Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tying Regret

The struggles we went through to conceive Z are well-documented. The intrusive daily ultrasounds, the daily needle in the ass, finding out we were having twins and then losing one of them early on. It was heartbreaking. Then there were the pregnancy complications. The Subchorionic Haemorrhage that never did resolve during the course of the pregnancy. That was followed by an unexpected spike in blood pressure, which lead to stress contractions, which got the clot flowing, which caused a spontaneous rupture of membranes (SROM). Broken waters + no labour = a repeat c-section instead of the VBAC my heart was set on, and the rest is history.

All in all, it was a pretty shitty year. Except for, you know, for the awesome baby that came as part of the deal. The Husband and I discussed permanent measures to prevent pregnancy because of how hard everything had been on us both. We decided that if I did end up having another c-section, we would have a tubal ligation done while they were in there. I had all the consent forms done in advance, pretty sure that it wouldn't be necessary because surely the second time around, after everything I had been through in BOTH pregnancies, I would get the birth experience I wanted.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Fuck you, fate!
Tying Regret -
Image: David Castillo Dominici at

So I had the surgery, my tubes were tied and the deed was done. For a year, it was all good in the hood. Z didn't sleep through the night and frankly, I am closing in on the Big Four-Oh. I am too old for this baby shit. Or so I thought...

Now M is nearly six, Z is a happy, thriving toddler and I just couldn't be any happier. Except that deep down, in places I don't really like to talk about or even admit exist, part of me wonders if there isn't the teeniest, tiniest little bit of me that regrets making a permanent decision in the throes of another difficult pregnancy.

Oh, I know it's crazy and this little family of ours is perfect. But it was supposed to be THREE kids, had we not lost Z's twin. Is there something missing? No, not really. I'm sure if we hadn't made the decision at that moment we would have made the same one by now and we'd be in the exact same spot. I'll just give my babies a great, big hug and stick to wondering, "What if?"

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cold Feet

Cold Feet -
Image: satit_srihin at
We've all heard of cold feet, the anxiety-driven "fight or flight" thing that happens before a big life event. But I'm not talking about that kind of cold feet, I'm talking about literal cold feet. I'm mere weeks away from a significant milestone birthday, and some of the more unwelcome changes that come with age are starting to creep up on me.

Specifically, my feet turn into popsicles late at night.

Now, granted, some of this may be related to the night time temperature in my house, which I keep cool because of extraordinary cheapness. But that can't be all there is to it, because I have always kept the house cooler at night. No, this is strictly a case of mother nature messing with me. A few months ago I decided The Husband deserved better than a wife who fell into bed in the same clothes she wore all day, that had since been covered in a thick layer of puréed food and toddler snot. I started wearing actual "Lady of the Manor" night clothes to bed.

Any benefit gained by this change has been summarily negated by my new-found need to wear SOCKS TO BED like a 92-year-old man. Because nothing says sexy-time like running a sock-covered foot up and down your husband's thigh at night.

For my younger readers who are wondering what they can do to avoid this plague of the feet, the only words of wisdom I can offer are these: DON'T GET OLDER!! That's it, that's all I've got. Oh that and maybe try to find some evening socks that match my night clothes...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Operation: Get in the Frame

She's alive! 18 months after welcoming our Little Cat Z to the world, the fog has lifted. A lot has changed, most notably my decision not to go back to full-time work after my maternity leave ended in June. I'm a bona fide work at home mom, squeezing in all the freelance writing and PR consulting I can during naps and after bedtime. M's after school programs are a breeze now that I'm able to make it to something that starts at 4:00. Z and I fill our days with trips to a neighbourhood play centre and running all the errands that filled our weekends when I worked outside the home. It's always busy, it's sometimes exhausting, and all this extra time with my kids makes every single sacrifice so worthwhile. 

Perhaps the biggest change has been my feelings about self-care. Turns out that I finally got the message: I can't be a good mother or a good wife if I don't put my own mask on first. Which brings me to the latest operation: STOP HIDING FROM THE CAMERA! If you've been around here for a while, you may remember Operation: Try Again and Operation: Momentum from way, way back in my pre-pregnancy days. I had every intention of getting back on the wagon shortly after Z was born. However, he is not a Unicorn Baby like his sister, who was sleeping through the night at six weeks old. Little Z took until he was nearly a year old to get with the program. There I was, damn near insane from an entire year of fragmented sleep, and feeling pretty icky all the time. Something had to change. 

Monster Dash 2014
Enter The 21 Day Fix* It really is as simple as it seems. Follow the meal plan, do one video every day (there's a modifier for those just starting out), and ta-da! I also further modified the exercises on my own to avoid activities that bug my bad knee or those that could worsen my diastasis recti. Now, I know what the cynics among you are thinking... Well, duh! If it involves eating less and moving more, ANYTHING will work. To that I say, well smart ass, why aren't you doing "anything" if it works so well? Oh, that's right! Because getting started is a lot easier with the structured approach of an actual plan. In the initial 21 days, I lost nine pounds and several inches, including 3.5" off my waist. 

That was in June. I have continued following the meal plan (more or less) and have gradually been increasing the intensity of the exercise. I joined the gym again and have been consistently going several times a week. I ran a 5K this fall, proving something to myself and setting an example for my daughter who ran the family race with me. I'm now down 27 pounds, my waist circumference and waist-hip ratio are *thisclose* to getting out of the danger zone, and I can get through the day without collapsing in exhaustion in the evening. I can back off on the efforts now, right?


Next up, Insanity Max 30* I'm no longer doing this because I want to get pregnant. I'm not doing this for my husband. I'm not even really doing it for my kids. IT'S ALL ABOUT ME! I'm tired of avoiding the camera or not sharing family photos because I'm worried about the extra chins or the size of my belly. So, I can do something about my self-esteem and my body image, which would require a time machine, or I can do something about how woman in the frame looks to me any everyone else. Since I haven't been able to find any time machines, I'll have to keep going on the weight loss. Dammit. 

You, dear readers (all 6 of you who may still be around), get to come along on this journey too. To keep myself accountable I'm launching another mission. Operation: Get in the Frame commences on December 29th. You can expect semi-regular progress updates, and eventually I may feel like sharing some Before & After pictures. Stay tuned!

* Disclosure: I am not a BeachBody coach, I don't have plans to become one, and I am not being compensated for sharing my feedback. However, my friend Sandra is a BeachBody coach, and the links to the programs I have used with success are associated with her profile. If you place an order, she will earn the standard coach's commission. If you don't want to order anything, that's OK. You should like her Facebook page anyway, because she's lovely and she shares all kinds of motivational tips and anecdotes. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dear Vegans,

First of all, I want to thank you. Because of your inventiveness and advocacy, I was able to find all of the ingredients for some truly delicious cupcakes easily, thus allowing my egg- and dairy-allergic son to celebrate his first birthday just like any other kid.

It made my insides feel all warm and fuzzy, and I am truly grateful. 

But vegans, I gotta level with you... That stuff you call cheese? It tastes like shit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life with TWO parasites

So this life with two small children... It's busy. Like really busy. But busy in SUCH a good way... most of the time. The Husband and I sometimes wonder if we're dreaming, like this is too good to be true. Apparently that's common for people who have been through infertility and pregnancy loss. Every so often I let myself think that Z started off as a pair of twins and I get a little sad, but then I push those thoughts aside because we have two beautiful children and that's just the size our family was meant to be.

M is days away from her 5th birthday and her sass gives me a run for my money every single day. So far this year, she has been to Disney World and Disney on Ice and gone on a maple sugar tour and on her first trip to the theatre for another little friend's birthday. She's into art and music and is turning into quite the little gymnast. She conquered Space Mountain, and will not hesitate to hell you her first real, grown-up roller coaster was "AWESOME!" She is fearless, that little girl of mine.

Little Cat Z is 10 months old and getting to be more fun every day. This is the happiest baby on earth. His giggles brighten my day, and he has taken to sleeping in late enough that I need to wake him up to keep to our daily routine. On the days he has been dragged out of bed, he spends that first half hour quiet and extra cuddly. It's the very best way to start the day. Otherwise he is a mad man, a speed demon crawler, pulling up to stand at every piece of furniture in the house. Walking cannot be far behind.

You know, neither one of us wanted kids when we first met. I guess we had just never met someone we wanted to have kids with. I'm so glad we both changed our minds!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vicks Starry Night Humidifier #ProductReview

Hey, my calendar says SPRING starts this week! So... Why does my backyard still look like a frozen wasteland? Seriously, LOOK AT IT! When I was asked to review the Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier, I thought the cold & flu season might have run its course in my house. Luckily (?) I was wrong! Before I tell you about my experience, here are some fun facts:

New Health Survey of Canadians – A new survey of approximately 750 Canadians (random sampling of male & female reflective of Canada’s demographics) was conducted by the makers of Honeywell Air Purifiers and Vicks Humidifiers & Thermometers.  Below are some of the interesting findings:

  • Nearly half (43%) of Canadians suffer from airborne allergies, and in almost a quarter (22%) of homes at least two people are allergy-sufferers.
  • The majority of Canadians (69%) estimate that having a sick child costs over C$20 a day, and 18% estimate that it costs over C$100!
  • Most respondents (64%) indicated that fever scares them, and 70% of parents call the Healthline or doctor at least sometimes when their child is sick.

 Dr. Dave Greenberg offers these tips about cold and flu:

  • Flu Facts - When homes are kept at the optimal 40-60 percent relative indoor humidity level, flu virus survival in the air can be dramatically decreased - by up to 30%.  Homes with radiant heat see a bigger decrease in flu virus survival when using a humidifier compared to homes with forced air heat.
  • Time to Recover - They might be running around the house, feeling healthy but it’s important to keep kids home from school, play dates, and after school activities for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks.
  • Prevent & Protect - Many people say the best way protect yourself and your family from the flu is with the vaccine. It takes about two weeks for your body to develop protective antibodies, so the sooner you get vaccinated the better.
It turns out M was the first to need the Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier. I mean, getting sick sucks when you're nearly five, but having an awesome light show softens the blow, right?

The Good: This thing is quiet. Like less than a whisper, good thing it has a light on it because otherwise I wouldn't be sure it was on kind of quiet. It releases an invisible vapour, which keeps little hands away from temptation. The starry night display is really cute and made being sick a little less unfortunate.

The Things I Would Change if I Could: The light show is great, really cute. And very entertaining. So entertaining, in fact, that I think it may have disrupted sleep a little. I would LOVE to see a timer in the next iteration. There is a filter in the humidifier that filters out impurities, but needs to be replaced periodically. Maybe it's my own lack of organization, but I can see that being a problem down the road. "Uh-oh, she needs the humidifier tonight! Ah, crap. The filter is crusty!" A reusable version that could be cleaned would be awesome.

Overall, I think it's great and the quiet operation is enough of a boon to make put it in the recommend category. Want one of your own? Here's what the manufacturer has to say: "The new Vicks Starry Night Humidifier releases cool moisture into the air, providing temporary relief from dry air discomforts. A cool mist humidifier helps keep air at a comfortable humidity to help relieve nasal and chest congestion. Available at London Drugs, Wal-Mart, Loblaw, Toys R Us, Target & Rexall. SRP of $59.99"

Or, better yet, ENTER TO WIN The Mommy Knows Best Prize Pack, valued at over $350.

Disclosure: I received a Vicks Starry Night Humidifier from Vicks & Braun for review purposes, but no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

We experienced a #MapleSugarRush with @ExploreWR and you should too! #DiscoverOntario

Photo by @zamlos
Used with permission from The Curious Creature
Pancakes are a pretty big deal around here on weekends, mostly because they are the perfect vessel for copious amounts of maple syrup. When we were asked to take part in a family bloggers trip to explore the Waterloo Region, we jumped at the chance. What a great day for all of us! 

The Maple Sugar Bush

It started with a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the Maple SugarBush at Martin's Farm with our equine companions, Duke and Mikki.

Mmmmm... Maple toffee on snow!
I'm a little ashamed to admit that despite living my whole life about an hour away from the Waterloo Region I have just never gotten around to doing a tour to see how maple syrup is made. I know, how dreadfully un-Canadian of me! Thankfully, I have rectified this for my own kids, though granted a little too early for Little Cat Z to have much recollection of it. That's OK, now that I'm reminded just how close to home it is and how much fun can be had, we can make this trip an annual event for his benefit. Also, it turns out I'm a "medium" maple syrup kind of gal, but I could be talked into an amber if the pancake is right.

After a break for some maple toffee on snow and hot apple cider to warm us up, we headed off to the St.Jacobs Farmers Market for a tasty lunch. The Husband highly recommends Grandpa’s Soft Pretzels, and this is not a man whose recommendations should be taken lightly, particularly not when it comes to baked goods.

The Village of St. Jacobs

Child provided for scale
St. Jacobs is so quaint, one might think time forgot it. This is probably due to the large local Mennonite population, a group we learned more about from TheMennonite Story at the St. Jacobs Visitor Center. M is a bit too young to "get it" but The Husband and I found it very interesting. The next stop, however, was a little kids dream. You’ll have to see the St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle ModelRailway to believe it. Model building isn't a hobby I could ever take up with any success because of skills required. Like patience, of which I have none. But when people who love it get together to build something like this, the results are spectacular. Another highlight of the day was sampling craft beers at Block Three Brewing.

The Maple Sugar Rush experience was a great way to spend a day with the littles. It's amazing to think about just how much there is to see and do just a short drive away from home. Family Day is coming up and it’s only an hour away. Better still, make a mid-week adventure during March Break. I'm not into crowds so I really enjoyed the weekday adventure, but if you don’t mind being one of the masses and you're really into your maple syrup, go check out the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival this spring.

Disclosure: We received complimentary meals and admission to attractions from the Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation as part of this blogger tour for review purposes, but otherwise no compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.