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Archive for the ‘Baby Life’ Category

Ready. Nesting.

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The moses basket, ready and waiting for a new little body.

So, today’s my due date. There aren’t many times in one’s life that when someone asks you “when’s your due date?,” you can say, “today.” In my case, two times. Once with my son Keaton (who I went 11 days overdue with, by the way), and now this one. After this, for a variety of reasons, we’re done.

Given that Keaton’s entry into the world took a while, I really have no idea how long it’ll take with this one. My husband and I find ourselves in that unique time, on the precipice. I kinda feel like it’s almost Christmas, except that I don’t know exactly when Christmas is. But that’s okay. We’ve been keeping ourselves busy around here, but in a relaxed, easy pace sort of way.

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The co-sleeper is set up and ready next to the bed…

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The dresser drawer is full of baby girl-type clothes…

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The soon-to-be big brother keeps himself occupied with puppet shows…

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My awesome husband and soon-to-be father of two has been a blur, cleaning the house…

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And today our kitchen was a Banana Bread Factory. 6 loaves. I do believe that’s the most baking I’ve ever done at one go. And it actually barely put a dent in all the brown bananas, frozen and waiting patiently in our freezer. In between baking, I also felt totally inspired to research literary agents and publishers to submit my latest manuscript. So I guess my that must be my version of nesting. That’s cool.

After all this getting-ready work, we had to get out of the house. We decided on a spontaneous drive to my hometown of Maple Ridge, where we popped in on my lovely sister, Chay, who’s also about to have a baby any day now!

So yes, I’m ready. Our little family is ready. Any time now, baby. Image

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Keaton turned the big two  years old on Saturday, so of course we just had to have a little celebration at his favourite playground with family and close friends. The photo second from the top was taken at Joe’s Grill, our favourite West End greasy spoon. Yeah, as you can see we’re pretty regular customers, as evidenced by the gift made for Keats by the cook, K.P. And the photo second from the bottom has got to be one of my favourite photos, ever.

Can’t believe my little guy is two. As Josh said, he may be two, but he really is still so little! Happy birthday, Keats.

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As most people who know me well know, I’m an avowed night owl, and proud of it. To me, the nighttime is a series of magical, golden hours, just ripe for creativity, fun and reflection. So what does a lifelong night owl like me do when my child suddenly starts waking up before the crack of fricking dawn? (Or, as a few people, including my mother, have gently reminded me, actually quite a normal time for most young children.) Well, I’m not gonna lie to you – after a few minutes of me mumbling, “Keaton, too early!” to my increasingly wiggly and impatient 16-month-old, we get out of bed, I slip on my moccasins, and we stumble into the living room for the next couple of hours. I close the baby gate and provide piles of toys and books for him to play with while I sit on the floor or lie on the couch, moaning. Usually Treehouse TV is on in the background, I’m sorry to say.

I would love to say that we’re in the kitchen all bright eyed and bushy-tailed, baking muffins or something, or out for a morning jog (I only did that once. It almost killed me.), but no. Well, sometimes we do go in to the kitchen when I blearily get us breakfast or make the coffee, but that’s about it. Keaton will usually find something to do at this point, such as feeding almost an entire bag of Temptations treats to the cat. He carefully reached into the bag with his little baby fingers and took each treat out one by one, giggling uproariously when Frieda nibbled it off his fingers. Despite barely being conscious, even I recognized the cuteness.

It wasn’t always this way, the whole early-morning thing. For the first year, Keaton usually got up at the perfectly respectable hour of about 9am or 10am. I totally recognized how lucky I was at the time, but just thought, “oh gee, isn’t that great – he likes to sleep in just like me!” But somewhere around his first birthday, things changed. 10am wake-ups became 6am wake-ups (or earlier). And silly me was still staying up until 2am or 3am like I always have, only to be roused hours later by a little guy who could lose an eye or limb if not carefully watched by a very alert person every single moment. And then last semester, as a new college instructor trying to figure everything out, for a couple of months I was putting in a full workday most nights after Keaton went to bed, working away from 9pm – 4am. He was in daycare sometimes, but I just didn’t have any other time to fit it all in. I think over the past several years in general, sleep deprivation has become the norm for me, but these past months are the worst it’s ever been. Totally self-wrought, of course. Which is why I don’t write this expecting any sympathy for my little pity party. I do wonder all the ways that these months of averaging 4 hours of sleep per night will take its toll on me!

So you heard it here first, friends. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I am now officially vowing to GET MORE SLEEP. Sleep is the foundation of life, and right now my foundation is a crumbling mess. From now on, it’s bedtime for me by midnight at the latest. I hope I can manage that. Yes, those late hours are golden times for creative writing, responding to emails, and doing other v. important things like blog-reading and status updates, but I’ll just have to find some other time to do that. 🙂 It’ll be hard, but maybe, just maybe, I can do it. I fight going to bed, though, but I love it once I’m in it.

After a few hours of playing, eating and much coffee-drinking by moi during these early mornings, though, a blessed thing happens. On the days that I’m not working and Keats and I are hanging out together, at about 11am or noon or whenever the little man starts showing the first signs of yawning or eye-rubbing, he and I retreat to bed for a nursie and a nap together. And that’s just about the best thing ever. Thanks for the naps, Keats.

On that note, it’s almost midnight. Good night, everyone!

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My First Baby Quilt

Well, it’s my first quilt, period. Actually, I think my grandma may helped me make a doll quilt when I was about eight, but the details are a bit fuzzy.  It’s for a dear friend, whose baby was (key word: was – about to be explained in the next paragraph) due December 22nd. It’s inspired by the Country Quilt in Alicia Paulson’s Embroidery Companion, except that instead of embroidered farmyard animals and calico fabric, I’m doing blackbirds with green polka-dotted, deep blue and black fabric squares. Kinda like a goth baby quilt, I guess. My friend is inspired by all things dark and fantastical, like demons and raven lore and bats. I’m embroidering six white squares with blackbirds, first (five of those, and one with the baby’s name, not yet known), and then I’ll tackle cutting and sewing and quilting all the rest. Good thing I bought a rotary cutter on supersale at Fabricland!

Today, I got a text message that my friend was in the hospital, having the baby more than five weeks early. Mom and baby are fine, but this early arrival is a big surprise! Throughout the day I received more texts reporting on her progress (last I heard, she was well into active labour), so in the morning I’m expecting to hear the exciting news. This evening, I felt it perfectly fitting to pick up the embroidery after a few days’ busy-related hiatus, and do some stitchin’. The whole time I thought about my friend going through this amazing process of birth, breathing through those contractions. With every stitch I thought of her in her hospital room, surrounded by her midwife and husband and all that support. I just kept thinking, this baby quilt is being made for someone who’s in the hospital right now, right this minute, having her baby. How thrilling, how exciting!

I guess I’d better get crack-a-lackin’ on the rest of the quilt! Wish me luck!

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama‘s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, of a simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.


Happy Halloween, everyone!

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From this…

To this.

He sure did grow into his nose, didn’t he?

Friday, September 3rd was Keaton Daniel Goodfellow Robertson’s first birthday. Everyone around us kept saying, “Wow, can you believe it? That went so fast!” Yes, I can believe it. It did go fast in some ways, but in other ways, it didn’t. I can remember so many long, lingering moments of Keaton and I waking up together, opening our eyes and being the first thing that each other saw, and smiling at each other. That didn’t go by fast. Neither did our morning playtimes, or our afternoon walks.

But as a whole, when I think about a year ago, and the crazy, chaotic birth he had, it all seemed to whizz by. I can remember so clearly every nurse in the hospital when they constantly came in to check my blood pressure (it seriously seemed like every two minutes). I can remember holding Keaton for the first time, as they passed him to me in the operating room, all bundled up in a yellow blanket. Didn’t that just happen? That doesn’t seem like a year ago.

But it was. And, as babies do, that little furrowed-browed, big-nosed Gnome King’s son (that’s what I called him) 10 lb, 3 oz baby has grown into a 23 lb, standing, pointing, expressive young man. He loves books (current fave is Pat the Bunny), and balls, and his little wooden xylophone. His favourite foods are peas, cheese and avocadoes. Amazing how all this develops just in the first year. And there’s still so much more to come.

On his birthday we celebrated Keaton-style. We went to our favourite neighbourhood greasy spoon, Joe’s Grill, for breakfast. It’s like our Cheers – where everybody knows our name, and they’re always glad we came. They still have Keaton’s birth announcement up on their wall, and on Friday all the servers and even the cook made a fuss over our little one-year-old. He even got a special bowl of blueberries and a birthday pancake. (Which he gobbled all up, of course.) After Keaton had two big naps at home, we headed out again to the local dog beach, where an Australian shepherd totally made Keaton’s day by running up to him and licking his entire face. Then a Boston terrier ran by and kicked sand in Keaton’s face, only further enhancing the experience. In the evening our little family took in our last baseball game of the season at the Nat Bailey Stadium, where Keats ate almost one whole veggie dog all to himself. Yes, that boy can pack away the groceries.

As if this fun day weren’t enough, on Saturday we continued the festivities with a birthday party at Auntie Chay and Uncle Joel’s place (thank you, Chay and Joel, for being such wonderful hosts!). Birthday buntings were hung, balloons were blown up, much food and drink was laid out, Keaton got spoiled with awesome presents, and Chay made the most spectacular birthday cake I have ever seen. She really knocked it out of the park, I tell ya. Check it out – she even made a special little cake for the goat hill. Like, seriously. I can’t even handle the amazing-ness. Look at the dandelions!

But most importantly, there was so much love. Everyone was so sweet, with such thoughtful gifts, heartfelt cards and helping out at the party. Brings a tear to this mama’s eye, let me tell you. *sniff*

This past Thursday at our mum & baby drop-in group, another mother and I were talking about our one-year-olds. And she said, “Oh, well your baby’s first birthday is also your birth day. Remember to celebrate that, too.” I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but I like it. I’ve changed so much since Keaton came along, just as he’s changed in so many ways. (More wrinkles for one thing – ha!) And it makes me appreciate my own mum so much more, too. Gad, all this motherhood stuff is just so profound, ain’t it?

In the immortal words of Elton John (or I guess it would be his lyricist, Bernie Taupin), “how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.” Happy birthday, little dude.

How much do I love this photo? Um, a lot.

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A nice, foamy Snakebite (cider and lager) always helps me with my BGUDs.

My fabulous Nia teacher, Jasjit, wrote about a great idea in her latest newsletter:

to start at the “End.” Enter a state where whatever you’re struggling with is already sorted, handled, completed in the most contented way you could imagine. Sit with this. Sense your body, feel your feelings, imagine the situation, and notice where you are. Breathe it in. And then return to the present moment and choose what to do now, if anything, knowing full well that you’ve already seen the End, it’s good, and everything is leading you there.

Okay, yes, to my often-cynical self this sounds s bit New Age-y cheesy, but seriously, it’s really helped through all this. (That and the aforementioned Snakebites. Do I drink too much? Possibly.)

There’s been some turmoil in my life lately, more specifically in my what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-after-maternity-leave life. My wonderful, blissful year of mat leave ends next month, and I had been trying to decide what to do. Ever since I knew I wanted to have kids, I knew that I didn’t want to work full time when they were still very young. Also, working 5 or even 4 days a week, with daycare costs taken into consideration, just doesn’t make much financial sense. It would either be that we were broke with me going back to work (not to mention stressed out and going against our parenting philosophy with putting Keats in daycare a bulk of the time), or ever broker with me trying to freelance and keep Keaton at home with me.

But there’s the small problem of our debt load – my husband and I have such a huge debt to pay off on a tight payment schedule (not to mention the costs of living in the world’s most expensive city!) that if I don’t make a certain chunk of money every month, we’re basically screwed. This left us in a bit of a pickle, to say the least.

So, I wrote up a proposal to my boss at my library job (which I was on mat leave from) to work part-time hours, but for various reasons that I won’t get into, she didn’t go for it nearly the way I’d hoped. To be honest, I really didn’t want to go back to that job anyway, but I thought I’d try the easiest thing first. When my boss didn’t go for my proposal (I won’t even get into all the details around that), my heart sank. I had it all figured out, but then she didn’t go for it. I cried as soon as I left the meeting room, and cried all the way home. On the way home I got a bubble tea, and then I talked with my sister and started to feel better.

Because my library job wasn’t my only option. Something about staying home with a baby for nearly a year had shaken my confidence in the professional realm a little (I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised), but then I started to snap out of it. I thought, “okay, I’ve freelanced before, I have an MA, I’ve got a pretty good resume by this point. I can freelance and/or get another job.” This thought was inspiring, as I’ve been wanting to seriously get back into my freelance writing/marketing business, but hanging over our heads the entire time was the whole money thing. And then, when the stress was really, really setting in, my husband spotted a part-time faculty job posting at a local university. How perfectly serendipitous that it didn’t start until September (so I could spend the summer at home with Keats), and that I had a connection in that university department, so I could find out the inside scoop.

One interview and a 10-minute lecture/demo later, and I found out a week later that I had the job! I’ll be teaching as part of an arts and entertainment management program. I resigned from my library job (I’ll miss the people there, but not really the job itself), and now I’m thrust into something totally new – switching from marketing and communications work to university teaching. Wow. It’s weird to think that for the first time in years, I won’t have to worry about whether the correct logo is on something, or if the latest newspaper ad got in before the deadline. Instead I’ll be teaching 26 first-years about computer applications for arts workplaces. I don’t think that I’ve totally grasped that idea yet. Maybe I’ll worry about that later, after some more summer fun.

So here I am at the “End” – the decision has been made, things have been put in motion, and what I was struggling with is sorted, handled, completed in the most contented way I can imagine. I stil can’t believe how serendipitously well it’s all worked out. After what seems like way too long (a couple months, maybe) of attempting to make Big, Grown-Up Decisions (BGUDs, as Joshua and I call them), they’ve now been made. And I feel so. Much. Better. There will be stress involved with my new direction, of course – money stress, learning curve, taking on a whole different job, etc. etc., but so much better than the stress dropping Keaton off at daycare 4 or 5 days a week and then bitterly dragging myself into work, knowing that the whole time I was going against my principles. Nope, that just wasn’t an option at all.

Hmmm, this is some pretty heavy Friday reading I’ve given you isn’t it? Well anyway, have a happy weekend!

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