Thursday, September 26, 2013

joys of motherhood: shit they don't tell you beforehand

Kiss your schedule goodbye. You're on baby time now.

Baby time means that if you have enough hubris to think you can go just a little bit longer or further, baby is inevitably going to kick you to the curb and teach you a bit more humility.

I might look cute & innocent, but I have an evil master plan: thwart Mama!

Or have you pulled over in a parking lot, breast feeding because he needs to eat now and now amount of singing, reasoning, cajoling, toy or pacifier distraction is going to convince him otherwise.

Good times. There's nothing like spending quality time in rush hour traffic, just praying that you can get to the next exit faster while cursing yourself for taking the gamble.

Why oh why don't I learn these lessons faster? I'm a smart cookie, I should catch on much quicker!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Project Life: more of September

Week Two in September:

The big news story this week was the announced Quebec Charter of Values. Don't even get me started on it. I think it's an attempt by the PQ to divert the conversation with the old Quebec cultural identity rhetoric in lieu of dealing with the real issues the province is facing right now, ie the crumbling infrastructure (medical, roads, corruption, education). And while I do think it's nice to have religious neutrality in the work place, I think legislating it is a big no no, especially under the auspices of promoting values like gender equality. Not all women wearing hijabs are oppressed and if you're going after the hijabs you should be going after the Jewish Orthodox wigs then. And taking down the cross in parliament. And banning overly provocative or conservative clothing because let's face it, there's a lot to be said about "equality" and clothing choices and our reactions to them. And then we all need to start asking ourselves what every other symbol and clothing choice reflects about equality in our society. 

It's a dangerous slope and I'm not willing to go there as a country. It smacks of hypocrisy and zenophobia and is distractionary politics.

But beyond the politics it was a busy week full of visits and activity. 

Week Three:

More of quiet week after the week before. I think we needed it, especially since Liam got his vaccinations. I am torn by the idea of vaccinating an infant at such a young age but honestly too tired to do the research and thinking needed to make a more informed decision. Ok, that sounds really bad on my part but rest assured I do know a fair bit about the issue going in, I just didn't have it in me to delve into it again. I opted to do them because I want to travel with Liam and it's in his best interest to have his shots if that comes to pass.

We met up with some ladies that we met online (I blurred out the baby faces to respect their privacy). It was nice to check in, in person, with Mamas with kids the same age. The biggest things that I have taken away from them and every other Mama that I've met is that this shit is hard, Mama-hood can be very isolating, and that you should never judge another Mama because she's just trying to do her best. You don't know what she's dealing with or how hard her day has been or how difficult her child is.

Honestly, becoming a mother might be the hardest thing I've done in my life to date. It trumps dealing with Daddy baggage, being an incredibly broke student, waking up nights with panic attacks over paying back my student loans, traveling to India by myself, planning a mixed faith/cultures wedding, writing a thesis.... hell, anything! Some days will bring out the best in you and others the worst but usually you'll cycle through it all in a day. The highs and lows are just that much harder when you feel alone most of the day. I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who supports me, but even then it's not easy (for either of us). I have yet to break down and cry but honestly there are days that I have come incredibly close to it. In fact, after a rather rough yoga course this week, I almost burst into tears as I was packing up because Liam was just being so colicky that day. It can just be so exhausting to deal with some days.

So when I meet other Mamas (in person and online) going through the same journey and struggling with the same life changes it's reassuring to know that I'm not alone and that others feel the same way. It's part of the process. And it does get better. Not always in the ways you expect, but it does.

And there is something incredibly rewarding about watching your little one laugh and smile or mark major milestones in his life. Watching a baby grow, especially one you're raising, is not only fascinating but awe inspiring.

Friday, September 20, 2013

project life: september, week one

For the first time in ages I'm actually doing a weekly project life post instead of a monthly recap. Proof positive the life is starting to settle down and that it does get better after 8 weeks of newborn baby.

I added a facebook conversation between Paul and I regarding Liam's big move into 3-6 month clothing. To be fair, he still can fit into 0-3 onesies. It's his legs that are too long and chubby for 0-3, which isn't helped by the fact that we've officially transitioned into full time cloth diapering. For those of you who've never seen a baby in cloth diapers getting dressed (I hadn't in ages) the cloth diaper (aka fluff butt) is thickly padded, leaving baby with a much larger nether region. Yes, you can make all the jokes you want about it, I've heard them all from Paul already!

Point being, we have an odd collection sizes at the moment and we're sort of marveling over the fact that he's growing so quickly. Everyone forewarns you, but damn it's fast!

Also added a "Recently Reading" card (again, like the Facebook and the News cards) this was a freebie online that I downloaded and forgot to save the link for credit sake. I will get better at this one day. One day. You know, when baby mama brain isn't eating up all the extra brain cells!

In other news, the big event of the week was going to Stittsville for Paul's family golf tournament. Normally I don't go to these but with Liam around I have to admit that the idea of spending 2.5 days alone was horribly daunting so I opted to join in this time around.

The younger cousins were glad to spend time fawning over Liam (I write that with love and gratitude as it meant that I spent most of Saturday in baby free mode, which was a lovely break). Honestly, I think the hardest parts of motherhood for me thus far are the isolation and the constant "on-ness" of it. I've been working on the isolation (which helps as it comes with the by-product of getting breaks), but the hours of free family love and babysitting was super amazing.

Other than that, I added a 6 x 12 insert to record Liam's first captured smile. It's a good one! Well, it's a good one in my books. I love his coy, side smile. It's pure joy with a little bit of mischief. Totally rocks and melts my heart every time I see it.

In  the back of the insert I stored all the Welcome Baby cards we've received for Liam. This might end up overly padding my album but I figure that it'll be something lovely for him to see later in life.

And that's it. The first week of September done. It was a good week. We had some rough patches but in general Liam has been settling into his skin and we're feeling more comfortable in our role as parents. We're getting to know each and there are growing pains in that process, but for now I can say this: the awkward introductions seem to be taken care of.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

joys of motherhood: shit they don't tell you beforehand

Breast feeding makes your breasts lopsided.


What, did you think I'd actually post a photo of my lopsided breasts?

As in one will be full and the other half full or empty. And you'll be able to tell by looking at them. Your partner will too. And probably people on the street if they look closely enough.

Of course, you'll say why don't you just feed from them in a more balanced fashion. But here's the thing... sometimes your child has a mind of your own. And there's hindmilk vs foremilk and you want the baby to get the hindmilk cause that's the dope that gets them to sleep. So yeah... you'll empty one at the expense of another if it means that the baby crack takes affect and puts the little one to sleep, even for a little while.

Why? Because sleep = sanity. Sanity trumps lopsided boobs. Always.

So yeah, if you notice a new Mama with lopsided breasts, smile with kindness. She's just doing what she needs to do to get by!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

project life: august

Week One (actually kind of two because part of week one is in the July post):

Liam moved out of his newborn clothing so I kept one of the outfits he wore in the hospital. I know Paul will hate this choice because it's circles, but whatever, we have good pictures of  him in it!

 We had a fair amount of visits and I finally ventured out on my own for a walk with Liam.

 We even ventured out to a BBQ party with Liam.

Week Two:

This week I downloaded the digital Seafoam Project Life kit. I like that it has a lot more in the way of journaling cards. As much as I like the Midnight kit, I've found it hard to journal with it because I didn't buy the journaling cards (didn't love them cause I don't really like the houndstooth pattern).

I was sick early in the week but have since recovered. We had a lot of visits again. Starting to see that evening visits aren't necessarily a good choice for Liam right now. He gets over stimulated and we tend to have rough nights as a result. Need to think about scaling them back. But otherwise... our baby is growing. That's the news...

Week Three:

V came over,with lunch. I was amazed by her baby savvy. Not because I didn't expect it, but because most of my friends don't have kids so are a bit uncomfortable with holding a baby or diving right in there. I love watching people figure it out and I love even more watching people who are comfortable. I sure as hell wasn't when he was put in my arms!

Also, started exercising this week. I'm back down to my original pre-baby weight and want to lose more of the weight, slowly but surely, while I'm off this year. I know I have to be careful about it though because losing too much weight will affect my milk supply.

Week Four:

I downloaded a freebie "Today's News" (my bad, I didn't store the link) so that I could start documenting the big news stories of the week. I feel like this is something that I've been a bit lackadaisical about doing and hope to change starting now. I also added ephemera from daily life: the invite to our block party (no photos cause I felt like it might be invasive) and a postcard from Sean and Rebecca (we received it earlier but I'm just getting around to adding it). It's actually in a separate pocket, as you can see below:

Also trying to keep track of visits and random Liam info.

There's 2 blank slots saved for a photo of Paul, Liam and I.

But just so my album doesn't turn into the Book of Liam, I've added a little info from our daily life like Paul's experiments in cooking and my attempts at getting back into blogging/crafting.

And that's it for August. Welcome September and living a more balanced life with Liam, Paul, crafting, and various stuff in between.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

joys of motherhood: shit they don't tell you beforehand

The wheels on the bus go round and round isn't about playing with your child. Oh no, it's code for working out baby farts in a game like manner so your child isn't savvy to your wily ways!

I look cute but what you don't know is that I'm farting right now!

Honestly, I never expected to spend so much time not only working out someone else's farts, but then praising them for getting the big ones out. Yeah. Classy shit. Literally!

Unfortunately there is a direct correlation between the amount of farts worked out and smiles in a day. Too few farts means it's going to be a bad day.

Don't mind me, I'm off to sing another round...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

hello story: scrapbooking stories

More stories about telling stories... but this time a bit of a failed story.

The prompt was to tell a 6 word story that captured a life philosophy of sorts.

Here's what I did:

I tried to use colours and supplies that I have had for a while but have never managed to incorporate for some reason or another, such as the wood grain alpha letters and the word tag thingy in the top right corner.

I see others use wood grains in such beautiful ways but for me it just doesn't work. It's too heavy and clunky for me. I have tried it over and over again, playing with it in various layouts only to take it off every time. This time I decided to commit and I think it's a fail. It's too big. It's too brown. It's just too blech.... I like basic black and white alphas. I like slim and classic. I'm not one for big, round fonts. I have finally, after 4 years of scrapbooking, come to learn this about myself. If I'm doing colour, it needs to be in small alphas. But frankly, I find buying a bunch of different types of alphas to be a huge waste of money because so much of the alphabet is wasted. The only reason I have so many various alphas is because I'd joined Studio Calico's monthly kit club last year. I ended up cancelling it because realistically I could never go through as much stock as they sent and so much of what they sent ended up being stuff I wouldn't use. Like for example the embellies on the left hand corner. I never know what to do with all these octagons, circles, arrows, etc. that were sent.  This page is an attempt to use up those extras and clearly it is, in part, a fail to me because I'm using pieces that just don't work for me.

I think I just need to accept this about these supplies and purge them from my stash instead of feeling burdened by the idea of using them.

I don't know. Sometimes some things just don't work. This page just doesn't work for me. Maybe it's just the title. Maybe it's because it's supposed to be a page about story but just doesn't feel like much of a story? Either way, it's done.

I do have another page that I want to create using the 6 word story concept, but I'm saving it for another day.,.. it's a surprise.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

liam @ 7 weeks

Again, for those who are so inclined:

It never ceases to amaze me how much he can change or grow in a week. Last week I was the one entertaining him to get him chattering, now he chatters away on his own. There's no stopping him if he has something he wants to say!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

the joys of motherhood: shit they don't tell you beforehand

You will smell like breast milk. All the time. Even just after you get out of the shower (or at least, it will feel like it).

I'm actually convinced that this is the real reason women started wearing perfume...

To add insult to injury, you'll become so used to smelling like milk you won't notice it anymore. What was once an offensive smell in the beginning of your motherhood journey will become so par for the course that you will become immune to it. As in you won't smell it on yourself, your clothing, or even in the spit up milk (as long as it isn't vomit) that your child deems fit to bless you with from time to time.

Ha Ha Mama, you stink of boobie milk! I like it!

Yeah. Nice isn't it?

Pretty much. After all, what could be sexier than your partner coming in to snuggle, only to say, you smell of milk.

Good times...

Hmmm, maybe eau de breast milk is nature's natural birth control? I mean, who wants to have sexy time with a big milk bottle?

Given how many babies are out there... I suppose more people than I care to think about!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

hello story: scrapbooking stories

I mentioned before that I signed up for a scrapbooking course with Ali Edwards that focuses on telling stories in scrapbooking. I wrote about the first page I did, using "math", over here.

Next up: using maps

I opted to tell the story of all the homes and roommates I've had. Suffice to say, my west coast adventures fill up one page. I need another one for my Quebec days (possibly more). Given that I've had 19 roommates and lived in 16 places since leaving my parents' home, it's not surprising!

I actually kind of loved this prompt. There's so much that I can do with it. And it's a story that I would never have thought to tell but is integral to my life and very unique to me in comparison to Paul. Whenever I tell people from Paul's world that I've had so many roommates and lived in so many different homes, they are surprised. The irony of it is, the 19 doesn't even include the times I've moved back in with the same person.

I love all the things that I can do with this prompt, from documenting the cities where I've lived and the jobs I had while living there, to the people I've lived with, the adventures we had together, and the things I learned from those people. I think I could fill an entire album based on this prompt. And I think it might be the project I spend the next little while working on, post course, when doing more traditional pages.

Another unique aspect to this page was the intentionality with which I considered subject and structure. I had 3 cities I wanted to mention in my BC page: Nanaimo, Victoria, and Vancouver (though I mentioned Whistler in the Vancouver section). So I knew I wanted a way to find a clean balance between the image and stories. It was a fun challenge.

I can't wait to play around with it more. I still have my Montreal page sitting on my crafting table. I want to create a flow from one page to the next, without completely mimicking the layout of the previous page. Given that I have 8 locations to talk about on that page... it's going to be a challenge indeed!

I dig it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Project Life: July

Yeah. July and August have been a bit of a blur and I'm only getting around to posting this now...

Week One:

I feel like we spent all of the year waiting for July. So when I got to it in the album, it felt momentous and yet a bit anti-climatic because we were still waiting!

In true Marya fashion, since I was still waiting I filled my time with new projects like my peg board change table thing a ma jig. What else should I call it? Not really sure so thing a ma jig it is!

Everything we did sort of felt like the last for a while. Last swim, last brunch...

Week Two:

More waiting. Liam was due this week but he took his time. Totally normal, most first babies are late. But it was hot and I was huge, so it was a hard wait. I filled the time by crocheting hats that Paul thinks are wannabe hipster. But whatever. They kept me busy and sane during the wait.

Mom arrived and we made dryer balls out of some old wool from her stash:

The goal behind them is to help with drying times for the cloth diapers. Apparently the all in ones that we bought take a long time to dry, so hopefully the wool balls will help with our hydro bills!

Week Three:

Finally! I was getting unbelievably huge (as you can see in the top right picture). I've already written all about his birth, so I'll leave it at that. Looking back though at these pictures and seeing how small his is (bottom left photo especially), fills me with awe. My little man has grown a lot since his arrival!

I have a lot of pictures from this week....

Milk coma face, celebrating his arrival.

 Birth story, first family visits...

Week Four:

More family visits. Skype time with Sean and Rebecca, meeting his cousins. Pictures with the Grandmas. It was a quiet week but a busy week. Mom left, Paul and I settled into life with Liam.

Week Five:

Paul went back to work. I survived my first week alone as a mother. The boys came to visit again, this time with Val. Love how excited they are about him! It's adorable. We took Liam to the physiotherapist to check out his neck. He has a slight tilt to the right that the doctor wanted us to look at sooner than later because of his forcep birth. The physiotherapist says he looks good but we have a few exercises to help loosen up a tight muscle/nerve on the right side.

And that's it. July done. It took me until mid August to get these pages finished. Crafting is never going to be the same now that I have a little one underfoot. But I'll adapt. Crafting and creative time are important to me and my mental health, so I'll find the time.

Funny though, all this time that I spend nurturing creativity in my life is still somewhat of a new thing. If you'd asked me 5 years ago what my hobbies were, I'd have said reading... Now I have so many hobbies it boggles my mind. And I can't imagine life without them or without creative endeavours. How on earth did I feel sane before bringing creativity into my daily life?

Monday, September 2, 2013

adventures in veggie cuisine: zucchini "crab" cakes

Even with a newborn, Paul finds time to try out new veggie recipes. His latest, veggie zucchini "crab" cakes:

He adapted the recipe he found here. He found the mix too runny so he added breadcrumbs. And he made his own spice mix to mimic the Old Bay spice.

Overall they were pretty tasty, and to me, mimicked the texture of crab quite well. Keep in mind though, I haven't eaten crab in over 20 years, so what do I know?

If you're looking for something a little different to add to your vegetarian fare, they're worth looking into and playing around with. I think they'd be great with a sauce. I'm not quite sure what kind of sauce but I'll figure it out!


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