Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Video to Say Hello!

I just wanted to say hi and thanks for coming to visit me at my blog. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Have a great day!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Secondary Infertility - An Ache That Burns Deep

Since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a mom. I even remember wanting to steal my daycare lady's baby and keep her as my own at the age of 9. Ha! I swear I'm not creepy. I just loved babies so, so much. That sweet smell, those big, beautiful eyes, those soft chubby cheeks. Sigh... They are so cute when they are tiny and new.

Fast forward almost 20 years later to when I met my husband. We had discussed children early on, and I made it pretty clear that children had always been part of my life plan. So within a few months of getting married, I was fortunate to get pregnant with our daughter after only trying for one month. Wow, that was easy! The pregnancy wasn't a walk in the park but, by the end, we had the most beautiful little girl with the biggest, roundest blue eyes I'd ever seen. We were over the moon!

Within a few years we were ready to start trying for another child so Z would have a sibling. I wanted my children to be a few years apart so it was time to start trying. I had gotten pregnant so easily with Z that I was sure my husband would just look at me funny and I'd be pregnant. Well, that did not happen.

We tried for a few years and nothing was happening. I had mentioned the issue to my doctor after about the first year and she said, "pray and keep trying. You'll get pregnant eventually." Wrong. I prayed, I wished, I hoped, we tried and nothing happened. To make matters worse, everyone I knew was getting pregnant. And each time I heard the news, it felt like a dagger in my heart. Why was it so easy for everyone else but me? Why was my body failing me? I spent many days lying in my bed in a pool of tears, empty, sad and feeling like a failure.

And no matter what anyone says, secondary infertility isn't any less painful than someone who is infertile and hasn't had children. I remember feeling guilty for my sadness because I already had a baby, and I wondered what right I had to be so devastated by this inability to conceive for a second time. People would say, "well at least you have one baby." To me it didn't matter. There was such a huge hole in my heart. So don't ever apologize for how you feel. The pain is just as raw.

Eventually, my doctor referred us to a fertility clinic and, I'm happy to say, I did eventually get pregnant after being on a fertility drug. The tests, the side effects of the drugs and the costs didn't make it the easiest process ever but I was so thankful to have my darling little boy.

I wish I had been given advice about using a holistic and natural approach to fertility rather than settling with the medical interventions we eventually had to turn to. I so appreciate what those amazing doctors did for me but I wish I had this alternative when I was first battling infertility.

Pregnancy Miracle was developed by Lisa Olson: a nutrition specialist, health consultant, Chinese medicine researcher and author who battled with infertility herself. Her system has helped thousands of women, just like you, permanently reverse their infertility, get pregnant quickly and give birth to healthy children. 

Whether you're in your 30s or 40s, have had tubal obstructions, variances in your hormone levels, a partner with low sperm count, a history of miscarriages, or uterine or fibroid cysts, this might make a difference for you.

Click here to see a video that might give you new hope for the happy ending you deserve.

Grievance Du Jour

I just finished sorting the laundry to get it ready for washing, and I can't help but notice that all of my family, especially my husband and daughter, take their clothes off inside out. Now when it's time to fold, I have to put all their clothes back to normal.

I've decided they hate me.

If you're looking for me tonight, I'll be in my basement, folding laundry. Forever.

Friday, 5 December 2014

What Happened to My Norman Rockwell Moment?

Do you hear that delicious silence? You probably don't hear it over your gaggle of children but, currently in my house, I can actually hear the clock ticking on my piano. That's always an indicator of how quiet my house actually is. It's such a pretty clock, isn't it?

Alleluia for Grandparents

The reason it's quiet here right now, at this very moment in time, is because my children are spending the afternoon and evening with my mom. God bless her for taking them for a few hours so I can just suck in the glory of my house without children ransacking it and filling it with their polluted sounds of fighting and complaining. My children really are lovely... with other people... most of the time. Lately however, when they are at home, they just sucks every morsel of life and energy I have. I'm thankful for this few hours to refuel and refocus. Shout out to grandparents!!!

I'm also thankful that my mom came with us to the mall today to see the big man himself, Santa Claus. As she told me, "I haven't done this in 30 years." I'm glad I could help bring back those warm and fuzzy memories for her, living the excitement through her grandchildren's eyes.

Not What I Pictured

I always have these huge plans for these picture perfect activities for us to do as a family. In my mind, I always imagine everything running like a Disney movie - the perfect setting, a lesson learned, and beautiful memories I can put in a box with a pretty bow, and store in my mind until I'm old and grey where I will relive them as I sit in my rocking chair with my grandchildren on my lap. Sigh... The life of an optimist....

The reality is that almost none of the activities I plan for us to do, no matter how awesome and exciting they might sound, ever turn out like the rosy pictures I conjure up in my little head. Never. Ever. I personally blame the three-year-old with an attitude.

How It Plays Out

We're not even out our own door and the always-cranky baby B (who is now 3) exclaims like he does every 3 hours, "I am so mad!" By the way, he got that line from an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood where Daniel Tiger's teacher, or mom, or somebody tells Daniel, in sing song of course, "if you feel so mad, that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to four." Great advice from the show but the only part my son retained was Daniel Tiger saying "I'm so mad!" at the top of his lungs. Thanks PBS. You're awesome.

Once I've convinced him to put his boots on (usually by bribing him with food or a toy), I get him and the girl and the husband into the car, ready to roll. But wait... The husband forgot his phone, or keys, or wallet - it can be any of said items or a combination of said items. Considering I have to remember everything else, it'd be nice if I didn't have to take care of the other adult in the house too. Just sayin'.

The car ride is usually a nightmare with cranky baby B screaming at his sister for looking at him funny, or my 8-year-old daughter Z complaining that she doesn't like the music on the radio. I yell at them to be quiet. They do not make an effort. I'm irritated. Can we go home?

We get to our activity, let's take visiting Santa, since that's what we did today. The kids are starving because they haven't eaten in 20 minutes. So we have to get food at the mall. Because they are dressed in their Christmas outfits to have their pictures taken with Santa, they inevitably spill ketchup and wipe fry grease all over their brand new clothes.

We take them to the bathroom to clean them up. Baby B, who has just learned to go potty, pees on his pants because he does not know how to control that male appendage of his I just don't get. (Why does it shoot in so many directions?) I clean him off as best as I can and hope that Santa doesn't get pee on his lap. (I'm sure it wouldn't be the first time anyway. Poor Santa!) Z is filthy so we have to hose her down from top to toe, and tuck her hair back into the braids I meticulously spun before we left.

As we are walking to see Santa, which is in the centre of the mall, we pass by stores that are calling my kids' names. They see all the shiny and flashy objects and get distracted so we keep having to get them back in line like sheep dogs herding their flock.

We finally get in line to see Santa, and the two of them just can't sit still. My kids have a lot of energy and never stop moving. Plus, kids and lines just don't go together. Ever. They shuffle around the line in the area we're standing in, just hyper with excitement as they can see the top of Santa's hat around the corner.

We finally get to the front of the line and cranky pants Mr. B. does not want to see Santa. So I drag him a little, bribe him with yet another treat (Santa's candy cane), and wait for the magical moment when the nice picture lady can snag a shot of them sitting up on Santa's lap. Well, they were sitting. And their clothes look sort of clean. Baby B looks constipated, and Z looks drunk but we got the picture, I guess. Another family trip over. Another dream of a perfect outing crushed.

Life Is Never Picture Perfect

I know life is not the perfect pictures we see in movies, and that it's super messy, and hard, and some days, down right shitty. It's not my kids' faults that things don't turn out the way I imagine. It's my OWN fault. My creative, overly-perfectionist brain has a way of concocting these scenarios that no real family could live up to. I have to learn to lower my expectations, and just live in the moment. Because when I'm old and grey, sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch, looking back on this picture of my two babies, I won't remember the chaos that took place getting them to that moment. All I'll remember when I look at those pictures are those two beautiful kids and how they were, and will always be, the most magical part of my world. And I'm very lucky to have them in it.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

What I'll Do For A Discount!

My friend Jill own's the Real Deals on Home Decor store in Winnipeg and, in order to get 15% off my purchase a few weeks ago, she asked me to sing for her Facebook promotion. And making a special appearance is my little guy, baby B.

If you're in the Winnipeg area, make sure you check out Real Deals on Home Decor. Adorable shabby chic decor at super reasonable prices!

Have a good night y'all!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Keeping Up With The Joneses - No Thanks!

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday afternoon on my way home from work. She was in a financial challenge group I had on Facebook and had a few questions she wanted to ask about budgeting. As we got to talking a bit more, we got on the topic of "keeping up with the Joneses", and at what point do we just try to be happy with enough.

I remember when we were going to buy our first house in a little town north of Winnipeg. We had sold my husband's condo and we're looking to build our first home together. My husband had a lot of equity poured into his condo - it was basically paid for and he made a lot of money when we sold it. The realtor could not fathom why we didn't want to buy a $300,000 home! The bank would easily lend us the money to build a mansion if we wanted to so why would we "settle" for a $130,000 home? She looked at us like we had monkey's flying out of our ears. Seriously.

It was simple. We were two people with no kids. Although we knew we wanted kids eventually, this new little bi-level would still accommodate our family even if it wasn't huge with an extra bedroom, outdoor kitchen and butler's quarters. (ha....) We were pretty firm that we did not want to be house poor. The two of us had pretty decent jobs at the time and we knew that this home would be a good fit for us. We didn't need more rooms than people. It's not just the financial aspect of it but from an environmental stand point, I really do care about my carbon footprint and I don't need to use more resources to have a fancy house I can brag about to my friends. Arrogance.... That's another topic for another day.

Eventually we did move to a "bigger" house. We went from 900 square feet to 1500 square feet but this house was a two-storey so the space on each level is only about 700 square feet. The reason for the move was more about being closer to family and moving back to the area where I grew up. I love my "little birdhouse" - that's what the people in the big expensive houses in our town call ours. I'm sure most of them look at us and think, "one day they'll move up in the world, those poor people." Truth of the matter is that because our mortgage wasn't outrageous, and we didn't have a ton of bills, I was able to stay home part-time with both my kids, and I still work part-time to this day. Our house isn't massive but it's just the right size for the four of us, our two cats and our one dog. And by working part-time, I've been able to find the right balance to take the stress off our family by taking care of most of the household duties during my days off, leaving more down time on the weekends for us to just BE.

Our birdhouse

The other reason I like my modest house is that we don't have a lot of room for "stuff". I hate clutter, I hate extra things hanging around that I don't use so, for me, a house with a finite amount of storage is good for my soul. I have a real problem with people's obsessions with new, shiny, expensive things. Or the "if it's broken, throw it out and buy a new one" mentality. I am a big fan of buying used for two obvious reasons: 1. It's economical 2. It cuts down on my carbon footprint. Why would I buy a brand new shirt for $40 when I can buy my kids brand name, secondhand clothes for $2 at our local thrift store? Do they care? Not yet but I'm sure they will be a bit more resistant to it as they get older. I'd like to think I'm grooming them from a young age to be mindful of the legacy they leave behind for their kids and grandkids. We'll see if that pans out! By teaching them about being responsible with money and learning budgeting skills, I feel like we are setting them up for to be successful adults. Again, I hope this pans out.

I also buy secondhand furniture, yes, I even bought a secondhand couch. Read this post to see how I decorated our newly-finished basement with mostly gently used items I bought off Kijiji, thrift stores and garage sales. I'm pretty proud of it actually :)

When I look at some of the big houses in our town with their $450,000 price tags, I think - how many CEOs live here? The truth is, most of these people aren't CEOs. I know this because I know some of these families. They have similar incomes to ours yet I keep seeing shiny boats, new cars and expensive toys in their driveways. I really don't get what I'm missing here. How can people afford all this stuff? I guess for some people, that's what makes them happy. No matter the cost.

I'm kind of excited to think I'm going to have my mortgage paid off soon and that I'll have no debt, living in my little birdhouse. I'm also excited to think about the comfortable retirement I'll have, and the great education my kids will get for free because I didn't sink every penny I had into paying for a house that was unnecessarily large for our family. My goal is to stay in this house until my kids decide to move out. At that point maybe we'll downsize, or maybe we'll stay where we are and wait for our grandkids to fill our house with love and laughter. It's not a mansion to most, but what's within the walls of this home is what is more important than the walls that surround it.

What are your thoughts? Big fancy house or a modest, cozy home?