Posted on October 31st, 2019

Its official Hutch and I are outnumbered. The wait is over and June Kathleen made her appearance on October 12 at 5:29am. October 12 also happened to be opening day of duck season so I’ll always be reminding her how she was the opening day baby.

June’s arrival was quite a bit different than Mabel’s. The doctors decided Thursday morning that they were going to induce Amanda. So we headed home from work to get ready, only to get the call that they were pushing it back to Friday night. Well we made the most of it since it was a beautiful day. We headed to Grand Haven to grab a bite to eat and a drink (for me) before we picked up Mabel from daycare.

Since we weren’t going in until 7:30 the next night I had the brilliant idea of driving up to zone 2 to get a quick hunt in since duck season was open up there. I threw my 9 foot boat in the back of the truck and loaded up the dog and off we went. Ducks were quacking in the marsh and it was overall a pretty ducky day. I got the spread all set up and went to grab my blind bag which was no longer there. Panic kicked in and I frantically rowed around looking for it. It was supposed to float, although it was on its last leg of life so maybe that wasn’t the case anymore. It was dark/windy and the bag was nowhere to be found. In my search I met a dude who had walked in and generously offered to give me some shells so I could at least hunt for a bit. That was a classy move on his part and was much appreciated especially as I had driven quite a ways to hunt. I didn’t hunt long before I decided it was time to go search for my bag that had 400 dollars of calls in it plus all my spinning wing decoy remotes. I had knocked one redhead down in that brief time but it dove and never resurfaced for Hutch. I was struggling to focus on ducks so it was definitely some bad shooting on my part as 8 of them did it right and that was the only one I hit. I gave my new friend his shells back, thanked him, and never found my bag. Clearly this was one of those days where I should have just stayed home. I did at least make it home with plenty of time to hang out the rest of the day.

My parents rolled in to watch Mabel and Hutch that evening and Amanda and I were off to the hospital. They gave her something to get things started that night and said to just relax and get some rest. They planned on really starting the process in the morning. However sometime between midnight and 1am Amanda’s water broke and it was time to have a baby. Amanda did awesome during the labor process and things happened pretty quickly this time around. Things were pretty tense after June arrived as her heartbeat was really high. It is crazy how they can monitor everything and it is a helpless feeling just waiting to see what is going to happen next. Fortunately everyone in the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital is a super hero and after a few minutes (which seemed like forever) all was back to normal. The next few days were pretty standard (uneventful is a good thing at the hospital). I did manage to find some awesome Reel n Smoke jerky at the market there. So if you ever end up in Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids they have the good stuff.

At the end of our stay there was some concern about June’s bilirubin levels but they were comfortable with releasing us. June had to get labs done the next day and unfortunately levels were going up. We were able to get a Bili blanket which shines filtered light on them and helps to break down the bilirubin. After several days of that levels were going back to normal and “Jaundice June” was looking good. Mabel seems to be enjoying her new role as big sister and Hutch gives her a little sniff every so often. We are all getting used to our new routine which isn’t too difficult because Amanda is an amazing mom. So far this one has been a much less challenging baby than Mabel was. So we’ll keep crossing our fingers that Colic doesn’t make an appearance and she doesn’t catch anything that Mabel brings home from the couple days a week she’s at daycare.

Huge thanks to my parents for coming out and taking care of everything at home while we were in the hospital. I think Mabel wore them out but I think they had a blast spoiling her. Also want to thank all the Hunts for coming out and visiting! Especially to my mother in law for giving us a hand at home that first week, it definitely made the transition so much easier. We are very proud of you for making the drive all by yourself!

With all that going on I’ve still been able to get outside. I’ve caught a bunch of walleyes, white perch, drum, and a giant flathead while standing on the bank. Most of my free time has been focused on the fall harvest though. I’ve had some really close encounters with deer including what would have been my biggest buck ever. While I’m a little bummed none of the encounters have led to me releasing an arrow I’m grateful for all the excitement they brought. Waterfowl hunting has been all over the place some real good ones and some real bad ones. As long as I can get the dog a couple retrieves I’m happy though. Hopefully November will bring more hunts, more birds, and more retrieves. One thing that has been different about this year is it’s been heavy on the geese. While they are a little tougher than mallards they definitely put more meat in the freezer. I’m going to have to make a batch of goose jerky soon as well as try out one of the recipes with their legs. I’m not sure why sometimes they get a bad rap as table fare but they are always welcome at my house.

This weekend will probably be the last bass fishing of the year for me. I’m looking forward to the annual Jigs and Pigs tournament on the Portage Chain this weekend. I just wish it wasn’t happening on a weekend with a push of new birds. But as long as everything is going well at home I’m hoping to sneak in a few hunts too. The Portage Chain holds a special place in my heart for many reasons and I can’t wait. Be on the lookout for the next blog with all the details soon.