I’m so sorry, friends. I keep meaning to come back and write, share a review, anything, but the words just don’t come. At least they haven’t until now.
Things have been hard lately, folks. My depression is rearing it’s ugly head and is back in full force. At the moment, it’s not the heartbreaking constant sadness. Instead it’s the exhaustion, full body aches and pain, the lack of motivation to do anything at all and a total lack of fucks. For a bit there, I struggled to find the energy to dress myself, to shower and to brush my teeth.
Part of it is the weather, and how difficult the holidays are when you have lost people. On top of that, there is our financial struggles and the stress of not being able to afford the holidays. I can’t really get into much more right now, but there are other things that have been hard for me and weighing on me.
Yesterday it occurred to me that I’ve been neglecting so much in my life. Yes, there are some crappy things going on, crappy things that have happened, but if I let myself fail and fall, what will they show my children? What will be left to care for them? So, I’m taking steps to get back on track. I’m walking as much as I can, at least 2km a day. I work out a couple days a week at home. I am trying to get back into bullet journalling and spending more quality time with my family. I’m making lists and getting back into work. It’s hard, but just like with my walks, the most important thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To just keep going.
It’s been a long time now since I’ve written a personal post. 2016 has been kicking our asses. Between that and having two crazy kids, I don’t have much time to give sitting down and writing about real life stuff, if that makes any sense. I’m actually fighting a nasty cold at the moment, which means that I have a bit of time to sit and just write.
Mason is 9 months old, almost 10 months. Liam has started school. How is this possible? Where has time gone? It’s been a pretty good transition, thankfully. Liam loves school and it’s been giving me a bit of a breather during an otherwise stressful time.
We have a lot of personal financial and family stuff going on that I don’t feel comfortable sharing here, but it’s been playing one hell of a toll on my anxiety and depression. Thankfully, my husband’s work has a great EAP program and I’ve been able to get some help. On top of that, I’ve started keeping a bullet journal. It has been amazing at keeping me calm, organized and a place to share what’s going on in my head in a pretty and creative way.
Bullet Journaling is kind of a checklist mixed with a day planner, mixed with a journal. It can be as simple or as involved as you want. It’s very very easy to personalize.
Beyond bullet journaling, I’ve continued to play with and test makeup and other products. I’m toying with the idea of making a youtube channel to compliment this blog, but I’m nervous about the amount of work it would take. I’ve started job hunting again, ideally looking for something either from home or close to home so that we can save on daycare costs by me being with Mason during the day.
So, I know this isn’t a really great update, but I wanted to let you guys know that I’m alive and ok, but not great. We are working on things to improve our situation, but nothing is coming very easily. Happy Fall everyone xo
If you are a long time reader, you know that this is not my favourite month. If not, you may be confused. Why hate April? April is a time of flowers and the sun warming us up again! It’s so pretty and awesome! Well, not for this babe.
Consider this a warning that I may be bummed or absent this month. Why? Well, 5 years ago, our place was pretty much ready to be sold and we were in the midst of moving in with my mother. I was her fulltime caregiver and was moving in to help her through her final months. I was set to move on April 1st, but circumstances resulted in some reno delays, so we rescheduled for April 10th. That first week of April, I was in and out of the house pretty much daily. I was bringing boxes, finishing up our room and getting feedback from Mom on what we needed to do to finish up my change to becoming her full time care (I would be the one taking care of finances, bills, getting her to appointments, getting results, etc…as her health declined).
Easter weekend arrived and the family descended upon the house. Mom wasn’t feeling great, so everyone cooked for her (in all of the years of family dinners, she never gave up cooking the main course. Never. This should have been a sign). I remember thinking she looked so small and tired. She basically hung out on the couch the entire visit. On April 7th or 8th, after a being away for a day, but in constant contact by phone, I arrived to find her best friends at the house. I was dropping off some more boxes and on my way to buy some more with a friend who had a pickup. Her best friends informed me she had declined (and was hiding it from me, because it was Mom. Ugh). I had no idea that this would be her last day at home. That she would pass away the next day. I had no idea that my Dad’s kids, people I considered siblings, would completely lose their minds and turn on me. That it would take 2 years for us to complete the estate and that I would end up with a diagnosis of PTSD, severe anxiety and depression.
That same time, 2 years later, when everything wrapped up with the estate, I had my beautiful baby boy. As my labour began, I had no idea that I would struggle through 32 hours of labour, that I would end up getting an emergency c-section, my kid in the NICU, a week long hospital stay, terrible recovery, a relapse of PTSD and severe PPA and PPD.
Here I am, 3 years since then, 5 years since my mother died, that I am going through a difficult time again. I don’t want to get into it. I’m not ready to. I have been missing my parents so terribly, hell, I miss my family. These horrible times have shaped me. I have been forged through flame. I forgive myself for my failings during my mother’s illness and the mess of the estate. I am finally ok with my birth story and that I couldn’t be more in love with my stunningly amazing baby boy (who is a freaking preschooler now). I have incredible people in my life who support and love me. Because of these hardships, I am ok, despite things being tough.
So, fuck April. I am so much stronger than you give me credit for.
It started innocently enough. My little guy had a good nap and I had some jogging pants to return, so I figured we’d have an afternoon out at the Kanata Target. I got us ready, loaded into the car and off we went. Liam seemed in a good mood. I strapped him into my Tula at the store, but quickly transferred him to the cart at his request. We did some shopping and found some great deals (All Btoys are on sale for incredibly low prices). I picked up a couple groceries and then Liam started to get bored.
I stayed calm and I kept him engaged for the most part. We tried walking, we tried babywearing, we tried the cart. Eventually, I became that Mom. I had a screaming toddler who was lashing out at me physically. By the end of the trip, I was exhausted. My hair, so recently cut and made beautiful, was frizzy and all over my face. I was sweaty, and my clothes were disheveled from toddler wrangling.
I remember a time before I became a mother where I wouldn’t leave the house without make up. I was horrified at the idea of looking less than my best in the public eye. I couldn’t imagine being the mom with the tantruming child. I would have better control of my kids, oh yeah.
My kid is not a robot. I don’t bark commands that he blindly follows. He’s a learning and growing child, who is just beginning to deal with his emotions. I am fine with that. I mean, it’s exhausting and annoying, especially when it happens in public, but it doesn’t defeat or shame me. (I also accept that my child is a child and will be a child in public) I could give two craps about my hair or my clothes after an incident like that. I’m primarily concerned with Liam being ok, calm and safe. I was surprised by some of the looks though. That I clearly came out to this mall simply with the plan of annoying these people with my unruly child. Then there were the looks at my carrier. I heard one woman say to her friend that it was no wonder my child was unhappy, as I was forcing him to stay attached to me. How selfish I must be. How would he ever learn to walk?
Luckily, there were some amazing people who made up for it. One man helped me with my groceries and the doors. One man made my son laugh and was kind to me. Another man smiled and complimented me on my carrier.
The point of this rambling is that I realize how much I’ve changed and that I am going to do my best to be supportive when next I come across that Mom or Dad who is in that spot. Today, I was that mom. I was harried, tired and doing the best I could. A smile and a kind word made all the difference for me.
I now have some tea, a hearty cheesy pasta dinner and a great article to read before I break out the knitting. Liam is curled up on the floor playing “Vet” for some stuffies. It’s been a long day, but a good one.
I can’t believe that another month has already passed since my last post. I really did intend to post more often, but Liam has turned into Velcro Baby. Hopefully this coming month will give me a bit more freedom to get back into blogging. While 3 months doesn’t actually hit until tomorrow, I’m going to post this while I can.
So, this past month has been busy. With my recovery being almost complete, I’ve been getting out and doing more, as much as I can. Unfortunately, we’ve also noticed that Liam has become more and more fussy this month. Ovol and Tempra have saved us a number of times. Poor little man had some really miserable days. Luckily, it was also month two in which Liam started laughing out loud. Here’s a video I shot for my sister of him giggling a bit while we play (I’m repeating “Hajimemashite”, which is Japanese for something similar to “Pleased to meet you”):
We had some really fun events this month too! On the 22nd of June, I drove out to Kanata to meet up with 13 of the mommas from the forums that I frequented during my pregnancy (Used to be Babybells, but has since been moved to Canadian Family. This move was not well received so most of the posters I knew have moved on to Buzzle). With these 13 moms came their 13 babies,
It was AWESOME. It was my first Mommy Date and I had a great time. it was so nice to be out with a bunch of ladies in the same place as me, who have been there for me online for 9 months. Since then, I’ve been to the movies with a couple of them again to go see Brave with our little ones.
Pat and I also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. We left Liam with his Nanna and Gammy for a few hours while we went out to The Keg for dinner. It was amazing and just what we needed. Amazing what a short break can do to renew your energy,
We then celebrated Liam’s first Canada Day, first by visiting my in-laws and finally meeting the new addition to the family. After that, we went out to see S, K and their beautiful kids. We also took Liam to a restaurant for the first time to celebrate his Great Aunty Pony’s birthday. I was really nervous about it, but it went really well. Of course, we’ve been seeing Nanny and Gammy as much as possible.
This past week has been incredible. He’s rolled front to back with a bit of help from me. He’s slept through the night once. He had a 2 1/2 hour day time nap. He’s growing up!
We’ve noticed that Liam’s become much more of a little person. He’s developing a personality. We interact way more. He has toy preferences (Jacque the Peacock and Rusty the Robot, both by Lamaze) and now shows us when he’s tired by getting really cranky all of a sudden.
I’ve changed a lot too. I’m a lot more relaxed and confident in my ability to handle him. I still have some rough days (on my birthday, Pat left work early because I called him in tears after a specifically terrible day), but overall, Liam and I have started to develop a really good relationship and rhythm. We get up in the morning, I feed and change him. I then bring him downstairs where we play for a bit and I eat. I then feed him again, and then he naps. I watch a bit of TV (I’ve been catching up on Criminal Minds and chef Michael Smith’s Chef Abroad and Chef at Home) or read (my last read was Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by the incredible Jenny Lawson), The cycle of play and nap then continues til about 5:30-6pm or so when Pat gets home. At one point, usually around 2pm, I take Liam upstairs for some tummy time and to read some books.
Once Pat’s home, I hand off baby and start on dinner. Once we’re done eating, which either happens during a nap or while L is on the activity mat (if we’re lucky. If we’re not, then one of us holds him while the other eats and then we switch). We then usually hang out until about 8pm when it’s time for a walk around the neighbourhood. Then it’s either bath or book time. Between 10-11:30, Liam goes down for his first real chunk of sleep. He then usually sleeps between 2-4 hours. Then he wakes every 2hrs or so to eat until about 6:30, when Pat gets up. Then he eats and sleeps for maybe another hour, hour and a half. We get up at 8am and the routine starts over.
Stats for the end of Month 2
We’re not sure on measurements, but we’ll know soon. I’m taking him in to a Well Baby drop in to get weighed on Monday.
Diaper Size: Pampers Swaddlers 2
Clothing Size: 3-6 Months, and some of those are too short now.
Favourite Clothes: Rompers from Carters, sleeveless onesies from Old Navy and BABYLEGS (seriously the cutest things ever)
Nicknames: Monkey, Baby, Goober, Pooper
First Father’s Day! Daddy gets a T-shirt to match Liam’s onesie (still need to photograph this), and a GC to go pick up a tool of his choice from Home Depot (he’s currently debating between a Dewalt drill or a power washer).
First shopping trip to Bayshore mall, Sobeys and Walmart.
Started laughing and giggling
Found his feet and hands
Babysat by Gammy and Nanny for the first and second time! Did really well.
Really really fussy. Most likely due to early teething and major development leaps
Slept through the night for the first time. 7 hours!
First restaurant visit!
Grabbed Mum’s hair for the first time during tummy tickles
Played outside for the first time. A big fan of grass
Started grasping toys
Got a new carrier which is AWESOME. It’s a Beco Gemini.
Grasping, punching and wiggling a big development. Needs to spend some energy before sleeping.
No longer fits in any of the bassinets. Went out and bought a Pack and Play/Playard. it has been worth EVERY penny. He sleeps so well in it! Best nap times ever.
This post has been bubbling around my mind for the last week or so. I apologize if this comes out as a stream-of-consciousness thing, rather than really clear points. I’m still pretty in the middle of it, so it’s hard to write it out without musing a bit.
I am the daughter of a very strong, well respected lady. My mother, Pat, was small in size, but full of piss and vinegar (as my father would say). People didn’t screw with my Mom. I never really saw her lose it on anyone, but she had a quiet confidence and really clear boundaries that everyone respected.
I remember hearing a story from her time with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). She only ever got as far as Captain, despite her long career with the military. When asked why, she responded that she loved being a nurse. She loved being in the OR and seeing interesting cases. She loved continuing to learn and marvel at the human body. She did not love, however, paper work. A promotion or a rise in rank would require a desk job, which would have been miserable for her. Despite stepping on many toes and dashing many plans, my mother refused to leave surgery, and when the military couldn’t offer her more, she retired and went to a local hospital instead.
My mother was a spit-fire. She was everyone’s big sister, and somehow brought a family of feuding Sutherlands together during some really hard times. She had a look that shut the loudest of mouths, and a presence that terrified the crap out of all of my guy friends in high school. She didn’t put up with crap from anyone, including my father. An example:
My mother loved her version of camping (which was so far from roughing it, it was laughable. She owned a giant parking trailer, with three queen beds, a full kitchen, a full bathroom and a TV). Growing up, the trailer was parked at a site where I had friends, and where my Dad’s best friend camped. As years went by, we all stopped going up – except for Mum. She decided that she wanted to move the trailer to a site that suited her needs and where she had friends. I didn’t mind, but Dad was pissed. Even though he never went up he liked having the option to see his oldest buddy up at this campsite. Mum explained her side (She went up every weekend during the summer, Dad went maybe one weekend a season, she wanted friends to spend time with, Dad wasn’t as close with his friend anymore, etc…), Dad argued and eventually it came down to an ultimatum – If Mum moved the trailer, Dad would never go up again. So there. He was mighty pleased with himself, thinking that he had put a stop to that nonsense. The next summer, the trailer was moved to a much fancier park (The old one only had a natural lake and a corner store about 30 minutes away by foot. The new one? Man made quarry, a pool, a hot tub, a bingo hall, an icecream parlour and a store…plus, her besties all camped there). Mum loved it. I have never seen her happier then when she spent a summer at the trailer.
My Dad? Not impressed. Eventually, Mum would spend WEEKS at the trailer, always inviting him, but he always turned her down. She never backed down though. She refused to sit at home and mope like my father. She wanted to be out, having fun and spending time with her friends, so she went. Dad got more and more bitter about it, and she tried to convince him to come, but she never backed down (even when there were whispers that he wanted to leave her, because it’s not like she spent any time with him during the summer anyway. Oh Dad, you melodramatic boob). Eventually, I think , he spent maybe 2 weekends with her before he passed away.
So, the point of these stories? Aside from sharing how awesome my Mum was, I wanted to point out that she stood up for herself, knew when to put her foot down and stuck to her guns, even up against my father (who could pout and sulk with the best of them). Why? Because in my 28 years of life, no one ever called her a bitch. Now, this could have been out of fear. She was fierce when she was pissed. I just wonder what I’m doing wrong that I’m being perceived a completely different way.
When my mother died, the Sutherland family fell apart. Maybe it was because she was the glue that held us together. Maybe she brought out the best in everyone and kept us in line. I don’t know. It might be something as simple as grief and greed. No matter the cause, the family was split and with her death, I lost not only the children my father had from his first marriage, but their children, their friends, and, sadly, most of my Mum’s local friends (specifically one who was like an aunt to me, and was there, beside me, when Mum had her stroke in my arms). Why? Well, from what I’ve heard the common belief is that I’m a manipulative, greedy, pathetic, power hungry bitch.
There have been many reasons given about why I’ve been treated the way I have been, and why this is the popular belief held by these people who have known me most of my life. I will certainly admit that I haven’t always been the picture of grace and civility since my mother died, however I don’t know anyone who could be. The issues that I’m dealing with now, however, are a bit tricky. We’re getting near the end, which is a wonderful amazing thing. There are a few things that are a Big Deal and my job as co-executor is to protect my sister and I during this process. That’s why I was chosen. So, I’ve been putting my foot down, and unfortunately, and not unexpectedly, the reaction hasn’t been good. People are PISSED.
Beyond the estate, I’m struggling with this in my daily life as well. I am a definitely a child of both my parents: I have my mother’s fire and stubbornness, but I also have my father’s deep well of emotions and sensitivities. I feel, and I feel strongly. I care very much what people think of me, and I’ve realized that I’ve done a lot and put up with a lot in my life for the sake of being liked. I don’t like causing waves, I don’t like bringing up difficult topics. For me, it seems to make more sense to suffer through, rather than put other people in a difficult position.
In my personal relationships, I have been pushed to the point of putting my foot down and in some cases, the result was the end of a relationship or friendship. In every case, I feel as though I did right by me, and that I’m happier for it today. (In one specific case, I had watched the fiance of a close friend treat her like shit for a long period of time. I told her she deserved better, and when I suspected that he was cheating, I told her. She chose to marry him anyway, and I stood up there with her as her maid of honour, because I supported her right to making her own decisions and her desire for happiness. Within months of the wedding, she was shocked to discover that he wanted an open marriage and that he had been seeing someone else. I provided her support, but told her I wouldn’t be involved in the separation. I could give her comfort, but I would not play spy or pick sides (I had close ties with the husband that I couldn’t break at the time. Didn’t make me happy, but it was complicated). This wasn’t good enough, and I was asked to choose sides on a number of occasions. I refused. I stood my ground and told her I needed space until the situation was resolved. Our friendship ended. In another case, I had a friend who felt that when my parents were sick, she couldn’t handle that kind of heaviness in our relationship, so she asked me to hide that part of my life from her. She also felt that Pat wasn’t attractive enough or good enough for me. She told me this on many occasions and told me to leave him all the time. I refused to be a fair weather friend or listen to someone bash my boyfriend. I ended the friendship. I don’t regret these decisions or the outcomes.
At work, like in many of my past jobs, I have not been treated very well. Pat is beside himself with me and the situation, because he is such a fighter. He can’t stand injustice or bullying. He faces it head on, for others and for himself. I have a really hard time defending or sticking up for myself, and often, I find myself completely miserable and beaten down because I’ve allowed things to get so bad (Often, people will continue to take advantage and stomp on you if they know they can get away with it, and will continue to do so until you break or are forced out). Right now I’m in an especially perilous situation because I’m a part-time contract worker at a college that always has a ton of people looking for work and, of course, because I’m pregnant. So, do I stand up for myself against permanent full time union members? Do I stand up to my manager, who could replace me in a matter of hours? Or do I keep my mouth shut and do my job for the next 4 1/2 months?
So, how do I balance this fine line between doormat and bitch? How do I learn from my mother and remain true to myself, despite immense pressure to be “nice”, “civil” and “easy-going”. I have learned, wrongly, over the years that to be happy I need to be liked. To be liked, I have to be the constant easy-going “Yes” person. I want to be respected. I want to be a person of integrity. I want to be happy, because whatever this is, it isn’t it. I am about to be a mother. I want to someone that my child looks up to. I want to be able to teach them that they are someone worth defending too.
I’ve been so exhausted lately, I have a hard time putting together a real post, so in the mean time, I think I’m going to continue with my Tuesday Day Book and maybe move them to Fridays add Preggo posting. I’ll put mine together today to give you a bit of a catch up on the preggo before diving into week 15 at the end of this week.
A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): Exhausted and emotional. I have been all over the emotional roller-coaster. Unfortunately, I’m also fighting some nausea again (that’s what I get for speaking too soon about it being gone). I’ve also been pretty stressed out over estate/family/other stuff, which isn’t helping. Overall though, the pregnancy has been good. I wasn’t severely sick at any point, and my family/friends have been really understanding about my lack of energy. Looooots of nightmares lately, which isn’t fun. Seem to be having many reoccurring dreams about my family home and my parents.
EDD: We’re telling people we’re due early/mid April.
How far along am I? At this point, I’m 15 weeks.
I am thinking… a lot. Dreaming and plotting for baby, considering our options, what we need, what we want, etc… Thinking about family and loss, and how life will be without our parents to help us. Plotting the nursery, for sure!
I am thankful for… really understanding co-workers, being invited to a woman’s full moon native group (more on that later!), finding a GP who is taking patients who happens to work with a pediatrician, having a great husband who happens to be my very best friend.
From the kitchen… Nothing interesting. We’ve been on a really tight budget, and have been trying to eat as cheaply as possible. Baked Spagetti has been feeding us this week, and I’m going to be making some kind of chicken dish in the next couple of days. Plotting freezer meals for when baby comes so that I’m not stressed about food.
I am wearing…Maternity clothes! my body has moved on to full on bump, so very little from my normal wardrobe still fits. Also, finally got myself some new bras from Bravissimo. SO MUCH COMFIER.
I am creating… A toque for the hubby, and not much else. Been thinking about getting back to my art journal that I started forever ago. Plotting baby projects (another post to come)
I am going… to a children’s museum this weekend with Sarah and her little girl. Can’t wait!
I am hoping… for a break! Life has been nuts lately!
I am hearing… The new Tori album, and lots of Neko Case.
Around the house…Lots of change. We’re hoping to do some major work to the house within the next 6 months. Starting this weekend, we’re going to be doing some purging, with plans to completely re-do the basement and either turn the space down there into our new living space (office, tv, etc…)
One of my favorite things…The Walking Dead. SO GOOD. Also, the gifts for baby that we’ve already received. Whenever I had a rough day, I go through our bag of stuff and daydream.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Cleaning and then hanging out with Sarah this weekend. Otherwise, just get through the week.
Weight Gain: So far, I’ve gained about 5lbs in the first trimester. I’m now in the 2nd. Woo!
Movement/Signs o’ Baby: Nothing yet. Soon hopefully. Heartbeat has always been good at all of our appointments, so that’s good!
Cravings: Lately? Chocolate milk.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: We’re hoping to have a intervention free birth. This means, ideally, we don’t want any medical inductions, no pain medication as a little interference from the medical world as possible. That said, I am open to all of these things if emergency dictates.