Friday, August 31, 2012

I Choose To Be A Mother

I had a very interesting visit with a friend today.  We met in our prenatal class, and our little guys are a month apart.  She is a medical doctor, and chose to return back to work after 4 months of maternity leave (in Canada you receive 1 year of maternity leave).  She is currently expecting another little baby in February, by choice, and proceeded to complain about how hard her pregnancy, etc is.  As a direct result from being married to an anesthsiologist, being a doctor herself, and having her career come first, they hired a nanny so she could be at work, and have help around the house, etc. 

This life of money, prestegious career, and someone you can pay to clean your house, and babysit for you may seem glamarous, but if you talked to this friend today, it doesn't seem such.  She is just as tired as any other mom, and happy wouldn't be the word I would use to describe her.  She tells me how there is no way I am going to be able to be pregnant again without help, and that the only true help you get is hired help.

I look over the past 2 years of my life.  I carried a child in my body, and have proceeded to take care of that sweet little boy from the moment he was delivered and placed on my chest.  Sure there have been days that have been hard, sleepless nights, and times where I have complained about it all.  But, sitting here today, writing this post, I could not be happier with where I am, and my decision to be a mother.  I have never felt such joy, such fulfillment, as I have as a mom.  Sure my house is untidy, my hair unkempt, but the memories I make each day cannot be replaced.

This afternoon, Samuel sat on my lap in the rocking chair in his room, knawing on a piece of beef jerky, looking into my eyes, laughing, blowing raspberries on my chest and laughing again.  The last day or so, watching him take his first steps on his own, and being so proud that he can stand steady all by himself.  Looking behind me in the rear view mirror as I'm driving and say "put your hands up!," and his hands go up in the air, and the smile on his face, as big as it can be.

I could have a degree.  I could have a prestegious job.  I could choose to send my son to daycare, but instead...

I choose to be a mom!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time For Mindy

Tonight I decided I would take a bath, a REAL bath.  I put salts and oils in my water, set myself a timer (since I'm generally not a bath person and would be ready to get out asap), lit some tea lights, turned off the light, and got in.  It's amazing what spending 40 minutes "disconnected" from life can do for you.  It helped to solidify a lot of things that I have been thinking and feeling.

I have said it before, but September feels like the new year to me.  I know it's because that's when I would start school and into a new phase.  I am taking my new year, and new resolutions/ outlook on life in 3 days.  Here are a few of the thoughts that I have.

  • "You are what you eat."  This is something I have found to be true.  Since I have been eating whatever.the.heck.i.want this past month (mostly processed, high sugar foods), I have felt like garbage!  Seriously, you eat trash, you feel like trash.  You eat well, you feel well.  Plain and simple!
  • Drinking AT LEAST 2 liters of water a day is crucial to flush your system and keep you running well.
  • Exercising not only helps to lose weight and stay toned, but also to burn stress, give self discipline, and helps to rid your body of toxins. 
  • It is important to take time to make yourself feel pretty.  As a mom, I'm lucky if I've got full makeup on once a week (generally Sundays), but lately, I'm lucky if I've even put mascara on once a week (thank you allergies).  When I do my hair and makeup, I feel MUCH better about myself and tend to walk a bit taller.  Same goes with a simple pedi/mani (I'm just talkin' polish people).  I feel so special when my nails are just painted, and frumpy when they're chipped and worn. 
My life has been lacking BALANCE since I finished my bfl challenge.  The self discipline and focus on myself had such a huge impact on my life.  Our family didn't revolve around my schedule, but I was a much happier wife and mother, and felt so much more together.  My grandma sent me the book The Happiness Project right as I started bfl.  I am embarrassed to say that I haven't finished it yet, but I love every word.  A friend of mine and I have talked about doing our own happiness project.  I am starting mine September 1.  I have decided to start a new blog about my happiness project and my body/ life transformation.  I have some good goals I'd like to accomplish, and I am excited to start on this new journey.  Stay tuned for the blog rl, coming September 1!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FHE At The River

Seriously you guys, we live in THE MOST BEAUTIFUL place!  This post has been several weeks in the making. I'll admit, we took A LOT of pictures, and it was quite daunting the thought of organizing them all to put on a blog post, because there are so many I love. Well, here I am 2 hours into organizing pictures, and they are finally added to this blog. Now time for the words! We had spent a lovely weekend together as a family, and I wanted to continue time spent together. The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS, so we packed a picnic dinner, and headed down to the river for a night together as a family.

I made a fresh salsa, and it pretty much tasted like onions.  Shane wasn't a fan, while I didn't mind it too bad, it was MUCH better the next day.  The avocado still wasn't ripe and was super hard.  Samuel was so funny, he'd pick out the avocado, try to eat it, and then spit it out.  I brought a bag of cherries along, and although they weren't a hit with Shane, Samuel and I enjoyed them. 
After we had enough food, Shane took Samuel to explore the river.  Samuel LOVES water and enjoyed splashing in the river.  I particularly love the middle shot of Shane lowering Samuel over the river, with the beautiful mountain of trees across the river.  The night went on so slowly.  It's times like these that I breathe in every moment ever so carefully, as the memories are etched in my soul.    
Samuel ended up sopping wet, so off went the clothes, and back in the river with mom this time. 

Once Samuels legs were good and red, we pulled him out of the river and Shane played the "tree, bush, seeds" game with Samuel, who thought it was HILARIOUS.  Sam definitely thought he needed to drop the seeds, and would laugh and laugh and laugh.

*please note I am learning a lot about lighting, etc with my pictures.  Some of these are pretty bad.

It was time for Sam to move.  He was walking all over with Shane.  We have some wicked thistles in this neck of the woods, and I was worried about Samuels poor feet.  I pulled his shoes out of the diaper bag, and put them on his feet.  It was such a warm night, the diaper was enough, but I couldn't get enough of those SHOES on the end of his bare legs.  He had a great time wandering around with dad. 
After a bunch of running around, it was time for a good nurse, and to wind down our adventure.  Samuel had some baby food as you can see in the picture on the right.  Have you ever used one of those pouches?  They are BRILLIANT and LIFESAVING!!!  Mr. Samuel is so detail oriented, so he loved checking out his shoes and doing and undoing the velcro.

Before we left, we figured we'd give the timed self shot a try.  In 2 tries, we got a winner.  I love this family picture of us.  Check out the AMAZING backdrop. 
Sigh, I'm going to miss these summer days, and outside adventures!
Did I mention how much I LOVE living in Cochrane? ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Canmore Spray Park

This summer has by far had the most warm days out of any of the summers I have lived here in Canada.  Well, that could be because I've actually been home and able to enjoy these summer days.  This particular day was a warm one, so we took to the spray park (since there are very few outdoor public pools in Calgary). 

Our first stop was at Riley Park.  We changed in the car (lots of fun), got all of our stuff out, and headed to the park... Only to find the pool empty (cue the wop wop).  We got back in the van, gloated in the fact that we have smart phones, and found a near by water park.

Upon putting the coordinates in our GPS and arriving at the park, we unloaded and found a spot in the shade for a picnic. 
Yummy, PB&J!
After lunch and sunscreen, we walked across the way and headed to the water.

Samuel wasn't too sure about it and stayed around the outside where he could observe.

All of the sudden the water turned off.  Everyone was disappointed when someone announced it would only be a 5 minute delay.  Samuel was all over this delay since he wasn't getting sprayed with water.

Mommy and Sam

Really checking it all out.  We were hoping that the water would shoot up when Samuel was hoovered over it (are we bad parents or what)?

We really enjoyed our day as a family at the spray park.  I think it'll definitely be one that we visit again.  Hopefully next time Sam will be a bit more into it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Samuel Goes To The Zoo

My friend Jenny invited us to go to the zoo with her family. After Samuel woke up from his morning nap, we jumped in the van and headed to the zoo. We all conincidently got there at the same time, and headed in. Now I must explain, this trip to the zoo was completely FREE. Jennys husband, and his family have lifetime memberships to the zoo, and can get as many people in free with them when they go. Well, Jared didn't go, but his sister did, and bam, free admission to the zoo! Once we had strollers organized and children settled, we started the zoo tour. Our first stop...
Samuel was mesmerized by...


We continued on our way and saw snow leopards, some small deer, some kind of monkey, and a bunch of other stuff.

Our next stop was these guys:

It was feeding time/ and a show.  We had no idea at the time we sat down, but it worked for us (and the fact that Samuel and Atticus needed to nurse). 

Apparently elephants do better in large groups, so the elephants at the Calgary zoo are going to be shipped else where over the course of the next few years.  It will be a sad thing, but better for the elephants.
After the elephants, we went to the butterfly house. It was pretty neat to have butterflies flying all around us. Samuel had NOT been a fan of his stroller, so I put him in the Ergo. 

Then it was time for LUNCH!  Samuel is a very social child and LOVES to be around other kids.  Lunch was a perfect time for him to eat strawberries (his favourite), and to crawl around and play with the other kids.

After lunch we decided to make our way over to the penguins.  Samuel was ready for a nap, and it was a 30 minute wait.  He was a nighmare the entire time, but we persisted. I swear we had to pick up his soother (binki) 15 times because he'd drop or throw it from being mad.  

Similar to the elephants, these penguins were shipped from zoos all over the country and are the newest addition to the Calgary zoo.  They are in their own building and put on quite the show.  I was fascinated by the facts that the man was telling everyone.  For instance, that a penguin has 70 feathers per square inch on their body.  Or that penguins have a high metabolism and are very active most of the day.  That they sleep standing up, and are only resting while lying down.  The thing I found most interesting was that they lose all of their feathers at once.  They get really fat, to protect them from when they'll have no feathers for a couple of weeks.  AMAZING!

Samuel thought they were great, which made the decision to stay worth it. 

After the penguins, we had a bathroom break, where I heard Sameul scream/ cry the entire time he was with Jenny while I went to the bathroom.  I put him in the stroller, and he was asleep before we got to the exit.  It was an adventure to say the least.  I am grateful we didn't have to pay, or else I would have felt like I wasted my money (because Sam was not having any part of it).  I suppose that's what you get being a mom.  I got some day passes for my Birthday, and we will go as a family soon. 

Thanks again Wiebes for the adventure!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blogging Love Run Dry

Am I the only one who finds an awesome blog, start pouring through the archives and reading from their first post, only to have them "sell out" and start blogging for some company like Blog Her or Babble?  OR Have them lose steam/ interest and have all their posts be superficial and just shots of what is going on in the life with very vague details? 

Seriously, I am getting slightly discouraged about it all.  I came across this blog and poured through each post.  I LOVED the information I was getting and how PERSONAL it was.  Well... then they sold out to Babble, etc and it's not the same anymore.  They gave in to the man :(  Seriously people, money isn't everything!!!!

Anyways, if you're looking to check out an awesome blog who has stood firm to their grounds and hasn't sold out to any t.v. company, or any blogging company for that matter.  They have a book coming out this fall and I am really excited about it! 

Ok, rant over... However, my bloggers block isn't over yet (unfortunately) so once I get my life (and hormones for that matter) in check, I'll be back.

and.... if you're wondering how my BFL challenge 2 is going?  Well, it's not.  Ok, I admitted it, pressure off!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

International Breastfeeding Week

I did a crazy thing... I "shared" this picture on facebook and stirred up some serious emotions on the subject. 

I am a self proclaimed lactivist.  It's true, but I haven't always been.  They saying "ignorance is bliss" is in my opinion, quite off.   Ignorance is just that, ignorance.

Lets take a journey back in time in the life of Mindy.  I grew up the second child in a family of eight children.  I am the oldest girl, and grew up as the "mini mom."  My moms breastfeeding journey lasted a total of 8 months in all 8 of us children.  6 months for my older brother, and 2 months with me.  She didn't have support and had mastitis more times than anyone would like to know.  As the "mini mom" of non breastfed siblings, I gave many bottles to my younger siblings. 

In my jr. high and highschool years I SWORE I would NEVER breastfeed.  How disgusting and inappropriate.  I was always taught to cover my "private parts," which included my breasts.  Why would I expose those to a child, or anyone for that matter.  Women breastfeeding made me uncomfortable, plain and simple. 

Fast forward to my newly married years.  I got to be better with moms nursing under a cover, since I planned to be having a child in the not too distant future.  When I encountered women breastfeeding without a cover, or to a child over the age of 1, it was uncomfortable for me.  Yet again, "cover your private parts," right? 

Lets move on just a smidge further to my pre pregnant days.  I had learned of some of the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and baby and had thrown away my ignorance about never breastfeeding, and decided that I might as well put my boobs to a good use, since I had never really liked them anyways.

Just a bit farther to my pregnant days, I was going to breastfeed but ONLY until my baby was 1 year old.  That was the cut off, because children older than that breastfeeding is just WRONG...  The only thing WRONG with that, was my opinion.  I attended a Le Leche League meeting where I learned that Health Canada recommends breastfeeding babies until the age of 2 and beyond.  WHAT?!?!  This got my mind going... actually opening up my ignorant mind to the idea of breatfeeding beyond the age of 1.  If DOCTORS recommend it, then it MUST be ok!

Now just one more step to Samuel being born.  My beloved friend Jenny was at my side for Samuels birth, and helped us breastfeed for the very first time.  She is the woman I owe most homage to for teaching me about breastfeeding.  She pulled me through some VERY dark, VERY hard breastfeeding days.  Samuel and I's journey to comfortable breastfeeding took about 5 months to achieve.  Yes, MOST women would have given up.  I had a lactation consultant/ doctor at a breastfeeding clinic try to persuade me to give it up.  My family doctor told me "well at some point you have to tell him, kid, you're on your own."  My accupuncturist gave up.  My midwives (bless them) gave me permission to give breastfeeding up if that was what I felt I needed to do.  I was asked often if things were better and I would blatantly LIE to peoples face.  I was DETERMINED I would breastfeed come small nipples, flat nipples, plugged ducts, mastitis, cracks, holes, thrush, you name it, I was going to do it!  AND I DID!  I met with a naturopath, paid LOTS of money, was given LOTS of support and encouragement and pressed on (rubbing those plugged ducts on a weekly basis). 

In the midst of all of this, I called my midwife and told her I had emailed Jack Newman and was encouraged to take at least 6 weeks of diflucan.  I asked if she would prescribe me what Jack recommended... enough diflucan until I was healed, and she did!  Nearly 18 weeks of diflucan later I was FINALLY feeling some relief.  I was healing!  I was more determined than ever to continue breastfeeding and to share with the world that EACH and EVERY woman CAN breastfeed if she so chooses!  There are resources out there for every individual case (you just have to know where to get the right ones). 

Bring us to today.  I am PROUDLY still breastfeeding Samuel who is 1 years old!  Do we plan to stop anytime soon?  Nope!  Samuel can now sign for milk and it makes my little heart proud.  He loves nursing and so do I.

So back to this picture.  The argument about it being "immodest" to breastfeed uncovered in public came up.  I was able to put to words how I now feel about it.  When children are taught and exposed from a young age the proper use of breasts, they are taught to respect them and not view breasts in a sexual way.  My "ignorance" of breastfeeding came from NOT being exposed to it, and not taught that it is appropriate and good.   I was directed to this site and saw the modesty debate in a different light. 

Happy International Breastfeeding Week!

Now go out and BREASTFEED! (covered or not is your choice)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Troll Falls

Saturday was a GORGEOUS day here in Alberta.  I was itching to take advantage of such a day as this (since for most of the year they don't exist), and asked Shane if we could go on a hike.  I was thinking along the lines of an all day/ replace my intervals hike.  Shane on the other hand was thinking along the lines of short and to test Samuels limits as far as hiking goes.  That was part of the purpose in the hike, to see how Samuel would do in the ergo hiking, since I would LOVE to put my hiking backpack that I got 2 years ago for my Birthday (which still has the dags on it) to good use (having a summer of rain and cold, and then a summer of being SUPER pregnant and having a newborn = no backpacking). 

So, the hike was decided, we packed a lunch, and headed for the Kananaskis (pronounced by our beloved GPS Jill like banana skis, but with a k. It was pretty funny).

Shane likes to wear sunglasses when driving, and forgot his, so wore mine.  He wasn't super impressed that I took a picture of this.  I think they look HOT!

Samuel playing in his seat.. happy little guy

So we got into the Kananaskis and Shane pulled off to show me the kyacking course that they have.  I learned that he did this course down the river when he was 16.  I was pretty impressed.

"Mom, are you coming?"

Checkin out the river

We continued on our journey, and got to our hiking destination.  Samuel lasted for only a minute in the Ergo before he had to be nursed.  I proudly put on the ergo and nursed him along the way (we were the only people taking this route).

We walked along the river for most of it.  Shane decided to let Samuel have a little dip... hands first.  Samuel wasn't impressed.

It was a fairly short hike and this is what we got to.  It was really a beautiful sight to behold. 

Shane hiked with Samuel up and called my name to take a picture as he climbed in behind the fall.  I was a bit worried about how slick it was up there.  It doesn't look so bad from this shot, but...

It was a pretty significant fall, and I was a bit nervous!

After the boys climbed out from behind the fall, Shane suggested this shot.  I personally love the roll poking out on his right leg (your left)

We started back and stopped not far into it to eat lunch.  Samuel enjoyed his lunch, but was getting sleepy.  After a new diaper, it was back in the ergo on dads back.  Shane grabbed some "cow parsley" and gave it to Samuel.  This is definitely my FAVOURITE shot of the trip.  Having a good camera pays off in moments like this. 

Samuel fell asleep and slept for about 10 minutes before getting back to the van.  I thought he would fall back asleep as we drove the 45 minutes back home.  Well... he didn't.  We were almost home and he started screaming.  Shane realized the air conditioner was blowing right on him and he was probably cold.  Go figure, a blanket and the air off, and he was a happy camper.... even with a tiny nap.

It was a fun adventure.  I really hope we'll get to go out and really do some hiking in the next couple of weeks.  Fingers crossed Samuel cooperates. :)