Sunday, August 29, 2010

Questions over Coffee

If you could sit down and talk to God, what would you ask him? I'm not talking in the praying kind of way. I mean the sitting in Starbucks drinking mochas and just chatting kind of way.*

Some people would go the humanitarian route. They'd ask all those social justice themed questions about why natural disasters happen and why there are kids dying of AIDS.

Some would want to know things about their life. Maybe about how their life would be different if they had made different choices. Or about a family member they never knew.

Me? I'd go for the perfectly practical. I want to know why he created some animals to be born knowing everything they need to know, but my kid can't even burp (can you tell I've spent a few too many nights up because of this?).

I'd also like to know why he created centipedes to have 100 legs (and really, I think they have more) and I only get 2 hands.


That seems a little cheap.

I think
mothers should sprout an extra for each child they bear.

Or why do I know so many older people who don't need much sleep (they go to bed really late and get up really early and still feel refreshed), yet I need 9 hours (yes, 9.) and hardly get any. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the parents of the world needing less sleep and then as you get older and have more time on your hands you can require more?

I'm a sleep deprived parent and I want some answers!

Oh and what is the purpose of hiccups?? I hate them. And so do my children.

I'm not saying God isn't practical, but... okay, maybe I am. I really wonder if he thought all these things through. I know he's perfect and all, but is perfect practical?

You may feel I have a lightening bolt headed my way for even questioning such things, but I think God's a big God and can take it. In fact, he's probably laughing at me. Because even if he isn't the most practical of deities, I think he at least has a sense of humour. He must, because, seriously, have you seen a sloth?

What would you ask God??

*I don't know that God would drink Starbucks, but also don't know that he wouldn't. I also don't know if he likes mocha's, but it has chocolate so I can't see why he wouldn't.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Car Seat Cover

I read a lot of blogs and often come across really fun craft projects. My head fills with all the wonderful ideas of things I could make.

That is, if I could sew.

Technically, I can sew. My Mom made sure that she taught me when I was young and I managed to finish some projects. Though to be fair, most of the things that I claimed that I made usually included me calling for my Mom to either come and fix something I did or to come and do the “hard part” for me.

Come to think of it, I don't know that I actually made anything completely on my own.

Well I'm proud to show you something I made.

Just like when I was a kid.

With my Mom's help.

Lot's of help.

Okay, I picked the fabric. She did the rest.

She even helped pick the fabric.

I had great intentions! Thanks Mom.

So this is my new girly car seat cover. I've had long enough thinking about if its practical to get something in non-gender neutral colours. Now with two girls I'm getting to have some fun!

I got the tutorial here. Check it out and make your own. Mom says its not hard.

Friday, August 13, 2010


You probably grew up hearing that everyone was special. I did too. I actually hated hearing that because it seemed to me that if everyone was special, then no one was special. I've matured some and figured out that, yes, everyone CAN indeed be special.

But today I get to be more special.

Why? Because I'm left-handed. Today is National Left-handers day. This is a day to celebrate the south-pawed in the world. (if I remember right, that phrase came from the polar bear who are all south-pawed).

We're a unique breed. Typically quite creative (though I have quite the logic streak for being so right-brained!), and we have to live in a world that is not designed for us.

Don't believe me? Pick up your coffee cup. My personal favorite is my Josh Groban mug. This is it here:

I got it at a concert a couple of years ago that my husband gave me tickets to for my birthday. I was so close I could touch Josh! And just to prove that he is the best husband he gave me two tickets and told me to take a friend! So I went with my friend Tanya. I love you, Mark!

But I digress...

If you pick up your mug and you look at the picture, it's typically featured to show the picture when you're drinking out of it with your right hand. I would show you what I mean, but I only buy mugs with the print on both sides because I thinks that's entirely unfair. I drink with my left hand and just want to enjoy my picture too! Just a note that someone on Josh's merch team must be a lefty because they designed the mug in such a way it HAS to start on the left side.

Also, pick up a ruler.


Does anyone use those anymore? Oh, it's back-to-school time. I'm sure grade school children still have rulers. So if you don't have one, head to your local office supply store and pick one up, just so I can show you this. For a lefty if you tell me to measure 3 centimetres I have to do so on the opposite side of where I'm measuring and can't see very well because the numbers go the wrong way. Either that, or I have to measure from 30 to 27. And remember, lefties are not typically logical! (When I was 9 we went to the SouthPaw Shoppe in California and picked up a left-handed ruler, so I don't have to have this problem anymore). Here is my ruler on the left, compared to a “regular” one on the right:

If you're right-handed imagine using it to measure and you'll understand what I mean.

You know those green handled scissors? They're made especially for us. The blades cross the other direction so that we can actually SEE the line we're cutting. Oh and any scissors that say they can be used for either right or left-handers, typically only have the grip marking for lefties, they're not actually lefty-scissors. Just so you know.

And writing in coil notebooks or binders, is such a pain! The rings/coils get in the way.

And that left-handed “curl” we often have? It's so we don't smudge every word we write. I often have an ink stain on my hand from my pinky to my wrist from just this. So annoying.

All you right-handers may be thinking, “Who cares?” Well 10-15% of the population cares. You're literally ruining, or at least shortening our lives by making us try to conform to you ways! Most left-handers don't live past 80. That's not cool, people! I have great plans to make it to 100.

But there are good things about being a lefty. Such as:

-People will give you first choice of seating at a table so they don't have to bump elbows with you
-Music ability comes quite naturally
-As do a lot of other creative abilities
-We're generally better at reading up-side-down and backwards. Which means if I'm sitting across from you, I can read all your notes.
-We're the only people on the planet that are in our right minds (hardy-har-har!)
-And we get to share the ranks with famous left-handers.

Here are some of my favourites:

Jim Henson and his favourite frog pal Kermit (his banjo is even strung left-handed)
Albert Einstein
Jimi Hendrix
Leonardo da Vinci
Alexander the Great
Joan of Arc
Ehud (in the Bible – its in the Judges. Look it up. Funny story!)
Benjamin Franklin
Oprah Winfrey (okay, maybe not a favourite, but I feel I should acknowledge her so that you can see what kind of world-changing power we have!)
Mark Twain
Queen Victoria (and actually many, many of the royal family)
Jim Carey
And all 4 of my siblings.

Yup, all 5 of my parents' children were born lefties. (For the record, I think if Val had ended up right handed and ruined it all we would have made her switch!) The best part about this? Neither of my parents are left-handed. The odds of 2 right-handed people have 1 lefty is 2%. They had 5 and 100% of their kids at that! Crazy, crazy! And THAT makes me extra-special!

So, go find a left-hander that you know and give them a big hug today! Celebrate them because they're AWESOME!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kaitlyn's Arrival Detailed

It has taken me far too long to write this post! I have had many friends ask me about my water-birth experience so I have been meaning to document it. So here it is. Just a word of caution, I'm sure I will share way too much information, so if you fear that after reading about me giving birth you won't be able to look me in the eyes, I recommend stopping reading after this paragraph and just know in your heart that it was a great experience and we'll leave it at that. Mmmmkay?

Kaitlyn's due date was July 21st, but as anyone who has had a baby, or even been around someone who is pregnant knows, Babies tend to come when they want to. They can come weeks before or weeks after that date, so we had pretty much booked the month of July as “have a baby” month. This was a bit of a problem, since Mark works in television and literally half the month is spent preparing for/covering the Calgary Stampede. He has a hard time taking time off during those 10 days and the days leading up to it, so we were just kind of hoping that Baby wouldn't come then.

The Friday (the 9th) that Stampede started my family was all coming to town and so I had invited them all over to celebrate Madelyn's birthday since it wouldn't have worked for them to be at her actual birthday a few weeks earlier. Since this was also the first night of the chuckwagon races, Mark had to work. Basically this would be the worst day possible for me to go into labour with 13 extra people at my house and my husband tied up. Thankfully I didn't. The next day, the Saturday, would have been the next-worst day possible for me to go into labour. This is the day of our family's annual trip the Stampede midway and Grandstand show. I love this day! I would be slightly upset if I missed it. My family has been going to the Grandstand for over 60 years. I live for the closing song that the Young Canadians perform every year where they all come out wearing red and white and loving Canada. But everyone knows that walking around helps bring on labour and if there is anything you do on a midway, it's walk. I packed my birth bag in the car, just in case, and made it very clear that if I went into labour before the Grandstand was over, I was going to sing the O Canada Finale at the top of my lungs all the way there. It's my favourite song. It makes me feel patriotic and gives me warm fuzzies. Never seen it? Thanks to YouTube, here is a clip for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately it's taken from right in front of the stage so you can't see the full effect and it's hard to hear the words because of the fireworks blasting off, but know that it's amazing. The part I love starts around the 3 minute mark. Sooooo good!

What was I talking about? Oh ya, Kaitlyn's birth. So it rained on the Saturday which meant that we spent little time walking around the midway and instead most of our time in Buckaroo's (the indoors kids area) and going to see the Superdogs (when you have a two-year-old obsessed with Puppies, this is what you do). So, I didn't bring on labour. I got to hear my beloved song. On the way out of the grounds, Mark asked me if I wanted him to go get the car. Meh, it wasn't that far, I figured I could walk. I forgot about the hill. I don't remember that hill being so steep. I'm sure if I were to go back to see it today, it wouldn't look so steep, but when you're 9 months pregnant, that thing is huge. I basically had a contraction all the way up it. I chalked it up to braxton hicks and didn't think much of it.

We got home at 12:30am. By 12:40 I was in bed. I woke up at 1:44 with this knowing feeling that my water was going to break. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom and sure enough it broke. For the record I'm SUPER happy that it happened at home, in the bathroom and all contained-like. (Its every woman's greatest fear that this event will happen some place really public and embarrassing!) 15 minutes later contractions started. They weren't super strong so I tried to sleep through/between them as I knew I would need all the sleep I could get.

In the morning I told Mark he better call work and tell them he wasn't coming. I called my midwives to let them know I was in labour. We then called my Mom (who was staying at my brother's) as she was going to be with us for the delivery. Turns out this was the BEST day for labour. My mom was already here, my sister was staying at my house and could babysit (and meet the baby before she left). We like to think this means Kaitlyn will be accommodating. Haha!

The next couple of hours I laboured at home. Around 3:30pm I called my midwives and let them know it was time to go to the birth centre. We met them over there at about 4:30ish. My contractions were strong, close to a minute and about 6 minutes apart. Really, they never got much closer than 5 minutes apart, which made for a long labour.

They checked me and found that the baby was slightly posterior (turning toward face up – you don't want that). So I was encourage to walk around, go up and down stairs, and get on all fours to encourage the baby to turn. Well let me tell you, she was stubborn and didn't want to move. Once the contractions got super intense I begged to go in the water. They let me for a while and then would make me get out and walk to help her turn. For the record, can I just say that labouring in water is THE most fantastic thing EVER?? Wow! It's like instant relief. You still feel the contraction, but it takes the edge off. I think everyone should do it this way.

Later when they checked me, they figured out that she was also not lined up with my cervix, which meant that if I felt the urge to push I couldn't or I would cause my cervix to swell. Not cool. More walking, more stairs (I HATED the stairs by this point). I was so tired and all I wanted to do between contractions was sleep. When I wasn't begging to get back in the water, I was begging to lie down on the bed. Basically I was grumpy and whiney. God bless my patient midwives! The midwives were all nice and parent-like and would say “Sure, you can lie down, after you do three more sets of stairs.” Man! I use that same technique on Mady! They also pulled out the arsenal of everything to help turn her and speed up contractions. Every essential oil and herb I could take they were giving me. Honestly, I don't even know what they all were.

Well sure enough it wasn't long before I felt that urge to push. Man is sucks to not be able to push when that's all you want to do. We did this not-pushing thing for a few hours and finally they came and explained that they would give me one more hour and if things weren't progressing they would have to transfer me to the hospital and give me a shot of pitocin to help the contractions advance. I have a Hate/hate-even-more relationship with pitocin so that inspired me to do those stairs a few more times.

They figured out that the reason she was off centred was because my bowels were full (I told you too much info was coming!). I blame midway food and probably not drinking enough water the day before. So all my pregnant friends, empty your bowels often because otherwise you have to do it in front of other people! They had me labour on the toilet (didn't like contractions happening there, let me tell you), but it did help “move things along.” (Ahhh, I'll stop, I promise) With the extra space she could get into the correct position. Finally. By this point it was around 11:30pm. They moved me to the bed so I could push her down and once she was engaged we got in the tub and she was born at 12:08am on Monday July 12th. 8.5 hours of active labour and 30 minutes of pushing (would have been shorter if contractions weren't so far apart and I didn't take until the third one to figure out the best way to be effective.)

So she's here and she's great. She was 7lbs 2 oz and 20 inches long. Dark mop of hair (!). She eats like a trooper (so weird after having 8 weeks of struggles with Mady. Wait, who are we kidding we struggled with eating issues with Mady until just a couple of months ago!). She can sleep through anything (though we're still in that stage of eating every 3 hours so the sleep for Mommy has not yet arrived). And she's just the cutest little thing! Mady loves her and smothers her with kisses and love. I'm so blessed to have 2 sweet little girls to call my own. I'm looking forward to putting a million hair bows in her hair and making their room all girly. Hehe!

If you actually made it to the end of this post, I'm impressed!

For the record, do I recommend midwives? Yes, Yes, YES! Do I recommend water-birth? Oh my goodness yes!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Just Want A Nap!

Three weeks ago today, we had our second baby girl. This is her just a couple of hours old ready to come home from the birth centre:

This also explains why I haven't posted much this past little while. Seriously, who starts a blog a month before they have a baby and expects to get anything posted? What was I thinking?

The past three weeks have been great, except when they're not. Which is pretty much any time I'm over tired. I'm one of those people who NEEDS sleep. I get particularly grumpy if I get less than 9 hours a night. Yup, forget 8, I want the extra hour. I spent months training our older daughter how to sleep so that I could have that blissful full night's sleep. And now it's all gone out the window.

You've heard the saying “sleep when baby sleeps.” Whoever came up with that one obviously only had one child. That saying is a joke. The incredible amount of planning it now takes to try to get a nap when you have a newborn and a 2 year old is amazing. And exhausting. Hardly worth it really.

To make matters worse, our girls share a room. This happened for a few reasons. I know many people keep the new baby in the parent's room for the first few months. Our master bedroom is not big enough for any kind of baby sleep contraption to fit in it and us to still be able to open doors or drawers. And there is no way we're doing that “family bed” idea where the baby sleeps with us. Just like I NEED my sleep, I also NEED my space when I sleep. I already have to share with a husband. That's plenty.

Our second bedroom is in our basement and on the opposite end of the house from our room. If you know my 2-year-old at all you know it would be a ridiculous idea to put her down there, so far from us and with so much opportunity for mischief. Our girls also share a room because it's character building. I shared with my sister growing up. And if dealing with my mess didn't grow her character of patience, I don't know what did! However, I didn't realize that it could also be character building for the parents.

Since the little one has come along we have done a lot of furniture rearranging in their room. Some people plan out these nice nurseries for their kids. We had to plan what would cause the least amount of trouble the older one could get into. We had to lock the closet. After Kaitlyn was born, Mady would empty it on a daily basis. After re-folding and filling her dresser 2-3 times every day after she made a pile of clothes for her to “jump” into, we moved the dresser into the closet so that it too could be locked. Each new day with the baby brings yet another challenge we need to address with the older one.

Which brings me back to my nap. All I want today is a nap. I was quite excited because when I looked at how the baby's feeding schedule was lining up for the day it looked like I could put the older one down, feed the younger one, put her down and then get a good couple of hours sleep myself.

Here's how that turned out:

1pm – Daddy put Mady to bed in her room, I fed Kaitlyn.
1:15pm – Kaitlyn is now asleep enough I can transfer her to her crib. Mady has been quiet so she's probably good and asleep and I don't have to worry about any issues. Bed here I come!
1:17pm – I walk into the girls room to find Mady with a pile of diapers around her. She's proclaiming, “Poop!” I lay down Kaitlyn and change Mady and put her in her bed.
1:22pm – Crawl into my bed. Ahhh!
1:24:30pm - I hear a clunk. Daddy goes in to check and Mady is on the change table (which is at the head of the crib) trying to reach the cubbies on the wall above the crib to get the “treasures” out. He puts her back in her bed. (note: he's trying to leave to go run errands so we don't see him after this). I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep.
1:28pm – I hear clunking again. I go in to find Mady STANDING in the crib (right above her sister's head) trying to fit her sippy cup into a cubby. Out she comes and into her bed. I go back to mine.
1:32pm – More clunking. I find the exact same picture I just left the last time I walked through the door. Put Mady back in her bed, I head back to mine.
1:36pm – I'm getting smart to the sound of climbing and catch her on her way UP the change table. I have another brainwave of genius and move the change table because surely this will stop her from climbing into the crib. My bed hasn't even had the chance to warm up I've been in and out so many times. And it's barely been 20 minutes.
1:40pm – too bad she's smarter. She uses the side of the crib to climb in. I find her in the crib standing over her sister's head again. This time playing with the baby monitor that resides in one of the cubbies. Now she gets in big trouble. Wailing from her.
1:41:30pm – We repeat what just happened. More wailing. I have given up going back to bed and am now just standing outside her door.
1:45pm – I catch her 2 steps earlier (before she's IN the crib and just on her way UP it). She gets in trouble again. More wailing.
1:47:30pm – Another repeat of what just happened. Even more wailing.
1:50pm – Kaitlyn now is awake. There goes my nap.
2:00pm – Mady falls alseep behind her door. Sigh.