Monday, 30 May 2011

Exploring Collingwood

I finally got myself a map of Collingwood's trails and figured today was as good a day as any to start exploring!  Even though it's not a very big town compared to what I am used to, I'm discovering new things every day.

We started off with a trip down Memory Lane.  Seriously, that's what this particular trail is called.

It was a really nice and well maintained trail that ran along a little stream.  There were houses on either side but lots of trees and plants too so it did feel like a nature walk.  Since it was an easy path, away from busy roads, I felt comfortable letting F out of the stroller to walk for a bit.  It was the first time he got to actually walk on one of our walks!  He looks so grown up.

T likes to push the stroller.  He's actually gotten quite good and pushing and maneuvering it despite it's size.  Less work for me!

Memory lane brought us to the Friendship Garden, a cute little park dedicated to Collingwood's sister city of Katano, Japan.  I had no idea this little piece of tranquility was even here, nestled right in the centre of town and was pleasantly surprised to see it open up to our right as we were walking along.

We continued on our way and came out at what I think is a museum of sorts.  I didn't get a chance to have a good look, but will have to go back and visit sometime.  This old CN railway car was parked there, which was exciting for T to see.  It was converted into an box office for some kind of theatre.

The trail continued down to the harbourfront, but unfortunately for today we didn't have time to keep going so we just doubled back down the main street, doing a bit of window shopping.  I like to catch my reflection in the windows to try and get a glimpse of what other people see as I walk down the road.

Yep, looks very mommy-like!

From there we cut through the neighbourhood, admiring all the unique houses, before heading back home to make dinner.

Another highlight - I made it through the whole 1.5hr walk in my new crocs.  I threw my running shoes into the stroller basket because in all honesty I expected my new shoes to start hurting my feet within 10mins, but nope!  Crocs certainly have much cuter styles these days than the traditional ones.

There are still so many great trails to explore, and now that I have my map I won't get lost.  The weather forecast for the rest of the week is fantastic, I wonder what other amazing things we will discover!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Making Friends

I am friendly and relatively outgoing, but a little shy when it comes to jumping in and meeting new people.  So it has been hard for me to make new friends here.  But I really wanted to, for myself and for my kids.  I really needed the adult interaction, and I knew the boys would love some other little friends to play with.

Just a few months ago there was still snow on the ground and I spent just about every day cooped up inside the house with my boys.  It was so depressing, and I felt so alone.  Occasionally I'd manage to get us all dressed up to go to the Early Years Centre, only to feel just as depressed there where I knew pretty much no one.  None of the ladies that I had become acquainted with in the fall were going anymore, and it seemed like all the other moms that were there already knew each other and had their little group of friends.  I was just the outsider.  I remember feeling really down about it.  Those were the times where I hated it here and wanted to move so badly.

Fast forward a few months and things are so different.  We seem to have a weekly playdate thing going with the family around the corner, and all the moms I met in the fall have been resurfacing now that the weather is nicer.  Everyone is feeling much more social.

So now in just the last few weeks, my fridge has started to become littered with names, numbers and email addresses of moms who would like to get together.  There is talk of parks and gymnastics, playdates and fun.  Now I'm just trying to figure out how to fit it all in!

Making new friends is like dating.  You prowl all the local haunts hoping to meet someone.  For me I've spent many mornings and afternoons wandering the streets hoping to run into other moms pushing strollers around.  I've hung around the park with an eye out, or gone to the EYC in hopes of seeing familiar faces. 

Then you gather up the courage to strike up a conversation.  It's pretty easy with kids around, everyone loves talking about their kids and there's no shortage of things to say!  Of course you're waiting to see if you hit it off initially (do your kids get along, do you have similar parenting views?).  Maybe after you've gotten a feel for each other, one person is brave enough to say casually "so we should hang out sometime", or even go so far as to write down their number. 

Of course it might take a few playdates to know if you are compatible and the kids all get along, otherwise you might opt to go your separate ways.

It's all very amusing.

So six months ago I felt pretty doomed to wander this town alone, an outcast among mothers with no one to relate to and no other kids for mine to play with.  These days I'm feeling pretty good.  I'm even trying to figure out ways to bring groups of moms together, maybe by forming some kind of club.  Although I don't want to be cliquey, I would just like a way I could maybe organize events and then notify all the moms I know to see who wants to join me.  It seems like in this town, being a lot smaller than where we came from, it's easier to form close knit groups.  I looked into maybe starting a group on, but there is a monthly fee and I'm not sure I'm ready to pay for that sort of thing.  Maybe if some of the moms I know are on Facebook I can create a group that way.  We'll see, I'm not quite at that point yet!

But I do foresee a great summer filled with lots of new friends!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Time to Get Caught Up

Ok, I'm going to attempt to finally get caught up here!

Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend.  Tyler was going to help my brother do some landscaping at his house, so we all decided to go for the weekend and stay at my dad's newly renovated house in Aurora.

The boys and I drove up on Friday after lunch to spend the afternoon with my dad since he was going away for the weekend.  He showed us around his house which looks amazing.  He basically had the whole inside gutted and redone.  There is still an addition to be built, but for the now the rest of it is spectacular.  We are lucky because now there is room for us to stay there, so we can visit any time we like.

On Saturday morning we drove to Stouffville to see the work the guys were doing on Mike's place.  T got to sit in a skid steer for the first time, but he was a bit grumpy so didn't really enjoy it.  I think if he had been in a better mood he would have been thrilled because he loves machines.

We had some breakfast in Stouffville then the kids and I headed back to Aurora to check out the Farmer's Market, which was really fun.  There was a fire truck there and T was excited to get to sit in it.  We picked up some fresh produce and played at the park, then got some lunch and headed back to my dad's.

Saturday night I actually did something I haven't done in ages.  I went out with friends!  It was my friend Crystle's 30th birthday, and when I saw on the invite that the party would be while we were in town, I asked Tyler if he would be ok staying with the kids while I went downtown with Mike.  I figured I'd put F down to bed before I went and hopefully he wouldn't wake up while I was gone, then Tyler could put T to bed.

For the first time in forever I got to put on a dress and makeup and go out.  It was a lot of fun!  I got to see some friends that I hadn't seen in a really long time.  We went downtown to the Brandt House for dinner.  There was dancing afterwards but unfortunately being the lame mom that I am, I couldn't stay up too late because I was so tired!  Mike and I took off around 11, and I didn't get to bed until almost 1.  So that part was hard, since I'm not used to being up so late.  But it was still fun to get out for a change and be social, and see some people I haven't seen for awhile.

Sunday morning I had a date with my good friend Amy and her daughter Sydney.  I was so excited to see them.  Amy is my bellydancing friend from back when I used to dance.  We were going to meet at the park but it was raining a bit so we met at the mall instead, which ended up working out well since there was a great play area there for kids.  I can't believe how much Sydney has grown since I saw her over a year ago!  She is 2 now and such a cutie.  The kids had fun and Amy and I got to catch up which was great.  It was so nice to see her.

That afternoon we had a bbq at my brother's which was fun too.  Mike has a drum set which T really loved.  Actually, T seems to have really good rhythm and a knack for drumming.  Oh dear, I think I see drums and lots of noise in our future!

Monday morning we got packed up, and then before hitting the road to drive home we met with another old friend, Kristine, for lunch.  It was so great to see her too, she is such a special friend of ours but has been in Montreal for school so we don't see her much.  Kris is one of my oldest friends, so I'm glad we got a chance to meet up.  Hopefully we'll see her again over the summer.

On our way home we stopped at the outlet mall in Cookstown to do some shopping.  Tyler and I were both in desperate need of some new clothes so we agreed we'd splurge a little since we have been so good with our budgeting.  There were some amazing deals there, at least for me!  I was so excited to leave there with tons of new clothes and a pair of shoes.

We made it home in good time and had a quick dinner then got the kids to bed. 

What a fabulous weekend!  The weather was just fantastic.  We got to catch up with so many great friends and family.  The boys were just amazing, and I am so thrilled with how adaptable they have become.  They both slept well considering we weren't at home, and they were on their best behaviour the entire time.  I can't believe how lucky we are to have such go with the flow children.

While I was visiting all my old neighbourhoods though, I was struck with a lot of feelings of wishing we were still there.  It has been awhile since I have felt that way, out of sight out of mind I guess.  I drove through Newmarket and Aurora, Stouffville and Markham, even downtown a bit.  Up and down the streets I used to take to go to friends, to the barn, to school, to work.  Roads I know like the back of my hand.  Everything was so familiar, and so beautiful, and I missed it so much.  Driving through the city late at night, seeing all the people out on the town, brought back so many memories for me.  I am such a victim of nostalgia.

But I did come to some realizations though.  I realized that my desire to live there again comes from memories that have passed, memories of an old life and an old me.  And that even if I were to live there again, it's not the same.  I also had moments this weekend where I did miss home.  I missed our house, and our yard.  I felt so relieved to feel that way.  So even though at times my heart was heavy with wanting to move back again, it was also uplifted by feelings of knowing where home is now, and that this is where we will stay.

There were a few crappy parts to our weekend.  T got carsick driving back from Markham to Aurora on Saturday.  I now have to make sure to give him gravol if we're going to be in the car 30mins or more, he just doesn't make it.  Poor guy.  Also, stupid me, I left my phone in the bathroom while we were at the mall on Monday.  It hasn't been returned, so looks like it's gone for good.  So dumb!  Still, I wasn't too bent out of shape since I had come away with so many new clothes!

But aside from those minor details, the weekend was so fantastic.  I've been having a hard time getting back into the swing of things!

Life is good though.  The weather is finally picking up, and I am loving where we live.  I'm also feeling good about making lots of new friends.  It seems spring time and nice weather bring everyone together, and now when I go out I'm seeing so many familiar moms and talking about getting together with them and their kids.  We even have a playdate with M and her two boys again tomorrow.

I think that's all for now, hopefully I haven't forgotten anything!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Still Here

I need to catch up.  But not now.  We've been so busy I haven't had time to post, and now there is so much to write about.  It will have to wait as bed is calling and I'm so very tired.

But it is moments like these that I have to take a moment and sigh.  I love my babies.  They are crazy, and they keep me so busy.  At the end of the day though, just thinking about them makes me smile.  I want to go sneak into their beds and snuggle them.  I miss their smiles, even though I saw them all day long.

Why is it that you spend all day counting down until bedtime so you can get some peace, only to wish they were awake to laugh and play with?

Now it's time for me to go to bed.  I'm still overtired from our weekend away.  But more on that later.


Monday, 16 May 2011

The Fit and Active Family

I'd like us to be one of those.  That was one of our main deciding factors for moving out here, so that we can instill a love of outdoor activity in our children.  Afterall, how could you not live in a town like this and not enjoy all it has to offer?  Neverending bike and hiking trails, ski slopes on one side and the bay on the other.  We'd be silly not to get involved.

But it's not that easy!

When I go to the Y I am surrounded by all these fit moms.  I listen to them talk about their cycling marathons or discuss how intense their latest spinning class was.  I watch them drop off their kids at the childminder's then hit the gym.  I see them drive off in their SUVs with bike racks on the back and kayaks on top.  In the winter they'll trade them for ski racks.  Outside the bikes lined up all have trailers attached to the back of them.

Did you know that bike trailers aren't just for bikes?  You can buy attachments for jogging and cross country skiing as well! 

I do want us to be one of those families.  I want to be able to go on long bike rides with the kids in tow, throughout all the amazing trails around here.  Kayaking looks like great fun, and I definitely want to be a skiing family as my dad used to take my brother and I skiing when we were kids and those are some of my fondest childhood memories.

Well all that stuff is bloody expensive.  I looked at bike trailers when I was checking out double strollers, but we don't even have bikes and they're certainly not in the budget for this year, or next for that matter.  Kayaks, skis, are you kidding me?  Maybe one day.  We'll have to work up to that.

But what about me?  I want to be a fit and active mom!  Ok, I got my stroller and so you will find me marching all around town.  I pretty much refuse to drive anywhere, even when it's raining.  And twice a week I put on my workout gear to hit up zumba.  But for now, that's about it. 

The gym is not my thing, mostly because I feel lost in amongst all that equipment.  I much prefer group fitness.  I really want to try a group cycle class, it looks like so much fun and a great way to get fit.  But I am so intimidated by them.  When I walk by and peek in and see all the super strong people in there, spinning away with sweat dripping off them, I can just picture myself in the back looking like a fool struggling to keep up.  I had a wellness coach show me how to adjust the bike, but I'll be darned if I can remember how!  If only I had someone to go with me and walk me through the process, I'm sure a few times into it and I would feel more comfortable.

There is also a 20-20-20 class on Monday mornings that I think I would do well in.  Right now though we have only budgeted so that I can put the kids in childminding for one hour a week, for my zumba class (the other one being in the evening so Tyler watches them).  So it's not looking like I will be trying cycling or any other weekday classes any time soon.

On the weekends there is a yoga and a pump circuit I want to try.  It just seems like we are always rushing off to do something.  Or like in the case of this weekend, Tyler isn't even around to watch the kids for me.  Hmpf.

So being fit and active is not as straightforward as it seems!  But it is yet another goal to work towards as we build our life here.

I do look forward to when the boys are older, and hopefully we can enjoy all these activities together as a family.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Eeek!! Grey hair?

When I was pregnant with T, about 3yrs ago now, Tyler discovered one lone grey hair one day.  I thought he was joking.  Until he plucked it out and showed me.  I cried.  Seriously, right there the tears started flowing.

Since then there have been one or two more.

Then these past few days, not one but THREE!  Which makes me wonder, how many more are lurking up there that I can't see?

So this is it then.  I will be 30 this year which I suppose marks the end of...what?  My youth?  I don't know, all I know is I'm not too impressed to be getting older, and now apparently looking older too with my newly discovered grey hair.  I don't feel 30, I still feel 25 (most days anyways).  I don't think I look 30, I've always tended to look younger than my age.

But then again, maybe I do look 30!  When I met new moms, I often wonder how old they think I am.  Most of the time I assume they think I am young.  In my mind they are thinking "Wow, that mom looks way too young to have two children!"  But then the reality is, no I probably don't.  Maybe they even think I look older (heaven forbid!).

I know I know, age is just a number, and it's all about how you feel.  I do feel good, and I plan on looking and feeling good for quite awhile yet.  Just hoping my hair cooperates a little bit longer.  I'm not keen on whipping out the boxed hair dyes any time soon.

Oh well, at least the wrinkles seems to be holding off for now.  I guess I'll get really upset when the first one of those makes it's appearance!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Bad and The Good

Maybe because it is dreary and rainy out.  Or maybe it's because T has been sick this week and it has just been so draining dealing with all the whininess or clinginess.  Or maybe it's because Tyler has taken off on one of his fishing trips, and I hate it when he's gone.  I'm just feeling so uninspired when it comes to thinking of something to post about.

But it's not all bad.  There is some good.  I guess I'll talk a bit about both.

So, crappy stuff from this week.  First off, F's failed meds wean.  I tried, it didn't seem like he was ready, so I put him back on.  I was pretty disappointed, but seeing as how his mood and sleep improved pretty much immediately I'm fairly certain he needed the full dose back.  He had his 1yr checkup this week though, and the doctor really wants to see us try to wean again soon.  I agree, I do want to try, but it is just not that straightforward.  I'll probably give it another shot in a few weeks.

I was also disappointed to learn he really has not gained any weight since his last checkup, 3mos ago, and really is a teeny little thing.  I figured he was at least 20 lbs, but he's not, he is only 18 lbs 12oz.  Not even 19 lbs!  I think T was about 20 lbs at a year.  I know he is fine, I know he is really active, and that he doesn't eat that much, and that with my genetics my children will never be huge.  But it has made me want to focus more on his eating as it is just rubbish. 

Then there has been T's mystery virus which has made for a very difficult week.  On Tuesday afternoon he came down with a fever, and by dinner that night he was a wreck.  I can't remember the last time I saw him like that.  He managed to sleep it off, and while he was feverish on and off for a few days after it really didn't progress into anything.  However as a result he has not been sleeping well, and he has been soooo whiny.  Like whinier than he has ever been.  And clingy.  It has been hard to deal with.  I know he isn't feeling well, but at the same time I just want my happy toddler back!

And finally, Tyler's fishing trip.  I like that he has a hobby that he really enjoys, but I hate that it consumes him so much.  I also hate his trips where he goes away for a few days.  I don't really like it when he's gone, but it's not just the time he is gone.  When he plans one of these trips, he spends so much time preparing, sorting his gear, shopping for stuff, making stuff, and packing it's ridiculous.  It means that for a trip where he'll be gone 2 days, I actually lose his company for the better part of a week.  It's depressing.  It's made even worse when things are off with the kids (like T being sick) and I know I'm left to deal with it on my own.

I think that is the hardest part for me.  My job does not end, it is almost 24/7.  So as much as any working adult, I look forward to the weekends when he is home and I have a little help with the kids, and maybe get a little break.  Particularly after a week like this, where the boys have both been hanging off me and whining in my ear, not to mention sleeping poorly which means I have not had much sleep myself.  The weekends are a chance for me to hopefully get some help, and maybe a little rest.  Well, not when he takes off.  To me it feels never ending, last week bleeds into next week with no break in sight.  Exhausting.  I guess too that I'm a little resentful that he can just take a break from all the whining, and crying. 

But that is enough with the miserable stuff, how about the happy stuff, eh?

Like, we had a really great play date this week!  One mom friend I have made invited me and the boys over on Thursday morning and we had a really great time.  The boys all seemed to play well together, and M and I had a chance to chat and get to know each other better.  Their house is just lovely and they have the most amazing backyard.  T got to jump on a trampoline for the first time which he really enjoyed.  We took a stroll down to the stream and all the boys ended up stomping through the water, getting soaked.  The older boys had to walk home with wet pants and shoes, but we stripped the younger ones down to diapers and shirts and walked back.  It was loads of fun, and I am so happy that we seemed to have clicked with another family.

We had some beautiful, warm weather this week.  The boys and I tried to get out a lot, and actually I got to chat with some other moms at the park that I've seen around the neighbourhood.

T is officially enrolled in Montessori for September, yay!

I made it out to zumba twice this week which is great.  I always feel more human when I get to escape and exercise, even if it's just for 2 hours a week.

Today after swimming we went to the Teddy Bear Picnic at the YMCA.  It was inside since it was raining, but was good fun nonetheless.  There was a bouncy castle (T's favorite!), arts and crafts, balloon animals, and all sorts of other activities.  T got to sit in a police car and push the siren button which he really liked, and he was so excited to see a real fire truck up close.  He got to pet a snake as well.  We had a really nice time.

So there you go, the bad with the good.  Gotta look at both sides!  Hopefully I will feel more inspired next week.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Flowers and Bugs

T loves flowers.  LOVES them, just like mama.  When we go out for walks, he is always asking to pick the flowers.  Red, yellow, purple, he loves them all.  It is so cute seeing him walk down the street or sit in the stroller with his little bouquet.  Sometimes he pulls the petals off, other times he just holds them.  I love it when he brings me one and says "Here's a flower for you mommy". 

He doesn't discriminate either.  Dandelions and other weed-type plants are just as treasured as the tulips and the daffodils.  Today he learned how to say "grape hyacinth".

He is also into bugs.  That's right, we've made some great progress on the bug fear.  He still doesn't like ones that take him by surprise and kamikaze him, but then again none of us do.  When we walk home from the park, I swear he has to stop and look at every, single, ant.  "Look mommy, an ant!  An ant!  Look look, TWO ants!  Two ants mommy!  LOOK!".  This goes on all the way home.  "Yes Tristan, there are ants.  There are lots of ants.  Lots from here until we get home". 

Today while we were walking I could see a little girl about T's age coming towards us with her dad.  As we approached I could see her on all fours, scrounging the ground while her dad kept telling her to hurry up.  I just laughed and said "ants?", he chuckled and said "yup".  I can just hear her in my head, "Look daddy LOOK, an ANT!".

In the backyard today T wanted me to put a boxelder bug into his bug cage.  Boxelder bugs are creepy.  Well, at least to me they are.  Here is one for your viewing pleasure.

And we have them everywhere here.  I mean EVERYWHERE.  These are some of the bugs that he was previously scared of, but now he seems to be interested in them.  He walks right up to them now, and even tries to feed them flowers.  But he still won't touch them.

The thing is, I won't touch them either.  There is nothing stupider than a mother who is afraid of bugs trying to teach her 2.5yr old not to be afraid of bugs.

T:  "Mommy, put bug in the bug house"
Me:  "You can do it.  Use your hand to grab it and put it in"
T:  "Mommy do it"
Me:  "Mommy can't.  Mommy's allergic to bugs"

Do you think he'll buy it?

I love flowers, and I hate bugs.  Pretty strange combination for someone who has made a living as a gardener.

Well actually, bugs and I have a love-hate relationship.  I hate that I fear them, but I secretly think they are cool and wish I weren't scared of them.  I actually find most bugs really fascinating and enjoy looking at pictures of them.  They do still creep me out though.

I follow a really cool bug blog though called Bug Safari , check it out.

Bugs and flowers, they go hand and hand.  They need each other.  So as much as I don't like bugs, I do love flowers and so I guess I better learn to appreciate them.

What I do love though is the excitement and sweet fascination with which my toddler looks at both. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

One Year On the Bay

Today it occurred to me that yesterday marks the one year anniversary of us moving out here from the city.  Wow.  A whole year has passed, it's so hard to believe.

Originally the plan was that I would stay in the city for a month after F was born to finish out our post natal care with our midwives.  But after F arrived Tyler didn't like the idea of me alone by myself during the week with both kids.

So we decided to go sooner.  We left Toronto when F was only 9 days old.  I suppose it was the right thing to do.  But then at the same time it would have been good to stay near family and friends who could help, and around the midwives and my family doctor for any medical care F or I may have needed.

Oh well, doesn't really matter now!  We made it. 

And now, one year on, we are starting to feel settled.  This town feels like home.  Occasionally I see Toronto on the tv and I remember how much I miss it.  But the feelings of wanting to go back haven't creeped up for a long time now.  That's a pretty good feeling.

We've resolved to make it work here.  We're going to give it a shot.

Happy One Year Anniversary, Life on the Bay!


Just after F's birthday I wanted to try weaning his reflux meds again.  So I started giving him only 1/2 his regular dose a day.  For the first week everything seemed peachy, he was doing great.  But over the weekend he was all out of sorts.  On Saturday he was kinda feverish and just grumpy, but he slept fine that night.  On Sunday he was just downright miserable for most of the day, but again he slept fine at night.  I was convinced that he needed his full dose back and was going to give it to him Monday morning, but he woke up chipper and was in a great mood all day!  Then last night was terrible, and today has been hit and miss.  He's been relatively happy, a few grumpy moments, but he keeps crying out from his nap with for him is usually a sign on some sort of discomfort.

Thing is, he is due for more teeth too, so all this could be teething. 

Then yesterday T came down with a bit of a fever, and so he has been grumpy and miserable all yesterday and today too, so maybe they've both caught a little bug.

I hate the guessing game!  If I knew it were simply reflux I could just put him back on his meds and breathe a sigh of relief.  But if it's not, and he's outgrown the reflux, then weaning the meds is a good thing. 

I don't know, I just don't know.  I want to just give them back for peace of mind, but I don't know if it's the right thing to do.  Obviously I don't want to be medicating unecessarily, and he's already been on them for 9mos.

Not to mention that T is driving me nuts with his constant whining.  I know he doesn't feel well, but it's so hard when they're upset and clingy and you can't do anything about it.

Well, F is up there crying after his nap and it doesn't sound like he is going back to sleep.  This does not bode well!  Better go.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ontario needs birth centres | Ontario Midwives

I was excited to read in the latest newsletter from our Hypnobirthing instructor, Jennifer Elliott, that midwives are currently lobbying for birth centres in Ontario.  Please visit their website and click on support midwifery to show your support and find out how you can help bring birth centres to Ontario!
Ontario needs birth centres - Ontario Midwives

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Before we had kids we used to eat out a lot.  We really enjoyed indulging in a good meal at a nice restaurant.  We'd go all out - beverages, appetizers, main course, dessert.  One restaurant we used to frequent was the Keg Steakhouse.  I'd always get the same thing:  baked goat cheese appetizer, sirloin steak with mashed potatoes, and a side of snap peas and asparagus tempura.  Yum!

A little while back I told Tyler I wanted a Keg dinner for Mother's Day.  It had been so long since I had one!  At first we thought maybe we'd pack up the kids and go looking for a Keg, there's sure to be one in Barrie.  But then Tyler suggested he would make me what I wanted.

So tonight he made me my dinner, the whole thing.  Complete with baked goat cheese and tempura veggies.  Oh it was so good.  Who needs to go out to dinner when your husband is an amazing chef?

He also bought me a bouquet of tulips.  Being the horticulturalist that I am, I never tire of getting flowers.  I'm pretty sure there's some dessert waiting for me too.

I just put T to bed.  We had the best time, lying in his bed cuddling and staring at the star projections on his ceiling, while singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' over and over.  He still doesn't know the proper words, he just kinda mumbles along, but at least he gets the tune right.  It was priceless.  Those are the moments, the moments that make every single bad night, every single tantrum, every single frustrating NO! worth it. 

I love being a mom!  Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Where Has The Time Gone?

Following the excitement of F's birthday, this week has been rather uneventful as we get back into the swing of normal life around here.  Back to our routine, back to our regular activities, back to my regular chores.  Lather rinse repeat.

It is funny, although F has been rather toddler-like for sometime now, he was still a baby.  A really funny looking walking baby, but a baby nonetheless.  Now this week I keep catching glances of my new little toddler.  It's odd how right at a year he seemed to switch over, just like that.  I swear he is taller than even just a few weeks ago, and watching him yesterday wander around in his diaper I noticed that pretty much all his chubby rolls have gone.  He is leaner, and definitely not baby looking anymore.  *sniff*

And so life with two toddlers begins.  I watch the boys playing in the backyard and my heart melts.  This is what I have been waiting for, what I have expected from having them so close in age.  Playing together, hanging out.  Like brothers, like best buddies.  T tears around and F tries desperately to keep up.  Sometimes they play together, sometimes they just wander around aimlessly, not paying much attention to each other yet always aware that the other is there.

We have our fair share of squabbles of course.  Over toys and food.  One day it will be over girls.  But nothing that can't be smoothed out.  They just adore each other.

Like at the dinner table when T is goofing off and F laughs like he is the funniest thing in the world.  Or like when I catch T holding F's hand, or trying to give him his soother (even if F doesn't want it right then!).  When he shares his snack with him or lets him play with a certain toy.  At bedtime when I take F upstairs and T says "Goodnight Finny, I wuv you!".  *double sniff, wipes tear away*

T himself, I swear hardly a toddler anymore.  He has blown through toddlerhood the way F has blown through babyhood.  Trying to put all his own clothes on, often getting his pants backwards or his shoes on the wrong feet, but trying and succeeding nonetheless.  He is so grown up!

I look at my pictures of them over and over, and just can't believe it.  I look at T and never believe he was F's age, and look at F and never believe he will be T's age very soon.  When I see a newborn baby I can't ever remember that my boys were ever that tiny.  But there were.

Where has the time gone?

But then there are times, like last night before I fell asleep and T called me in for a cuddle and asks me to turn his nighlights on.

And tonight, when I took F out of the bath and he ran off before I could dry him, flying across the bathroom and slipping on the floor, smacking his head.  Cue big tears and screaming.  I scooped him up, wrapped him in his towel, and sat there cuddling him while T finished his bath.  He sat there in my arms quietly long after the crying had stopped, in no hurry to get down.

It doesn't matter how old they are, they will always be my babies.  *sniff sniff*

Thursday, 5 May 2011


I will be starting bellydancing classes in a month!  Can I just say how excited I am?

For those of you who don't know, I LOVE bellydancing.  Now, I am not a natural dancer.  I didn't take jazz, or tap, or ballet as a child.  Scratch that, I did take jazz very briefly at some point before dropping out due to lack of confidence.  But bellydancing....LOVE LOVE LOVE!

A few years back, I want to say maybe 5 or 6, some girlfriends and I decided to try it for fun.  We started at Main Street Dance in Markham, just doing their summer program.  Well I was hooked immediately.  Before that summer was over I was already performing at a wedding.  ME, the shy girl with no rhythm!  It seems I found something to bring out my confidence.

We continued at MSD which is where I met my good friend and avid bellydancer, Amy Jackson.  I've done two recitals with MSD, and will always remember it as the place where I found my passion for dance.

Pics from Main Street Dance recitals.  (Featured dancers:  Amy Jackson, Karlene Taylor, Nicole Mostaard)

It wasn't long before I discovered Arabesque Academy, school of Middle Eastern Dance.  This place was the real deal.  The Arabesque Dance Company has some of the top bellydancers in the country.  I took classes there on and off over the years, completing up to the Intermediate 1 level.  I've done two gala performances with Arabesque.

Arabesque Student Gala, fall 2009.  Me (far left), 19wks pregnant and Amy (second from right), as well as two ladies from our class.  Intermediate 1 choreography, Tales of the Sahara, by Melissa Gamal.

Never in my life had I found a hobby I loved so much.  Bellydancing was a way for me to stay in shape, and hang out with my friends.  A way to learn about a new culture, and a new art form. 

When I was pregnant with F, Amy invited me to join the dance troupe she was a part of, called She Raks.  I was so honoured to be able to dance with such amazing ladies.  I was so sad to have to give it up once we moved.

Bellydance is probably the single hardest thing I've had to give up since moving.  Initially I looked around, hoping to find it at a dance studio here, but with no luck.  The closest I could find was Barrie, an hour away.  Not a possibility for the time being.  But then, last year, I found a small dance studio about halfway between here and Barrie that had bellydance, called the The Danceroom.  It is more fitness based bellydance rather than technique, but still!  I've finally gotten around to calling and now will be starting in June!

Throughout my amateur bellydance career, I've danced in 4 recitals, at 2 weddings, 2 Christmas parties, 1 birthday party,  2 cultural events, as well as several other community events, and countless haflas (intimate get togethers where bellydancers perform for each other and support each other), and have been featured on local television once and twice in the local newspaper.

I am SO excited to get back into it.  There is just something so amazingly feminine about bellydancing.  It is an ancient art form, created by women for women.  It is sensual but not sexual.  It is powerful and mysterious.  It makes you feel good about your body, no matter what it looks like.  I have seen so many women, young and old, big and small, empowered by this amazing style of dance.  There is so much culture and history to be learned, the music and costumes are amazing, the movements are intoxicating. 

Watch out bellydance, I'm coming back!  I'm thinking that maybe, once I get back into it, I can somehow form a bellydance club here in my town, or maybe even teach it.  I would love to share it with this community, and get the women of Collingwood shaking their hips!

Shimmy Shimmy!!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


For my children's birthdays, and also at other times as well, I like to bake treats that are healthier and not loaded with tons of refined sugar and processed ingredients.  I have this fantastic book called Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano that I picked up a few years ago.  I have never been disappointed with any of the recipes I've tried.  Agave is a natural sweetener that is healthier to use in baking and cooking than refined sugar.  It's made from the agave plant (the same plant that gives us tequila, it's the plant that just keeps on giving!) and has a honey-like consistency. 

I like the recipes in this book because not only do they use agave instead of sugar, they also call for more wholesome ingredients including fruits and vegetables, and use different types of healthier flours instead of processed white flour.  There are lots of vegan and gluten free recipes too, if you're so inclined.

For T's first birthday I made this amazing dark chocolate cake (pg 47) that was made with zucchini, and I layered it with dark chocolate ganache (pg 108) and iced it with vanilla buttercream frosting (pg 106).  It was so yummy!

For F's birthday I opted to do cupcakes, and decided to make 3 different varieties from the book:  Fudgy chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, Hopsie's cupcakes (made with carrots and zucchini), and Spiced pumpkin apple cupcakes, both iced with cream cheese frosting.

They were all amazing.  Here are the recipes.

Fudgy Chocolate Cupcakes (pg 49) - gluten free and low fat
Makes 12 cupcakes

1/4 cup unsalted butter or nonhydrogenated butter substitute
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup light agave nectar
1 1/4 cups quinoa flour (quinoa is high in protein and fiber)
1/2 tsp each baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt or unsweetened soy yogurt

Preheat oven to 375.  Line cupcake pan with liners. 
Place butter and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and agave nectar.  Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture, egg yolks, vanilla, and yogurt to the flour and mix well.  In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, approximately 2mins.  Gently fold into the batter.
Spoon into prepared cupcake pan and bake for 15-20mins, until toothpick comes out clean.  Frost with buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (pg 106) - gluten free
Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp light agave nectar
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp whole milk
pinch of sea salt

Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light in colour.  Slowly add the agave and beat until fluffy, about 1-2mins.  Gradually add the dry milk and beat again.  Add the vanilla extract and the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until completely blended.  Add the salt, turn the mixer to high speed, and beat about 2mins, or until very fluffy.  Store in the fridge for up to 3wks.

Hopsie's Cupcakes (pg 58)
Makes 12 cupcakes

2 cups packed finely grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1 cup packed finely grated carrots (about 5 or 6 medium carrots)
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup light agave nectar
2/3 cup canola oil (I used melted butter instead)
2 large eggs
1/2 cups walnuts, chopped plus extra for garnish (optional, I omitted these)
1/3 cup currants or raisins (optional, again I left them out)

Place zucchini and carrots in a strainer.  Sprinkle with the salt and mix well.  Let drain for 15-20mins, until most of the moisture is released.
Preheat the oven to 350.  Line cupcake pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the agave nectar the canola oil (butter).  Add the eggs and beat well.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until well combined.  Squeeze out any remaining moisture from the drained zucchini and carrots.  Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the zucchini, carrots, walnuts, and currents/raisins (if using), and spoon the batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 20-25mins, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Pumpkin Apple Cupcakes (pg 59)
Makes 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup canned organic pumpkin
2 large eggs
3/4 cup amber agave nectar
1/2 cup canola oil (I used melted butter)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups sprouted spelt flour, regular whole grain spelt flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of sea salt
2 apples (any variety), peeled and chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cupcake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, eggs, agave, canola oil (butter), vanilla, and lemon juice until well blended.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.  Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.  Stir in the apples.  Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 25-30mins, until toothpick comes out clean.  Frost with cream cheese frosting when cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting (pg 110) - gluten free
Makes 2 cups

6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 oz cream cheese, low-fat Neufchatel cheese or a combination of both
3/4 cup light agave nectar
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Add the agave, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Beat well until smooth and fluffy.

I also made these yummy treats as well.  They're a healthier take on rice crispy squares, and are great for an everyday snack too!

Crispy Brown Rice and Cashew Treats (pg 36)
*This is my own variation*

1 cup light agave nectar
6 tbsp cashew and almond nut butter
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vanilla extract
8 cups (one 10oz box) unsweetened crispy brown rice cereal
1 cup cashews, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup each pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds

*The original recipe omits the seeds and includes unsulfured apricots.  You could probably do any combination of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds that you like*

Lightly oil a 9x13 inch glass baking pan with canola oil or butter.
In a large bowl, combine the agave, nut butter, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.  Add the cereal, cashews, and seeds and mix well.  Firmly press the mixture into the prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 or more hours, or until firm.  Cut into squares to serve.


The Big Day

Perfect.  The day was just perfect.

Good Morning Birthday Boy!

All week it had been raining, but on Saturday we woke to clear skies and birds singing.  The sun was shining and it was warm.  F slept well and woke up in a good mood.  The whole house was up and at it by 7:30.

Since we had spent the week preparing, we weren't in a mad rush to get things done.  The house was already spotless.  I had baked the cupcakes the day before and they just needed to be iced.  Tyler had spent the previous evening prepping all the food.  We didn't have our bbq set up yet so needed to think of something other than hot dogs and hamburgers to do.  We were thinking outside of the box and ended up deciding on homemade cabbage rolls, sausages, and roasted potatoes.  Everything was all prepped and ready to go into the oven at lunchtime.

The morning was relaxing, Tyler got up with the boys and got them breakfast while I showered and got ready, then he got to work cleaning up outside while the boys and I hung out.  My mom and brother came early to help out.

Both boys napped well and were well rested for the party.  Everything was going just according to plan!

All our guests arrived between 2-3 and we had a good turnout.  The weather was just perfect!  Easily the nicest day of the year so far.  We were able to set up chairs outside and have the party in the backyard, which was great for the kids.  There were 6 boys in total, including ours.  My cousin's sons Xavier (almost 6) and Ethan (4), and our neighbour's sons Marshall (3.5) and Bennett (15mos).  It was a good mix of ages, and worked out well because they could play with eachother, but it wasn't too crazy.  My almost 14 year old cousin Samantha was there as well and she had a great time with the boys, she is wonderful with kids.  They spent the whole time running around the backyard and playing in the sandbox.

Instead of loot bags (I hate giving out bags of sugary candy and cheap plastic toys), I picked up from Walmart these cool little bug catcher containers.  I thought they went well with my caterpillar theme, and that the kids would have fun with them in the backyard.  I was also hoping it would encourage T to want to look for bugs.  They were such a great idea!  The boys all loved them, and they raced around catching bugs (ewww!).  Even T was all into it!

The food was amazing, I really have to commend Tyler on the cabbage rolls.  They were a hit!  Everyone loved them.  The party moved along at a great pace, and after everyone had eaten we did presents, which of course was a lot of fun for the boys.  F got lots of lovely gifts.

Then onto the cupcakes.  My original plan was to do a cupcake caterpillar (a la The Very Hungry Caterpillar), but once they were frosted they didn't even resemble a caterpillar!  So I abandoned that idea and just served up the cupcakes.  I wasn't sure if people would like them, as they were 'healthy' cupcakes (made from my Baking with Agave book, recipes to follow in another post), but they were a hit as well!  I was so relieved that they turned out well, and that people liked them.  They were really yummy!

The whole party was a lot of fun, and very relaxed.  Everyone seemed to get along great, and we had a great mix of people.  I was happy that lots of family drove out to join us on such a big day.  It was also nice to have some new friends from the neighbourhood come by, as well as our neighbours. 

The party wrapped up in good time and my amazing husband had most of the mess cleaned up before the last guests even left!  By the time the boys were in bed, he had everything totally clean.  What a guy!  The boys didn't end up in bed too much later than usual, which was good.

Everything was just fantastic, I couldn't of asked for a better day.  The weather cooperated, and we had so many lovely guests join us to celebrate.  All the kids were well behaved, the food was good, it was all just....perfect. 

Unfortunately and much to my disappointment, I really didn't get a chance to capture too many pictures of the day.  I'm not a great photographer at the best of times, but we were just so busy watching kids and being hosts that we didn't have time to take pictures.  I'm a little sad, I would have liked to have documented the day a little better through photographs.  I should of at least taken some pictures of the awesome food and cupcakes!  But it's ok.  I'll have to remember for next time!

Here are some of what few pics we did take.

A big thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us.  It means so much to us to have family and friends visit for these big events.  We all had an amazing time and hope to do it all again soon!

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Birth

*Note:  This post was meant to be posted on Friday, April 29*

On this day last year I woke up feeling normal.  But sometime mid-morning, things started happening.  I still didn't know what to expect.  Other women had told me that when you're in real labour, you KNOW.  There is no wondering.  I guess I was just waiting to *know* that this was it.

I started noticing surges probably around 9am.  I was sitting at the kitchen table when I felt it.  Not at all uncomfortable, just weird.  They just kinda continued, at the time I wasn't even sure what it was but was sure something was going on. 

Probably at around lunchtime I emailed Tyler just to tell him that I thought I was having contractions.  How silly, I didn't even know for sure!  I emailed my doula as well to give her the head's up.  It was my suspicion that things were getting started, and that F was going to be born the following day sometime.

I remember asking Annabel, my midwife, when I should call her.  She had said to go by the 411 rule - surges 4mins apart, lasting 1min, for 1hr already.  After lunch I lay down on the couch to see if I could get an idea of what was going on.  They were still really mild, I mean I noticed them but I did have to stay still to really feel them.  They were about 5mins apart, but only about 30secs or so.  I put T down for a nap and took a little snooze myself.

When I woke up I didn't really feel anything.  So I figured it wasn't the real deal just yet.

The surges started up again probably at about 3pm, and stronger than before.  But they were only coming about every 10mins or longer this time.  At about 4pm I remember taking T to the park, and I would have to slow down when I felt one coming on. 

For the rest of the evening I went about business as usual, still not entirely sure if I was properly in labour, or if things were going to taper off and stop.  So I hadn't called the midwife.  At about 7pm though I thought I should call Tyler and tell him to come home, so I did.  I told him I thought that things were starting and baby would come the next day, so he better come home but there was no rush.  I also emailed my doula again to tell her the same thing.

After putting T to bed I got comfy sitting on my exercise ball and turned on the tv.  I got a clock out just to see what was going on.  Surges were still only about 10mins apart and for 30-45secs.  I didn't call the midwife yet because I was still waiting according to that stupid 411 rule she told me!

Funny enough, the movie Parenthood was on tv at about 8:30.  Of course I wanted to watch it because it's one of my favorite movies.  It's classic, and was appropriate for what I was going through that's for sure.  I spent the entire evening parked on my ball, watching the movie and chatting with my friend Samara on Facebook.  She was my osteopath so I messaged her to say what's up and she asked if I was in labour.  I said maybe!  I was watching the clock and they were still 10mins apart, 45secs all evening long.  They were most definitely stronger but still totally manageable.

Parenthood ended at 11:30 and Tyler still wasn't home yet.  I figured I would probably go to bed soon and try to get some rest as things would likely pick up in the morning.  While I was waiting for Tyler to get home, I decided to put on my hypnobirthing cds. 

Tyler finally arrived home at about 12:20am, and things had picked up.  I knew this was the real thing.  Surges were still only 10mins apart though, but stronger.  I asked Tyler to put the tens machine on my back and I lay on the couch to breathe through the contractions. 

I don't know what I was thinking.  I don't know why I hadn't called the midwife at that point, but suddenly not long after Tyler came home things were getting really intense.  At 1am he said he was calling the midwife.  Annabel was actually off so he called our backup, Marlene.  As soon as she got on the phone with me she asked "Why am I only getting a call NOW?"  I didn't know what to say!  I didn't think things were going that fast up until that point.  Originally we thought the midwife and doula would come to the house, but she said that unless I wanted to have the baby at home I needed to get to the hospital asap.

Tyler called my brother Mike and his (ex) girlfriend Kris to come over to stay with T.  We had told them to be ready just in case!  They got to our house in good time and we left for the hospital.  I just remember sitting in the passenger seat, trying to make it through each surge as they got stronger and stronger.  It was getting really hard to manage by that point.

It was around 2am when we arrived at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.  Tyler dropped me off at emergency and someone took me up to L&D in a wheelchair.  Marlene arrived shortly after and examined me, and we were shocked to hear I was already 9cm dilated!  Kelly, our doula, arrived shortly after.

Everything was such a blur.  I remember, not thinking "I wish I could have an epidural!" because I knew it was too late for that, but thinking "next time I'm getting an epidural!", ha ha!  I don't actually remember feeling like I had to push, but I did say I wanted to because I think I just wanted to get on with it.  In hindsight it probably would have been better to breathe through a few more contractions without pushing.  At that point though I was crawling out of my skin with every surge.

I pushed for a little over and hour but it felt like an eternity.  And with every push and contraction I do remember thinking I couldn't do it anymore, or wondering why he wasn't coming out.  It was hard, and scary.  I pushed with everything I had because I just wanted it to be over.  I was so tired.

Finally, at 3:33am on Friday, April 30, Finley John was born.  They put him on me and he was the cutest, chubbiest, little thing.  And he had a mop of black hair which was awesome, because T was almost completely bald at birth!  He was so sweet and cuddly, right from the start.  He weighed in at 8lbs 4oz.

The following hour and a bit was a nightmare.  In addition to having had an episiotomy, I had also tore very badly in several places.  Marlene used freezing for the repair but it didn't do a damn thing, and I felt everything.  I think it ended up being a more complicated tear than even she initially thought, but once she had gotten started it was really too late for any other kind of pain relief, so she kept on going.  That was the worst part ever.  I was so tired by that point, and just wanted to rest, but I had to lie there wimpering while she stitched me up.  That hour, I definitely don't care to recount.

Once all was done though I had my little F and everything was perfect.  He was perfect.  And he latched and breastfed like a pro right from the start.  We spent the remainder of the early morning hours snuggling and snoozing. 

I could have gone home as early at 7am, but I didn't feel quite ready.  Everytime I tried to get up I felt nauseous, so it took me some time to get my legs back.  Once I could finally shower I felt so much better.

It was unbelieveable though how fast everything happened.  I spent almost the entire day in labour without knowing it was real labour, and then when things picked up it happened in a flash.  If Tyler had gotten home any later I don't know what would have happened!  I didn't even have time to change my clothes and gave birth in the shirt I had been wearing all day (actually, funny enough I just looked down and am wearing that same shirt right now!).  All the time before I was worried about hospital protocol, and the OBs on call insisting I have my IV prep and whatnot, and here it happened so fast that none of that even happened.  I didn't even see a single doctor while I was there. 

The midwives and doula were fantastic, and so was Tyler.  I know I was a wreck but they talked me through the whole thing.  Marlene said that an hour of pushing for a first time delivery was actually pretty good!  She was apologetic for the episiotomy and the tear, but it's not like it was her fault.  Again though, in hindsight I probably could have saved myself that nasty tear had I asked to deliver in a different position, instead of on my back.  It was just such a blur, I didn't want to move from the bed.  Ah well, live and learn.  I'll know for next time (if there is a next time!).

Finally by lunchtime I was feeling well enough to go home.  We packed up our stuff and our new baby, and hit the road.  It was amazing to get to go home so soon, one of the perks of having a midwife instead of a doctor.

When we got home T was just eating lunch with Uncle Mike and Auntie Kris.  We introduced him to his new brother and he wasn't even phased.  As far as T was concerned it was just another day.  He had gone to bed, slept all night, woke up to his favorite aunt and uncle, and was just enjoying life as usual.  That's my Big Guy, so wonderfully adaptable!

F slipped right into our family perfectly, and by the time we got home it was like nothing had changed and we continued on with life.  Except everything had changed.  It was wonderful.

Our midwives were fantastic, and I was so happy with both the care during pregnancy and the delivery.  Both Annabel and Marlene were amazing.

My recovery after having F was rough.  In fact, if you ask me what was easier, my c-section or my VBAC, I will most definitely tell you my c-section was easier in every sense!  From delivery all the way through my recovery.  The tear and episiotomy took a long time to heal and I was very uncomfortable for weeks.  The stitches did not dissolve on their own and I had to have them removed, which was not fun at all. 

The weeks following F's birth were not easy.  Not just because of having a new baby, but a week after he was born was when we packed up and moved from Toronto to out here.  Talk about mega life changes!  So there I was, with a newborn and a toddler, trying to recover with almost no support or help, in a new town.  Add to it that F was a very fussy baby and we dealt with early food intolerances and reflux issues.  It made for a very hard transition.

But we got there in the end!

Even despite the less than great parts, I loved  F's birth.  I love reliving just about every aspect (minus the tear and repair!).  I'm still in awe that I managed to go through almost the entire labour on my own, and basically without even knowing it.  It really wasn't that bad until the very end! 

I got my VBAC, and I got my unmedicated, natural birth experience.  It was amazing, and F was so worth it.  I really, really would do it again in a heartbeat (and despite thinking it at the time, no I would not opt for the epidural next time!)

Oh, and remember how I said in my previous post that I visualized F's birth so much that I dreamt it?  Well, how I dreamt it is how it happened, right down to what he looked like!  If you want something bad enough, make it happen!

Mommy and F

Mommy and her two boys

Snugglebug - he is still a snuggler to this day

With Marlene, later at home the same day of the birth

Simply gorgeous