Thursday, 27 September 2012

A lesson in patience

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     Parenthood isn't always easy. It isn't always roses. But man, is it ever worth it.



      It can sometimes feel like you're all alone in your struggles...like everyone else is floating through parenthood and/or life without the hardships, struggles, fears and tough experiences that you're going through. But what I'm learning is that we're all actually connected. A lot of  my experiences are others experiences as well. Sometimes we just don't talk about it enough.




     Today was a day that tested my patience as a mom and that made me realize that with the good, the easy and the wonderful also comes the tough and the difficult. I'm getting to the point in this pregnancy where I'm feeling huge, uncomfortable and sore (38 weeks will do that to you). I'm not sleeping well at night, I'm continually having painful Braxton Hicks contractions and everyday simple things are now becoming so difficult for me to do. It's not surprising though--it's all part of this very important process, which is okay since it means that our wee baby is growing as he should, tucked away in the warmth of my body. But I'm definitely feeling anxious and impatient these days, wanting this baby to now come and eager to see what he looks like and to kiss his little cheeks.

     But it's not just being uncomfortable and sore that is difficult these days. It's really hard running after an (almost) 2yr old who is asserting her independence, her opinions and her will as her little 2yr old self is developmentally supposed to be doing. Some days though are really hard.

     Today was one of those days, complete with temper tantrums, crying and meltdowns which left her mama exhausted. These are the days when it can feel like you're the only one experiencing these things. Please people, tell me that you've either gone through this or are going through this as well with your 2yr olds...or feel free to lie to me so that I can at least feel better about it.

     Although these days are exhausting, they're also certainly the best lessons in patience. It's these moments that teach us to stay calm, to take a deep breath and to look past the tantrums and into the eyes of what our children need. This is where my favourite quote of "Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I really need it" comes into play. You've just got to love them through it.

     It's these days when I say to Terry, "How do parents who have no patience, who have violent tendencies or who are simply overwhelmed to their breaking point deal with this?" Terry and I are absolutely determined that our children will never EVER know what it feels like to get spanked or experience any other form of physical pain in order to discipline them (and good Lord help me if I ever find out that anyone else ever chooses to spank her, grab her arm or use any other type of force to discipline her themselves...they'd see a mother bear side of me that no one has ever seen before--I can guarantee that).

     What I've learned though from these types of tough days is that it's important to step back and take a moment to breathe, find all that unconditional mommy love that you can muster..then send out an S.O.S. to the people in your life. Her Nana and Papa, for example, insisted that they get to keep her for a sleepover tonight so that Terry and I can sleep in tomorrow morning and Jen convinced me to set up a pre-natal massage appointment for tomorrow. I already miss my girl like crazy and Terry and I have already discussed at least three times that we both just want to go drive over and scoop her up and take her back home since we're both aching for her so much. But I'm learning that it's important to let others help sometimes in order to take care of yourself...especially when you're this close to giving birth and exhausted beyond belief. Terry and I went and had a romantic dinner sans child at McDonald's tonight (to fulfil our little tradition of going to McDonald's once during each pregnancy--something we never do otherwise), then went for a nice evening walk together (past bedtime!) and we've had the chance tonight to get the last few things ready for this baby's arrival.

     I already feel rejuvenated. With a little rest, a little downtime and a lot of love around us, I feel so much better already. I just can't wait to see my girl tomorrow and hear about all of the fun she had with her Nana and Papa--while we just missed her like crazy.




P.S. Do you know of any other little girl who gets THIS excited about seeing pigs playing together on Youtube? Cutest thing ever.
 

   
   Off to bed now, looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning then picking up my girl asap!


Friday, 21 September 2012

Covering a Light Fixture--Boy oh Boy

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      I must say, when I found out that we were going to be having a baby boy, I had a moment of thinking "But I don't know much about boys...how am I going to actually raise one?". I've never had a brother. I didn't grow up with close boy friends. I grew up with a sister and a house full of tons of little girl friends playing Barbies and 'house'. Tea parties, dolls, mom's makeup and pig tails filled our house and my poor dad had to put aside his manly instincts and learn how to braid our hair and get down on the floor to play Barbies with his girls.




     
     So when we found out that a little boy was on the way, I had to ask Terry a lot of questions.
"How do you decorate a boy's room?" 
"Is this too girly for a boy?"
"How do we raise our son to be exactly like you? I want that so badly".



   When we'd pass by baby bedding and I'd pick it up thinking it was boy-ish enough to add to Carter's room, he'd just look at me and laugh, saying "That is so girly...this is a BOY we're having". I really had no clue. But I'm learning. And part of me secretly loves that I have to go to Terry to ask his opinion about so many things now since with Mya it was the exact opposite. I knew exactly what I wanted her little girly nursery to look like. I knew exactly what little dress would be perfect for her or which hair clips to buy. I love that Terry can now teach me...and I'm sure he'll continue to teach me every step of the way.

     One of the things that I found though to be the most difficult process when prepping for this little boy's nursery was finding a light fixture that wasn't covered in jewels or crystals or cute little girly details. As we walked the aisles of literally every home improvement store in our city I said to Terry, "Do people just not buy light fixtures for their little boy's rooms?"...because there was literally nothing that caught my eye and most lights were clearly meant for girls.

    So I decided to take things into my own hands, and make my own (well, kinda). I ended up buying a simple fixture that I liked...but I thought it was a bit boring--and it was also covered in cream fabric and I wanted it to have white in it to match the rest of the room. So I rummaged through the fabric that I already had on hand in my house, and I decided to cover the light fixture myself--which literally only took minutes to do. And I realized (and Terry--the boy--confirmed) that the fabric isn't exactly the most boy-ish of choice...but it was free to me since I already had it, and it matched the colours of the room while also meaning that I didn't have to leave the house to go to the fabric store one more time. I kinda like it too...it works.  

Anyway, here is how I did it:

1) I bought this light fixture--which is just fine, but a little plain.


2) Pick a fabric and measure your lamp shade, then cut your fabric to size.

3) Get your glue gun out and start tightly wrapping the fabric around the shade, applying small dabs of glue to the inside of the shade to make sure the fabric stays put.





4) Place lamp shade back on fixture and your done!! I think this took me about 20mins tops to make.





     I'm now looking at every other lamp shade in our house envisioning beautifully fabric wrapped shades and a quick and easy update to so many rooms in our house. It was just so easy, quick (and cheap!) to make.

     Let me know if you've ever done this before or have any other great DIY ideas for a quick fix to update a room on the cheap (and easy). I'm always looking for new ideas.

    Happy Weekend! Hopefully I'll have good news to share soon about our new arrival...I thought we might have had to run to the hospital last night with all of the contractions that I was having, but again they dwindled down to nothing.  We're so ready to meet this little boy (and show him his new light fixture!). 
 

    

    

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Cousin Love

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     I don't think there's anything greater than seeing your child in love with their sibling. But before a sibling enters into Mya's life, there's really nothing more precious than watching the love between her and her cousin Oliver.

They love each other. A lot.

     Mya calls Oliver "Rah Rah" and asks after him constantly. She literally sees Oliver every single day since Jen and Jeff live only a street over from us...but when he is not here, she longs for him. She talks about him. She misses him. She adores him.

     If he cries, she rushes to him. If he is being held, she asks for us to put him on the floor so she can be close to him. If he is eating, she wants to help feed him. If he laughs, she laughs with him. When they sit beside each other on car rides, they smile and laugh at each other and can't get enough of each other. It's just the sweetest thing in the world to watch.

     Seeing how much these two little souls love each other makes me even more excited to see how much both Mya and Oliver will love our little Carter when he arrives. My parents always taught Jen and I to love each other through thick and thin. My parents words from my childhood still ring in my ears: "Your friends will come and go, but your sister will always be your sister and will always be there...so you have to figure out how to get along".

     They were absolutely right and I know that I will use those exact same words with our own kids one day. Cousins...siblings...family. Love is the primary goal and I'm so glad that our little Mya and Oliver are already proving that they share a love that is completely unconditional and pure. It's the sweetest thing in the world to see.



Saturday, 15 September 2012

A little Fall decor...a little bit unprepared

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     So I've given up on the idea of making my own glitter pumpkins..apparently they don't come cheap and it turned out that it was actually about the same price to buy them already made
(Home Sense is fabulous).


So I've decorated the top of our piano, hung my wreath and framed our front porch with two gigantic mums from Costco (which only cost $10 each right now by the way).









     Fall has definitely begun in this household and I love it. My piano makes me happy every single time I walk into our living room. So very happy. I'm refraining from buying pumpkins for my front porch since I do realize it's only the middle of September..but in a couple of weeks you can guarantee there will be pumpkins--there will definitely be pumpkins.

     I may be willing Fall to arrive a little bit earlier than it wants to, but I figure I better get all of my decorations up now since our wee baby might decide to arrive any day now. I'm going into week 36 now and still in shock that I'm still sitting here pregnant, almost full term. My OB keeps asking me what I'm doing in order to keep this little baby in, and I really have no idea. I'm just so grateful that he's decided to stick it out with me and stay in there.




      If you came into our house right now it looks like we're completely ready for this baby. His room is finished, his dresser drawers are full of neatly folded tiny clothes, our hospital bags are packed, I've made a couple of meals and put them in the freezer and cozy blankets are washed and folded, ready to hold our precious little boy.







     But really it's all an illusion.

     I'm getting to the point in the pregnancy, as I did with Mya, where I start to panic and feel completely unprepared. It was at about 35 weeks with Mya where the reality of what was about to happen really started sinking in and it wasn't just about prepping a pretty little nursery and shopping for cute little outfits anymore. In a matter or weeks or days we'd be given this tiny baby and sent home, with virtually no instructions and no idea what we were really doing. That, (I know now though), is all part of the magic of bringing a baby home. You get the chance to figure things out as you go, learn from other parents, read different books and make mistakes and learn from them. But at the time, it was definitely an overwhelming feeling knowing that you were just about to jump into such a life altering experience.

     But this time round, I'm starting to panic and feel unprepared since I know too much. I know what labour feels like, I know what to expect, I know how long my body takes to heal from the labor itself and I know how hard being up all night with a newborn is. And with our mini alarm clock, in the form of a very cute little girl, who wakes up early and is ready to run each and every day, I'm envisioning a very very tired mom and dad. There's no going back to sleep in the morning, or sleeping whenever the newborn is sleeping, as I had the luxury of doing with Mya. It will be a different experience this time knowing that I will be running after a two year old all day long on top of all of the overwhelming feelings of having a newborn. I've had moments of thinking "Can I actually do this?"..."Are they really going to just hand me over a baby and send me home expecting that I can handle it and figure out how to do it?".

     Then I take a breath and realize that this is what I was meant to do and I'll figure it out. I've always wanted to be a mom. I've always wanted to have a big family. And I'm so beyond excited to meet our little boy, to hold him, to kiss him, to see what he looks like and to smother him with love from every direction. What I've realized is that my excitement and anticipation of our little Carter outweighs my fears and anxieties completely. When I think back to my labor with Mya I remember it being the absolute best day of my life. There's nothing like the experience and miracle of giving birth. Yes it hurts, yes it can be scary...but oh my goodness...there's nothing like it. I remember when Jen went into labor with Oliver I felt both excited for her and envious of her since I knew that she was about to experience the most amazing thing in the world and I wanted that again for Terry and I so badly.

    And now here we are now, so blessed to be able to go through it again. I'm beyond thrilled, already in love with this little boy and really can't wait for those first few real contractions to start coming.





    

Saturday, 8 September 2012

School vs. Home

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     The first week of school has come and gone. Lunches have been packed, shoes have been tied, nerves have been soothed and first week jitters have been (hopefully) put to rest. If I wasn't a teacher myself I would have had no idea that most teachers are just as nervous about starting school as the kids. And if I wasn't a parent I would have had no idea that most parents are just as nervous as their children.

     I laid in bed the night before school started this past week and had to remind myself that I had nothing to worry about. My OB told me months ago that I wasn't allowed to go back to work in September, but I still felt those first day jitters for some reason. I think it was just a natural reaction to hearing that school was about to start and being so used to getting everything set up, organized and ready in time for those little kiddies to walk through my classroom door. And then I started picturing Mya's first day of kindergarten and started feeling emotional for her as well. Knowing that I won't be able to drop her off on her first day of school since I'll be greeting my own class of kids that morning is a really hard pill to swallow. I hate even thinking about it. I know that I'll be nervous for her as well. I think those nerves are just all part of new experiences, whether you're a child or a grown adult. They somehow never go away.



    As the first week of school has come and gone, and I got updates and phone calls from teacher friends updating me on what I was missing, how things went and how their classes were, it made me long for my life at school. I realize that stress, a lot of hard work and very long hours all go into creating a successful September for kids, but there's definitely a part of me that misses it...a lot. Teaching is what I've worked my whole life to do. Every exam that I wrote, every course that I chose and every late night study binge brought me to where I wanted to be: teaching.

     Ever since I was a little girl, lining up all of my stuffed animals in rows and pretending that I was the teacher, I knew that this was my calling. I knew that I wanted to do nothing else in life but teach. It wasn't about teaching the curriculum though for me. It was about being able to change little lives. The beauty of teaching is that you get the opportunity to step into the lives of young people and give them support that they might not be getting at home. You get a chance to be the teacher that that child looks back on years from now and remembers as someone who cared, someone who supported them and someone who took the time to get to know them. Sometimes a kind teacher is the only kind person that a child has in their life.     

     There's a Swedish proverb that states Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I really need it. I always think of this as I'm teaching (and now as a mother too), because it's just so darn true. It keeps my focus in check and reminds me of what my intentions are both as a teacher and a mom.

    In saying all of this though, I still struggle with the balance between wanting to be the teacher that I want to be and being the mom that I want to be. It's the whole career vs. home life balance. There is a huge part of me that wants to be a stay at home mom...never having to drop my kids off at daycare and getting to experience every minute of their little lives without missing a thing. Just in the past month we've experienced so much together--from taking Mya and Oliver to the fair to see the cows...



and the piglets...


and the tiny little chicks.


To spending the afternoon at the Children's Museum...

watching the snakes...

...and hiding from the dinosaurs.



     But then another huge part of me knows that I can't ever imagine giving up my career that I've worked my whole life for. I've realized that the ideal situation would be for me to be able to bring Mya to work with me every day--that would just be great. A little Mya, a little teaching. Perfect.

 A girl can at least dream.

     I think what I've realized though is that this is just the time in our lives when we're starting our family and it needs to be our priority.





    I was on mat leave with Mya not long ago, and now I'll be on mat leave again with Carter. Although it appears that I might be putting my career aside for a bit to be able to be home with my babies, it's all worth it in the end. I figure if we're going to start a family or possibly even continue to expand our family in the future, we might as well do it all at once, have our kids close together and then I'll bring my career back into my life once again. It will always be a balance trying to give enough to both family and work life, but I think it's possible. I love my job, I love my family. So it's possible to make them both work together.

    But for now...all you fabulous teachers out there, congrats on surviving the first week of school! Miss you!

    

  

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Fall love

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      Every morning when I drag myself out of bed and head downstairs, I get the same rush every time as I draw the blinds and open the kitchen windows. The smell of Fall fills our house. It's that crisp, cool breeze that I love the most right now.

     It's the debate between whether I should pull on a housecoat yet or not, or whether I should throw a little sweater on Mya to ease the chill of the morning that I love so much. It means a new season is coming, a new holiday is just around the corner and it means there is so much more to look forward to. I love holidays--absolutely love them. I love new seasons almost just as much. It means change, new life, new experiences and new reasons to decorate and celebrate. I'm already having visions of taking Mya to the pumpkin patch, decorating our house for Thanksgiving, cooking up a triple batch of squash soup, filling our flower pots at the front of our house with mums and going for early morning walks in jeans and long sleeve shirts. Oh, and don't forget pumpkin pie, cooking up a huge Thanksgiving turkey and prepping for Halloween...so much to look forward to.

This was Mya last year...ready to help me cook up a huge batch of squash soup. Don't think the squash could get any bigger.  
      I'm still on a search for some cheap plastic pumpkins that I can be-dazzle with spray paint and sparkles and strategically place on top of our piano, complete with other Fall decorations and candles. This kind of stuff makes me happy. So very happy. And what I love even more is that my excitement for decorating and celebrating holidays is already rubbing off on Mya. I know that she'll notice right away once I get all of my Fall decorations up and want to touch them, feel them and talk about them in her cute little (almost) two-year old way. It's my little way of secretly teaching her that it's all about finding reasons and ways to surround yourself with joy and happiness--even if it means burning your fingers on hot glue guns or trying to explain to your husband for the millionth time why you need to go buy more glitter.

     Speaking of which, I've already started some of my decorations--and if I had more time I'd give a thorough explanation of how I made each of them..but the couch is calling my name, my feet are sore and I still have at least two loads of laundry that need to go in. BUT on a very happy (and unrelated note)...I found out from a recent ultrasound that my placenta has moved, so that means no C-section or risk of bleeding...ya! Doc says there's still risk of pre-term labour and that things are already starting to happen, but I've made it to 34 weeks already so things are looking up for baby and all of us.


Even Mya is flipping for joy over her little brother staying in my belly for so long...


Anyways, here are some of my decorations that I've already started, (in a nutshell)...

Fall Wreath:



Start with one of these...
      



Buy some of these at Dollarama...





Weave them in and around the wreath base, and use a glue gun to glue some of them down so they remain secure.



And voila...a Fall wreath in a matter of minutes. Easy peasy.


And next: A button pumpkin


Buy a frame (got mine at Dollarama) and take the backing off of it..so the back is exposed (so it looks like burlap).




Use a glue stick and make a shape of a pumpkin on it..then start adding the buttons.



Add brown buttons for a stem, and you're done!

Alright, that's it--going to go put my feet up and forget about the laundry.

Happy first day of school to everyone out there! More about that on another post...






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