, pillows and their favorite stuffies and allow them to sleep in our room with us. I pretend we do this because it'll help make them feel better to have us so close during the night but the reality is, I sleep a whole lot better knowing I'm right there if something happens in the middle of the night. I can check their temps without waking them or give them meds So, the "Sick Bed" was brought into our room and set up for Quinn to use it.
Quinn also lost a full week of school with this virus. The most frustrating part with his experience was the fever. The fever would come and go but never go for a full 24 hours. He would go all day without meds/fever and then by the evening his fever was back in full force. Slowly but surely, Quinn recovered and was back to school. But during that week (the mornings when his fever was down and he felt fine), we played some educational "games". His favorite "game" was to walk around the house with his tape measure, measure things in each room, write it down on a chart and record the biggest item in each room. He worked so hard on spelling each object and writing his numbers down. It was a really fun and bonding time for the both of us.
Good thing we didn't put the sick bed away! The following week was Livie's turn 🤦 I'm pretty sure I'd rather take all the kids sick at the same time rather than spread out over the course of a month. Yup, 100%! Liv started feeling yucky over the weekend Quinn was just starting to be fever free again. He went to school that Monday while Livie stayed home.
(Side note... Aaron brings the Elementary kiddos to Dunkin Donuts every Monday as he wants the kids to grow up looking forward to Mondays rather than despising them... not sure it's working but he gets his weekly Donut)
Anyway... you know the little girl is sick when she takes one bite of her very pretty pink donut and doesn't touch the rest.
Her virus presented with a croupy-type cough. Now, I had never dealt with croup before but stayed up late with her that first evening doing some "Dr. Googling" to see how we could keep her comfortable at home without going to the hospital. (and what to watch for to know it's time for an ER visit) We got the humidifier out next to the sick bed and put some breath-easy essential oils in it to help open her airway. The first night was probably the scariest and no one really got any restful sleep. My usually active, smiling little girl was laid up on the couch and had lost all her smiles.
Over the next couple nights, her cough got less and less bothersome. We were thankful she was able to sleep better as it allowed us to sleep better as well. Before we knew it, she was recovered and back to herself. And, more excitedly for momma, she was back to school!
....... Just in time for Jake's school nurse to call home saying he throw up at school and has a headache. Off to pick him up at school. When I got to school he definitely looked pale and not well at all. I was thankful to hear later that he really needed a mental health day but wasn't comfortable relaying that message to the school nurse so he told her he threw up knowing it would mean he goes home. I have always told him a mental health day is just as important to take than a SICK, sick day. So he snuggled up with Hazel and Stella, took his day to process whatever he needed to process and was good to go the next day. Phew!
Oh, but we're not done yet! Tuesday into Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Quinn woke up in the middle of the night complaining of ear pain. We gave him some Motrin and tucked him back into bed hoping it was just a "thing" and maybe it would be gone by morning. Wednesday morning came and we were getting the little kids ready for a half day of school before we took the 5 hour drive to Upstate New York to visit Aaron's Dad and Step-Mom for Thanksgiving. Right at 6:45am, 15 minutes for the little kids leave for school, Quinn broke down in tears complaining that his ear still hurt.... the same ear he said hurt the night before. Ok, scratch school for Quinn. Rework the schedule so we can fit a doctor's visit in. Just throw clothes into an overnight bag and hope everyone has something to wear the next day.
Off to the "Nurse's Office" we went. Usually, I would have called Quinn's regular pediatrician for an ear check but they don't open until 10am and I worried they wouldn't have an appointment for him until later that afternoon when we needed to be on the road. The Nurse's Office is a new urgent care place in the next town over from us. We got there around 8am and I was relieved they were able to see us rather quickly. Now, you know things are bad when the doctor looks in your child's ear and says, "Oh, you poor little man!" We were sent home with a 10 day supply of antibiotics for a raging ear infection. We packed extra Motrin which ended up being a life saver over Thanksgiving. Oh, and everyone had Thanksgiving Dinner appropriate clothes to wear the next day!
Christmas Came Early This Year For "The Littles"
Several years back, Aaron's Dad and Step-Mom (AKA Grandpa and Meme), treated Jake and Tyler, myself and Aaron, Aaron's brother, wife and 2 boys, to an overnight trip to NYC to see "The Rockette's Christmas Spectacular". It was an absolutely amazing trip but our 2 littles were way too young to enjoy a trip like that and stayed home with a sitter.
Fast forward to this year, when Grandpa called and asked if I thought the littles would enjoy a day trip to the city to see the show and if I'd like to join them. At 5 and 6 years old, I agreed they were old enough to enjoy such a trip. We set up a date, and because ticket prices nearly double after Thanksgiving, we decided before the holiday was perfectly fine. Once set the date, Quinn and Livie started counting down the number of days till their big trip to the city. With just 1 day until our trip, the entire school, every cashier at Walmart and all our family friends knew about this trip to the city.
We left early that morning and drove directly into NYC, which takes about 3-3.5hrs. The look on the kid's faces as we got closer and closer to the tall buildings was priceless. We found parking, which, in itself, is a challenge! And we walked through Rockefeller Plaza, saw the big Christmas tree, visited the Lego Store, Swarovski Crystal and St. Paul's Cathedral all before heading over to Radio City Music Hall for the show.
Once the show started, the kids were memorized! The orchestra, organ, dancers, SANTA, snow, music, it was all amazing! And while the kids were in awe of the show and the whole experience, Grandpa and Meme were falling in love with their little joyful faces.
After the show, we went to this great Irish Pub for some grub before heading home. Now, anyone familiar with the city, realizes you don't just get in your car and drive home. We sat in NYC traffic for a solid 2 hours before finally being able to go more than 20mph. The kids fell asleep in the back of the car and didn't wake up until we arrived back on the farm. It was a wonderful day FULL of special family memories.
Tis the Season to be Thankful!
For about 15 years now, Aaron and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our home and invited the rest of the Syman crew, Friends and my side of the family which consists of just my mom, Becca, aka Grams. This year turned out to be a bit different. About three weeks before Thanksgiving, Grandpa and Meme let us know they would not be able to drive down to CT for the holiday because of their, somewhat, new puppy named Moose. Moose is a very spirited 8 month old German Short-haired Pointer. He is their 2nd pup but the craziest pup I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and, remember, we raised LUKE! With that said, they didn't feel it would be appropriate to bring both Gracie, their 3 year old GSP and Moose to our house for Thanksgiving as Moose has ZERO house guest manners.
Aaron and I thought to ourselves, "How bad could he be?... I mean, we have Luke who we've joked about is like having served a 12 year sentence (Luke is 12 lol) Luke's the type of dog that can't be trusted. He has been known to steal medications, cough drops, lipstick, chocolate out of guests' purses and eat them. Yup, animal poison control needed to be called one Thanksgiving! Luke can't be trusted around Christmas presents. Food or not, he takes them from under the tree and eats them. Wrapping and all. He doesn't like bows so he leaves those on the bed for you to find later. He once stole 5lbs of raw meatballs from the kitchen counter. They just disappeared... not a lick of evidence! When the kids were babies, Luke would go into the garbage and find their dirty diapers. The dirter the better... and then he would EAT them... WHOLE! Speaking of garbage bags... they somehow tend to explode when Luke's around. Worst of all, he once got into the rat poison and ate 8 bricks!!!!! Again, Animal poison control was called and it was determined based on the active ingredient in the brand of rat poison and Luke's weight, 3 bars was enough to poison him. Long story short... nothing happened to our Lukey! So when we say, "How bad could Moose be?" we only say it out of an abundance of life experience with a crazy dog.
Wednesday afternoon, we closed up the goats in the barn and started the rainy 5 hour drive to Grandpa and Meme's house. As usual, we all filed out of the truck and into the house where Moose body slammed each and every one of us. Quinn took refuge on the couch where Moose, who must be blind or just "special", ran his 70 pound body through Quinn. Both Grandpa and Meme have their hands full with this pup. He spends his free-time counter surfing, chasing cats, stealing steaks off your well-watched plate, pulling leashes, hopping baby gates, peeing on the floor and giving his owners scenic tours of the entire 150 acre property directly to the neighbor's house for Spaghetti Dinner.
Needless to say, NOT coming to our house for Thanksgiving was a brilliant idea!
We woke up the next morning to a typical Wintery Mix that Upstate NY is so prone to this time of year. We made coffee and bagels, turned on the Macy's Parade, starting the Turkey in the oven and took the ATV and UTV out for a quick drive up the mountain.
We have a few Thanksgiving traditions and one of them is our yearly Thanksgiving Day kid picture. There are very few days the kids are all dressed up in nice clothes so I take the opportunity to snap a quick picture and capture them in time. Despite being so cold and nasty outside, my brilliant-self insisted we take it outside by the 100 year old dairy cow barn. I probably should have thought this one through a little more. One would think, "OK, everyone put your coats on, we're going to take pictures outside while it's sleeting and snowing!" No, I wanted a picture of the kids in their nice clothes... not jackets! The Mommy dearest in me said, "NO JACKETS! Now RUN" I don't know why I thought I was going to get a frameable photo from this idea but here you have it! Our very memorable, nearly frostbit Thanksgiving Kid picture. Oh, and this is yet another year where I will not be nominated for Mother-of-the-Year.
The rest of the day was full of moments in front of the woodstove! We all had plenty of laughs, good conversation, food and drinks. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving and I'm so happy to have had the change in scenery this year. We left Upstate NY to head back home around 6pm and made it home in time to make sure the website was all set for our first Black Friday weekend!
MAKE IT STOP!
I'm not sure exactly how much rain we've gotten this much but I'm sure of one thing... It NEEDS to STOP! It seems like every morning we're waking up to more rain. And not just a 1/4 inch. One storm dropped 6 inches of rain overnight! We've signed Stella up for swim lessons just to be on the safe side. And until she learns to swim, we have her wearing a life vest.
In all seriousness, it really needs to stop! Progress on House of Pi has slowed down because of the serious amount of mud we have all around the work site. It's simply not safe. Whether it's fence holes filled to the brim because the water table is so high or the tractor tires making huge ruts in the ground because it's so soft and wet. Working outside is messy, slippery and takes a lot more effort than usual.
With that said, House of Pi is getting seriously close to being ready for occupants. From the time you are reading this, we are guessing goats will be moving in in just a few days. DAYS!!!!!
DECK THE HALLS 🎅
Another holiday family tradition of ours is to decorate the house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Now, there have been those rare years when we've decorated before Thanksgiving but I was able to hold Aaron back this year.
For the last 7 years, we've decorated our beautiful 12 foot Pre-lit Christmas tree and placed it in our Great Room. Over the last few years, many of the lights stopped working and this year was an epic disaster where NONE of the lights worked when we plugged the tree in. Thankfully, we had a 50 foot strain of lights leftover from decorating the barn and we used it for the tree. It wasn't quite long enough to cover the whole tree so a quick trip to Walmart was made.
Aaron ran to the store while I continued fluffy the tree branches up from being in storage all year. Once the lights were strung, the whole family (plus Bradley) began decorating the tree with ornaments. As every family has, we have store bought ornaments mixed in with many, many family ornaments from other the years. Several baby's first Christmas, pet ornaments, kid made ornaments, wedding, first home, ornaments from hobbies and interests the kids have had over the years and even a tractor ornament.
The tree isn't the only thing that gets all decorated for the holidays! Yes, and Sadie is jealous of Moo's fake ears too!
Can you believe after all this reading, we are even closer to end of this decade? By the time we get together again, it'll be 2020 and we'll be just days away from Greta's baby(s) grand arrival! We want to take this time to thank you for your support this year. Reflecting back over 2019, we've had so much good and with that comes some sad. We've grown together as a family and a Village and we could never repay the love and support this family has given and shown us. We look forward to so much in 2020 and are excited to share the journey with all of you! With that said, he wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Please be safe in all your travels and don't be afraid to keep an eye on the goats while visiting family 😉 #KiddingNotKidding