Crafting, Daily Life, Depression

Pushing forward

Starting a conversation can be so hard sometimes. Finding the right ice breaker, the right way to start, can seem impossible. I find myself sitting quietly a lot these days rather than trying to find a way to talk about what’s been going on lately.

After my sister’s visit, I found myself slipping quietly into a funk. I’m not sure if it just started out as that down after a great time that happens to everyone, or if it was the time of year. Either way, I tried to manage it myself. I was diligently taking my meds. I got lots of sleep and ate well. Nothing seem to break the funk though, and eventually it grew into something more. My anxiety and depression reared their ugly heads. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends and family who encouraged me to talk to my doctor about it. My meds have been changed and I am being very careful around my triggers and am managing as best I can.

Unfortunately, the world keeps on spinning and doesn’t care what is already on one’s plate. Shortly after this, I received some news. I don’t want to get into too many details, because it wouldn’t be appropriate, but I am no longer doing any of the social media for Belly Laughs. I mention it only because I feel it is only right that you, my readers, know where to find me and I know that I have directed you there previously. There is a chance that I may do some blogging for them in the future, but that isn’t a sure thing. As of right now, I still work my regular monday night shift, but that’s it.

As you can imagine, the timing isn’t great with the holidays coming up. Thankfully, I did most of my shopping quite early and everything that is left on my Shopping list can be replaced with homemade items. Honestly, I prefer doing it that way anyway. It also so happens that one of my favourite self-care tasks is crafting, so it’s a win win.

The fun didn’t stop there, unfortunately. On my way to work on Monday, our one and only vehicle started making very unhappy sounds. I took it in yesterday (which ended up being a fun adventure for Liam and I, despite the early hour. He ended up having his first bus ride. A wrong bus choice on my part resulted in an unexpected trip to Starbucks and a windy but nice walk home).

liamadventureLooks like our poor wheels are pretty much done. We are putting about $500 in and then will trade it in. This of course means a bad financial situation when things are tough already, and added strain because we will need to finance the next car. Which also means that we will not be able to continue house hunting for a while, at least until things vastly improve.

So, here we are, I am trying my best to be positive about it all, but it’s hard. I probably need to find more work to supplement the hours that I have lost. On the plus side, a close family friend has presented me with an opportunity which may fill that void. We were talking about replacing the car soon anyway (ideally after getting our new home), because it is killer on gas. This situation sort of expedited the whole process. I was feeling torn about the whole house situation anyway, and this forces us to wait until we are in a more stable situation. Which, if I am being honest, is fine with me. Things are tough. Really really tough. I’m not doing great, however I do see that maybe this is the Universe forcing us to do things we have put off and giving us opportunities we may not have taken otherwise. For instance, I am now thinking about focusing more on what I can do in the future to potentially start my own business.

Oh, and I am knitting and crocheting like crazy again. Check it out! I will do a post soon with more deets on these.

liamgrampscommissionhatsHopefully I will have some good news to share soon. In the mean time, I will keep hoping and pushing along. Hopefully these bumps in the road are just new opportunities that we haven’t fully appreciated yet.

Work B*tch

Working from home

We are launching the new social media model this month for the shop. As a result, we are busy little bees this week! On top of that, I am still a nursing momma to a teething moody toddler. This is what my morning looks like:
sahm

Want to follow me at work too? Here’s where you can find me:

Belly Laughs Instagram
Belly Laughs Facebook
Belly Laughs Pinterest
Belly Laughs Blog

Baby

The fabric that binds us

I’m exhausted. I wish I could curl up and sleep for a day, but I can’t even imagine the damage my child would do while I slept and I have to leave for work in about an hour. We are still struggling with sleep in our home. Liam has transitioned to his room, but so have I. We’re working on it, but it’s been making for some long nights for me.

Add to that being out of the house all weekend and taking a course for the first time in YEARS, my brain is toast. It was so very worth it though. As of Sunday evening, I officially became a certified babywearing educator!

My love of babywearing was not something I was raised in to. As most of you know from my previous posts, my parents were away more often than not while I was growing up. I was raised by a series of nannies and babysitters until I was 12.

Liam’s birth was long and traumatic, leaving me physically limited for weeks afterwards. One of my dear friends, Kit, had gifted me with her old snugli when I was pregnant. When I could barely manage walking out of the house, it gave me the ability to carry my child and even go to the Stars and Strollers baby movie days. My love of it lead me to try a Moby, buy my first Buckle carrier (my beloved Beco Gemini) and eventually my first woven, my Gira Amitola. In addition to those, I also have a gauze wrap and a toddler tula. A girlfriend has leant me her maya ring sling and is talking about letting me keep it :) Why? Why do I love babywearing so much? Why do I need more than one carrier?

Well, let’s start with why I love it. To me, it’s more than a method of carrying my child. It gave me the physical ability to get out of the house during a really difficult time. The exercise I was able to get, as well as the human interaction and the sunlight I was able to enjoy really helped me work through my post partum depression and severe anxiety.

20120715_226
A tiny Liam in my gifted Snugli
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He would sleep in it. It was such a big deal for me!

I joined babywearing groups (which was a natural progression for me. Keep in mind that I am a club person. I used to run the ottawa knit nites in University and I had a Sailor Moon fan club when I was a tween), which introduced me to some of my current support group and lead me to find like minded parents who have assisted me in sticking with my parenting choices. Having not had my parents around to provide me with parenting help, these people were anchors for me. It also helped me interact more with mommas in my Due Date group, who have now become my best friends (I’m looking at you, Lindsay, Crystal, Krista and Jenn).

Me in my Seven Slings pouch (we both hated it and gave it away)
Me in my Seven Slings pouch (we both hated it and gave it away)

It helped support my breastfeeding relationship, and helped me develop a relationship with my son which might have been very different without my carriers.

Me and my Moby
Me and my Moby. God knows what the hell I did with that tie….I think this was the very first time I tried wrapping. Thank god he didn’t fall.

Aside from the parenting related benefits – I am a huge fiber and textile geek. Babywearing has introduced me to a whole knew world of textiles. On top of that, my love of social history, women’s studies and anthropology relates to babywearing so very much. I can’t help but completely geek out on the subject!

My beloved Beco Gemini <3
My beloved Beco Gemini <3
Beco Gemini - "Omg! I can put him ON MY BACK?!"
Beco Gemini – “Omg! I can put him ON MY BACK?!”

It got me my job. Yep. My babywearing sister in law let me know about the job opening at her local babywearing and maternity store. I applied and included an introduction letter including my personal experiences with babywearing. I was hired on the spot because the girl who knew woven wraps was leaving Belly Laughs, and I was the only person who had applied that knew anything about them (In fact, I had included a picture of me wearing Liam in my Gira in my application). Through that job I have met some incredible people and have learned so so much. Through this job, I was able to take the course this past weekend.

My very first woven - Size 6 Girasol, Amitola.
My very first woven – Size 6 Girasol, Amitola.
My first attempt at a back carry with a wrap.
My first attempt at a back carry with a wrap.

The course was held by the Canadian Babywearing School. It was level one of the Babywearing Educators program (I am praying that we get the opportunity to do level two as well!). I feel so incredibly proud to be able to call myself a Babywearing Educator now. I feel so much better about being able to help other individuals and families in my community with something that I know completely changed my world for the better.

My second woven, a gauze wrap for the summer
My second woven, a gauze wrap for the summer. A terrible wrap job again…jesus, and I’m an educator now? 

The only downside – I am OBSESSED with babywearing again. My poor pinterest peeps must be so bored of all the carriers I’ve been pinning lately. I want ALL THE PRETTIES. Sorry y’all! It’s not going to get any better any time soon!

bwingpinterest

I’m probably going to ramble on about babywearing in the next while. Sorry about that. I just can’t get over how much I love it, even when my guy is so freaking in love with running and walking that he won’t tolerate it.

In our newest carrier, our toddler Tula in Ikat.
In our newest carrier, our toddler Tula in Ikat.

Sept 104Sept 096

Daily Life

A fine line

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.

Pat - One hell of a woman

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.

It was a big family, once. (Not shown: one nephew and my Dad.) Faces not blacked out: Mum, Tracy, Me, Pat.

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?

Me, ~20 y.o.

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.

Daily Life

Rainy Day

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Honestly, I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been feeling like crap lately, and am absolutely exhausted by the time I get home from work. To top that off, with the beginning of the new school year, things are crazy here at the college, which means that I’ve been having my schedule change almost daily.

This past weekend, my lovely friend Leigh came to town to hang out and for a work thing. We chatted, snarked at bad movies, ate lots of comfort food and basically enjoyed each other’s company. Sunday, I crashed at her hotel downtown. We wandered my old neighbourhood (just after University, I moved downtown with a friend for about 8 months), and did some shopping. We had dinner at our regular place (Zak’s, a cute 24 hour diner) and then grabbed some dessert at Oh So Good (I had the Pink Velvet cake. SO AMAZING. OMG, delicious.). We retired back to the hotel to bum around while she worked on her work stuff. It was a great time.

This coming weekend I’ll be taking the train to Montreal as part of my Maid of Honour duties for her. We’re going dress shopping on Saturday and a bridesmaid brunch on Sunday. The following Monday is my nephew’s birthday, so it’s a very busy weekend! I’m glad I have the Friday off.

Another big thing going on right now is that we’ve discovered that we’re going to have to tear out our finished basement. There’s a leak, somewhere, and some mould has been growing along the baseboards. I’m really really upset about this, as it’s going to be a very expensive fix, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to have some contractors in for estimates and then we’ll meet with the bank and discuss our options. So not good timing at all.

Anyway, I should get back to work. Again, sorry for the meh updates. Been way too busy and tired to write much.

Daily Life, Recipe

Coping

Where has this summer gone? I can’t believe we’re already in August! The evenings are starting to cool down, and I can feel a certain briskness in the air. Love it! Autumn is my favourite season, so I can’t wait for it to arrive!

Unfortunately, things haven’t improved much in my neck of the woods. Lots of estate stress has been accompanied by some work issues. Not entirely sure why these things have developed, but I’ve noticed a strange attitude change towards my position. I am a part time assistant to the student employment department at the local college. We just hired two new staff members, both on contract like me, with one of them being part time as well. For whatever reason, their arrival has somehow resulted in me being knocked down the totem poll. There’s been some issues that have me worried and I’m planning on approaching my manager about them. It’s not a fun thing to worry about, especially when money is already tight.

At least I have my friends and some hobbies to keep me occupied. I have a big project in the works that I can’t wait to share with you all! Unfortunately, I can’t yet because it’s a surprise. Hee! I promise, as soon as I can, I’ll let you know :) Something I can tell you about: I’m trying to teach myself to crochet. Will I succeed? Will it be an epic disaster of massively tangled proportions? Only time will tell.

This month is looking to be jam packed of busy and fun. This weekend we’re celebrating my niece’s 2nd birthday. I can’t believe how fast time flies! next week is my sister’s birthday (who has no right to be turning 25. Seriously. There is something incredibly crazy about that), my sister in law is also having a little birthday shindig that week as well which is going to be a hoot. Finally, the last weekend of August, one of my BFFs, L, is in town for work and is crashing with us for the weekend. I haven’t seen her in a little while, so I’m very excited! Directly after that, I’ll be following her home to Montreal for a family get together/engagement party (I’m her MOH!). As soon as I return from my weekend away in beautiful Montreal, I’ll be returning to celebrate my nephew’s 2nd birthday! Busy busy! By then, it’ll be September!

With all of that going on, I’m also trying to include some work outs into my routine, as well as get some meals cooked so that we’re no longer relying on fast food and meals from boxes. Last night was one of my favourites. Super quick and easy!

Chicken Bruschetta Bake

(based on Kraft’s recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes (whatever I have on hand. Last night was herbed diced. Fresh works also, though the liquid from the can is used later so keep that in mind and substitute in either chicken stock or just water)
  • 1pkg stuffing mix (Ok, so there’s still a box involved. Sue me. Feel free to make your own homemade substitution.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast (I usually use two medium sized breasts for this meal), cut into bite sized pieces.
  • a few shakes of dried basil (enough to lightly dust all of the chicken)
  • 1 cup mozzarella (we usually also add some parmigiana and cheddar)
1. Preheat your oven to 400F
2. Lightly oil a casserole dish
3. Mix tomatoes and garlic into stuffing
Mix then let sit while you prepare everything else.
4. Cut your chicken if you haven’t already. Once you do, place in your casserole dish.
Yay chicken!

5. Sprinkle with your dried basil. I use more than the Kraft recipe calls for.

Yum! Feel free to season however you like. Oregano might be good too!

6. Layer on your cheeses. Again, I use more cheese than asked for. Love me the fromage.

Just a little cheese

7. Cover with the stuffing mix. I tend to smooch it down to make it all fit.

It looks almost the exact same when cooked, just with more brown.

8. Cook for about 30 min or until chicken is cooked through. This will normally feed both Pat and I for dinner and then have enough for lunch the next day. This is still really good when reheated.

It’s a great quick meal for a busy day, and it’s super tasty (if not a bit heavy on the sodium. I definitely recommend picking up a low/no sodium stuffing).

Enjoy those last few remaining summer days and nights! Soon enough, we’ll be bundling up! <3

 

Daily Life

One of those days

Yesterday was just one of those days.

Yesterday marked my shift into part time hours. Working at the college as part time support staff, I work full time hours for the busy portion of the school year and then once things calm down, I drop down to 24 hours a week. For me, that translates to 9:15-4pm, Monday through Thursday.

I woke up way earlier than I needed to, unsure about my bus routes. I got on a new bus, unsure about how long it would take to get me to the college (my usual bus doesn’t run that late), and ended up arriving at the college about an hour early for my shift. Sigh. So, I decided to walk over to a near by coffee shop to kill some time. I noticed I was getting some funny looks on this walk, so I stopped and took a look at myself. Apparently, while on the bus, I had rested my purse on my lap. I was wearing black capris and managed to put what was the equivalent of an adult cat in fur all over my thighs. Sigh. So, I did my best to remove what I could and kept on my way.

When I arrived at my office, about 15 minutes early, I discovered that my co-worker was home sick. I could have come straight up, rather than kill time (and spend money) at the coffee shop. Morning came and went. I started to notice my top wasn’t the best shirt for an office environment. I kept inappropriately flashing too much boob to the office. I guess my weight gain went to my cup size because the shirt used to fit much better last time I wore it. I spent the rest of the morning adjusting my clothes and being really self conscious about it.

This is the top. This picture taken a couple years ago

I wasn’t able to take a lunch, as I had no coverage, so I ate at my desk. My sauce covered pasta dish wasn’t very appetizing, but I made due. Unfortunately, I also managed to drop half of it on to those black furry capris and my bright green top. Siiiiigh. Because of the lack of coverage, I couldn’t just run to the bathroom, so I did what I could with my water bottle and the nearby paper towel. Unfortunately, neither were much help and I ended up with bits of paper towel attached to my saucy furry pants.

Yeah, it was one of those days.  Today, I’m focusing on our cottage trip this weekend and our plans with S&K to see Harry Potter on Sunday. Tonight we are hoping to do some housework (seeing as how I was too wrecked this past weekend to accomplish anything) and get laundry going so that it’s taken care of before we leave. Tomorrow we do our errands and grocery shopping. Friday, we leave for Sharbot Lake for Pat’s work wife’s family cottage.

Sunday, once we’re home, we’re going out to see the last Harry Potter flick with S&K. It’s also going to be one of the last times we can hang out with S&K sans baby boy, who is due to arrive shortly afterwards.  It’s going to be a good weekend.

I’m debating bringing some knitting with me for the weekend. It’s been so hot and humid that I’ve been avoiding my crafting. I just can’t imagine handling wool right now. I do need to pick up some books to keep me busy (I’m thinking the rest of the George RR Martin books). What are your camping and cottaging essentials? Either way, I look forward to doing a whole lot of nothing, with near by access to a cold lake <3

Do you have any plans for the weekend? How do you beat the heat?