Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beep Photo Album

Awkward/endearing photos of Beep.  Many from weird angles, often featuring her forehead.

I call this last one "Whatcha doin?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Original Beep

We have a herd of deer who choose to live on Cabbage Ranch.  Over the past four years, we've watched the herd evolve, watched deer come and go, and watched our doe, Tabor, grow up and become a mother.

She was once a tiny fawn.

We named her after Baby Doe Tabor, the scandalous wife of a silver mining magnate in 19th century Colorado.

Tabor grew and thrived, entertained us and taught us much.

She required a tremendous amount of care, and I actually don't recommend raising a deer fawn.  As wonderful as she has been, I believe that raising a deer the right way is a full-time job. 

At the time, I was working from home, so I made it work... but it was very demanding.  It was a relief when Tabor was older and self-sufficient. 

My goal was always to allow her to make her own deer choices, and I'm proud of the way she's assimilated.  It is Tabor's choice to continue to live on Cabbage Ranch, and I am very grateful she has decided to stick around.  She has been a joy in our lives. 

Two years ago, at two years of age, Tabor had her first baby, a buck we called Sunny.  When Sunny was old enough, he struck out on his own.  We've seen him a few times since and assume he is off living his bachelor existence.

Last year, about the time I had Beep, Tabor had twins- a girl and a boy. 

We called the girl Abby and the boy C.D.  They are carbon copies of their pretty mother, although now C.D. is sportin' a nice set of antlers.  Abby is so like her mother that they are hard to tell apart sometimes.  That's always a bit disconcerting... it's like not being able to tell your own children apart. 

Both Abby and C.D. still live here, although it's just a matter of time until C.D. leaves to live his own life.

Abby herself became a mother this year which means Tabor is a grandmother.  Tabor also had another set of twins this spring, who are growing big and strong.  She always has the most beautiful babies, with shapely heads and darker coloring than the rest of the whitetails around here.  But we're not biased. ;)

Left to right: Abby, Tabor, 2011 twins, and an unrelated doe (the granddaughter of a 2007 orphaned doe we discovered living on our place when we bought it.  Her name was Charlotte, and she left a couple of years ago).

Tabor is very sweet with Beep.

We are teaching our baby to love our deer, provide for her, and respect her.

I know many of you have asked about the nicknames we give each other and our animals, so I'll leave you with this... 

When Tabor was tiny, she would vocalize in little, high-pitched squeaks that we called "beeps."  Her nickname quickly became Beep, and all babies soon afterward became referred to as Beeps.

When I became pregnant with our baby, we started calling our unborn child Baby Beep, and Beep is still the name she goes by at home.

Tabor, the mother of four lovely deer, and grandmother to two, is now called The Original Beep.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Junior Chronicles: Part 16

Your friendly neighborhood spazoid (Junior) is still on stall rest.  He's been on a slow-release sedative to keep his energy contained while his body keeps healing from surgery... but that doesn't mean he's cooperating.

Like a few days ago, when Cabbage looked up from his home office window to see Junior whizzing past the window.

Evidently Junior thought he needed to a change of scenery.

No worries, though- our place is fully perimeter fenced, so there wasn't any real danger.  Plus, as Cabbage said, It was his lunchtime so he wasn't too hard to catch.

Anyway, we thought we'd give him a little more square footage and the ability to see the mares better for some companionship, so last weekend we extended his stall about twelve more feet.  Since then, he's been enjoying baking in the sunshine.  Vitamin D: it's what's for dinner.

Junior is only four years old, and his insatiable curiosity is in full force.  Instead of pictures showing how well he's recovering, I have plenty of close-ups of his nose.

Junior has a pretty sweet setup.  It's not fancy, but from a horse's point of view this stall could be on the equine version of Cribs.

And in the middle of all that, in case you need a closer look, is the heir apparent. 


I think that's horse-speak for Nanny nanny boo boo.

Nice, Junior.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rings: They're Not Just For Fingers.

It's feeding time at Cabbage Ranch.

Have you ever seen a hay ring?  This is ours.

It holds a big round bale of hay for the mares to eat.  It's more economical to purchase hay in large round bales, and a hay ring contains the big roll and keeps the hay edible.  The horses can eat as much as they want, but can't drag the hay around and waste it.   

It also keeps our nasty horses from peeing on their hay, which they'll do if given half a chance.

Don't pretend you won't, Goldie.  We've seen your true colors.

Anyway, back to the hay ring.

Not to be confused with a cactus ring.

Sometimes Cabbage finds it necessary to provide Beep with a complete tactile experience.  In this case, he felt it was important to her growth and development to sit in the hay ring. 

What was that I was saying about keeping the hay edible?

Beep, this is a hay ring.  Remember our talk about feeding the horses?

Good job, Beep! 

The thing about hay rings is: there's no good exit strategy for people. 

Beep and I laughed and pointed watched from the sidelines for a minute before we gave him a hand.  Smooth, Cabbage.  Real smooth.

Applesauce On the Go

We don't buy much convenience food for Beep, but there's one prepackaged food we always have on hand:  GoGoSqueeZ Applesauce by Materne. 

It doesn't seem that revolutionary... it's just plain old applesauce. 

But wait!  There's more!  It's in pouches.  Why didn't I think of that?

The pouches hold pure, unadulterated, no-sugar-added applesauce; it's good nutrition, and it's perfect for little kids on the go.  Even when they're sideways.

They work equally well when being eaten half-naked, giving someone the stink-eye...

...Or with pinkies extended to show highbrow culture.

We buy this applesauce a few boxes at a time from CostCo, but I've seen it- or similar natural, pouch-packaged fruit or veggie products- at many grocery stores and on  When purchased in bulk, it costs us between 55-65 cents per pouch.  It's money well spent for the portable nutrition and the happy baby.

[This post is Cabbage Ranch powered, and was not sponsored.  Overandout.]

The Carlton

Do you remember Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire?  I always thought the best part of that show was when Carlton danced to Tom Jones.

Refresh your memory here.  Do it.  You won't be sorry, I promise.  Then come back to this page, and take a look at this picture of my baby.


Beep watched that video, and she's been practicing The Carlton ever since.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Mom On the Block

Dear Friend,

I can only imagine what you look like now, as your little one grows in your belly and your turn to become a first-time mother draws near.  We've been friends for so long!  From college, through singleton and during our weddings, I have loved every minute of having you in my life.

What I don't love is being so far from you, and our other friends, as we all have babies.  We are spread from coast to coast, and north to south.    

Our group has waited longer than most to start families.  Have you noticed?  For all of us, there was college.  For most, grad school.  We launched careers, started companies, found love, and took our time to enjoy our own lives before choosing motherhood.

We might've enjoyed ourselves along the way, too.  We have had our share of fun, and then some.  [If you start telling stories on me, I'll go all spider monkey on you.  Do not doubt the spider monkey.]

I find it more difficult to be separated while we are all taking our turns with pregnancy and first-time motherhood than at any other time in our long friendships.  I hate that I can't bring my friends dinner, and hold the new babies, and talk about the joys and pains and struggles of becoming mothers.  That's what sisters do. 

When you asked me about motherhood, and baby registries, and diapers, I wanted to give you (and that baby) a hug.  Since I can't do that, I'm offering this post as a way to support you.  I hope the other mothers reading this will also chime in.
So, what do you need to get started with your baby?  Oh, girl...  *sigh*  I get it.  There's soooo much stuff out there, and it's impossible to know where to start.  And ask someone with cankles, chronic heartburn, and stretch marks to narrow down choices, read product reviews, and complete a gift registry? 

It's not humane. 

I mean, you're already CREATING LIFE.  You shouldn't have to shop for crap you don't understand.

Here's the thing:  Some people buy a mountain of stuff, a bigger car, bigger house, clothes galore, a million seats and swings and hair bows and mobiles and toys.  You know what, though?  I remember my mom saying that newborns don't need much- just a clean diaper, a warm blanket, and mama.

She was right.

Babies are born needing to sleep, eat, and be cuddled.  That's about it.  Their material needs are similarly simple, so anything beyond the baby's basic needs is usually about making parents' lives easier...  And there's something to be said for that, too. 

Here's a list of Cabbage Ranch's favorite newborn basics.

  • Have your car seat installed and inspected.  This service is usually available through the fire department or a city office.  The seat must be installed correctly before you can leave the hospital, and you'll feel better knowing it's expert approved. 
  • Bottles- Even if you're nursing, you'll need a few bottles.  We didn't get fancy ones, although if your baby has trouble with gas/burping/colic, you might like the Dr. Brown's. 
  • Dr Brown's bottle nipples- get the preemie flow, because your newborn needs a slow flow to more closely mimic the breast.  Then hold the bottle upright, squeeze the tip of the nipple shut, invert the bottle and release the nipple.  This creates a vacuum and further slows the milk flow.  Those nipples and that trick made a huge difference, especially in Beep's ability to switch from bottle to breast willingly.
  • My Breast Friend nursing pillow- bad name, great product.  So much better than a Boppy!
  • Regular, BPA-free bottles (6)- we got ours for a few bucks for a pack of 3
  • Bottle brush (2)

  • Burp cloths (6)- can be cloth diapers or actual burp cloths (or even dish cloths!)
  • Fitted crib sheets (2)
  • Waterproof mattress pad or other waterproof pad (2)- This will go under fitted sheet.  Make the crib by layering a waterproof pad, then a fitted sheet, then another pad, then another fitted sheet- a mommysaver in the middle of a mess!  Just strip off the top layer and everyone can go back to sleep.
  • Crib- Do use a fixed-side crib with a firm, tightly fitted mattress.  Don't use a bumper or blanket in the crib.  It's safer for baby without them. 

  • Blankets- you'll probably get enough of these as gifts, because people seem to love giving them!  The light cotton ones from the hospital are great, too, and you can take a few home with you.  **UPDATE: When we had Beep we were told it was ok to take a couple of blankets home with us, but apparently this isn't always the case.  Plan to bring your own blanket from home, and check on hospital policy before taking anything. **
  • Bath seat- optional, but very helpful.  We borrowed one that was small and foldable, so it didn't take up much storage space.  It made baths in the kitchen sink much easier. 
  • Baby washcloths- Cabbage voted for these as a necessity!
  • Baby wash- you'll probably get a sample size from the hospital.  You'll only bathe the baby about once a week at first, so the sample size will last a few weeks.
  • Baby Tylenol- the first time you need it, you'll be so glad it's already there.
  • Thermometer- for the times you can't tell if baby's hot. ;)
  • Olive oil- great for cradle cap, and despite the name Baby Oil shouldn't be used on newborns.
BECAUSE LIFE GOES ON (and we all have stuff to do)
  • Carriers- I'm a believer in babywearing, and the right carrier makes it easy and comfortable.  We have four carriers, and have used them all.  Our favorites are the Moby Wrap (my fave) and a higher-tech one from Infantino (his).
  • Swing- Most babies LOVE their swings!  I highly recommend one, and/or a stationary seat that vibrates or bounces.  Hopefully you, like us, can borrow one from a friend.
  • Diaper bag- this can be a diaper bag, backpack, or any other bag you love.  Stock it with diapers, wipes, a burp cloth, blanket, and 1-2 changes of clothes.  Add in a couple of bottles/nipples/formula, bottled water, pacifier, hat, and baby sunblock, and you're ready to go. 
  • Monitor- nothing fancy, you just need to be able to hear when baby needs you.  We found ours secondhand. 

  • Diaper Genie and refills- this wonderful contraption holds dirty diapers, and (more importantly) also holds the smell.  It's worth every penny.
  • Diapers- Don't sweat the cloth versus disposable thing.  Try them both, and do what works.  For cloth we love gDiapers, but some folks like traditional cloth diapers with a cover, and swear by a Snappi fastener.  For disposables: Cabbage is convinced Pampers Swaddlers are the only way to go.
  • Wipes- Huggies or Pampers naturals (or make my homemade ones!)
  • Diaper Cream- Boudreaux's Butt Paste is awesome.  Put it on thick.
  • Changing Table and Pad- this is really optional, because changing baby on a blanket on the floor works just as well.  If you do get a changing pad, make it a contoured one... or, as Cabbage calls it, a culvert.
  • Onesies- just a few, they grow out of them fast!
  • Socks- for tiny feet with poor circulation.  Plus, they're so stinkin' cute.
  • Bibs
  • Swaddler- there are several brands out there, but any sleep sack will work.  It's a safe way to add another layer of warmth, and swaddle that baby up firmly without the risk of a blanket in the crib.
  • Laundry detergent- I liked Dreft, but you can use any mild detergent, or try the recipe I use.
  • Where you live, you might think about a snowsuit.

  • Play Gym
  • Co-Sleeper, Bassinet, or Pack N Play- Most babies don't like to sleep alone, and I don't blame them.  Most adults don't, either.  Any of these choices will let the three of you share a sleeping space safely. 
  • Aftercare- the hospital will give you some freebies to take care of your body after it's been run over by the childbirth truck.  Ask them for extras before you leave the hospital!  Make sure you have pads and Tylenol at home.
  • Breast pump-  Rent the hospital one first, which is higher quality and will help you establish a good milk supply.  When I bought a pump, I got the Medela Pump In Style and it was great. 
  • Nursing cover- There are a lot of options here, but all of them will work.  No need to flash the ta-tas.
  • Accessories/extras- Some are worth their weight in gold for comfort and convenience: pump wipes, nipple shields, cooling pads, and lanolin-based nipple cream.  The hospital will give you some of these items, and the rest you should be able to purchase either at the hospital or at your grocery store.
  • Lactation consultants- These ladies saved my sanity.  Nursing can be very hard, and everyone's experience is different.  Your hospital may, like ours, have complementary consultations.  Use them!  And call me anytime... I'm a believer in nursing, and it's worth every minute of early frustration. :)
And finally... Some birth advice, as it was gifted to me, as I neared the end of my pregnancy:
1. Trust your doctors and nurses.  They are professionals and will take great care of you both.
2. Accept medical help- including an epidural, if you want it -and don't apologize.  Women may have given birth for many centuries without it, but they would have made a different choice if they could have.  We can do better now, and some of these wonderful options make birth safer for you and baby.
3. You can do this!  Your body is amazing, and so are you!  Birth will be hard, but at the end of it you will have the best thing that ever happened to you.

Love you, girl.  You're gonna be great. 

P.S. In case you need to hear it again: You're pretty awesome.  Nice job growing that baby. 

[All opinions are my own and none of these companies know who I am, much less sponsored this post.  This is Cabbage Ranch powered.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Inhumanity of Bibs

From time to time, my mother sends a package for Beep- something she thinks will be useful or beautiful, and her gifts are always appreciated. 

Recently, she stumbled across what we always called a pelican bib.  A favorite of hers when we were small, these bibs are plastic with a deep fold at the bottom to catch the mess.  They contain an unbelievable amount of food, and allow babies to not only eat, but learn to eat messy things on their own (like soup) without enslaving mama to a lifetime of stainfighting.  They're an engineering marvel.  Mothers should light candles to their inventor.

The problem is, they only work if the baby will actually wear them.  And Beep doesn't like bibs.

So here's how this went down.

My mother's package of bibs was opened, and Beep pointed and smiled, played with the package, and ooohed and aaahed.

This is great, she seemed to say.  Is it a purse I can carry?  Or a book to look at?

No, baby.  It's a bib to wear.... Like this.  Try it on.

After a moment, the lightbulb went on...

So much for that good idea.