Friday, April 11, 2014

Maternity Pics - My Favorites.

Thank you SO much Megan Edelman Photography. These are so special. Love love love. 

Parenting The Newborn - Class 2

This week has been a little crazy. On Monday, I started training my maternity replacement. We had a four hour meeting in which I went over the basics of the job and we chatted a bit about our backgrounds and I answered questions. No big deal.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were jam packed. Our boss was in town, so naturally, I booked appointments with as many key accounts as I could to ensure we used our time as productively as majestically as possible. It was a long three days (Wednesday I worked 12 hours thanks to travel time and the amount of work I had to do when I got home). Needless to say, by today (Friday), I am exhausted. So it's no wonder I slept in until 8:45 by accident. I clearly needed it! 

Last night, though I was extremely yawnsey mcgoo, we made our way to the second of four classes at Mothering Touch. The topic was breastfeeding. 

Cue to: many many pictures and videos of breasts and a few giggles from the men in the room. More giggles when the giant knitted breast with the huge areola fell off the table and rolled towards the centre of the room. Cue to giant pictures of infected and damaged nipples that shut them all up.

I actually found this class enlightening. I sort of assumed I knew the standard breastfeeding position (cradling the baby lengthwise across your chest). Apparently this is not super ideal as it does not allow for the baby to get a proper latch, control the milk flow etc. It's also not very comfortable for the mom. 

Biological Nurturing, or laid-back breastfeeding is the new black. Mom reclines comfortably in a bed or chair with pillows. She relaxes. She places the infant on her stomach, in a more vertical position, allowing for the baby's feet to get grounded on some part of her body. He should be positioned close to you, his mouth and nose facing the nipple. Support your breast. Aim for the nose, which will cause a slight head tilt. Attach the baby to the breast, encourage a wide mouth and pull him close by supporting his back, not his head, so that his chin dives into the breast. 

If there is pain, something should be changed. 

This sounds relaxing. It makes sense. In theory. I guess we'll have to wait another 8 weeks to see what the in practice brings me. I may not like this position, so it's all about finding what works best for you. I know it will take some time and some practice for me and my little manatee, so I'll just try to remind myself to stay as relaxed as possible and we'll eventually figure it out. As long as he's getting fed and thriving, and I'm not going crazy, I guess that's all that matters in the end. 

We had to leave class about 30 mins early for another appointment, so I'm not sure what I missed. I already know about engorgement and frozen cabbage leaves, and the benefits over milk vs formula,  so hopefully it wasn't anything crucial or mind blowing. Maybe just some more videos of big nipples. Dinner plate areolas. Round browns. Mamajamas. 

In other news, we bought a crib. A relatively inexpensive one from Ikea. The feedback I have been given or the research I have done said don't spend much on the crib (so long as it obviously meets safety regulations and you actually like the look of it), but spring for a good quality mattress (aka...not ikea). My mom actually did loads of research on mattresses that won't kill our baby and settled on a nice organic Natrepedic that was insanely expensive. However, it won't have the harmful chemicals and off gassing that regular mattresses do. Thank god for grandparents! She keeps saying "this is it!" But then it never is. First grandchild will be spoiled and loved by all :) 

We are very grateful indeed.  

Lucky little nameless Oliver baby. 


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Maternity Pics - A Wee Preview

It pays to gave such a talented photographer as a friend! Thank you to Megan Edelman Photography for a fun late afternoon photoshoot in Beacon Hill Park to memorialize this epic event unfolding in our lives. 

At 29 weeks, 5 days I feel large, but not too large. Still feeling pretty (though I think I need a haircut!) and somewhat lithe ;) 

Can't wait to see the rest of the pics!!! I think James looks VERY handsome! 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Parenting The Newborn - Class One

Last night James and I went to our first of four pre-natal classes. Obviously, since we are having a csection, there is no need to attend the pre-natal birth classes, since so much of that is focused on making a birth plan, and Lamaze and all that useless to me information. 

However, I decided that it couldn't hurt to attend a series of classes on teaching new parents how not to kill their newborn. I figure some of this stuff I will already know (James said I was nodding my head and agreeing like a know it all lunatic last night, because I am SMRT), and some will be common sense, and some will be new to me. They can't hurt anyways! 

Last night's class was all about Comforting. It focused on what is known as the Fourth Trimester, and how there are theories that human babies are actually born three months premature. We should, in fact, have another three months in the womb because we are not ready to transition into the cold, cruel world. The instructor said she thought we should be born with pouches, like kangaroos, so we can carry our babies skin to skin at all times. I'm glad I don't have a pouch, but I CAN see how that would be handy for putting things phone, wallet, baby, etc. 

You can see where this is going then? Yes. Skin to skin contact is very crucial in the first three months. For dads too. It forms bonds. This class really focuses on carrying your baby as much as possible (which was my plan), for the first three months. She showed us how to use a ring sling (I've purchased a lovely Oscha sling) and a wrap (hoping to borrow one) and an Ergo (registered for one). The Ergo scares me the least. I trust buckles more than I trust my ability to sling, but practice makes perfect. I really hope someone buys it for us (HINT HINT). 

We also don't let baby cry it out in the fourth trimester, okay guys? Crying is usually a last resort for babies, because they are usually quite polite in asking for their needs, so long as we pay attention. They will often use small cues to signal they are hungry or uncomfortable before the screaming starts. 

exhibit a: 

We learned the five S's of comforting: swaddling, swinging, shushing, sucking, side position. This is from The Happiest Baby on The Block, by Dr. Karp. He seems like a weirdo, but his methods appear to work. This will prove to be useful information should we have a fussy or a colicky baby (oh god, please no). 

We learned a good swaddle technique last night, called the DUDU, which stands for down up, down up, referring to the method if folding, not baby shits, as you could infer from the unfortunate name. I already kind of knew the basics if swaddling, but this was a bit different for me, and entirely new to James. However, he was swaddling like a pro at the end. 

Exhibit b:

All in all, I think these classes will be useful in giving us a little but more confidence in our ability to parent this little guy. The next three modules will focus in breastfeeding, new family, and infant CPR, which is something I always said I would take should I become pregnant. 

Stay tuned for my thoughts on the breastfeeding class next week! BOOBIES! ( * ) ( * ) 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

29 Weeks Pregnant

Ten weeks. TEN WEEKS! 

Because I will be delivering by c-section thanks to Crohn's Disease complications, I will be having our baby boy at 39 weeks, which is June 10th, 2014. This is a full week before the "official" due date of June 17th. They don't want me going into labour, hence the earlier date. And I am still TOTALLY fine with having a c-section, despite all the judge-y judgersons out there who think that c-sections are the worst. Guess what? I've done the research and there are benefits to c-sections. Like, my baby will be better looking that yours because his head won't have to squeeze through my birth canal. No cone head for me, suckas! 

In all seriousness, let's be real. What really matters, in the end, is what is best for mom AND for baby. In my case, this is a section. And when it's all said and done, so long as my little guy is healthy, I can take the recovery time. It's just another scar to add to my collection. I'm a warrior, you know. I've got my battle scars. This one will be joyfully accepted. 

At today's maternity appointment, it was confirmed that I do not have gestational diabetes, which is great. It wasn't particularly a concern in my case, but I have been loving the cake eating lately, so one can never be sure if one has inadvertently given themselves the Diabeetus. My weigh-in indicated that I have only gained 2 lbs in the past month, which honestly seems shocking. I feel like I have gained 17 lbs, thanks to cake and carbs. And let's be honest here....I totally thought I was going to be doing SO MUCH prenatal yoga and swimming and you name it, but I have been to one yoga class and swimming twice. I walk on average between 30 and 90 minutes about 4 times a week. I do 100 squats when I'm watching Netflix now and then. I eat pretty well - lots of fruit and veg, whole grains, lean meats and fish. And maybe cake a few times a week. I'd say I am a pretty healthy preggo.

I found out today that I am anemic, which is not really that shocking. I have been anemic in the past, as it's something very common in Crohn's patients. I've been put on Palafer iron pills. So even though I eat a good amount of protein and dark leafy greens, little buddy has been sucking up all my iron reserves. It will be interesting to see how I take to the iron pills. These things have been known to cause system upset and constipation. 

Baby boy (still nameless - ugh naaaaames), kicks and moves and dances up a storm. This little ninja is super active between 7-11 pm usually (does that bode well for my planned 7:30 kiddo in bed plan? I guess we will see). He also jumps about sporadically during the day, and his little jabs and pokes are always welcome and they make me so happy. They feel normal to me now, which is a weird thing to say. I wasn't sure I would ever get to know what this felt like, so every shake, rattle and roll is a blessing to me. 

I have minor heartburn occasionally, and pee constantly, especially around 11 pm, midnight and 3:30 am. My internal alarm clock is also waking me up at 6:30 every day. I guess this is semi-preparing me for the zombie like state of new motherhood. Except, you know, I'll actually have an infant. Someone to be responsible for, wholly. Um. Yikes? 

Speaking of responsible, we already installed our car seat in the BMW. Someone recently told me "don't wait until you get to the hospital to try to install it!" This person clearly doesn't know me very well (because I am a planner, and planners don't leave things like this until last minute). So, installed. Ten weeks in advance, yo. Aaaaaand, we got the car seat for $75 from a friend (reg $300) and it's good until 2018. So. Basically, we're winners in both the safety and financial categories. 

Now, to decide on paint colour, a crib, and.....a name. Boy names! Why are you so hard? 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The 12 Step Program of Nesting

I hate cleaning up rooms that have been accumulating useless items throughout the years. The items that I haven't needed or wanted in quite some time, but am just too lazy to deal with. Items shoved in drawers, to be dealt with at a later date. Inevitably, that later date becomes today.

While I am excited to set up the baby's room and officially nest, it means dealing with paperwork as far back as 2003, old pencils, dried up pens, old electronics, etc, etc, etc. Painful, amiright? And it's not just my stuff. James has paperwork from the early aughts and random things like pencils which he is inexplicably attached to. But he wasn't here, so I made some tough choices when it came to his massive collection of old highlighters and random pencils. Too bad, so sad. 

Our first big hurdle was getting rid of our big computer desk. The desk that's really only used to put more stuff on to deal with later. The desk that I ignore, preferring to work from the couch. The desk that is a mere pedestal for the outdated and slow desktop computer from 2001 that HAS TO GO. 

Happily, we sold it for $100 yesterday to a friend. Step one, complete. This also meant sorting through the drawers and papers and flotsam in the drawers. Step two, complete. 

Step three was taken on my me this afternoon. I started organizing other various miscellaneous items into piles: recycle, garbage, donate, keep. Step four, complete. 

Then I eyed the massive tangle of computer, modem, phone, you name it cords that wrapped like dusty snakes around one another. I then set about untangling them and making sense of what goes where, and what is actually in use. I unplugged the desktop computer and moved it and its related cords aside. I organized the various modems and other thingers (I have no idea what they are but they all seem to be doing...something). Step five, complete. 

Despite appearances, this is now organized chaos. 

I did enough today. There are at least seven more steps to this, but I can't do them on my own. I'm satisfied with the initial progress I have made. It feels productive getting organized. I can't wait to have the room cleared out so we can apply a fresh coat of paint! I have an area rug, a dresser/change table, a glider. We just need a crib and a few other things and I'll be set :) The goal is to be ready by the end of April. I think it's doable. 

And sometimes cleaning unearths some pretty great treasures from our past, such as this awful fake ID from 1998. Ah, memories! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Diabeetus

When you're pregnant, you have to go through all sorts of tests. Bloodwork, physicals, ultrasounds (3 in my case), getting weighed every month to see exactly how close you are to turning into a whale. Today's fun test was a gestational diabetes screen. 

The lab makes you drink this....

.....and then you have to wait in the waiting room for an hour until they take your blood. 

This drink tastes exactly like what diabetes would taste like if it had it's own brand of beverages. It's so sugary and gross. I figured it would make me want to do high kicks around the office, but I basically suffered from a pretty immediate sugar crash. I wanted to nap. I could not nap. It was torture. 

My risk of having GD is really low, so the doctor didn't even bother making a requisition for the glucose test, so barring any poor results from this screen, I should be able to give that a miss. 

I also saw a rather attractive anesthesiologist today who gave me the low down on what will happen with my c-section: a spinal, a catheter (briefly, mere hours thank God, hate those suckers), and a Tylenol suppository. Which, to me, sounds worse than getting sliced open to retrieve my infant. EXIT ONLY K THANKS BYE. 

He also let me know that I would be able to breastfeed as soon as they stitch me up, which takes about 25 minutes. In the meantime, I will be able to hold wee bebe on my chest for dome skin to skin contact, which is super important to me. Pleased with this. Very pleased indeed. 

Two more months of work! Yeeeee! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Turning 34

34 is going to be a big year for me! If I thought 33 was a big year (getting laid off, getting a new job, getting pregnant), 34 will certainly be the biggest year yet (having an actual baby). It's sure to be joyful and challenging and (I'm hoping) the best thing I have ever done. Also:  mat leave. Get here now. 

To celebrate my last childless birthday, we went out for a really nice dinner at a fancy place where you don't take babies or kids (and if you do, you're an asshole). James and I hit up Stage for some small plates and a glass of wine. Cider glazed pork belly, handmade gnocchi, Haloumi salad, fried Brussels with capers.....mmmmm. It was a lovely meal, just the two of us, celebrating my last night as a 33 year old. 

On the morning of my actual birthday, James woke me up with a kiss and made me a yummy breakfast (a full English, minus the fried bread), and a nice cuppa Oolong. I was *technically* working, so I checked and answered various emails and daily sales reports, though somewhat half heartedly ;) Luckily, it was Friday and on Fridays my clients are all busy and don't usually bother me very much. This conveniently lends itself to my theory that no one should have to work on their birthday.

My lovely husband had also booked me in for a maternity massage at Parkside resort and spa, so I headed there in the late morning, turned my cell phone off and enjoyed a lovely massage. Blissfully relaxed was the state I found myself in upon completion. 

After my massage, we met my parents and my brother for lunch at Zambri's. They offer gluten free pasta choices now and so I indulged in a half order of penne with meat sauce and the daily veggie trio. My brother treated us to this feast, and it was glorious! Ps. The half order is MORE than enough. I was stuffed to the gills. 

Later that evening, we headed over to my bestie's house as she was hosting my bday party for us. We had a United Nations theme! and about 16 or so friends came over armed with yummy foods from a county of their choice. We had tapas from Spain, sushi representing Japan, boccoccini and tomato basil skewers from Italy, sausage and sauerkraut from Germany,  haggis and turnips from Scotland, brownies from 'Murcia, roast chicken from Canada, hotdogs and Caesar salad representing comedy and getting off work late, baguette and Brie from France, and a gluten free carrot cake representing ME (made by my brother). 

It was SUPER fun times! The food was awesome and it was casual and funny. Though I was sober, the rest of the party enjoyed some non-sober times and it was highly amusing, and things got silly. We wrapped it up around 12:30 and came home sleepy and feted :) 

Next year I will have a 9 month old on my hip! I can't wait :) 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

25 Weeks Pregnant

25 weeks, 4 days to be exact.

What's going on? Baby boy is moving around a lot. Since I started feeling him for real at 20 weeks, he's been getting stronger, and his movements are a lot more consistent and frequent. It's really, really cool.

I had my iPad resting on my tummy yesterday, and when he kicked, it was strong enough to neatly topple the thing over. Ninja baby! 

My c-section is 99% confirmed for June 10th! My paperwork should come in the mail soon. On June 10th, I will be 39 weeks to the day and this little duderino will be fully cooked, minus a week. I'm thinking my last day of work will be May 23rd, as I will take the two weeks holiday I have banked prior to going on mat leave, which will officially start June 8. That's not too far off, really! Yikes! I'm excited slash nervous! 

I have a consult with an anesthesiologist in two weeks time because of complications I have with my epidural during my bowel surgery (woke up, couldn't feel my legs = SCREAM), so I guess we'll just chat about that experience and look to see why. I'll be having a spinal this time, which is different but I definitely want to be able to move my legs soooooo yeah. 

What else? 

I'm pretty hungry all the time. My craving for cake has not subsided but it's under control (aka only had one slice this week, no side trips for cupcakes). I am just DYING for Liberte Greek yogurt. I demolished two tubs this week. I bought them for James because I have a DAIRY ALLERGY but apparently said allergy was not getting in my way and so I ate them both. Greek yogurt you are the god amongst yogurts. The idea of cereal with fresh fruit is appealing as well. Mmmm. Berrrrrries. Get in season already! 

My cold has lost the battle with garlic! Chopped garlic in honey was the medicine that went down and after a few days, it really eased up. I feel nearly back to my regular pregnancy congested self, which is a relief. Normally colds = horrid cough that keeps me up all night. This cough hasn't taken hold, so fingers crossed it stays away :) 

My parents generously bought us a rocker/glider for the nursery today! It's soooo comfy cozy and I predict many hours nursing and napping in this baby! Time to clear out this office and set up the baby's room!! Know anyone who wants a pine desk with a hutch? 

Monday, March 03, 2014

Pregnancy Colds

Pregnancy colds can suck it. 

I am on day 2 of my second pregnancy cold and I may or may not have just cried about it. I am pretty blue about having a cold. James has been sick for weeks on end with a cold and I was convinced that because I hadn't gotten it by now, I was immune. #fail 

It's so so awful living with a cold like its 1903. Not being able to take anything for relief of horrible congestion, sore throat or cough is seriously roughing it in life. I am generally an over-medicater. Meaning, I will take a day remedy (tablets of some sort), and then at night I am likely to take Neo-Citran with a night tablet or two and if I have a cough, codeine syrup because my coughs are worse than yours. I cough until I barf. So. #fact 

But with pregnancy you literally cannot take anything. Even those things that have been determined as "safe" (Guafesin, Tylenol etc) are still not 100% without the risk of some sort of birth defect if you Google it. Which of course I do. And so of course I don't bother taking anything. 

I am winning the suffering Olympics. 

So tonight I will use my Neti-pot. I will drink another hot water/lemon/ginger/turmeric concoction. I might eat a fourth clove of raw garlic. I will put Vick's under my nose and pray for sleep. I will whine about it. 

I have a big meeting tomorrow and I have a feeling it ain't gonna be pretty. (Meaning me. I will not be pretty if I can't sleep for the second night in a row). 

Screw you, cold. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


At 23 weeks pregnant, I have yet to have any weird or ridiculous cravings. I am just rather specific about what I want to eat at times. Like, if I feel like tacos, you better get me some damn tacos. But otherwise, it's mostly business as usual with a few notable exceptions. 

Last week I was pretty stoked on this gluten free Kashi cereal I found, called Indigo Morning. It's made from corn and has dried fruit in it (aaaand cane sugar). I was happy to eat that at breakfast and as a before bed snack. Never really one to actually finish a box of cereal, this surprised me. I don't know why, because.....CARBS AND SUGAR. 

I'm feeling really into fresh berries....I wish it was local berry season so organic berries didn't cost an arm. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries....give them to me! I'm also really missing a very specific type of apple - Honeycrisp - which are da domb, and only seem to grace our shelves for a few weeks in the fall. Oh Honeycrisp, how I miss thee!!! Braeburn will have to suffice. 

I'm super into slices of salted tomato with cheese. Actually, most cheeses. Sorry, dairy allergy. I could eat Origin gluten free sourdough bread, cheese, olives, salamis and tomatoes until the cows come home (which in this case is never, so basically at all times). 

I've been keeping things balanced with daily smoothies, usually consisting of kale, chard or spinach, a banana, some frozen berries, coconut yogurt and water. 

And to keep all of THAT I'm check, I'm kind of into cake and or/chocolate right now. I may have eaten a GIANT red velvet cupcake yesterday (full confession: full gluten) and it was insanely good. I want another one RIGHT NOW. 

But let's face facts, other than the occasional treat or side of poutine rather than a salad, things are looking pretty good over here, nutritionally. I carry around almonds and try to take a green smoothie with me on the road. Weight gain is now supposed to be about a pound a week so it's important to make sure that's healthy and nutritious weight. I am more inclined to eat carbs these days, but haven't given in to the "baby wants cheeseburgers and ice cream" phenom you hear a lot of mothers to be talking about....yet. Our cupboards are full of things like nuts and seeds and whole grains, and devoid of bags of chips because duuuuuuh. Chips are way too tempting. Keep it simple, keep it real. That's the goal. 

Things I could do better? Drink more water, and get more exercise. I definitely consume at least a liter of water a day, but I'm better off with two. It's just so hard when you gotta pee every 7 minutes. As for exercise, well...I have yet to hit up a pre-natal yoga class, or an aqua fit class. I DO try to get outside for walks. I went in a 5 km hilly hike a few weekends ago, and my walks are generally in the 30-60 minute range, anywhere from 2-5 times a week, depending on my energy. I've got a Bellyfit series I have done a time or two, and I occasionally bust out a couple hundy squats here and there. It's not bad, but could use improvement. 

God damn watermelon sounds good right now.

What's In A Name?

It's a funny thing trying to pick a name for a baby. Where does one even start?

A name is like a brand you are stuck with for life; it defines you before you can define yourself. 

Babies sound cute with names like Charlie or Jasper or Petunia or Rosie, but do adults? 

Oliver is a name I have always liked for a boy, but if it's a boy can I really name him Oliver Oliver?

You have no idea how much this name game is stressing me out! If only we could narrow it down....

Sunday, February 09, 2014

It's A.....

BABY! Still. 

Well.......We're still waiting to find out the sex of the baby! My yellow envelope has disappeared into the confines of James' safe hands until he either feels like giving in or I wear him down in a variety of ways until I get my way. We're having fun guessing and debating over what it is and how and when we will do this, so maybe in the end we won't find out until the big day! 

Women ask "how can I stand it?" Not knowing. I just...can? Nothing has changed in there. It's a baby. Yes I want to know, but the suspense is definitely fun! James wants to wait "until he feels better" as he's been suffering from a cold the last several days. It's totally another stall tactic, but I think if I give him space, or try some reverse psychology, I will know sooner rather than later. 

He's better at this game of chess then I am. 

In other news! James felt the baby's first kicks today. He was laying with his head on my stomach chatting to us when the little squirmer kicked him on the side of his face. Several times. That was pretty awesome! Pew pew pew! 

We sorted out the change table/dresser situation today as well. I remembered that my parents have this gorgeous 1920's bedroom set that was mine as a teen. The dresser is GORGEOUS, with a mirror, and deep drawers. It's also the perfect height for me to change a bare bum, and totally one of a kind. Now we just need a crib and a glider and a rug and we're all set! (aside from emptying out and finding space for everything that is in the room currently....ugh). My parents don't know that I've decided to take this, but since it's been in the basement since 1999, I'm pretty sure they won't care. Especially since I will likely need to move my desk and our loveseat in out, two in? 

Speaking of couches....We bit the bullet and finally bought our new couch today. Dodd's had a great sale on, and since we were right next door at TJ's Kids looking at strollers AGAIN ( seriously so stressful ), it was easy to pop over. 15 mins later, we found a gorgeous condo sized sofa that we can LIE DOWN ON, a matching wingback and bam! Next Saturday they will get delivered. Boo yeah. 

Back to strollers, will it be the Uppababy Vista or the City Mini GT? I DON'T KNOW!!! We can't decide. One has more storage, and more options but comes in at a steep $789. The other ones folds with one hand and is only $399. This is a hard decision, yo! Leaning towards the former for a few reasons (storage, bassinet, upright toddler seat), but I gotta love that fold and price on choice two. Dammit. 

Anyone have any advice? 

We also have a lovely vintage Silver Cross pram that was James' at our disposal. It's gorgeous but I question the practicality. We'd be officially hipsters if we use that in our neighborhood. It's legit. 

Decisions, decisions. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Dear Grandpa,

You passed away last night, after months of languishing in a hospital bed. I think we can both agree that you are in a better place now. I am more relieved than sad. I said goodbye at Thanksgiving, and it was clear to me that you were scared and sad and that hurt my heart. You were 95 years old. 

You were never a large part of my life. I saw you only once a year, when I would make the drive to Fernie while reluctantly tearing myself away from the lake. I would visit you and grandma for an hour or so a year. It wasn't enough, but it seemed like enough at the time. For you and for me. Small talk and pleasentries. 

I always wondered why you and grandma rarely came to visit us on the coast like my other grandparents did, or drive to the lake to spend time with us, as there was always plenty of room and you were more than welcome. It was clear that both of you were uneasy outside your comfort zones, and as such, the relationship you had with your coastal living grand kids was good, but a little detached due to the fact that we just didn't know each other that well. 

This is a shame. I would have liked to have been closer. I hope that when I grow old, I will be more willing to include myself in things and be an integral part of my family's life. Even if distance is a factor. Maybe this will be easier when I am old. I am sure that I will be beamed via a hologram into the homes of my grand kids on Christmas Day and birthdays. 

Don't get me wrong. I know you loved us. And you were a product of a different time. We always got Christmas and birthday cards when I was a kid, and I always respected you and loved you. I wish that you had been willing to move here when grandma died 10 years ago. But I understand that Fernie was, and always had been, your home. But as the years passed and your friends were all gone, it must have been lonely. There is only so much your family can do from 2000 km away. It was hard on my dad. My dad who is flying out there today, 24 hrs too late to be there for you when you passed. He would have liked to have been there to say goodbye. He would have liked to have been there so you were not alone. 

The thought of dying alone is a sad thought. I hope when I go I am surrounded by family. I wished the same for you. I wish you had moved here so we could have gotten to know you better in the last decade. I think you would have been happier for it. I wish I had told you I was pregnant at thanksgiving but it was so early and I wasn't sure if you would really understand. I wish my child would have had the pleasure of meeting his or her only living great grandparent. But mostly, I wish that you passed into the next life without fear in your heart and knowing you would see your beloved Margaret again. 

So, with these thoughts, I wanted to end with some of the good things I remember about you. I remember visiting the old farm, before you moved to town. I remember the blue bathroom, with the fuzzy toilet cover that I always thought was pretty. I remember your delicious pancakes, the best and most fluffy pancakes. I remember your little cast iron sculptures and how you took up crafts after you retired - an inner creative streak! I remember how you loved huckleberries and would go picking in the mountains in all the best secret spots. I remember that one visit with James and you and grandmas served us spam (ick!) and we listened to polka records, which we thought were hilarious. And I remember the time after grandma died that you did come to the lake for an overnight stay, but wanted to go home at 6 am, your little bag packed and ready and you waiting patiently for my dad to rise. I remember reading through our family tree with you and listening to stories of my ancestors long gone. And I remember the day I said goodbye, knowing I would likely never see you again. My heart felt heavy with sadness and guilt for not being closer to you, but I was glad I was there to tell you I loved you. Goodbye. 

I hope you are happy wherever you are right now. Free and floating and surrounded by good things and people you missed. I will see you again, I'm sure. Say hi to grandma for me. 


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Cinemaaaaa, Darlings.

I like to do this little thing, called watching a lot of movies. I like watching them on my couch, in a movie theatre, on an airplane, in the bath on my iPad. Whatevaaaaa. I love the cinemaaaaa, darlings.

I feel like it's my duty to inform you of a few of the more interesting selections that I've seen in the past few weeks. And from there you can decide whether or not you want to watch the movie yourself.

The Spectacular Now.

This movie made me fall a little in love with Miles Teller, even though he looks like a giant nine year old. It's your classic bad boy falls for good girl scenario, but it's charming and not over the top. There's no cheesy "Cinderella Story" fantasy starring Hilary Duff. This is sincere, and though not incredibly exciting, a touching coming of age story in which you can't help but love the main character who is seemingly both protagonist and antagonist at the same time. I would recommend this if you're looking for something to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Ummmm, freaking loved this movie. Didn't notice it was addled with f-bombs (even though it was some kind of record?). Maybe this says something about it. James and I thought it was dramatic, intense, and HILARIOUS. Jonah Hill's teeth. Excessive drug abuse. Sex. Yachts. Money. Just awesome. Really enjoyed not even noticing it was three hours or needing to pee during that time (a miracle in itself, really). Totally recommend this if you are unoffendable, like I am.

12 Years A Slave.

Holy hell, was this intense. It was an incredible movie. The expressions on the actor's faces alone should win Oscars. It's a very uncomfy subject matter, and there are scenes which are extremely uncomfy to watch...specifically one scene, which went on and on and on. As it should have. For effect. And boy, did it have effect. I could not breath and it made me squirm. Was this a happy movie? No. It ended relatively happily though, so that's a relief. Everyone should see this movie because it's beautiful and painful.

The Butler.

Speaking of movies about slavery and African Americans in 'Murica, the Butler spans one mans life from his early years as a cotton picker on a plantation, to becoming a butler in the White House in the 40's, to the inauguration of President Obama. It covers various race issues during each of the presidential terms. It's pretty amazing to think about because it wasn't very long ago that black people and white people couldn't sit at the same lunch counter together, or attend the same schools. That seems so weird and foreign. This movie covers that and so much more. Well done, Forrest Whittaker.

The Prisoner.

Speaking of intense movies, was this ever intense!! I could barely breath through the majority of it. From the unspeakable terror of losing a child to a predator, to understanding the lengths someone will go to to get that child back, taking the law into their own hands - it's easy to both understand and reprimand the actions taken. Really good. I'd recommend this for sure. Because Jake Gyllenhall has a neck tattoo.

Drinking Buddies.

BORING. Sorry Olivia Wilde. I'm mad I paid for this because it was released on Netflix like a week later.

Into The White.

Who doesn't love a good old fashioned WWII drama? This one takes place in Norway, in a secluded cabin in the snowed in mountains. A German and an English plane shot eachother down and lo and behold the surviving crew end up having to share this cabin to survive...despite BEING ENEMIES! Starring a bunch of rando's and Ron Weasley, it's actually a pretty good movie. They start off hating each other, and learn that they have to work together to survive and of course, find common ground. A tad predictable, but it was based on a true story, so you can't fault it's predictability.

Spring Breakers.

WTF, Selena Gomez?

The rest are not worth mentioning because (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) embarrassing or not very memorable.

You're welcome.

Pregnancy and Crohn's Disease.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant and feeling spectacular, as far as being pregnant goes. I'm feeling blessed. My energy is better - good enough that we did a pretty nice hike around upper and lower Thetis on Saturday. I actually really LOVE being pregnant, as I have started feeling the baby kick and move about and that's pretty awesome. Like REALLY awesome, actually. The only downsides are the chin acne (which I partially blame on the Clarisonic I received as a gift from my company at the sales meetings…second time is NOT the charm with this thing),  and the constant need to pee at night (ummm this was SUPPOSED to let up in the second trimester?! I still go on average 3 times at night). But really, I have no major complaints. Haven't puked up a pre-natal vitamin in weeks, yo.

So, what's it like being pregnant with Crohn's Disease? I know you are dying to ask.

They generally say that if you get pregnant while you are healthy, it will remain that way, and vice versa. I had a re-section in 2008, and since then, I have had very few major direct intestinal issues, unless I do it to myself (like eat things I shouldn't, or drink too much wine). Obviously I have had no more bowel obstructions, which is great, as they can can be fatal. However, since the re-section I have had short bowel syndrome (have no clue as to why it's called a syndrome, you guys), and that is something that continues with pregnancy, though lessened. Being pregnant makes you constipated. I haven't been constipated since the mid 90's, so all this has meant for me is…sometimes I don't have to take my bile salt binder to stop the di-di. So that's pretty cool. Things in the poop department are pretty great right now.

That being said, I'm having a few minor Crohn's issues (which to you would probably seem MAJOR, but to me are just part of my life, unfortunately), things that are not immediately what you think about when you think Crohn's (if you ever just sit around thinking about that), but things that are a part of the disease for me, and to be perfectly honest, the worst part.

I don't talk about it. I think maybe one, or two of my friends knows what I am specifically referring to. I can't talk about it because it's embarrassing for me and I hate it. I hate the way it feels, the way it makes me feel, and I wish there was something that could be done. Something guaranteed to work. I may try a few of the proposed solutions after I am finished having kids, as I have been opposed to drug therapy until I have reproduced to my heart's content (not even a mom yet and already been making sacrifices for years…where's my gold star?), and some of the other solutions sound like they could make things worse. So that's neat.

Sometimes I cry about it. But then I have to remind myself "it could be worse" (that old chestnut), and move on. Because IT COULD BE WORSE. And I have an amazing life. And a lot to love. And I lot to be thankful for. And I am strong and can deal with this because I have been dealing with it since I was 19 years old. That fact alone sometimes makes me sad because no one should have to deal with this in their swinging and carefree 20's, but I didn't let it stop me. AW HELL NAH.

Crohn's has NEVER stopped me from accomplishing my goals. Graduating from high school with honours. Getting early acceptance to University and, four years later, finishing my degree on time (with a few glitches here and there, to you know, go to an experimental hyperbaric oxygen therapy program in Richmond). Traveling around Europe for 6 weeks with a good friend post university. Getting my first real job, and the two subsequent jobs that have come after. Ten more out of country trips (and many more to come!). And though delayed, getting pregnant and having this baby.

This baby, this GIFT. The first thing I asked when I was diagnosed in 1998…"will I be able to have children?". This baby, the promise that my GP made when he said yes, I can still have children. This baby, whom I have made decisions for in considering treatment options, and why I chose surgery and avoided those drugs. This is why.

It's all for you, baby!!!

No regrets, ever.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baby Psychics

In 2012, I spent far too much time on the TTC forums (that's Trying to Conceive for all you noobs). They were neither helpful or informative, but it becomes something one does to pass the time during the TWW (The (dreaded) two week wait). And you learn that there are no answers and it's all very depressing and endless and basically torture. 

Until you find out that there are such things as baby psychics. Who are obviously going to rob you blind and be totally inaccurate but for $12, it's worth the laugh. 

I ponied up my $12 to have Cherri22 give me her best predictions of what was in store for me, and I was rather shocked by the amount of detail this random in Australia could provide me with. So insightful. So....hilarious. 

Here is my reading, verbatim. So excuse the grammar and spelling. 

"Dear Heather, 

Thank you for being patient with me while I got back to your reading, here is what I am seeing for you

BOY - JUNE so this si either birth month, conceive month or the month you find out in. [well! she got this part right!] 

He is always going to be be the type that knows what he is going to go after. I just seem him as always on the go, always enjoying the movement and just always having a blast with friends and family. HE does not take life too seriously and would much rather everyone get along. You will find him to love to play games that are fun and unique. Playing board games where the outcome is  never the same is something that he loves. Even inventing their own games  (they show a younger brother and a younger sister). I am seeing a game using a cup and a ping pong ball and they actually give it their own name and they spend "HOURS" playing this game.

They are showing him good with other people, the type of person who is able to give out words of wisdom. The type that seems to be always right and very logical in the way he approaches things. always seems to know the answer when others do not. He is always going to be kind, pleasant to talk to. He is not one to try and twist words or even get someone else in trouble.

Like all boys, loves to rough house, is always wrestling and playing around. His friends and him often have "derbies" in the back yard where they get out wrestling moves and start to have a good time. There is a team of about 10 people and they have made their own trophy out of aluminum foil and it is the trophy to win! I am seeing his one true best friend since around grade 6, that you will develop a very strong friendship with his friends mother.

When it comes to career paths, they show him linked to working in a trade field. They show welding.

When ti comes to marriage, I am seeing him closer to 26. They will have one girl and one boy of their own."

Well! Time will only tell. Will Cherri22 be correct about derbies and board games? Stay tuned for about 7 years from now. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Montreal Things

So this blog won't be entirely about my pregnancy, though...let's face it, it will likely be 90/10. Deal with it.

However, I still have a life outside of things happening in my womb, and part of that life is my job.

I work for a French company that is based in Paris. Naturally, the Canadian head office is located in Montreal. I flew there last week for four days of national sales meetings good times.

Here is what I learned:

1. -30 is too cold for me. I don't know how people deal with this kind of cold on a regular basis. Every winter, for like..months. Any exposed skin immediately felt like it was going to fall off my face. It fucking hurt to be outside. Not cool, Montreal.

2. My skin does not like this weather. Every time I blew my nose, I blew blood. GROSS. I had random dry patches on my hands, and the sides of my upper outer thighs...(what??). My eyelids were dry. And then when I moisturized them with my expensive shit, it stung....(what??).

3. French people LOVE to clap. They clapped us in to the meeting. We clapped during the theme song of the meeting (Lady Gaga's Applause - another thing French people like). We clapped after every presenter, and DURING the presentation. We clapped and clapped and clapped and clapped and clapped and clapped until my hands nearly fell off from clapping.

4. French people love standing ovations. While clapping. For everyone. And everything.

5. French people love to make people step outside their comfort zones. Mainly Anglophones. Mainly performing. Mainly performing of dances (which Team BC won by the way - we hip hopped our way to glory for the third year in a row), but also performing of any kind is acceptable. Followed by insane clapping. And judging. With actual judges. Who are our bosses.

6. The only poutine I managed to get my hands on was disappointingly peppery and I had to leave it behind. Did you read that? I COULDN'T EAT IT. Unheard of.

7. Do not admit to wearing lipstick that is NOT owned by my company or face the wrath of a Francophone in a bathroom.

8. I am so used to speaking my limited range of Spanish, that I found myself answering in Spanish instead of French. This embarrassed me. I hope they thought I was actually Spanish instead of an idiot.

9. When you request two slices of gluten free toast, they will instead bring you the entire loaf. I felt like I had to eat three pieces of bread every time. So I did. Gracias mi amigo.

10. I really like veal. Especially before I know it is veal.

I had a great time at the meetings. They were energetic and fun. Everyone was really engaged. There was no finance portion, which was a nice change from my last job. I learned a lot, and even really enjoyed the absolutely INSANE business motivational speaker we featured on our last morning (think Vegas/Texas/Home Shopping Network) as she made some really amazing points, but was also totally and completely OTT. I could not stop laughing. But you guessed it, the French people loved her. Clapping everywhere. Standing ovations. More clapping.



Baby Skelator

Today I had my 20 week ultrasound - the anatomy scan. I am 19 weeks and 6 days.

In the days leading up to the exam, I was feeling a little bit anxious. I have not really felt the baby move much (or at all? I can't be 100% sure that the tapping sensations I have felt a couple of times are actually my baby or my overactive bowels), so I was of course wondering if my baby was okay. Did it disappear? Would there be a heartbeat? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

As I was in the waiting room, with my impossibly full bladder, a couple left and she was crying. CRYING. And all I could think about was "dead baby". OH MY GOD. It happens to people. But hopefully not twice in one day at the same clinic??? Dear mother of God. Stop thinking about that!

So imagine my relief when lo and behold, my little baby was still in there, waving its arms in the air like it just don't care, and kicking its legs, and generally just being super squirmy and wiggly and moving around like a crazy mofo. Heartbeat 147. Two legs, two arms, two kidneys, 4 chambers in the heart, a head that looks and measures normally, along with everything else measuring normally. NORMAL IS AWESOME. I felt total relief. Almost as much relief as when they finally let me pee.

It turns out that I have an anterior placenta (closer to my abdomen than to my spine), which means it will be harder to feel the baby move. So that explains that. And my research tells me that this won't likely cause any problems, unless it's ALSO a low lying placenta, which I don't think it is. In any case, all things can be dealt with. So, great stuff.

We got some good pictures of Skelator from the profile view (cute!), and some ones of hands and arms, and tummy tums. We asked not to reveal the sex to us today, so while they could see it and recorded it for my doctor, they didn't spend too much time in that region (as far as we could tell), but James and I both swore we saw a peen. It could have been an arm though. Or the chord. Who. Knows.

The guessing game continues! I'm still on Team Let's Find Out Now, so the plan is still to get the doctor to write it and seal it and then maybe we will open it together on Valentine's Day, if we can wait that long. Or maybe James will have new resolve to not find out and I will have to live with my decision to "leave it up to him" for another 20 weeks. While I am DYING to know, I also know we will find out sooner or later, so it's only a matter of time. It's not like it changes anything, but it would be nice to really focus on some names. The name game is a tough one.

Englebert? Fitz? Mario?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thoughts, Musings, Confessions of a Former Infertile

You know what's weird? Being pregnant.

After NOT being pregnant for so long and wanting to be pregnant for so long, now here I am on the other side (finally) and it's awesome. It comes with this whole other set of stresses though. At week 18, I can finally say I have stopped checking for blood every time I wipe. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's the truth and I'm all about dropping truth bombs here. It's a safe place for too much information.

While I am entirely relieved to not be worrying about "will it ever happen/will we die alone/stop being jealous of your friends/do people feel sorry for us", I now seem to have transferred my worries on to the fetus growing in my tummy. Let me give you a time line.

Sept 10, 2013. Oh look, I got my period AGAIN. Hello, old friend. You motherfucker.

Sept 13, 2013. Okay, I'm ready to shake off the disappointment. Let's do this.


Sept 24 - Oct 6, 2013. The two week wait. If you have never had to try for more than 1 year to get pregnant, you won't get this, but dear mother of God the TWW. It's....the.....WORST. You do everything you can not to symptom spot, but of course it's all you do. Obsessively.

Oct 7, 2013. Hmmm, I wonder if I should pee on a stick? They are almost expired and I have about 30 of them, so why not? It's not like it's going to be positive because it never is. *pees* *walks away for five minutes* *comes back* *IMMEDIATELY BURST INTO TEARS BECAUSE IT'S POSITIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. *Call James, sobbing* *Goes for a walk with a bestie, keeps mouth shut for once* *Comes home, pees on a more expensive test, and it's still positive. CANNOT BELIEVE EYES*.

Oct 8, 2013. Go for beta test first thing in the morning, which measures the levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG in your blood. Go to work. Waits nervously all day for the call from the doctor's office that is sure to tell me that I was only seeing things. The doctor office calls and I swear the tone of her voice is sympathetic like last time, but alas she confirms what I already knew. Pregnant! VICTORY IS MINE!

Oct 10, 2013. Go for beta test #2 first thing, wait around all day for call to confirm that HCG levels are doubling, stress when the call doesn't come at the same time as last time, and then relief when they finally call at tell me things are looking good. It's official. I'm pregnant. WHAT.

Oct 28, 2013. 7 week ultrasound. I am nervous leading up to this because I am afraid my embryo won't be there. I haven't had any pregnancy symptoms, and I am just concerned it was all too good to be true. But there it is. This little blob. With a heartbeat. It's the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. Morning sickness/gag reflexes, sore boobs, exhaustion settle in and I am THRILLED.

Nov 12, 2013. First maternity appointment with my new doctor, who I love. She's lovely, I am in love with her and answers all of my questions and takes the time. Confirms I will need a c-section thanks to Crohn's and some less than pleasant complications I have, but I'm okay with that because I pretty much knew that already. In fact, more than okay with it. I get the first round of pre-natal screening bloodwork. A niggling, persistent worry I know won't know away until after the 20 week ultrasound that will finally confirm that everything is a-ok with the little alien.

Dec 9, 2013. 13 week ultrasound. This checks for nuchal translucency, which measures fluid at the back of the neck. A lot of fluid can indicate Down's, so I was of course concerned for no reason other than shit happens. However, as soon as she measured, I was relieved (thanks to my research) to see that it measured normally. Still, frustrating to know that I can't put that niggling fear to rest yet until the beginning of February. That being said, it was completely amazing to see something that looks like an ACTUAL baby on the screen, moving around, waving its arms and legs. Incredible that I could not feel it at that point. Weird that there is something inside of me that is growing and I cannot yet feel.

Dec 11, 2013. Second maternity appointment. Takes a minute to find heartbeat with doppler, but there it is, a soft but consistent shush/shush/shush. Does a full physical. I have good boobs. She would know, she felt them. I am in my second trimester and I am relieved that I can finally stop worrying (so much) about miscarriage. I've read the statistics and I know the chances are good that once you've seen a heartbeat and you're past three months, you're pretty golden. I want to tell THE WORLD!

Christmas time is really fun this year :)

Jan 9, 2014. Third maternity appointment. Very quick, but pulls out the doppler and BAM! Heartbeat is detected right away at 160 bpm. So strong and loud I am shocked. It's STILL in there! Second set of screening bloodwork over, and I know this (one) small worry will be behind us soon.

Jan 14, 2014. Felt baby move for the first time?? I think?? It felt like little taps under my belly button, to the left. I haven't felt anything like that since so maybe it was just my imagination, but I can't wait to feel this little nugget roll around more.

Upcoming: Jan 27th Gender Scan. They actually call it the Fetal Abnormality Scan but Gender scan is more positive and fun, so we're going with that. But yes, this is the final point when they can determine whether or not everything is developing normally. And yes, part of me is worried even though there is no reason to be other than, you guessed it, shit happens. I know everything is fine though, so overall I am just REALLY excited to see the baby again and maybe(?) find out the gender.

Boy or girl? What's it going to be? I have had more people tell me "Oh, it's definitely a girl" because of the way I am carrying (high), or just having a "knowing" (my mom). I think that's just wishful thinking because of all the boys in our family, and because I think my mom is under the impression that girls are easier because I was easier than my brother. That's just personalities though. I don't REALLY care, either way. In my ideal world, we'd have one of each, but this might be the only one, so as long as it's healthy and whole, I'm the happiest girl in the world. I'm 18 weeks, or entering my 5th month (so confusing!), and all is well.

And now for some more truth bombs.

If anyone is reading this and has struggled or is struggling with fertility, I feel you. It felt like I was the only person in the world that was having issues, until I started opening up and gained a little circle of friends in other women who knew what it felt like to feel so hopeless and angry and sad and every other emotion. TWENTY EIGHT babies were born in our close circle of friends during the four years it took us to conceive. I know because one day I decided to torture myself and count. Because why just be sad when you can be OBSESSIVE AND SAD?!

It's the hardest thing in the world to watch all your friends have babies so effortlessly, while you have no answers as to why it's not your time yet. And as much as they are lovely and sympathetic, they don't get it, and they never will. And that's not their fault, in fact, it's their blessing. To be so blissfully unaware of the pain! I envy them. I was happy for all of them, but it was hard when that particular happiness was clouded with jealousy and sadness for yourself.

A word of advice, that you may have not considered if you're one of the lucky ones. If someone close to you is struggling with this, please be sensitive when telling your happy news. She doesn't want to hear this at a party or have it sprung on her in public. She's happy for you, but she needs time to digest the news before putting on a happy face and really and truly mean it. Maybe that sounds selfish to you...after all it is YOUR good news and shouldn't everyone be thrilled? But you have to try to understand how much it hurts, as much as you can't fully understand it. No one wants to be left out of the celebration, but damn girl, for future reference......that is the proper etiquette on dealing with your fertile-challenged friends. I got so good at detecting pregnancies before they were announced, as a form of self defence (steak well done, virgin martinis...I see you). "Psssst...are you pregnant?! You ARE?! It's early and super secret! OMG SO HAPPY FOR YOU" was the easiest way for me to control the situation and the ensuing emotions as I struggled to find a healthy balance between happiness and frustrating jealousy.

I expressed terrible and mean thoughts to the only other women I knew would understand my frustration, my fellow fertile challenged warriors, and it was invaluable to have. Long phone calls and emails back and forth to these two gems were therapy. And currently one of those women now has a two year old and the other has a baby growing in her tummy, three months younger than mine. And my heart bursts for them. And I can let go and enjoy everything that is to come. We can all let go and finally believe it will happen because it is.

It feels like coming up for air and it's so goddamn refreshing. Breathe.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Literary Pursuits

I joined a book club in late 2013, so I'm going to try and keep a tally here of the books we read for that, and those that I read on my own because reading is NEATO!

The first book I read for book club was The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro. This was excellent. Was it high literature? No. Was it chick lit? No. It was somewhere right in between, which is exactly what I like. I don't want to read something tedious, but I am not into slogging through something just to appear more intelligent to those who might be paying attention.

In Mexico, I read The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler and also a book that I can't remember the title of, so that probably says something about it (it was about zombies). The former was quite good - an interesting and mysterious story of immigrants, family, love, and post traumatic WWII stress. It wasn't particularly light or dark, but a good combination of both. Feelings were had. The latter was totally an easy, quick read that I actually found quite exciting for the most part, if not entirely satisfying or memorable.

The second book I read for book club was A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I loved the premise of this one, but for the life of me I could not get into it. I finished the book, because BOOK CLUB, but I was having a hard time making myself care about more than half of what was written. I found myself skipping through a lot of it, just to get to the gist of the story. And I definitely feel like I didn't miss anything by skimming through this. I read some online reviews and I am definitely in the minority - it has pretty amazing review across the board. I am interested to hear what the club thinks when we finally meet.

For Christmas I got The Paris Wife by Paula McClean and so far I am LOVING it. It's written from the perspective of Ernest Hemmingway's wife Hadley and it's write up my alley because PARIS. So far so so good. I will be following this up with A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway himself, which is the same tale, told from HIS perspective.

Reading Hemmingway totally makes me smarter, amiright?


Monday, January 06, 2014

New Years GOALS.

Goals, not resolutions, you see? Apparently "goals" is the more PC version of resolutions now. And I guess it's okay if we don't meet our goals so long as we try our bestest, but we're liars if we don't meet our resolutions. If that's the case, I am a big fat liar. So we're going with goals.

I thought I would share a few with you, because I know you're super interested.

1. Learn Spanish. I bought James Rosetta Stone Latin Spanish for Christmas because this little phrase book we take with us to various Latin American countries is not sufficient (mostly because it's Spanish Spanish too). So far we have yet to crack it open, but it's going to happen soon. I feel like we should try and dedicate three hours a week to this.

2. Re-learn how to play the piano. Apparently this year's Christmas gifts to each other were all about bettering ourselves (and because someone thinks I watch too much Netflix). I played the piano for 10 years, but gave it up somewhere around age 16 (coinciding with....boys. Specifically, the boy). I was at a pretty advanced level, and it's somewhat hilarious to be back at level one. It's ADORABLE that James is so impressed that I can play with two hands, even though I'm playing something I mastered when I was 8. I love him.

3. Have my baby. In June, I will be having a baby by c-section. My goal is to continue my pregnancy as I have been - healthy and happy. I'd like to start getting my exercise now that my energy is back, but my cold still lingers so I am doing what I can. To me, a healthy pregnancy equates to lots of fresh air, long walks, healthy and nourishing foods (with occasional treats for happiness), and hopefully some swimming and yoga. Mentally, I want to be prepared for what is to come, but part of this is KNOWING one is never prepared and being prepared for THAT.

4. Organizing my little home to prepare for a third human. Babies are tiny, so is our home. There is nothing like a baby to get your ass in gear. Our "office" (aka room where we shove everything we don't know what to do with) is getting a makeover soon. I'm not going to go crazy with expensive baby shit (one of my friends paid $1200 for their crib...I thought this was the norm until I found out everyone else paid about $200...thank GOD), but am in the market for a crib, a change table/drawers combo, a comfy rocking chair, and an area rug. I have some kid friendly artwork to hang, and I'll probably throw up some vinyl decals. Not really planning on painting. The room is a neutral grey, which is fine and will go with just about anything we decide to throw in there. I want tranquil, comfortable, comforting, and cool.

5.  Pay down debts. We are in a great position, financially. I got a big payout from Unilever last year, and have a fairly significant amount of money in investments that are doing pretty well. However, we still have one student loan and a line of credit to pay off (mortgage doesn't count as debt to me here). And, as I will be only getting about 55% of my salary for a year, we are considering using some of my money tied up in RRSP's to pay off the little bit of debt we have. Not sure if this is the right choice? Sub-goal: Talk to someone who knows more than we do.

6. Buy a couch we can actually lay down on. When we got married, we moved into a heritage mansion. Our suite was on the top floor, and you couldn't get a full size couch up the stairs. So, as a wedding gift, my parents purchased a nice plush love seat and two matching overstuffed chairs. They are awesome and comfortable, and it worked out well since we bought a place with the world's smallest/most awkward living room. However, we have now realized our true life's mission: To own a couch we can lay down on. So, we're looking at various sectionals that might fit into our awkwardly shaped living room. I'm selling my wing back chairs (hopefully), and maybe the other couch and chairs because the one we are eyeing is $3500 (debt? what debt?) but I want. I need.

7.  Live with joy, certainty and without anxiety. This is self explanatory and purpose driven. I want my child to be joyful, certain and not affected by the same anxiety's that plague me (which is really only one, and really totally crazy, and I'm working on it). In this case, it really is mind over matter.

8. Read more, watch less. I joined a book club at the end of 2013, so this will be helpful to my goal. I used to read SO much, and then Netflix happened to me. And then when I figured out how to gain access to various countries Netflix offerings, oh boy, I fell into a Netflix hole. I'm starting 2014 reading The Paris Wife by Paula McClean (which is about Ernest Hemmingway). So far so good.

9. Cook more, eat out less. We ate out SOOOOO much in the last three months because....pregnancy. The last thing I felt like doing was cooking and my energy sucked balls. Meals are better for you when you cook them at home. It's cheaper. It's more fun. I like to cook. Tonight we're having halibut soft tacos with pineapple cilantro salsa. What is not to love?

10. Be sexy. I have not been very sexy lately. I have been the person on the couch in sweat pants, being bloaty and farty and complaining about heartburn. And then I got a terrible cold and blew my nose over 756 times in 7 days (I actually calculated this). I horked some serious lugies in an effort to clear my lungs. I barfed because I coughed so much. God bless my husband who still actually wants to have sexy times with me (even though I do not). Being sexy doesn't mean high heels and lingerie, it's an attitude, an energy and making an effort to not be a slob and to spend time with your partner not being a pig. Let's get sexy!

That's it! Those are my goals. I can do it! So can you. Let's be goal oriented and awesome and look sexy while doing it.


Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 In Review. The Highlights.

Inspired by my last post, the dreadfully titled "Year of Dreams" Flipogram, it seems apt to do a brief and wordy post highlighting some of my favourite moments from 2013.

January 2013 - Traveled to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for Tom and Kristy's beautiful wedding at the Grand Riviera Princess Resort and Spa. The resort exceeded our lowered expectations, and we DIDN'T get cholera (the same cannot be said for the bride and groom). Loved exploring the Mayan ruins at Coba, rappelling into a cenote, being blessed by a shaman, and spending many many hours in the crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Ace.

February 2013 - Launch meetings at the Hotel Georgia in Vancouver. Spent three nights living in luxury, enjoyed amazing meals and drinks at Hawkesworth Lounge, Coast, and Chambar. Spent a lot of time in the bath tub when not in meetings or eating and drinking. Rode in my first chauffeured Bentley. Partook in a hardcore Cross Fit class and sweated my balls off.

March 2013 - March is my birthday month, and it was a momentous month in 2013. Highlights include my birthday celebrations on Pender Island with James, Chris and Liv, followed by dinner with good friends at The Crooked Goose. I also went skiing for the first time since 1994 and killed it! It's JUST like riding a bike, y'all! I also traveled to Toronto for meetings, and despite having caught Morley's horrendous cold, spent a wicked weekend with my good mates Jon and Stef, exploring Toronto, eating amazing foods, and going to a women's only bath house with Stef. Awesome stuff.

April 2013 - I GOT LAID OFF from Unilever. This turned out to be a highlight because despite the initial shock, I was treated so incredibly well that I kind of hope to get laid off every six years if this is how it always goes. I got loads of money as part of my severance, a fantastic and touching going away party in Calgary with all my work mates, and an ego boost you wouldn't think possible for someone who just lost their job. Also? I landed a new job within a week of getting my pink slip. Not bad.

May 2013 - Started my new job with L'oreal Professional as a Business Consultant. Felt really grateful to have a job so quickly, despite not getting the opportunity to try my hand at something new (Director of Family Relations for the David Foster Foundation - lost this to a social worker). Quickly realized that I would have missed all the things I had become accustomed to, such as flexibility and a company car, so things work out as they should.  Also, had an amazing May long weekend hiking and camping with friends on the Juan de Fuca trail. Perspective.

June 2013 - I was a busy bee in June. With a new job to handle, I also managed to plan and throw a wedding shower, a stagette AND be a maid of honour in Melissa's wedding.  All of these days were super fun and amazing and I have to applaud my planning skills (*pats self on back*). It was an honour to BE the maid of honour, and stand next to one of my best friends as she takes the plunge into wifeyhood. Also? I think I give a pretty mean speech.

July 2013 - Spent a fabulous long weekend camping on Hornby with James as well as several members of the Roger's family. We hung out at the beach for hours, swam in the ocean, tasted and drank mead at the Meadery, and loved every second of it. Enjoyed some gorgeous weather in Victoria by swimming in the gorge, hanging at Gonzales, and having BBQ's. Loved summer.

August 2013 - Spent 9 days at the lake, my favourite place. Spent three days with just my mom and dad and James before being joined by the Zuyderduyns, the Chan-Kents, and the Lyon-Bouey's. We ended up having great weather, despite a few MASSIVE thunder and rain storms, chilled on party island, drank wine, ate great food, and just generally relaxed. Was fun to have both Felix and Ben join the party crew, and really solidified that things are changing with our group of friends - it's no longer just us! We're being overrun by toddlers and babies :)

September 2013 - James went surfing on the long weekend, so I had a few days to chill and relax to myself with my friends. I spent a FABULOUS day at the Boathouse Spa and Mineral Baths at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel with Olivia. We drank wine and Prosecco by the pool, and spent the whole day in the sun. Those 8 hours felt like a mini-vacation. It was GLORIOUS. I also got to be a hair model for a Collections Class and turned my bright blond locks into one of the new "it" colours of the season - Rose Gold. Fun times! Also, Rifflandia. We had super passes, and spent a few fantastic days listening to some great bands in the park and on the night stages - highlights for me were Rob Garza, St. Lucia, and Big Boi. I also went to Vancouver to celebrate Brian, Gina and Yoko's collective birthdays and had a wicked time on a party yacht. Yew! Party yachts are my jam! And most importantly, my brother's year CT scan came back clean. Cancer free for 1 year. BLESSED. 

October 2013 - On Oct 7th, I decided to do something crazy and pee on a stick. A pregnancy test that was about to expire, so I thought WHY NOT? I was due to get a blood test the next day to check my HCG levels, but I just couldn't wait another day. I figured it would be negative as they always were, so imagine my shock when two lines showed up. WHAT THE! I immediately called James and cried (like, ugly cried) on the phone to him, sent him a picture, generally freaked out (in a good way). The following week was up and down stressful as I had to wait for the results of two HCG tests to first clarify that I WAS indeed pregnant, and then that the numbers were in fact doubling (indicating a viable pregnancy). I couldn't believe it when it all came back as being something that was actually, finally happening. I flew to the lake for Thanksgiving weekend and told my family, who was (is) ecstatic, and got to spend time at the cabin during the fall (BEAUTIFUL), and say good bye to my ailing grandfather, who is still miraculously hanging in there today. It was hard to keep this little (HUGE) secret from friends and family, and we started slowly telling close friends. Had the first ultrasound at 7 weeks, saw that it was REALLY in there, and heard the heartbeat. Amazing.

November 2013 - The annual Long at Long in Tofino with friends - this time Vicky, Liv, Marion & Aren, and Anna & Erik. Spent three fabulous days in a gorgeous home close to Chesterman Beach, and announced our news to those who didn't know. Announcing is such fun!! The following weekend we jetted off to Punta de Mita, Mexico for Mike and Alix's wedding at the Grand Palladium Vallarta. Enjoyed some fun in the sun, and finally finding amazing tacos off the resort in Punta de Mita town and in Sayulita (public transportation in Mexico adventures!). Was worried about being 10 weeks pregnant, but had no problems and came home relaxed and tan.

December 2013 - 13 week ultrasound where the fetus ACTUALLY looks like something resembling a baby, though still somewhat alien like. Was reassured that it was still in there, once again. Nuchal Translucency was normal (relief). Felt better about telling a wider group of friends and family once we officially entered into the second trimester. Energy started coming back. Celebrated my mom and dad's birthdays and enjoyed SEVERAL meals at Be Love (yum).  Christmas with family and friends was fun and we got to tell the final people we wanted to tell in person, which was special. Two friends shared special news with me, so it looks like 2014 is going to be a fun year for many of us! Now…if I could just kick this damn cold I got on boxing day (last year).

I'm incredibly blessed to have had such a fantastic year. Here's hoping (no, knowing) that 2014 is just as amazing, if not more.
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