Tag Archives: personal

These Last Few Days

Here I am, just a few days from my due date with Baby Girl. As per usual, it has taken forever to get here but somehow it hasn’t felt like forever. 

The question of the trimester is “Are you ready?”
Truthfully, I was ready since the day we found out we were expecting. It never takes me any time to get my mind wrapped around the idea of adding another person to our family. In regards to having what we need, yes, we have more than enough. The only thing we really needed was some girly clothing. As okay as it would have been to have our daughter dressed in everything our boys have worn, I am so ready for some feminine touches. And we have been so blessed with hand-me-downs from friends and of course I had to do some of my own shopping. I think she is set for the first year at least! The pack-and-play is set up in the corner of our room. I have a couple things I want to hang on the wall above, and maybe figure out a way to hang a curtain or canopy of some sort around her bed to block some of the light from Tim getting ready in the mornings. I never really felt the need to decorate the corner of our room for the boys, but I’m feeling it for this girl! My backpack for the hospital is packed and the tiny diapers are bought. Yes, we are ready.

I have fallen into a rhythm the last couple months. Our mornings are spent either shuttling Calvin to preschool and back, running errands here and there in between, or hanging out with friends. Our afternoons usually see me taking a doze on the couch while Patrick naps and the other two play with Lego on the kitchen table. I’m actually quite amazed with them. It took a while, but they can spend up to an hour and a half or longer just playing happily and amicably. When I first started trying to have these afternoon naps, it definitely did not look like this. The fought, were disobedient, and Victor was also in the very early days of potty training, so I would often have to get up and intervene or clean messes. But gradually we have gotten to this point where I can zone out for a while and come out feeling refreshed. I’m hoping this can continue in some form once the baby is actually here. 

I don’t think the older two will be phased much when their sister arrives. Since they have gotten so good at playing together, I think that will help immensely. And they are so used to babies from all our friends that it won’t seem new! and wonderful! and the most special thing! They are not super excitable like that. They do, however, enjoy blowing raspberries on my belly. Calvin gets really good “blurps” and has a 100% success rate at making his sister respond. Victor tries hard, but his raspberries are just a bit too timid. Patrick succeeds only in spitting in the general direction on my belly button. I’m not sure how Patrick will react to having a baby around. I was actually holding a three-week-old the other day, and he didn’t seem to mind. Just kept pointing at her and making sure people knew she was there. I am afraid he will want to nurse more. Currently he only nurses at bedtime, but I am so ready for him to be done. Victor only nursed twice after Patrick was born, so maybe that will happen with him too. But he is quite cuddly and might think he’s entitled to more when he sees it being offered to somebody else more often. We will see. 

In the past little while I have been really feeling this as the end of an era. Unless we change our minds, or if God decides to surprise us, this is our last baby. This is my last pregnancy. The last time I get to grow a human inside me and feel them kick and squirm. I am really going to miss those movements. I’m going to miss the boys interacting with my belly. I think I’m going to miss my belly in general. I have especially been thinking about the newborn stage and almost mourning the fact that it will not be the same as having your first newborn at all. I never really thought about it with the second and third, but it’s really on my mind now. With the first, you have so much time to just spend with your newborn child. cuddling with them in bed, watching them sleep, nursing them with zero distractions. I wish I could have that again. But life still chugs on. I will have this new baby, but I will still have to make breakfast for the others, make sure they are dressed before we have to leave for somewhere, be places on time (I don’t let much get in the way of my punctuality :) ), cook dinners for an entire family. How do you enjoy these fleeting newborn moments when your attention is needed in so many other areas? 

Looking towards the delivery, I get nervous sometimes. It sucks when you’ve been through labour and know what to expect. I have quick, fairly easy deliveries, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t suck! Because they do! I’m afraid this labour will either continue the length pattern and be born in exactly zero amount of time on my bathroom floor (my labours have been 6, 4 and 2 hours), or just throw all my history out the window and I’ll be in agony for over a day. Whenever I get anxious about it though, I just skip forward to thinking about the moment they place that baby on my chest. It’s the most amazing feeling. Ugh. Can’t wait! 

Tomorrow evening my sister and brother-in-law and nephew are coming. That means there are two days left for us as a family in our current state. I actually hadn’t thought about that until typing it out just now. We probably won’t do anything special because that’s how we roll. I am hoping to get out for a couple hours on my own tomorrow though. Don’t know what I’ll do, but it will be the last time for a while that I can do that easily. What do you do when you just want to leave the house on your own? I’ll probably end up grocery shopping or something. I need one ingredient for the last freezer meal I want to make. And taking three kids into a store for one ingredient sucks. Not that they are bad shoppers, because they aren’t. I just dislike the taking-outs and putting-ins of the car seats. Especially with their winter stuff on and my physical state. Annoying. Anyway…what did I say before about likely missing my belly when this pregnancy is done? Ha! 

So just a few more days. Or, you know, a week or two. All the boys were late, so it wouldn’t be surprising if she held on past her due date, but she’s the girl! She’s supposed to break the mold! I have definitely become one of those women who say “I carried my boys this way and my girls this way”. This pregnancy has seemed different. I feel her pushing in different areas, my belly looks differently-shaped, and my first trimester food aversions were something new to me. But only God knows when she’ll come. And I’m grateful that he is in control. I just hope he lets me continue my afternoon naps! 

Living Simply with Three Young Kids

Minimalism and living simply are all the rage these days. But for me, it’s always been my way of life. I don’t have any specific methods or mantras. It’s just all common sense to me.

A few years ago I made a list of Baby Must Haves I Do Not Have. A cousin who is expecting their first child was wondering if I could do an updated list now that I have more children and an even stronger grasp on what we can live without. But instead of just doing a list, I decided to gather some thoughts on how we live simply and why it’s important for our family.

So here we go!

HOW we live simply

Imperfectionist
I find the accumulation of stuff often happens when you are on the search for the perfect [whatever]. And so many products out there today are created with the sole purpose of making life easier. It’s a cyclical problem. But life doesn’t have to be the easiest or most comfortable it can be. Example: I don’t use a thick warm winter liner thing in my infant seat; I just use nice warm blankets that I use for other purposes and already have. Bonus: it saves you money!

Continuity with stuff
When you have all the same of an item you need a bunch of, it is easy to store and keep tidy. It even looks visually appealing. When I think of this, my thoughts mainly go to our kitchen and the plastic kid dishes. We only have IKEA plates, bowls and cutlery, and Tupperware sippy cups. They all stack super well and keep our cupboards tidy and easy to navigate.

A place for everything and everything (75% of the time) in its place
It’s no secret I love to organize. Tidying up is probably my favourite household chore (not to be confused with cleaning – the two are very different). When you have a designated spot for everything you own (which in our case really isn’t much), cleaning up is a breeze and takes a few minutes at the end of the day. No, my house isn’t perfection when I go to bed, but it isn’t daunting to think of what it takes to get it ship-shape.

A purpose for everything
I love the look of a beautifully styled built-in in a photo on Instagram, but why would anybody need so many ceramic animals and books for the sake of books? Don’t they know they have to dust all of that?! I think I own one thing that does not serve a practical purpose. It’s a cute little bird I got at Target during their closing sales. Okay, I guess I do have a mantra…”say ‘no’ to tchatchkes!”
And kind of related…

I’m not emotionally attached to things
I know a lot of people who have a collection of Willow Tree Angels to tell stories of events that have happened in their lives, or have special items they have collected from their travels. That’s awesome for them, but for me that’s unnecessary clutter. I DO have things from places I’ve visited, but they are all useful things. I have blankets, bowls and boxes from a handful of countries around the world that all get used often. I don’t have a memory box or anything for my boys. I have no clue what they wore home from the hospital (except for Calvin’s super cute hat!).

Say “no” to unwanted stuff
I don’t feel obligated to keep a gift if I don’t like it. To whoever gave us the punch bowl set as a wedding gift, thanks for the cookie jar in exchange! Hashtag priorities. I don’t like having stuff around me that I don’t like or that I won’t use. And purging is a regular occurrence in our house. We don’t have much, but I am always amazed at what I can still thin out of our belongings.

WHY we live simply

Easy to clean up
For us AND the boys. When something has a home, it’s easy to put away when you’re done with it. I can tidy up in the amount of time it takes for Tim to tell them a bed time story. Kitchen and laundry not included. :)

The boys get into less trouble
When there is less stuff around, there is less stuff for the boys to get into. I rarely have a huge mess to clean up of stuff they never should’ve gotten their hands on.

Keeps me punctual
It’s easy to get out the door on time when I don’t have to hunt for shoes and jackets or whatever that could be scattered throughout the house. My house is clear so my head is clear to think about what needs to be done in what time frame.

I am a happier parent
When our house is in disarray, I find I get angry and annoyed at the boys much quicker. My patience is thinner and I do not enjoy parenting. You’ve all seen those images that say the messier your house is, the happier your kids are, or something like that, but I don’t think that is true for our household. When things are tidy, I can breathe easier and enjoy my time with them.

My home is more available
I think hospitality is a (very underused) gift of mine. I enjoy having people over, whether it’s family visiting from out of town for a handful of days, a friend for a day, or half the moms and their kids for a morning. I love it! And I know most people don’t care about the cleanliness status of a house they are visiting, but like enjoying my kids more in a tidy house, I can enjoy the time with others in my own home a whole lot more! And again, clean up is not a daunting task after they leave.

This all focuses mainly on living simply with stuff, and a little bit with finances. What I haven’t touched on it living simply with time. Tim and I are both big homebodies and have very little on our plates. We are not yet at a point in our lives where we are rushing every which direction for the kids’ activities, but honestly, I don’t think we will ever be at that point. I feel that with the basic principals we live by, simple living will follow us wherever we go.

But check back with me in 5 years.

What Strengths Do You Bring?

Today I had a small conversation born out of my last post. She had related to the part where I said something about being afraid to speak up about my own experiences because they were positive, and everybody was talking about the negatives. And I wonder how many more of us out there feel the same way?

When we learned to write out our resumes for job applications, we were told to dedicate a section of it to our attributes and strengths in the workforce. I think we can all think of what we have written there. But how about as a parent? What strengths do you bring to your family? Are you easily able to relate to the every-changing emotions of your children? Perhaps you are always able to come up with creative things to do with your kids. Maybe you are a great cook and your family is happy to eat healthy, balanced meals.

For myself, I believe I am good at general home management. I know how long it takes to get everybody ready and out the door so we aren’t late; my laundry is kept on top of; everything in our home has a spot to live and is usually there.

When we talk about parenting, it is so easy to talk about all the things we are bad at. And yes, it is good to share our hard moments so we can have support when we need it. But why are we embarrassed to speak positively about ourselves? Let’s stop being embarassed. Let’s talk about things we are gifted in. Let’s be inspiring to those around us. Let’s tell our peers what we see that they are good at.

What strengths do you bring to parenting? What can you do that you have been afraid to speak of in the past?

I’m Not a Busy Mom

I hear it every time I’m in public. “You must be so busy!”

My answers and reactions vary, depending on who said it or if I want to have a real conversation. They vary from a smile in acknowledgment to a stranger at the grocery store to the truth with a multiple-sentence answer to somebody at church.

This is my truthful answer:

No, I’m not really busy at all. What am I supposed to be busy doing? We only have one scheduled thing during the week. Calvin’s not in preschool yet. We don’t go to any classes. We do things on our own time. See friends, go to the library, other (very seldom) entertainment type stuff, and grocery store trips. These can all be done at any time (well, any morning because afternoon nap time is precious!), and do not make me feel busy in the slightest.

And at home…that doesn’t feel busy either. I have, admittedly, a healthy amount of time to myself (afternoon naps, remember?) I make simple meals, keep play simple, and, my number one way to not feel busy at home, I keep our home uncluttered.

I don’t know why there is the assumption that all moms are busy. Sometimes, when I find myself in group conversations about this – conversations involving the phrases “reheating coffee”, “rerunning the laundry”, “hadn’t eaten until 3:00”, or “can’t find time to shower” – I notice I just nod in agreement, feeding the stereotype. I’m afraid to share my experience because I don’t want people to think I’m pretending to be the perfect mom or saying my life is better.

I know that every person lives and works differently so not everybody can, or even should, be like me. Some people need to get out of the house more than I do. Some people need to have a scheduled week. I am not a perfect mom who has perfected parenting. My home isn’t always peaceful or clean or ideally orderly. I just know what works for me and it happens to not be “normal”.

I am a mom with three young boys and I am not busy!

we mainly just jump on couches all day

we mainly just jump on couches all day

I can’t say what my life will be like when the kids are in school, but I do know it doesn’t have to be a hectic life.

Friendship

I’ve been thinking about friendship a lot lately. My friendships of the past, present and future. And I am attempting to get my thoughts down to create some sort of order to them. So here begins my rambling.

A few months ago I was thinking about the term “best friend”. Whenever I think of who mine are, I immediately think of my best friends of my youth. But I really can’t say that they are my best friends anymore. When did that happen? And who are my best friends now? My biggest insecurity is in my relationships with my friends, not feeling like they are as close to me as I want to be with them, or that we don’t have enough in common. Going through my history of friendships, I can see where that comes from.

My early friendships were with church friends, one in particular with whom our friendship ran in our blood, since our moms were friends in highschool. She became my best friend #1.

Best Friend #1

Best Friend #1

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In early elementary school, I went to a school that was not in my neighbourhood, but in grade 6 I changed schools to one close by. I knew only one girl in the entire school, besides my sister, and she was friends with the cool girls, so naturally I hung out with them. But they didn’t like me. So I went through that year with no good friend. Then in grade 7, a new girl started coming and I befriended her. She became my best friend #2.

Best Friend #2

Best Friend #2

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High school was pretty great, contrary to many people’s experiences. I was going to highschool with a bunch of my church friends (with the exception of the private school kids who were too cool for us; but we smartened up in grade 10 and became a big, happy bunch). In grade 11, another new girl came along. She became best friend #3.

Best Friend #3

Best Friend #3

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After graduation, all my friends went to school. I did not. They all started making new university friends and having shared university experiences, and I was feeling left out, even though nobody was leaving me out on purpose. I was able to support best friend #3 through a cancer diagnosis and treatment which made me feel solid in our friendship, but I felt distanced from the other two.

Why curly-heads should not have bangs.

Why curly-heads should not have bangs.

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With my move to Victoria when I was 21 came a refresh. This was my first ever move, and it felt daunting to make new friends. Looking back, this is when I started making new best friends, but never gave them that label. I guess in my mind that title was sacred, so my new good friends became Friends. The room mate of the girl I subletted from during my first summer in Victoria became Friend #4. But she is the kind of person who is friendly with a lot of people, so I questioned how much of a Friend she was, until she told me she wanted to live with me in my one-bedroom place.

Friend #4

Friend #4

#1 through #4 plus my sister (Rosie, sister-friends trump peer-friends, and I am glad to have you in my life :) )

#1 through #4 plus my sister (Rosie, sister-friends trump peer-friends, and I am glad to have you in my life :) )

The rest of my Victoria friends were all from the church I was attending. A bunch of them were childhood friends, and the remaining were university students, so again, I felt a little left out of some things, but it was okay since I never had a relationship with them before. At some point, I was invited to an exclusive Saturday morning breakfast club (that soon after turned into an open invitation thing) by one girl who eventually became Friend #5.

Friend #5

Friend #5

Friend #4 moved away and I became closer to Friend #5, only to be swept off to Alberta. In Alberta, once I found a church, I defaulted to being friends with the other moms, since I now had a child of my own. It’s hard to be the new person, when everybody else already has existing relationships. Adding to that, most other people have their own family in town and we don’t, so we have lots of free time where other people have family events and activities. But after we had been here for about a year, a new face showed up and joined our new small group. She became my Friend #6, and the rest of the small group were our better friends too.

Our small group, including Friend #6

Our small group, including Friend #6

That brings us to present day, when our small group has disbanded. One couple started getting more involved in a new church, another couple is moving out of province on Friday, and the last couple is moving out of town at the end of the year. I am losing my friends, and I am sad about that, which is why I have started thinking about all this so much.

I am thinking about my insecurities again. They manifest in a few ways: I hate being late for things (what if I miss something?), I don’t like it when people are late for my things (do they even care?), and I over share (I just want to be understood!), as demonstrated with this post. :)

Am I going to find another Friend here? Should I bother trying since we don’t want to be here for ever? I could try and convince myself that I don’t need a Friend, that the general community I have through our church is enough, but I don’t think that’s true. When we do eventually move back to BC, will I have my old friends back, or will I make new friends? How will I make new friends? There is something to be said for having a Friend that you share a history with. You just know everything, and that is a wonderful gift.

That’s another thing. It’s hard for me to make friends. I’m not outgoing. I’m better at communicating with my two thumbs than with my two lips. So thankful for emojis! feel like I am too different from most people to be good friends with them. But maybe that is what makes me a good friend.

So when did my best friends stop being my best friends? I think when I got new best friends. And who are my new best friends? I would classify them as the two people I text with on an almost daily basis. Yes, I define my levels of friendship on how much I text with them.

I don’t think I really accomplished anything with this post. I probably don’t really need to publish it, but I will anyway. I love all my friends of my past – the ones who can tell a crazy story about me for half a dozen years and not tell me it was made up until my wedding day, and present – the ones who will volunteer to watch my boys after a bad day, and am excited about the ones of my future.