28 January 2015

Vacation Plans.... PEI!


“Most of us don’t get epiphanies. We only get a whisper–a faint urge. That’s it. That’s the call. It’s up to you to do the work of discovery, to connect it to an answer.” ~ Po Bronson

Wade and I have decided to take a trip this summer, in June-- just early enough to miss the height of the tourist season, yet on the cusp of summer's warmth and long, fragrant days. We are renting a cottage in Prince Edward Island for one week, as well as spending a couple of days in New Brunswick on the way out. Are we crazy to attempt a 19 hour drive with a toddler? Yes. Yes, we are. The plan is to begin our journey at bedtime, and drive through the night. We will hopefully make it to Riviere-du-Loup by morning, and then only have about 6 hours of driving to do to make it to Fredericton, NB for the next night.  Logisitics. We may invest/borrow some kind of TV watching device, although our girl also can go a long way with a stack of board books. Anyways, I am so terribly excited at the prospect of A) a vacation! and B) PEI!

I have been thinking so longingly for PEI, and trying to come up with ways that we can work from home if it proves impossible to find work there. I don't think it would be too too hard, since there is always a need for DSW's, pretty much no matter where you go. And yet... do we really want to move so far away? I'm hoping that this trip will either say to us, "NOPE, find somewhere else to live!" or "Pack your bags, cause this is happening."

On my last trip to PEI (5 years ago! where does the time go, actually??), we stayed in a cottage owned by my friends' friend's parents. We went to the main house after dinner one evening, and it still stands out as one of the moments in my life when everything was clear. We sat in their sunporch, watching as the dusk poured out over the still water. My soul felt such peace in that moment, and I long for it still. I think I would be happy in a slower lifestyle. Yes, my lifestyle now is pretty slow.... but many of those around me are not. I realize that the daily grind can follow you wherever you go, but to be surrounded by such beauty, rather than these streets and parking lots (oh, the parking lots!) would make it joyful, rather than bearable.

We'll see. Until then, I will be daydreaming, researching possibilities, and looking at pictures of empty red beaches. 

21 January 2015

Motherhood

I have been a mom now for a year and a half. That's long enough to feel like I'm not a brand new mom, and also to just not really think about it like that anymore. For the first while, I always felt like A New Mom. Ie, I'm overreacting because I'm A New Mom. Or, you'll see, this is just how kids are... you're just A New Mom. Now I feel like I'm just.... A Mom. Yup, there are millions of moms in the world, and I'm one of them. And I love it.

Motherhood has changed me in ways I didn't expect. I was never one to spent an hour getting ready in the morning, doing hair and make up, etc. Sometimes I would straighten my hair (I lost my straightener when we moved, at 30 weeks pregnant and have yet to replace it... I'm coming around to my natural hair) or put on very light make up. Now, sometimes I'll wear mascara but that's still about it. I'm okay with that. I wear jeans when I go out, so I think I'm doing okay in that department. No, my physical appearance hasn't changed too much since having a kid... I have bags under my eyes more often, and I'm still hanging onto that last 12 lbs of baby weight (and have kind of resigned myself now that it's coming along for the ride for pregnancy #2 now), and I only get my hair cut every 6 months due to frugality, laziness in scheduling an appointment, and fear of smalltalk during haircuts, and I'm fairly certain that I don't know what is currently in style. But again... who cares?

Anyways, motherhood didn't really change my personal beauty routine. There wasn't really much to change. What did change? Well, I can't read about anything sad happening to kids in the world without crying now. And you'd better not show me a video about the horrors of the world, because I just can't handle it. My emotions are front and center now, especially when it comes to things about kids. And this part is terrible... but my solution is just to ignore it, and pretend that it's not happening.

What else? Well, I also think about my kid all the time. I think she is absolutely adorable and I could watch her all day. Technically, I do watch her all day, for many days a week. Yeah, she occasionally drives me nuts (let the temper tantrums begin!) but I'm still totally in love. When I think about my future and what I want in life, I think about what I want for Lena and for our other future babies. How I want to raise them, where I want them to grow up, etc.. this is on the forefront of my mind right now, I think because I feel like we are in transition. We know that this is not where we will live for much longer, so this question is constantly in my mind. I want my kids to grow up somewhere safe and wholesome (hahaha!), since this is their foundation.

I also don't really care about my career or about being 'busy' right now. My life is pretty slow right now, and I really like it that way. I worked about 6 days a week prior to my pregnancy (and was working and in school through my pregnancy) and just didn't have a lot of downtime. Life doesn't need to be busy. Watching a tiny mind develop is incredible; what else is there? There is such peace in the downtime, and money is not worth the havoc busyness creates.  I recently listened to a friend talk about how busy she is, between an intense career and going back to school so that she can further her career. She is just go-go-go. It's stressful just listening to it. I hung up the phone, thinking to myself how happy I was to submit to this simple, quiet life.

I am in such a good place, and I have a hunch that the years when my children are small will be the most significant of my life.

I do not intend to waste them.

17 January 2015

18 months






In the blink of an eye, Lena is 18 months, a year and a half, a full-fledged toddler. She is charming and sociable, sweet-natured and curious. Lover of small dogs and cats, mama and daddy, and goldfish crackers. Her vocabulary has tripled in the past two weeks, now regularly including words like: fish, cat, dog, more, baby, poop, soother, as well as repeating words we say to her. It's very exciting. 

We spent last night in Hamilton, and within hours , Lena caught a bug and spent the night puking. My independent big girl still just wants her mama when she is sick; she even napped on me this morning, unintentionally. There are still little bits of babyhood left in her, but she is mostly toddler now. So far, tantrums have been short and few, but I know that we will not be immune to them. 

She likes music, dancing, stories, curious George, sorting things, unloading the silverware from the dishwasher , Raffi, hiding things in our boots, and petting the cat. She is a bundle of fun and emotions, go-go-go all day long. She loves her evening bath and drinking out of a cup. She is a true delight and I love her so!

30 December 2014

Choosing Our Forever

It's time to talk about deciding where we will live again.

For awhile, I was dreaming of PEI, then decided that it is just too far from our friends and families. It just seems like a bad idea to move across the country when we are in the baby stage of our lives. Not that our families are really close enough for babysitting, but we see them about once a month or so. It's great that Lena actually knows her grandparents. This is something that Wade and I have trouble seeing eye to eye about. I grew up with all of my grandparents living within a 5 minute drive. My maternal grandma was a regular babysitter for me, and I have fond memories of napping with her on the couch in the afternoons after kindergarten, while soaps played in the background. She was part of my regular everyday life, and I saw her at least a few times a week until she moved into the nursing home. My mom was her primary caregiver for years as the Alzheimer's slowly took hold of her body. We watched 'A Christmas Story' marathons at Christmas, and I even bathed her during one of her last visits outside of the nursing home. Grandparents are important. My dad is also the only one of his siblings still living in the same town as his dad. My parents look out for him. By watching my own parents take care of their aging parents, I learned that this is what you do for family. I feel guilty already for not wanting to move back to my hometown to care for my parents as they get older too. Wade, on the other hand, spent most of his childhood living a 16 hour drive from all of his grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. He doesn't even know all of his first cousins' names (of which there are probably only about 15.) So to him, it doesn't matter.  It's really hard to explain to him how tied I feel to my family.

So then we were considering the Owen Sound area, which would be within 30-40 mins from my parents. Not too close, but close enough. The main problem is that land is expensive there (in comparison to more remote areas, or PEI.) That, and I got to thinking.... do I really want to go back to where I came from? It's so hard to grow up or change when you go back home. Plus, the winters there are truly brutal, especially as you make your way closer to the lake and up the peninsula.

So then, based on finances alone, we began looking at the Muskoka region. Yes, flooded with cottagers in the summer, but otherwise, land is almost affordable to us there. Getting jobs would be easier too, as we can simply transfer with CH there, and apply for internal postings. And it is a beautiful area, with so many lakes. And only a 2.5-3 hr drive from our families, only a smidge longer than what we're at right now. So practically, Huntsville is the easy answer.

And yet, my heart still longs for the beauty that is Prince Edward Island. $160,000 can buy you a pretty nice 4 bedroom house on 7 acres, where you can see the water from the living room window. Seriously! 15 minutes from Charlottetown! How can anywhere compete with that? It is so beautiful, and so affordable, and so far from home.

My desire to pick a place and put down roots is strong right now. Maybe because I lived my first 19 years in the same small town, and I want my kids to have that same stability. Maybe because I want to feel settled, like I can build a community and friendships with purpose. I don't know. We've been back in London for nearly two years now, but I don't feel connected. It's absolutely my fault. I stay at home a lot with Lena when Wade is at work with the car. And when he is home, I tend to either do errands or stay home so he and Lena have time together. I'm not too lonely though. I've been asked a few times what I do all day when I'm home with Lena... it's pretty mundane stuff, the kind of thing everyone does on their days off. Make meals, do the dishes, tidy up, laundry, fold diapers, play with Lena, read to Lena. Somehow the hours go by quite quickly. When it is nice out, we go for walks, we go to the park, we go to storytimes and playgroups. This is her childhood and this is my life too. I work a few days a week, something I always feel I need to bring up to justify my days spent at home.

Anyways, I still don't know where we're going to live 'forever.' When I look out any of my windows, all I see is houses and cars, and I know that is not a view I want to look at forever.

21 December 2014

Lena at 17 months


Lena is 17 months, which is so terribly close to a year and a half! She is basically all toddler now, and it has actually been really fun to see her leaving babyhood behind. She loves to tell off the cat, can follow simple directions, and almost never stops moving. She still loves reading books, dancing, and sorting things. Playing a Raffi song will always cheer her up. She started really walking just 3 weeks ago (more than 3 steps at a time), and now prefers walking to crawling. She is SO proud of herself whenever she is walking in public, and pretty much just thinks she is awesome. Which she is! She loves to eat goldfish crackers, yogurt, cottage cheese, avocado, and clementines. Everything else has been hit or miss lately, as she will firmly tell us No when she does not want something. She still wakes in the night... usually just once, but twice a night for the past week (ahhh she is too old for this!) Last night, Wade went in to tell her to go to sleep, and she told HIM to go away! Hahaha! 

She has also started to develop her mothering instinct. Instead of smashing her dolly against the couch repeatedly, she now likes to tuck in her bear and hug her dolly and say "awww." She really like the Fisher Price Little People, and actually 'gets' that they are people. She makes them beds out of diaper inserts, tucks them in, has them talk to each other, and really just plays with them. This is new. It's so fascinating to watch, but likely only because she is my kid. I'm okay with that.

We set up our Christmas tree last week, and it took all of 25 seconds into decorating it for me to realize how many breakable ornaments we have. (Had.) She promptly picked up a tray of little gold balls, and dumped it. Oops. Luckily, I did buy a box of shatterproof balls at the end of last Christmas, so those are the only ones on the bottom half of our tree. She loves the sparkly ones best, of course. Life with a toddler is both awesome and scary. She can't climb very well yet, for which I am thankful, and she breaks out in sad tears whenever we tell her no. I'm not looking forward to the tantrums of our future. But it is so fun to watch her grow and learn, and she has the most beautiful laughter. <3



Today, the shortest day of the year, was sunny and only -1C!
And no snow! Weird, but a great day for the park :)











15 December 2014

Priorities & Finding Direction

I have been feeling a bit lost for a little while now. Probably since the end of May, which is when I stopped getting my maternity leave cheques. I started working part-time in August, which made me feel like I was contributing again. Yes, taking care of a little one is contributing! Absolutely! It is such an important job, and can be so exhausting some days. But it has been hard to accept that it is okay to not be fully providing for myself. In addition, I feel like I have no career. Yep, I said it. I was in school, planning to take a master's program, when I got pregnant with Lena. I had high hopes, and really believed that I could still go to school with a baby. Well, I finished my BA, but the master's is on hold.... I don't quite feel like I've given up entirely, but I do feel like I don't know what I'm doing with my career life. But I'm also only 26. Still young.

I read something the other day about priorities. Make a list of everything that is important to you, that you want to accomplish/have as part of your life. Narrow it down to 3 things. Mine are:
1. Don't miss Lena growing up. Be there for her early years, as much as possible.
2. Have a nice home. I don't mean fancy, just clean, not too cluttered, decorated in ways that make me happy. This is something I did not expect. I have always been messy, and I do not like to clean or get rid of anything. But I feel so much more at peace when my surroundings are simple.
3. That's all I got, so "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"

This is what I want out of life right now. I have lots of time for a career, later, when my babies are in school and don't need me as much. I am in the BABY stage right now--embrace this awesome time! I am hoping to get pregnant again soon (a topic for another day, but eek!), so this is where I am right now.

Speaking of which, I just got a 13 hour contract at my work, which means that I will be able to take alternate work accommodation during my next pregnancy (it is a behaviour home; not a great place for pregnant ladies to work), which means.... that my plan is coming together and baby #2 might just squeak into the tail end of 2015! (Am I crazy??)

18 November 2014

Lena at 16 months

My enter key is broken, so bear with me. At 16 months, Lena loves loves LOVES books! I get requests to read stories dozens of times a day, and sometimes she will babble/"read" to herself if I have denied her request to read "What's a Fraggle?" for the 16th consecutive time. She also likes to climb stairs, walk holding someone's hand, and crawl at super speed. She has unfortunately become a picky eater in recent weeks, and we have had to be more creative at mealtimes. She has been teething a lot lately, but still only has four teeth. Ha! She sleeps through the night maybe once a week, but otherwise is usually awake once for a bottle. (We still haven't kicked the bottle habit........] She has the sweetest laugh, but we have started to see her toddler temper emerging as well. She loves to pet our cat and to dance. She is growing up so fast!!
Reading to herself!

She still likes the occasional snuggle