Thursday, June 21, 2012

and so ...

An overwhelming feeling came over me yesterday. It might not have been the first time I'd considered it, but this instinct was for real. I decided to sleep on it.

Now, it's Thursday. And I'm still feeling the same thing.

I think the little hamster on his wheel has come full circle. It's time to take a break from the blog.

Three years and 750 posts later.

The thing is, I'm busy. All the time. Not surprised, I know. When I'm not expending time and energy wrangling the most amazing toddler ever, I'm hard at work growing his new sibling. There's house work to be done, meals to be made, projects to enjoy, family and friend time to savour. It's all part of the chaos that I really, truly love.

I'm not fitting the blogging thing in very well anymore (shocker). I neglect it, feel guilty, throw posts together, and I'm not satisfied. This blog isn't reflecting what I had originally hoped and intended. I'm not sharing as many how-tos or before and afters as I once did, and it's not even a sample of my best writing (not that it was ever meant to be Pulitzer-worthy, but you know what I mean).

I'm not saying I'm gone forever, but definitely for now. Who knows what will happen a month or a year or five years from now, or what iteration my online writing will take in the future. Who knows, I might miss it horribly and come back sooner than I expect, or this may be it for good. Only time will tell.

But I wanted to say thank you, so much, for reading, commenting and making this fun for me. It's been a truly unique experience.


P.S. I'll still be writing about My Hectic Home and I'm sure I'll be seeing you on Pinterest.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

our #1

To the very best dad & husband,

We can't imagine spending our everydays without you to take care of us, keep us safe, love us and hug us.

Thank you for all that you are and all that you do, today and always.

We three love you more than you know xo

(Pictured: a pretty perfect way to spend a lazy father's day afternoon, don't you think?)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the difference a year makes

One year ago today, I ended my maternity leave early and went back to work full-time. The job was, and still is, the job. Through my excitement at the time, there was apprehension. I wondered then if I would look back and regret leaving Jacob with Husband for the summer, when I could've been home with them for two months of family freedom.

One year later, I can honestly say that I don't. My work is a part of who I am, and I would have regretted passing up the opportunity to find a comfortable place in my field again.

Now, I'm in a settled groove at work, taking on new projects and I genuinely look forward to going to the office each morning. And I know how insanely lucky I am.

On this day last year, Jacob was a still-nursing, not-yet-walking, rolly-polly babe. Now, he's an energy-filled, running-and-jumping, hilarious and sweet toddler that I just can't get enough of. We are beyond fortunate to have a wonderful home to leave him at each day, with the sweetest caregiver and her loving family. He's made many new friends and learned so much. Even now, I have butterflies every day as I make the short trip from my office to the door where I pick him up. I am thrilled to see him at the end of a busy day and relish the moment he screams "Mummy!" and jumps into my arms.

What a difference a year makes. It feels like I've come full-circle in many ways. I'm expecting again. I'm in the planning stages of another maternity leave, anticipating some time to spend all of my energy on my family.

Here's to the past year, everything it's meant to me, and knock on wood that the next is just as lucky.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

to dos for June

Ten to-dos in June:

1) Finish the flower beds, with the help of my "gardening lesson" tomorrow ... more on that later.
2) Walk. Walk. Walk. Get out for exercise as much as possible.
3) Try three new recipes.
4) Read three books. Nearly half-way through our latest book club selection, Before I Go to Sleep.
5) Bake at least once a week. Started this last weekend with chocolate chip muffins.
6) Sew and hang J's big-boy room curtains.
7) Have friends over for a backyard summer barbecue, provided the weather eventually cooperates.
8) Return our digital box and start living cable free, for at least the summer. We've enjoyed so little TV lately that it just doesn't seem worth the money. I'll report back on this later.
9) Celebrate father's day with Husband and J (which includes thinking up something special to do for him).
10) Find out the sex of our newest bundle!

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writers' prompt.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the old-fashioned way

As you may or may not know, because I never actually published Jacob's birth story, I was fortunate to give birth naturally last time. I say fortunate only because it's what I really wanted. With the help of acupuncture from a naturopathic doctor, I was able to go into labour on my own at 10 days overdue, and was relieved to avoid the induction process (which friends have said is really horrible).

And by naturally, I must preface that I had a dose of morphine around the six-cm mark, and went to town on some laughing gas while I pushed. Worth noting: everyone I know who has asked for the gas agrees, there's nothing worth laughing about. In childbirth, the stuff serves no purpose, unless it's to encourage you to inhale like a maniac.

This time, I'm planning and hoping to do it the same way, but hopefully with less yelling. I'm not even joking. I know there are lots of mamas out there who call me crazy. What about an epidural, you ask? Frankly, I am absolutely terrified of the thought of that needle, which far outweighs the pain of the alternative. That's just me.

This time, I want to learn more relaxation and focusing techniques to help manage the contractions and make for a smooth, stress-free experience. I know that birthing babies is an extremely unpredictable process, and while I thoughtfully wrote my birth plan last time, I wasn't married to it. I know that unforeseen circumstances arise all the time that warrant sudden changes. That's partially why I'm more comfortable birthing in a hospital setting. No matter what the outcome, I'd like to do a bit of advanced preparation to help guide the process as much as I'm able.

But all of this blabber brings me to my main question, what are the best resources for this sort of thing? And by thing, I mean natural ways to manage pain and promote/facilitate easier child birth. I just got "The Official Lamaze Guide" from the library as a start. I haven't started reading it yet, but the table of contents looks promising. Have you or someone you know taken a Lamaze class? All I know is that they seem expensive ($300 for a two-day session)? What about the Bradley Method? Any others?

Monday, June 4, 2012

dreaming nursery dreams

In case you're not following me on Pinterest, I thought I'd throw together some nursery thoughts to share ... I'd love to know what you think. It's a fairly unisex scheme, even though we should know if it's dude or dudette by the end of this month!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

pinned it and did it

The more I pin and the less I do, I more I start to feel stressed. I'm finally entering that second-trimester phase of must-get-everything-done-immediately energy, which means I'm irrational and certainly not accomplishing enough to suit my inner, overly-ambitious freak.

That said, I'm not completely sedentary and I have pinned it and done it a few times of late. 

First up, our new family fave: pumpkin pancakes. This is a Martha Stewart recipe (how can you go wrong?) and I've doubled it both times I've made it. Such a delicious twist on a weekend staple, plus some added veggies in our breakfast. I'm thinking of trying sweet potato pancakes next week.

I pinned a list, 17 ways to make your life easier, and I've already put a couple into practice, like #14 (shave legs with conditioner -- works so well and I always end up with a surplus of conditioner when the shampoo is gone, so this makes perfect sense), #16 (using cornmeal to get rid of ants, results TBA), and #17 (washing out dryer filters regularly). 

I loved this image (right) so much that I printed it, framed it and put it on our mantel.

We've had organizational issues in our bathroom drawers since we moved. I loved this idea, to house all our dental hygiene items in one, labeled place. So I picked up a silverware tray at the dollar store and turned the before into the after. Will show you the  results later this week! 

I made these parmesan hash brown cups as an appetizer for a couple friends a few weeks ago. When I make them again, and I will, I'll add less oil, or maybe none at all, and I'll add some chopped veggies, like peppers, to make them more interesting. I would definitely use them as a side dish for brunch.

What have you pinned and done lately?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

t minus five minutes until snack time

108 days. That's how long I was able to hold out before sending my husband on a somewhat emergency French fry run at 9:45 p.m. 108 days.

Does a gal get any credit for that?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

reading by the day

I've decided that the only way I can read everything that I need and want to read in the time that I have is by sticking to a schedule. It sounds crazy, I know. Something I do for pleasure is really starting to take over my life a little. But I'm OK with that. I just need a plan.

It starts with the book club books. And I'm not complaining. I genuinely want to read them. The trick is that we've been slacking a little of late and we want to pickup the pace to an every-three-weeks meeting routine. And these are good books (mostly), I might add, so it shouldn't take nearly three weeks to read one, which should provide downtime for reading other books.

Admittedly, I was practically narcoleptic for the first three months of this pregnancy, so any and all reading time was unceremoniously dumped in favour of sleep. This set me a little behind. So, I was relieved when the last book club meeting was postponed and I had a little more time to finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Confession: I still haven't finished. Next on the LitWits roster is A Dive From Clausen's Pier. Haven't cracked it. In fact, I lent my library copy to another club member because I knew she would read it faster and then she'd give it back to me to read myself. *In fact, since I started drafting this post, she already finished it and returned it to me and I have yet to crack the cover. I am the biggest book club failure. I have six days to complete it before our next meeting.

On my own, I have a few books on the go. I was about half-way through the second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, when I had to put it down in favour of a time-sensitive book-club read and failed to pick it up again. I want to get back to that soon.

I've also been bitten by the 50 Shades of Grey bug. I'm about half-way through that one, too.

And then, a co-worker lent me a copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by The Bloggess Jenny Lawson. If you read The Bloggess, you have to know why her book made it to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List ... this gal is hysterical. I can't wait to dive into her book. But, where to find the time?

So here's the plan: Book club books at night before bed. Every night. Even if it's only two or three pages before I'm nodding off. I've got to be in the habit. My personal book picks on weekends or in spare time. This is often hard to come by, but for the right book, I'll make the time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And now I'm now thinking about the sewing projects that need to be completed, scrapbooks that need to be updated ... the list goes on. How do you find time for "me" stuff, like reading or hobbies? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a letter to the little one

Dear sweet baby,

Being pregnant with you is nothing like it was when I was carrying your older brother. Last time, I was reading the prenatal books week by week, keeping track of all the tiny milestones that are happening in there by the minute.

This time, I'm not. And it's not because I don't care or don't wonder how your doing. I just trust that you're OK. I'm keeping care of you on the outside so you can do your thing on the inside. And you are already doing so well. Last week, at my first prenatal appointment, I got to hear the familiar chugga chugga chugga of your strong baby heartbeat. It warmed my heart and made you feel much more present in my life. This week, you've really started to move around, reminding me now and then that you're there. I almost forgot how much absolutely love that feeling.

The first few months were rougher than I expected they'd be; you must be a little fire cracker! Now that I'm getting my energy back, I'm daydreaming more and more about who you are and what you'll be like.

Since we're starting to get more acquainted, let me fill you in on a few things. Your dad is, in my humble opinion, the best one around. He's going to take you outside to play and make sure you get lots of yummy healthy snacks and he'll pretty much always read you an extra book at bedtime if you ask super nicely. Your brother is smart and caring and hilarious, and you are going to love him as much as we do. He will teach you how to get into all kinds of trouble, but I'm OK with that. And me? Well, I'm already your biggest fan. I'll bake you cookies and snuggle you at any hour and tickle you for days. I can't wait.

I'm very much looking forward to the next 25(ish) weeks, and even more to meeting you.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a first for us

Write about a time your child embarrassed you in public.

It was mother's day of all days, and in the library of all places.

Part of my mama-chosen fun for the day was a family trip to the library. Jacob loves it there - checking out the toys and books and talking to new kids. I love browsing, especially when I have extra hands to keep an eye on our roving toddler.

About 10 minutes before we were set to leave, Husband gave J a five-minute warning, to which J stomped and squealed a bit, but he became tight lipped after we both gave him the stink eye and told him to behave nicely.

So, I wandered off for my last few moments of browsing in the parenting and pregnancy section, and I swear no sooner had I picked up a book about toddler discipline, when I heard the ruckus coming from the children's section. Someone was very unhappy about having to clean up and get ready to leave.

But this went beyond the normal realm of J expressing his unhappy feelings. He freaked. Full-tilt screaming. Huge tears. Meltdown. No, he was not going to clean up the toys. No, he was not going to leave the library. No, No, No.

Colour me crimson. The silent library was not so quiet as he continued to lose it while Husband insisted that he return his toys to the shelf before we left. He did so, and at the end of the 30-second tidy that felt like 30 hours, I sent them out to the car while I checked out our selections at the front desk.

I felt rotten. Not because he was loud in the library. Not because he'd thrown an utter tantrum in public. Not because I was embarrassed, though I was. It was more so because I couldn't reach him. I was talking to him, holding him, looking him in the eye, but he wasn't seeing me or hearing me. All he knew was that he was not happy about what was taking place and he was going to let us know, damnit.

It was a first for us, and certainly not the last, I know. I hopped in the backseat and chatted with J during the ride home. Once he was calm, we talked about what happened and why it wasn't nice. I'm sure he'd long-since forgotten about it by the time we reached our house, but I felt a little better, having done my due-diligence in explaining right and wrong. But it still bothered me for the rest of the day, knowing that he really does have that toddler side to him, and even though I knew it would one day make its appearance, it was still surprising and kind of sad. Sigh.

Come on, mamas, share your moments, too. We've all been there!


Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.