The Grand Arrival of Ayla Mae

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She would be induced at 10:00 that night.  Not wanting to be two hours away, we checked into a hotel with our granddaughter, Maryjane, near the hospital after packing bags and finding a pet sitter.  We went swimming and snuggled in for the night, checking my phone every few hours.   Maryjane and I had coffee and then went to the hospital while Pa checked in at work.  Maryjane’s other grandma came to pick her up.  The soon-to-be big sister was nervous and excited and emotional.  My daughter, Shyanne, arrived and we all settled in for the seemingly long arrival of a little girl.  Pa came back a few hours later.  We drank tea, and watched the clock, and talked to relatives on the phone, and tried to help Emily.

Being her second baby, Emily knew what to expect and what to request.  She was amazing during her labor.  New daddy, Reed, was nervous and doting and sweet.

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The nurses all knew that we hoped the baby would arrive that day, November 14th, for it was the fervent request from the new baby’s great, great grandmother.  November 14th was my grandparent’s 70th wedding anniversary.  Never mind silver or gold, Grandma and Grandpa wanted a baby.

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And then quite suddenly it was time.  Within thirty minutes a very small little girl with curly, black hair arrived into the arms of her mother.  Daddy swelled with pride.  Pa and Auntie Shyanne cried.  Mama sobbed with joy.  I smiled and welcomed the new little one to our family.  We are ten now in our tribe.  Over a hundred in families that we gained through the children’s partners and our own extended families.  There is truly nothing more important to me than our family.

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And Ayla Mae was born.  A new little medicine woman in our line.

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Maryjane bounced into the room accompanied by her grandma.  She held a stack of papers that she had composed a song in scribbles on and immediately went to singing to her new baby sister.

Those near and dear came in to call.  Ayla has our family birthmark.  She has her daddy’s ears and nose.  She is so beautiful.  I caught my breath and held her close through the night letting mama and daddy sleep some.  And in the quiet of that dimmed hospital room, that precious heartbeat next to mine, I felt the immensity of it all, the blessings that fill my life and this family that we have helped create.  A Thanksgiving gift. (And an anniversary one as well!)

Ayla Mae Thompson

November 14, 2018

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The Beautiful Chaotic Homestead

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We were welcomed into the home of a beautiful family yesterday evening for supper and company.  Another family is there camping out and between the two families there were nine little blondes running around between the ages of nine months and eight years.  The scene looked all the world like the movie “Yours, Mine and Ours” and the chaos was more intoxicating than the chilled glasses of Chardonnay.

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Christy and Kevin live on thirty-five acres in Elizabeth.  A place that Christy could only dream of.  She had hoped to find a place with four stalls and instead found a place with a riding arena and eight stalls!

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Their list of critters includes turkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, sheep, goats, barn cats, Colorado Mountain dogs, and pigs.  I was surprised to see my friend, Faleena’s horse there too!

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The homestead was bustling, the women working with kabobs and babies in the kitchen and the men working to complete chores.  Doug and I jumped into our expected roles, he out in the barn with the men and I set a baby on my hip.  I do love the busyness of a kitchen and a large family.  I do find myself missing the days when my children were little and the house was wild with local kids and pets all waiting for dinner.

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We cooed over the baby Nubians and pet the friendly dogs and enjoyed the setting sun across the prairie as a hawk soared overhead.

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We realized that even though we are thrilled being around the type of homestead we always worked for and that type of work is genuine and fine, we are not looking for anything of that scale any longer.

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After we found out we were being forced off our farm we stopped.  Just stopped.  All of a sudden there was no more wood to chop, no more goats to milk, no more chickens to tend to, no more gardens to water, no more life.  We felt ourselves fall into a deep fatigue.  I am not sure how many years we would have been able to keep that kind of activity up as there are just two of us and the type of homestead we wanted really requires a family.  We are glad we experienced that lifestyle.  Moving forward it will be nice to rebuild and only allow in our very favorite parts of the life we loved.  I cannot imagine not having a garden.  I can do without the fiber arts.  I love cooking but I only want to preserve what I really enjoy, not thirty-seven quarts of carrots just to get through the winter.  We can enjoy a few chickens maybe but not the exorbitant feed bill that we had every month.

With that we will only buy things that we need.  Things that make our home home to us.  Bunk beds for visiting grandbabies.  A bed for guests.  An art room.  An office.  A large kitchen.  We know what we want because we have lived without and can decipher what really makes our life great to us.  The large bustling homestead was awesome.  Our last few homesteads were fun.  I suppose I won’t be considered a homesteader anymore.  More like a 1950’s housewife but that is okay with me.  I found it ironic that just when we thought we were nearly self reliant, we found ourselves 100% in need.  It will be fun reworking the next half of our life to include all the things we really, really love and schedule in rest and fun as well!