Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like. . .

I'm not actually sure.

The obvious answer is Christmas.
We've officially had the car stuck in the driveway, twice! Special thanks to the kids at church (college and down) who came and got us out the other day.
The ground is white with snow as far as the eye can see (which lets face it is pretty fair on the prairies) and the temperature has plummeted (I believe the windchill was at -21 when I stopped looking)

There's really no denying that winter has come to our sleepy little hamlet.

I even convinced hubby to let my decorate for the upcoming season and start playing Christmas music, although both were more Peanut related decisions this year. I couldn't wait to show Peanut the tree with the lights all aglow (a personal favourite from childhood) so up it went.
Also, Peanut won't nap without his favourite music on, this has meant 5 months of veggie tales, at some points going in the background all day (there's a solid test of your sanity and love of child, although seriously the snarky remarks in the background were awesome - the first 300 times). In a small act of grace, it turns out Christmas music is an acceptable alternative for singing vegetables, who knew?
Either way I'm taking advantage of our slight reprieve from singing produce.

The thing is this, Christmas has always been a favourite time of year. This year, even though I'm excited to share it with Peanut for the first time and hubby for the third, I'm still struggling with the transition into motherhood.

Winter means pretty snow (yep I said pretty but a fall of brown mud and dead plants makes me anxious for fluffy white flakes) but it also means drastically reduced mobility for this mama, especially now that I've got a little one dependent on my sometimes nonexistent balance. We rent on the edge of town and the roads can get interesting, meaning lots of time at home just me and the babe.

Hard for someone used to knocking out 4-6 classes a semester.

It also looks like my sanity saving neighbour (who, incidentally, became a mama the day before me) may be moving away this Christmas as her hubby's got job applications in all over the country.

It makes me sad, which is natural. Even introverts need some social contact but when you're still fighting the post baby blues the potential of a season of weather induced isolation is disheartening, even at your favourite time of year.

So, now my challenge is to find ways to make the most of this first winter with Peanut and our last sane season for a time (that's right folks, hubby starts his thesis proposal soon, the end of the MA is near (ing) )
I'm just not sure what activites are appropriate for an almost 6 month old, aside from our usual reading, tummy time, baths, diaper laundry (not an activity but really could be my job title for how often I'm washing, why do kids always dirty their diaper the minute you put the last load in the dryer?

Well, at least this weekend I can introduce Peanut to a little bit of history, anybody else gearing up for the 50th anniversary of Who?

The Language of Sparrows

I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

On the outside, Sierra and Luca are at opposite ends of life. One just beginning the world at her fingertips, the other reflecting on a life mostly gone. Yet, the bond of secrets, grief, and a love of learning tie these unlikely friends and their families together against the odds.

I'll confess I'm not one to pick a book on a whim these days. Life's too busy and too many recent whims have ended up a bust, especially within modern, Christian romance.
I was thoroughly surprised when I found myself eagerly tearing through Rachel Phifer's novel with eager anticipation and hope for a happy resolution for my two favourite characters.

Sierra is a young and brilliant high school student whose life is directed through her grief at her father's sudden and unexplained death.
Sierra was definitely a favourite character and a book highlight.
Having worked with youth and grieving families (Interesting summer job one summer) Phifer's portrayal of her grief at the multiple losses in her life (father, home, school, relationship with her mother) was believable and well written as revelations throughout the story moved Sierra through the rollercoaster of her grief and healing.

Luca, as the gruff older gentleman even his son doesn't trust was a surprising favourite of mine as the story progressed. As his life (love?) story is laid out I found myself more and more drawn to the man much like Sierra. Honestly, this became a huge point of connection in the story for me as a reader as Sierra's relationship begin to mirror the reader's entrance into Luca's life.

If you've read one of these before you know I don't like giving out major plot spoilers but my one beef with the story does tie in slightly. Most of the pacing within Sparrows is well done. The slower portions echoing the time it takes to gain trust with those who are wounded. However, Nic, Luca's son, hits a crises near the end of the book, which becomes a major plot point when there wasn't the time to wrap it up nicely. This may be a stylistic vision of the author but I generally prefer books that allow themselves the time to end when the story is ready and not before hand.

All in all, this was a great novel and a fairly easy read. Given the right audience I would highly recommend this novel.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Guess who's 5 months old

I can hardly believe our little peanut is already 5 months old.

I also can't believe I still haven't healed from his arrival, oh the joys of EDS. Oh well, our little guy is certainly worth the extra pain.

So how do we sum up another month?

Well, peanut is finally getting positive reviews from our doctor's visits. We weighed in at a respectable 16 pounds,more than double our birth weight! Reflecting back on the days of decreasing weight and slow gain makes those 16 pounds all the nicer to this Mama's ears.

Just look at those cheeks!

On the flip side, our little peanut is getting big! 
This has meant somewhat tearful packing (please tell me I'm not the only mama who gets misty packing away tiny little outfits) of clothes that once seemed ever so big and tracking down some new ones in the 9 month range.
I can't even begin to explain how grateful I've been for our carrier during this process (or colic, daily trips, teething, church, everything else under the sun, seriously these things are dead useful). 
During the pregnancy, I researched like a fiend in order to find the best options for parenting with a disability. It was actually pretty discouraging the lack of applicable resources I could find. However, I'm in love with the carrier our beyond awesome doula introduced us too.

Seriously, our CatBird Carrier calms peanut right down which makes sense because at 5 months we still can't get enough cuddles (which mama is very happy to provide), it helps him feel secure, and gives space for some introverted time when we're out and he gets overwhelmed. 
For my part, I love the big comfy straps and how simple it is to put on. It even looks great which is a huge plus for me. 
I'm really curious how it will hold up once I put on the support belt now that Peanut is getting to the right weight for some added support but I'm thinking it will just be one more thing to love (once I get over the fear of actually attaching it!)

Okay, back to Peanut :)

We have now added two beautiful bottom teeth to our milestones, and announced their arrival loudly and at great length :( 
Poor guy does not fall into the category of easy teethers.
I'm am getting an education on teething remedies, not quite the research project I was looking for but nice of Peanut to help his mama out on that ;)

We also introduced some purees to our repertoire. New favourites are: green beans, squash, applesauce, bananas. 

Peas, on the other hand, have been upgraded to most vile substance on earth. Apparently we'll have to introduce those again later . . .

Every day Peanut continues to figure out his limbs and how to work them, although,this month did have a set back. Almost half way through the month I sat him down in his crib while I straightened out the laundry only to have him flip himself over and get his feet stuck between the crib slats! Not only was he mad to be stuck but he scared himself flipping over and has refused to try rolling over ever since.
Trying to encourage him to move and not be frightened of rolling over will definitely be a goal for this month.

Speaking of goals,

Our month 5 goals are pretty simple this month.

Goal 1

Learn to nap somewhere other than Mama's lap or the carrier.

Goal 2
Work more on Goal 1 :P

Yes, it's true. At 5 months, Peanut still refuses to sleep anywhere that is not in direct physical contact with someone. At least, that is the daytime routine. Nights are pretty awesome but days . . . oh brother. Little dude almost decked his grandma when she tried to put him down for the night.

Any other Mama's (or Papa's) have a stubborn sleeper on their hands? Any tips for getting them down for much overdue naps?

We're setting up a playpen to be a safe nap space and so far (one hour in) it isn't a complete failure but we will wait and see how this goes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Heroic Measures

So, I meant to get this posted last week.

Then teething started up again. Then I got sick. Real life can be a pain sometimes :)

Anyway, I finally got the chance to sit down and read Heroic Measures by Jo-Ann Power.

Spies, flyboys, surgeons, and one young woman trying to navigate it all.

There were a lot of good qualities in this novel and I'm quite curious where this trilogy will move to with the next two installments.

Gwen Spencer is the anchor of this book as readers walk through her journey to escape the chains of her impoverished past (in more ways than one) and survive her journey through war stricken France with body, heart, and mind in tact.

I really enjoyed the way this book tackled the struggles these women faced patching soldiers, doctors, and even themselves back together. Characters were lost and not everyone escaped the war unharmed. For me, this made the book far more enjoyable because it added realism.

Gwen herself was also a character I wanted to root for. Watching her wrestle with questions regarding family, identity, and the world around her as she progressed through her training and the war itself was believable. There were times I wanted to come alongside like a friend or sister and help her wrestle through.

The one thing that keeps me from giving this book full stars is the pacing. Now, I'll admit cramming the last few years of a war into a novel can be tricky at best, even when the focus is on a single character's perspective and interactions. However, there were time when I had to flip back to make sure I hadn't missed  a page something as 10 days or 10 weeks had mysteriously vanished, summed up in a single sentence when obviously important events had occurred.

Gwen's relationship with Lex and Adam, the Doctor battle with his illness are two instances where I felt the rushing did a strong disservice to the characters and the story, especially given Gwen's connection to the three men and the complexities that surrounded their interactions. Personally, I would have been willing to read a longer novel if it meant feeling less rushed through these elements but I have always been a stickler for details.
The rushed pace made the ending feel a little too tidy. I realize there was lots of anguish as Gwen made tough decisions (no spoilers here sweetie) but the speed with which the text wrapped up almost disservices Gwen's struggle. Perhaps this is an issue that is addressed in book 2 although I could easily see the trilogy focus on Gwen's future or shift to another nurse in that era.

Either way, I will be awaiting book 2 and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a romance, historical fiction novel. 

This book was provided free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, October 21, 2013


Two warnings come to mind when I think back to reading Trisha Wolfe's Fireblood.

1. Give the book a few chapters.
2. Don't start reading 20 minutes before bed!

I wish someone had warned me about the second point :)

I started this book exactly 20 minutes before bed, an important time in a house with a 4 month old, and my husband sleepily grinned at me when I finally crawled into bed with half the book finished still muttering to myself trying to figure things out with half the book to go.

First, things I loved. I loved the characters in this novel. Each character was solidified in their secrets, many of which weren't revealed until the end (a point Zara herself makes). This made for characters I found myself drawn towards as their different dimensions took shape. I love characters with depth and will overlook a multitude of deficiencies if I can connect with the characters. Between Zara, Devlan, Xander, Fallon, even Cecily I had a plethora of characters continually drawing my interest as I attempted to piece together then end game as chapters raced by. Did they ever race by!

Hence, the second thing I loved, the plot. I hate reviews that give away the ending so I endeavour hard to be subtle. Fireblood takes place long after a modern day war has devastated the earth, and the plot centers on a small (I can't figure out an estimate but I'm terrible with spacial sense) settlement named Camelot ruled by the elusive King Hart who has fashioned his utopia through fear and a heavy hand. Zara, our commoner heroine has been hand picked to marry the Prince, a young man named Sebastian who may or may not share his father's harsh tendencies.

When I started reading I was frightened. The book's not scary but the plot seemed so familiar I was worried I had signed up for a rehashed rerun of plots long since uncovered. I was delighted to find that Wolfe not only provided an excellent read but one which kept me guessing, despite the occasional reliance on cliche. I was constantly bemoaning (I'm a vocal reader) how I wished \I could read faster just so I could figure out who was on which side! I'm usually fairly competent at guessing plots before they're over. It was a joy to be left hanging until the end :)

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this read and look forward to seeing what else the author has in store.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good read in this genre.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Adoption, special needs adoption in particular, has always been a matter close to my heart.
As a member of a family blessed with special needs I grew up with a personal understanding of the challenges facing families that break the mold. For reasons I don't fully understand adoption has always been equally interesting to me.
I even convinced my husband to put our wedding "kiss auction" proceeds towards the adoption funds of some EE orphans with special needs. I often take time to find one or two children on advocacy sites or who's families are on the way and keep them in my prayers.

In light of this interests I was so grateful to receive a copy of "Are We There Yet?" by Sue and Hector Badeau.

The book itself kept a fast pace throughout it's 500+ pages which is understandable. I can hardly imagine how the family selected the carefully chosen memories of their 22 children, 2 through birth and 20 through adoption, and the life they live together. Relying heavily on narrative, quotes, and conversation the book reveals the "rollercoaster" of life with a large and, at times, complicated family.

Some of the highlights of this book are the stories. From camping adventures to ponies, the joy of each new addition to the pain of addictions, loss, and financial hardship the stories due to their birthing from real life are rich and draw in readers, especially for those with interests in adoption, working with families, etc.  . .

The Badeau's are real in the hardships that accompany adopting older children, sibling groups, interracial children,  and disabled children who each bring their own personalities, histories, and, sometimes, difficult prognosis. That said, they are also equally honest about the joys that come with having such a large family and the unique approach that breaking out of the stereotypical 2-3 child household can bring.

As they mention, they are not saints, they are not exploiters, simply a real family living life together and willing to invite others to share glimpses of their day to day.

This book could serve as a helpful introductory level book for those looking into adoption due to the balance with which the story is shared.

That said, some readers may be frustrated at the pace of the book. It is fast paced tackling 4 generations and over 3 decades, leaving some stories feeling unfinished or hurried and out of step in there telling.The reason for this is unclear. Some reviewers also have stated their frustration with how certain stories, such as Raj's, are obviously missing large chunks. While this is frustrating for those who enjoy completeness, I think it is helpful to remember this is a story in progress . . . unwritten in its finality. Some of these obvious gaps could very easily be seen as attempts to protect the privacy of individuals who have their own lives and intricacies left to work out.

Are we There Yet? was an easy read though it's subject matter could rarely carry the same label. Their faith stands evident throughout the text and throughout their family. I believe this book would be best appreciated by those who are interested in adoption, children's rights/ child workers, and those of the Christian faith.

This book was provided free of charge for my honest opinion

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It's almost 11 pm

I'm still rocking my infant son as he drifts between sleep and wakefulness. After weeks of going to bed easily at 10 and sleeping until 5-6am we've entered a new dance.

Instead of a quick good night and an I love you our routine is a woven blend of nursing, lullabies, and rocking to the music.

Some experts talk about the risk of spoiling and they are completely right. I'm being spoiled.

It is such a privilege to love on this little soul. To watch his innocent face melt into slumber. To feel his little body snuggle up close so he can hear my heartbeat.

Already I see so many changes in his little life. I know the day is coming when he will be too big to sleep while I rock him in the rocking chair in "our" corner. I know there will be a day when his face won't light up when I sing his favourite songs.I know there will come a day when sitting still and cuddling won't be nearly so appealing to an active little boy with an entire world to discover.

In these quiet moments I am reminded once again what a great gift and privilege it is to be entrusted as Peanut's Mama and, tonight, being spoiled is worth it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ever have one of those days

*Note* This was written a month ago but I'm only getting up the nerve to post now.

I have, I'm having "one of those days" right now.

It's funny, everyone and their dog warns you about the risks of  Post Partum Depression and rightly so. It's an insidious condition made worse by social ignorance and stigma. I applaud the steps that have been taken to protect new mamas, papas, and their families, helping them to reach their full potential. 

 I'm finding there's a lot less out there that will talk to you about anxiety 
Maybe they didn't know? Maybe they don't understand? Maybe it's just lumped together with the worry most (all) new parents seem to feel?

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm amazed at how much worry a little life can bring if you let it. No matter what decision you make as new parents there's most likely an opposing view that will quite vocally explain to you ever flaw in the "exceedingly detrimental" choice you made for your child while actively praising another. 

There are books written on best feeding techniques, tried and true sleeping methods, and more than you ever thought was possible to write about poop. There are the controversies over vaccines.developmental milestones, and how early is to early to introduce. Then don't forget your crunchy mamas, stay at home mamas, working mamas, helicopter mamas, June cleavers and a rift of others to numerous to mention and that's without the papa's being added in!

There are so many sides, views, and angles in today's world of over information and media saturation that the options can loose their helpfulness amid the dizzying swirl of voices competing for attention, especially in the case of new parents who are finding their parenting feet and just want what is best for their little one (which, again, I'm thinking is most parents)

There's also natural worrying over first colds, colic (oh the joys of colic, thank you baby carriers and gripe water), first nights in the crib, first bump on the head, don't even get me started when it comes to thinking about his first sleepover or day of school, ugh. At three months the time is already flying by too quickly.

Then you add in good ol' Ehlers-Danlos which seems to genetically predisposition me for anxiety, that's a lot of anxiety!

But there's nothing more frustrating than watching your son and hubby enjoying a happy quiet moment and feeling the tightness in your chest as scenarios stream through your mind and anxiety fills your space than perhaps reflecting back, during or after at how ridiculous the anxiety was but feeling helpless to stop it.

I know not many stop by here seeing as it's new and I'm not exactly into a routine yet but any other new mama's deal with anxiety

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving

North of the border we've just finished celebrating Thanksgiving and what a year of firsts.

- First Thanksgiving as a Mama
- First sleepover and Grandma and Grandpa's
- First gluten free Thanksgiving (oh stuffing how I miss thee!)
- First long car ride

No wonder I'm tired :)

All in all, the weekend went wonderfully. Peanut slept like a pro despite the new surroundings and was on his best behaviour throughout the festivities. This meant we were able to fully take advantage of our celebration with all four living generations of my hubby's family. Given the time of year and my recent struggles adapting to new mama life, now seems an especially appropriate time to reflect on things that make me thankful.

So, in no particular order, here goes

I am grateful for my hubby. Seriously, he goes above and beyond taking care of our family and usually with a smile on his face. I'm so grateful to have my best friend by my side through this crazy journey of life.

I am grateful for . . . my messy house. Yep, as a neat freak this was a revelation to me, however, let's look at my reasoning. Instead of spending hours nitpicking over a clean house, those hours were spent snuggling, cuddling, and playing with my baby boy. Definitely hours better spent.

I am grateful for mama time. Not only is my hubby beyond amazing but he gives me an hour (minimum) a week to geek out with my Dr. Who, LOTRO, Stargate, etc. . . Life as a nerdy mama is possible (mind you I also enjoy curling up and nerding out with my family too. My son's first movie was the avengers and the doctor who theme has been known to calm him)

I am grateful for community. This one has been hard. Pregnancy took a huge toll on me and when things settle my community life had taken a huge toll. Even now as I struggle to regain my physical health and get the hormonal roller coaster under control community is a struggle and few seem willing or able to ride it out in close quarters. However, that makes me more grateful for those who are there walking through this with me and is really stirring a fire in me for new mama's who struggle both during and after pregnancy.

Finally, tonight I'm grateful for naps and grandparents who will skype through teething, here's hoping I can soon be grateful for teeth soon too ;)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What we need is more . . .?

I've always loved people watching.

Maybe it's because I'm drawn to people's stories, watching them unfold, intersect, and weave themselves together.

Maybe it's the fact I grew up in a place where winter lasted far longer than most appreciate and I spent many a Saturday hanging out over breakfast with my dad and the guys or coffee with the neighbourhood men and needed something to occupy my time that wouldn't get me into too much trouble.

Either way, it's fascinating to watch how people's personalities come to the forefront in different situations.

Here enters Peanut.

Seriously the kid's three months old and has personality to spare. I've never seen smiles appear so readily only to disappear the minute Mama or Papa bring out the camera. I've never seen a stuffed dino or frog get so much loving so early (The dino's rather infamous around here for the amount of smiles it can coax out of our son).

The most surprising thing Peanut has done so far though?

He has a favourite diaper! Honest.

Now, I realize some cloth diapering mamas out there have their favs and will debate them tirelessly. WAHM creations, big brand standby's, local company's, the list goes on and most cd'ing mama's (and a few papa's) have no problem sharing these in great length. But Peanut has his own opinion.

He fusses when I pull out a disposable if we're running behind on laundry and need to go to town. He'll smile when he sees his cloth return. However, the day I pulled out a Hipkiddo is one I won't forget.

I prepped  the diaper as usual, let it dry and stuck it in rotation for the next change. Peanut didn't make us wait long (such a helpful boy) so thus arrived our chance to test this newest addition to the stash (which, incidentally, mama managed to win in a monthly draw). I kid you not Peanut sighed and wiggled happily as soon as it was on his bum. Kid loves that cow print diaper.

Heaven help us when he can actually verbalize what he wants ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some days you just need a pick me up

Thankfully mine came in the form of a visit from a friend, a hubby who supports and loves me beyond what I ever could have dreamed of, and Youtube performances from last night's So You Think You Can Dance. I'm still torn on who should win this season.

Here's praying Peanut sleeps well and his tummy stops giving him so many issues. Hope you enjoy these videos too :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy New Year, Maybe??

Depending on your culture, experience, or past there are many ways to mark the passing and beginnings of a year. January 1st, birthdays, and anniversaries are all marker with which we note the passing of time and the freshness of opportunities.

For a life that has been surrounded by academia one of the larger markers comes in the form of September and the academic calendar. As a seminary wife, living in a college town, and all my siblings (birth and marriage) in school this one can even trump New Year's Eve :)

After a summer of adjusting to parenthood in our sleepy little village, a place where it was actually quiet enough to hear the crickets chirp and the neighbours up with their own little one it's odd to see the streets flood with young faces as they learn to navigate the halls I once called home.

I was always a card carrying nerd (still am, my child is destined for the life of a nerd, mwahaha). I loved this time of year. The adventure of new classes, new subjects, new supplies. I eagerly poured over syllabii anticipating research projects and assigned text books, blissful in the deliciousness of academic rigour and a good cuppa. 

Maybe that's why, this year, I feel so lost.

It's hard to enter a time of eager, communal excitement and realize that instead of delving into new psych books and youth models that my research now revolves around diapers, teething, and when to introduce solids. It's world shifting when late nights are no longer due to hanging with friends, writing papers, or out with the hubby but instead wrapped around a dear little soul who cries his heart out for reasons unknown (still looking into the teething potential or late rallying colic). 
It's still odd that instead of hanging out after church or wandering to the coffee shop, a quick jaunt to the post office can require strategic planning which still may be outwitted by 24 ish inches of humanity.

What's a new mom to do?

As a student studying counselling and youth work my professors always stressed the necessity of self-care. Being the eager little perfectionist I tend to default too, this was a lesson I often glossed over in an effort to pour more into my assignments. Interestingly enough, it's motherhood that's showing me the importance of this oft overlooked skill.

As a mom, especially as a Christian mom, it's so important to spend time in community, spend time in prayer, and spend some time outside the identity of "peanut's mama" or "DH's wife" because, while these are both roles I love dearly, the person I am outside of that mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally need to be nourished and acknowledged too or else I cannot function as wife and mother.

Now the challenge is finding the time and the community .. .

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Long and Winding Road

It feels slightly surreal to be sitting here typing.

Actually it feels fairly naughty. 

After all, my almost 3 month old whom I'll affectionately refer to as "Peanut" is mostly asleep, this is a fairly rare occurrence as the little guy has yet to grasp the wonder that is napping and as EVERYONE in the medical community says "sleep when they sleep" (oh the irony when you're the parent of a nap avoidant child). In fact as I type this, my dear hubby is wandering to the nursery to soothe the poor kid (does anyone know if it's possible for teething symptoms to start at 12 weeks?!)

I'll never deny the need for sleep. In all honesty, having a child  has actually made me even more pro-sleep than I was before children. For the sake of my sanity, however, the time to write must also be factored in to life's rhythms. 

So, here will be my new tales in the life of a SAHM and seminary wife with all my usual zebra, geeky goodness thrown in for good measure. Here's to new beginnings.