Pregnant not Dying

woman carrying baby at beach during sunset

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“I’m Pregnant I’m not dying”

Looking back over 5 years later I see I was right in only one regard, I didn’t die! But the things I used to do, the places I used to go and some of the people I used to spend my time with all changed. I couldn’t put my high heels on and head out for a drink with the same people anymore. First time motherhood, even second time motherhood, can be daunting, it can be isolating, lonely and downright hard. The world doesn’t prepare you for those parts. The media shows you the happy celebrities doting on their little children, they write nannies into story lines and babies right out of the scenes it would be inconvenient to have them around for. Our parents recall the happy times of becoming a mom, they tell us of the love they had for us and remind us not to let the moments pass by because the go by “so fast” our friends with older children remember the baby snuggles, the happy belly giggles, they share photos of when their children were little looking longingly over them as they catch a whiff of the teenagers gym socks and remind us to enjoy the less stinky stage.

But so little of this prepares us for what its like in the moment. So here are some of my honest opinions and to do’s:

Becoming a new mom is HARD. If you don’t have a mommy support system get one, go to the mommy and baby groups and meet other moms who are there in the trenches too, they are literally the only people who know how hard it is to get the baby or babies out to the grocery store today! Sometimes we need to vent to someone who is there too, and not be told to enjoy it! Even now, I know I am not the best form of advice or listening ear to brand new moms; you really need someone who is right there with you feeling the same things as you at the same time.

Becoming a new mom is BUSY. In the first few weeks and months life will be a blur. I honestly do not have much recollection thru the first two weeks. I look back on pictures and think wow I really don’t remember that part. Apart from being tired, there were doctors appointments, mine and the babies, healthcare workers visits to the house, a whirlwind of people coming to see the girls and get their snuggles in. There were newborn photos and family photos, baby showers and so much laundry. Its all new and there isn’t really anything you can do to change it, and if your baby requires extra support, or is in the hospital for an extended period, or there is anything that throw a “hiccup” into the mix then its likely that your busy is even more busy than others.

Becoming a new mom is LONELY. Put yourself out there, its tough on day one, its scary, it’s intimidating, but it’s necessary. Find out where other new moms are hanging out, sign up for mommy and me groups, join online groups, locally and internationally, it makes life a lot easier to vent together about how HARD this whole parenting journey is, than sit and think all that stuff to yourself.

Becoming a new mom is EXHAUSTING. We are tired all the time; there is no measurement to adequately describe the exhaustion a new parent faces. Nap when the baby naps is literally the worst advice you can receive.

Do however do what you can do to rest, and try not to feel guilty for just sitting down for a while. Hire a cleaning service, or other support so you don’t accidentally put the milk in the cupboard, or inadvertently mop the floor with the cat! Here we have a postpartum service that is subsidized to support new moms with cleaning, grocery pick up, and light meal preparation. Something like it might be available in your area too if you do the research! Ask for help. I know better than anyone that its hard to ask for help, but if you leave a clean laundry basket on the living room floor it will get folded, with out having to do the actual asking part. Grandmas and neighbors do want to help and if its there they will just go to the folding naturally! And STOP scrolling Pintrest – There is no way to have a magazine worthy house and nursery and have a brand new baby or babies at home, (if you do and you are not exhausted I commend you and please share your secrets!!) Seriously those receiving blankets DO NOT need to be rolled or shaped into a swan in a cute basket in order for them to do the job of receiving puke. (A lesson I learned too late) seriously shove those things in a drawer and put your feet up because laundry done!

Becoming a new mom is CONFUSING. There is a rush of information flooding toward us, even reading this is putting bias and opinion on you as a new mom. There are constant reminders that no matter what we do there will be an opinion out there that contradicts it. Breastfeed or bottle, co sleep or crib, Cry it out or soothe, and the to do lists are endless, read to your baby, listen to classical music, pierce their ears before they can remember, cloth diaper your baby, start food at 4 months, 6 months 1 year.

Becoming a new mom is FULL TIME. There is no break; of course your doting husband, friendly neighbors, and adoring family are all there to help you. They’ll hold the baby so you can take a minute to eat alone, but that baby is going to cry and need to eat too, insert boob here. They will offer to sit with baby so you can have a nap, insert nightmare of rolling on your baby in your sleep, even if you don’t co-sleep, like, ever!! They will offer to stay at the house with the baby so you can go out for a quick coffee run (like the real stuff with the steam and the flavors and all the jazz) or grab a few groceries sans crying baby in the grocery cart with the broken wheel. Insert every worst-case scenario and fear all the while continuously checking the rearview mirror gasping as you think you’ve forgotten the baby in the frozen foods isle.

Becoming a new mom is AMAZING. I can’t leave out the joyful parts, because we get wonderful times too even in all the new scary parts. We get snuggles, the connection to our new baby. We get to look down at this amazing little human we created and see their unconditional love stare back at us.

Of course all this might not be the truth for all new moms, or dads, but it was my reality. It was my husband’s reality too, waking up in a panic asking where the babies were? Even though they were soundly sleeping tucked in to their cribs when we drifted to dream land. It’s a tough job and not one for the faint at heart; it’s all of these things and more. No one solution alone is the answer to the equation. New moms will always look back and think about things they could have done differently. We all just have to muddle thru it and realize that one day it will change again. Soon we will discover all the ways being an “old pro mom” is all of these things too!

Above all this is just a small part of what becoming a mom is like, it’s a small piece to an ever growing and changing puzzle, new research will come out tomorrow to tell us we’ve done it all wrong. All we can do as new moms, dads, veteran parents, grandparents, and caregivers alike is what is best for the little being we are raising, take from that ever growing puzzle the pieces that fit into your own story and leave the rest.

-A

 

In My Opinion…

img_9740.jpgNot that you asked for it.

I read something recently that made me very sad, a lady wrote about her marriage and insinuated to many things about the obligation of women in marriage that I just could not get on board with.

In fact it made me sad! 😦

– I changed my last name with honour

– I moved into our home and had equal choice and decision in the purchase of our home

– I “left” my family for education first, not him, I met and chose to spend my life with him, we built our life together for us not him!

– I got pregnant for me/us and our growing family

– Pregnancy changed my body because it did an amazing thing, it grew and cared for three beautiful children that are just as much mine as his as ours and I AM NOT FAT ( I refuse to use that language to describe my pregnancy during or after)

– The delivery and recovery was worth every minute for the beautiful children we created, and not one minute was it specifically for him

– My children will proudly grow with OUR last name and carry it on how they see fit in their adult lives!

It is my house too, they are my children too, we both have parents that may need support one day too, I do not do anything for someone else at a cost to my own health, beauty, or hobbies! My husband and I are a team we chose each other we love each other and we will create this life we have chose together! I feel appreciated and I hope he does too!! 🙂

I hope they others are living the life they have chose and not one out of obligation!

-A

 

Happy New Years Resolutions…

man with fireworks

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I have taken a year off blogging. Intentionally or not I have stepped away to live this life rather than write about it, and although it was a wonderful year I miss this outlet of writing, and sharing so here I am, back at it! I have spent my time writing to my children in the form of their journals. I have written journal to myself thru calendar and notebook. We had a busy year, full of lots of fun and adventure. But I miss this. I miss the forum to write thoughts about random ponderings, I miss the outlet for parental thinking and collaboration, I miss sharing my recipes, crafting, and travel adventures, and I miss sharing with you what we have been up to here on our little farm.

New years always come with new years resolutions. Even if we don’t come up with specifics, or write it down January 1st is the ultimate Monday. So here I am back at writing. I guess I am writing it down so maybe it’s a “new years resolution”, maybe its just a plan to get back to my blog and spend a little time, what little I have, doing something that I truly enjoy!

For those of you who are new here I thought I would start out the year sharing a little about me, and a little about why I write!

I am a mom to five-year-old twin girls and a three (soon to be four) year old boy yes they are close in age – 16 months apart. For those whose jaws are down right about now, yes this was planned, yes I am busy, and for those in the same parenting boat, yes we love it – not every minute, of course that would be a lot to ask, but most of it!

I love wine! See above Nuff said! I have amazing family and friends who are my support system above all else.

I am a wife to an amazing man, who encourages and supports me; I couldn’t live this crazy life without him! Even on the days I complain I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here raising our family in our own little wild world on this farm!

I have journaled since I was in grade 3 when my grandmother gave me my first blank note page book with a beautiful flower print for my birthday. At that time I wrote things about my friendships, sleepovers and daily things that came up and were important to me. Nobody read it so I could write anything! As time went on so did my writing, I kept a Journal or Diary for the rest of my life, I still do now, although now its less journaling and more private thoughts and emotions that I cant share or am not ready to share here! Since my children were born I began journaling for them, a compilation of first times trying or doing new things, funny things they have done and said. Mostly letters and notes to them as they grow, these books I will leave to them when they are all grown up, kind of a keepsake of their lives thru my eyes.

I believe in reading, reading to our children, reading to ourselves, and reading about anything and everything that interests us. I feel strongly that when you read you grow, I love watching my children “read” now it melts my heart when my son flips thru a book reciting lines he remembers from the time I have spent reading to him, it is one of the most amazing things to watch.

I am actively involved in our small community, because I believe in the power of a community, a community that comes together and accomplishes amazing things. I believe giving of my time teaches children to think of the big picture, the world and other people around them. We can go nowhere alone, everything we do in life we do thru and with other people.

-A

 

 

And Just Like That The Year Is Done!

christmas letter 2018

Fall on the Farm

“Autumn is the season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.”

Fall is here and for the last few years I have said how it is my favorite time of year. Now after the crazy summer we had I think I know why.

As much as the fall routine makes us busy and takes up our time it really is a slow down, the garden is out, the chickens are butchered (almost), the pigs are grown and ready to go, or gone, the horses are out to pasture, the cows are coming home soon and the calves are sold.

And I’m not just bailing on you guys; I finally picked up my journal again last week and started writing again… as therapeutic as it is, summer just never allows me a moment to sit and write, we are busy, much of the time is spent growing our farm, garden, and children. I do find and choose other ways to relax and spend my time enjoying the things around me in the summer though. I spend my time in the sun on the deck, in the garden, in the yard playing, and taking in everything around me. So although I’d like to have made time to write more, this past summer has proven that sometimes priorities make them selves.

So now even though it’s fall and the snow has already shown itself a few times, the weather is cold and I have more time inside I have more structure to my day now that the kids are in their activities; they are going to school and during the week we have a schedule. I hope to write more, to you and for me.

I’m not complaining about the summer I love the heat and the spontaneity summer brings. I love when my house is filled with people unexpectedly, when the barbecue gets lit last minute to roast some hotdogs and hamburgers for an unexpected deck party, when it rains and we have a day of crafting and reading inside or when the sun shines and we find adventures outside.

Those of you who know me you know I don’t like being cold but fall brings on a different kind of cold it’s a cozy feeling and I can turn the fireplace on, I can light candles, I can decorate I can keep up with the dishes and the laundry although my husband would probably disagree! It brings a sort of structure and expectedness to daily life that isn’t there in the summer.

I love cooking meals that I’ve grown it’s always a goal to try and plate everything from my own garden, my own barnyard, my own home! Everything that sits on our plates is grown right here from our own efforts, from all the work and chaos of summer.

Fall for me is the time to reflect, it’s a time to enjoy the calm and the quiet. Even if it’s getting colder we can still play outside we can collect leaves and pinecones so we can build crafts, we can clean up and get ready to start fresh again. So although I would love to live in a warmer climate somewhere where it’s summer all the time and I never have to bundle up because I’m so cold where I never feel chilled to the bone I love that there is a reset and when the leaves turn and the sun sets sooner and it’s beautiful.

-A

 

Spring is here on the Farm!

 

Spring is in the Air

We have had some busy days this spring on the farm already. There has been a lot of work already started and more MUCH MORE to come! The flooding in the yard has gone down substantially and we are looking forward to getting some of the areas fixed that got a little washed out. The whole community has had some major flooding this spring in fact.

 

I am really excited to have ordered some trees, seeds, plants, and chickens all set to arrive this month. Planting up our gardens this year is going to be a lot of work with the planned food and plants we have going in, but at the end of the season when we get to harvest all the food to feed our family for they year it will be all worth it.

I have big plans for the birds this summer too. I have ordered 100 broilers we will grow up and butcher in the early fall. I don’t think the 65 that we managed to raise (first time growing them and we lost quite a few) last year will quite last us until butcher time this year so I am excited to try out some new methods and hopefully we don’t lose as many going forward this year! I also have plans to get 20 new laying hens in July, ones that are already established layers, I would like to increase our laying potential here too, our birds we have right now have been around for a few years, one still from the first birds we got when we moved in so the laying potential is low and often we have a low supply in the house.

We have baby pigs running around in the barn right now with momma and they are too cute. The sow is a really great mom and she is raising 11 of them, even one that I didn’t think would make it thru the first couple days! The other two sows are due to farrow in the summer time, accident we had with them and the boar getting out, bad timing but all is good because they will be nice and warm and shouldn’t have cold risk to get in the way of babies surviving.

Processed with MOLDIV

We have one baby cow now and one more to come soon. Mom and baby are doing well right now and I am getting a little too excited for someone who didn’t want cows in the first place for the other to have hers!

 

 

I’d like to go into the winter with a hearty supply of eggs, chicken pork, and if Steve gets out this year hunting (don’t tell him I said so) some red meat in the freezer too… not to mention the plans with harvesting and storing or preserving the vegetables, and berries from around here too! It will be busy but we will just keep plugging along and knowing that we are raising farm fresh healthy food for our family!

I have ambitions to do more, not today but one day… maybe bees? Sheep? If anyone has tips let me know! Anything I can do produce our own food I am game for trying!

We have some big tree plans coming too, I have ordered from the shelterbelt program some trees to help out with some wind and dust block as well as some pretty flowers, tasty berries, and eye catching giants. I have been wanting to find just the right trees and shrubs that would work here and do us well since we moved in and now that we are many years into our journey I know we have to get something in the ground so we can still be alive to see some of the results! I have ordered Elm trees so those have a 200-year life span! We have done some major pruning down in the front yard bush area, we have cut back all the lilacs and it is looking clean and nice out there! There is still quite a bit of clean up to do out there but its on its way to looking good, and I can finally see the other trees, shrubs, and bushes in there and what they need from me to keep growing and look beautiful!

Processed with MOLDIV

So I am excited for the projects we have coming up, I am excited for the growing season and all the homegrown food we have coming this harvest season! I am looking forward to the summer, bbqs, campouts, and lots of time with friends and family! I hope your summer is great too!

-A

 

We are stronger together!

Stronger Together
We’ve all heard it, some of us have thought it, and some have even dared to say it out loud, even right to the face of a parent just trying to parent…

You spend too much time away from your kids because you work!

How can you be fulfilled JUST being a stay at home mom?

You took your baby out in public in a sleeper and didn’t get her dressed?

Wow that outfit looks elaborate why didn’t you just let her wear a comfy sleeper?

I can’t believe you cover your baby while you nurse her how stuffy for her!

Uhg cover up while you feed him you are in public for crying out loud!

Formula is so bad for your baby, don’t you know what’s in that stuff?!

You should be using formula you can’t make enough on your own for your baby to grow!

How could they sleep with the baby in the bed, how long are they planning to live like that?

How awful that baby is all alone in his crib all night?

That baby is so spoiled being picked up every time he cries.

How could she use the “CIO” method, her baby should be held and loved all the time.

Why wont they just give that kid a sucky? Do they like listening to her cry?

How old is that child? Why would they still be using a soother?

They just left her baby with someone to go out by herself, how lazy/selfish can’t they just take the kid with them?

How does she spend every waking minute with her child, doesn’t she need some alone time, it makes for a better parent/child relationship?

Her kids don’t nap anymore; they are too young and need their naps they aren’t going to develop properly.

Why are her kids still napping? She can’t get out to do anything during the day still.

Why is she leaving so early, she is so tied to her children’s bedtime.

Her child is STILL awake it’s so late; doesn’t she know how much sleep children require?

Look at her organic, free range, non GMO, etc. etc. snacks she is giving her kids what a crunchy mom!

Oh no did you see her open that bag of Cheetos, how could she fill her kids with all those chemicals.

Why is she STILL nursing her child he’s too old for that!

I can’t believe she quit nursing so soon he didn’t get all he needed from her!

And so on and so on….

 

I know just as well as anyone else that there are some situations in this world that require attention. This world is not butterflies and rainbows; I don’t burry my head in the sand trying to ignore the fact that sometimes there is a need for intervention and support. There are dangerous or unsafe conditions that require this, but that is not what I am talking about here. I am referring to the day-to-day judgments, or differing of opinions on child rearing, the unsolicited advice given to parents as they navigate this world of raising tiny humans. To concern ourselves with trivial things when there is no danger is wasteful of our energy. Energy that could be spent on our own families and ourselves!

And I do mean unsolicited, because sometimes we need ideas, other opinions, other people to jump in and say “hey this is what worked for me!”

For the most part I believe we as adults often forget that most of us are just trying to do our very best, that we genuinely care for our families, and we usually have put enough second guessing, guilt ridden, worried time ourselves into the decisions we are making, we really don’t need the extra stress wondering or hearing out loud when other people think we are doing something “wrong.”

We all have expectations going into parenthood, things we are going to do, things we will never do… and we all have had some or all of those expectations shattered by reality. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d wanted and sometimes we beat ourselves up for that, we don’t need the judgments of other people to pile on top of all that we already feel!

We can’t win!

So let’s stop playing the game!

We have all done it, maybe not out loud but we have all passed judgment on another parent for choosing a different path than ours, lets all just admit it and then move on and stop!

Its tough not to judge, its hard when we have put time and energy into making a decision for our families, or our children, only to see that someone else is doing it differently, we put hours of worry, research, and thought into something only to see that someone is succeeding, or failing in some cases, by doing things different. It’s a hit to our ego, a jealous reaction, a grass is greener, or high and mighty feeling we all get at some point while we parent.

Don’t tell me you’ve never stood in line at the store and listened to a screaming child feeling pride looking at your own quiet child in that moment; maybe because (god forbid) you’ve handed your phone over to them, or maybe because your pocket snacks are doing their job. It’s okay to feel pride; it’s not okay to judge the other mom because her method isn’t working today. You know your little bundle has been there or will be there at some point so instead you look over and say we’ve all been there! Solidarity Momma!

We are all working our best to provide, take care of and love our families, how we get there or what creates that life we strive for is not up to anyone else’s judgment! We can never know the whole story; every situation and circumstance is unique and we don’t know what someone else is going thru. We all see challenges in different ways, and all handle them different too! Children and parents included are all different; we all have different skills and abilities.

We spend enough time as parents judging ourselves and worrying about our parenting abilities and we don’t need others to join us in the process. We need others to build us up, we are all parents in this together and we need to cheer each other on, be a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, or a spread a word of encouragement. We need camaraderie knowing that someone else has gone thru it, is going thru it or is about to.

We are stronger together!Untitled design

-A