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I’m not alone, am I?

Please tell me all pregnant women get unreasonably cranky at some point in the final few months?  Because I am there folks.  And cranky might just be an understatement!

Sleep is hard to come by.  My back aches.  When I’m at work I want to be at home.  When I’m at home I think I should be at work.  I’m bored and overwhelmed all at the same time.  I feel like the end of May is still far too far away and yet too close all at the same time.

I am quite certain I am not a very fun person to live with at the moment and feel some serious sympathy for my husband at the moment.  Although every thing he does…regardless of how thoughtful…only seems to contribute to the crankiness at the moment.  I’m trying to chalk that up to the post-deployment balancing act, but I bet it has more to do with hormonal crankiness than anything.

I’m totally open to brilliant suggestions for getting over this.  I’m thinking I’ll see whether a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream helps, but I’m slightly concerned that the idea of it making my butt any bigger will just increase the cranky-factor three fold…so I’m still on the fence with that one.

I initially thought that one post in honour of International Babywearing Week was enough, but events over the weekend, that I just found out about today have urged me to post again.

Thankfully Megan is a more informed babywearing mama than I am and her post from yesterday informed me of the ongoing uproar over this Motrin add that ran on the US Motrin website until earlier this week when it was removed after babywearing Moms worldwide had their say on the issue!

There are lots of great posts all over the place about it: some of the ones I have enjoyed are at Adventures in Babywearing and Crunchy Domestic Goddess and the official letter to Motrin from Babywearing International. Definitely an interesting story about how fast information travels online and how quickly a  large group of moms can affect a change.  Motrin very quickly removed the ad and issued apologies.  I even sent them an e-mail at their site and received a response within hours.  I think they got the message loud. and. clear.

As for my personal opinion on the matter, I think it was a poorly researched, ill-timed ad that rightly offended a lot of people.  Will I boycott Motrin or Tylenol (also owned by Motrin)?  Probably not.  But what really bothers me is that there are likely still lots of people out there who honestly hold those uninformed opinions about babywearing – and not because they saw the ad, but because in so many communities alternative parenting methods are still so foreign.

Case in point…an acquaintance on mine who is expecting her first baby shortly was over at my house for dinner.  Knowing that she is fairly forward thinking on a number of issues, but not wanting to alienate a potential “new” friend I cautiously broached the subject of cloth diapers.  Her equally cautious response what that her and her partner were planning to try EC (if you don’t know what it is, I posted about it here and Jackie recently posted about it here).  She told me in the same hesitant tone that Dale and I told people about it when we were planning on trying it and she was relieved but a little shocked that I a) had heard about it before; and b) was totally suportive of it!

In Comox – not shockingly – I found many people to be extremely receptive of alternative, more natural parenting methods.  Not so in Cold Lake, Alberta!  And although I am not shocked by that fact, and I am not sure how to proceed  in the face of it.

Again, Megan got me to thinking in her wrap up post at the end when she talks about advocacy.  I am in total agreement with her that the best way to advocate is by setting a great example.  But I am at a bit of a loss sometimes as to how to do that.  And not just when it comes to parenting issues, but also in the general realm of living more naturally.

When is it appropriate to tell people that I work with that I chose to wipe my bum with cloth as an environment saving measure?  Ok – so probably never.  But what about my use of cloth handkerchiefs or the lack of paper towels in my house?  How about the fact that I try to buy Nate’s clothes used (difficult in Cold Lake thanks to the lack of consignment stores!) or that I have started making my own cleaning products?

How do I increase my sphere of influence without seeming like a self-righteous, pompous Officer/person?   I know I have this blog, and I feel that over the past year and a bit I have managed to contribute at least a little bit to the environmental momvement that has been spreading like wildfire in certain online communities, but I truly feel like I should be able to contribute more positively in my own community.  And I don’t feel very capable in that endeavour at the moment.  Of the 8-10 prenant women who I know personally right now in Cold Lake, only one of them is considering using cloth diapers.  None of them have seen a baby carrier that isnt a baby bjorn or a snuggly (not that those don’t count – because they totally do – but by their very nature they won’t be of much use for very long).

So aside from feeling like Dale and I are the odd couple in this town, I am totally unsure how I should attempt to change that fact!  I would love to know if any of you have struggled with this issue and whether you have had much success.  I don’t believe there is an overnight solution and perhaps the best way to affect change is for me to be a little more bold and open about the chioces I make and why they work for my family.  Does that make sense?

I hope so!

P.S.  Thanks for all the welcome advice on the bum-rash situation!  It is looking much better today and we’ll both me back at work tomorrow.  Allison – I think we will try a different brand of wipes! And Jackie –  I will e-mail Jenn to see what they tried!  You guys all rock!

I think I was meant to see this today:  “Pisces: You may not think so, but life is exactly as it should be.  Stop complaining and start seeing all of the good things you have going.”

So here is the list I conjured up while attempting to avoid any real work today 🙂

1.  I have a kick ass new house (which I promise I will post pics of soon!)

2.  Said house has a lovely fireplace in the basement which makes everything seem very cosy.

3.  I live in a place where there is a spectacular sunrise and sunset almost every day.  

4.  Someone invented Skype, so even though they are far away I can still see my family whenever I want!

5.  My BFF is also in the military so I can call her for free from work to wish her happy birthday and because we talked about the WCF thingy it totally counts as a work-related call!

6.  My sister also works on a base, and despite the lack of a WCF thingy in her job I can call her sometimes too!

7.  Someone invented Facebook and Blogger so I get to see what all my pals are up too all. the. time.

8.  Even though Dale is away and the nights get really cold here, I have a giant beast of a dog who keeps the other side of the bed warm for me.

9.  My adorable kid will pretty much eat any mediocre meal I put in front of him…even a bowl of peas.

10.  He also goes to sleep without the least bit of fuss at night and wakes up full of smiles and giggles in the morning.  Usually at an acceptable hour.

11.  He doesn’t mind diaper changes, tubbies, getting dressed, being put into his carseatstroller/baby carrier/highchair.  In fact he usually like it.  How lucky am I???

12.  I have my own office at work and get to look out my window at super fast jets every day.  Very cool!

13.  I also have my own parking spot right up by the building.  It may not seem so special now, but I’m betting I’ll be more appreciative when it’s minus 40!  Brrrr.

14.  The CBC Edmonton station has a hilarious show called radioactive that I get to listen to on the way home from work every day.  Always makes me laugh.

15.  Everywhere I go people tell me how cute my kid is.  Then he proves it by flashing them huge grins and giggling.

17.  My fabulous hubby sent me a little sumpin’ sumpin’ in the mail for when he gets home next week.  Nothing like a little anticipation to to make up leaving me to fend for myself shortly after moving me to the end of the earth 😉

18.  Timmies is now on the way to work and at 7:15 there is a lull in the drive thru line-up just in time for me to arrive!

19.  My family and friends are safe and healthy.

20.  We have eachother – despite the ups and downs that may come.

As Corey always says: Life is good! (Even in Alberta!)

So…the big question is:   What in the world have I been doing if I haven’t been religiously updating my blog??

That’s a very good question.  I feel like I have been running around in circles like a chicken with my head cut off.  But in reality I think I have just been doing very normal, borderline boring, everyday things.  Going to work, coming home, playing with Nate, walking the dog, doing laundry, Skyping with the fam in Ontario and in BC, washing dishes, reading stories, changing diapers, packing lunches, buying groceries, talking on the phone with Dale, etc, etc, etc.

You woudn’t think that all of those things would take in excess of 16 hours a day, but apparently they do.  I know, I know.  It surprised me too!  But once you factor in 8-10 hours out of the house for work…the other 6-8 hours seem to fly by.

My good friend Barb pointed out the other day when we were chatting that my Facebook posts sounded like I was unhappy.  I don’t know about unhappy…because how can you really be unhapy when you live in a lovely home with your wonderful family, with plenty of fod to eat (not to mention lots of Timmies coffee) and when you are safe and sheltered and loved?  So am I unhappy – no, no really.  But I am definitely still adjusting to this new place and to the new routines.

I most certainly am still really missing Comox – mostly for the people, not the place (although I would kill for a trip to Starbucks and walk on the beach!)  I am so thankful for the fact that technology allows us to feel much closer than we really are.  Twice now I have scrapbooked with Gill (once with Laurel) over Skype.  It’s just way too cool to be able to chat and even see eachother across such a distance…for free even!  If you haven’t tried Skype with your distant loved ones, you need to soon!

I am starting to meet people here, too.  In fact I was out for dinner with Nate at a friend’s house last night and it was lovely!  Good food, great company, lots of conversation and thankfully, baby-friendly!  I a m having another acquaintance over for dinner on Tuesday night in hopes of making another friend.

But the time it takes to really settle in is no where near past.  I’m sure I have at least another few months of feeling like I don’t quite belong before this place will begin to really feel like home.  Before it will feel effortless to hangout with people here as opposed to feeling borderline awkward as you get to know them.

And in case you’re wondering why there is so much  “I” and not much “We” in this post, that would be because Dale has hardly been here since we moved between an 11 day trip to Quebec for a course and now an exercise in Central Alberta for 2 1/2 weeks.  He is feeling terrible about being gone so much, so I am trying to downplay my loneliness, but I’m not a very good actor!  I can’t wait until he is home and we can spend some time as a family here, to get involved in the community  little bit.

Thankfully Nate is thriving and seems blissfully unaware of the the angst around him.  He loves his new sitter Kim and all the kids there.  He loves the space in the new house.  He is still changing almost daily.  Some of the latest developments include:

– he loves to sit with his books and flip through the pages

– before bed he is happy to sit through 2-3 books while we snuggle on the couch

– he knows where his shoes/socks/slippers go and like to hold his feet out for you

– he has learned that he needs to sit on his bum in order to get his after-nap snack and as soon as he sees the sippy cup and cheerio box immediately plops himself down on the ground!

– he likes to help me feed Turner and gets really excited when I give Turner the “OK” to eat

– he knows how to go down the stairs backwards really well

– he is drinking cows milk from a sippy cup – no more bottle!

– he likes to groove and dance along with me when I play music on the iPod

– he has learned how to play peek-a-boo by putting his hands over his face, and laughs hysterically every time

– and I think he is finally saying something approximating “mom” (it sounds like “umm” – but I’ll take it!)

See – just typing all those things makes me insanely happy.  So I can’t say I’m unhappy.  Perhaps just still feeling a little unsettled.  Missing my friends, feeling confined to this house (no babysitter here yet!) and definitely not lovin’ the oil-driven economy of “stuff” here that is so vastly different from my beloved, environmentally conscious and people friendly Island.  Yes, that’s it:  happily unsettled in Cold Lake, Alberta.

Not today. But yesterday.  Not that I wouldn’t be smiling about them today (if they had happened today) but since I was too busy enjoying them to post at the time I figured I should share them now!

1.   Nate learning how to give kisses – too sweet!

2.   A kick ass workout with my BFF and my sister that still has my shoulders and pecs aching today.  We rock girls!

3.   Venti Iced Mocha with whip from Starbucks – because there is no Starbucks in Cold Lake 😦  And I deserved it after number 2!

4.   Driving with the windows rolled down, listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” really loud (and singing along).

5.   Doing number 4 with a happy, tired pooch leaning over my shoulder after a great night at agility.

6.   Snuggling into bed with my fabulous husband, confident in the knowledge that my baby is finally sleeping through the night!

*Sigh* As Corey always says: Life is good!

Today it’s time to indulge my heart and soul and share with you one of my favourite poems of all time. Somehwere in between loads of laundry, baskets of clean diapers, taking Nate to childminding, physio thereapy for my aching non-athletic body and a stack of dishes waiting to be washed there has to be some time for me. Pure and simple. Hopefully you too can take a moment, sit down with a hot cuppa joe or steaming herbal tea – whatever you fancy – and delight in the written word.

I used to adore reading poetry and I was known to write some now and again. But that was a long time ago…before I became an adult and the trappings of adult life took over. I don’t read nearly as often as I should or as often as I would like, and when I do, a book of poetry is no longer what I gravitate towards. Except for today. In honour of National Poetry Month, I am going to participate in Megan’s bloggy poetry reading and share with you the some of the best of Robert Frost:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I can’t imagine anyone not having read this poem before. Perhaps it’s a little bit cliché that such a famous poem is my favourite, but the words jsut speak so clearly to me. Every time I read it I get this fabulous picture in my head of a fork in the road and two paths leading onward in different directions. The leaves, the grass, the sun shinging through the tree tops – it is such a vivid image in my mind.

I love the line “and knowing how way leads on to way” – doesn’t that just sum up life to a tee? I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought, “It’s ok…I’ll do *this* now and come back to *that* later”. But “later” there is always another *this* and rarely do I get back to *that*. Sometimes it makes me sad, but life goes on and the reality is we simply can’t do everything. Choices are a must.

I also like to think that I often take the path less traveled, but I’m pretty sure I’m more of a lemming than I prefer to admit to myself. Of course there have been times in my life when I have chosen a different course than the majority of others might have, but I rarely stop long enough to think what difference those choices have made in my life. Because, like I said, there is always another load of laundry, another basket of diapers, Nate to pick up from childminding, and a stack of dishes waiting for me in the kitchen.

I’d love to hear about your favourite poems – or perhaps one of you is braver than I and willing to share some original work. If you do post on poetry, be sure to add your name to the Mr. Linky over at Sorta Crunchy! At the very least, pull out a copy of your favourite poem today and spend at least a few minutes reflecting. For your heart and soul.

So, when you’re spending your 29th birthday home alone with a snotty 6-month old and your husband forgets your birthday, do you remind him? Or just let him grovel for forgiveness later?

I’m going to drown my disappointment in the box of Lindt chocolates from my friend Jeff.  Who didn’t forget my birthdayb

I am saying goodbye to some very dear friends today.

Here are pics of just a few of them:





That’s right.  As cheesy as it may be – they are books.  Alongside my attempts to reduce the stuff I bring into my home, I am also trying to reduce the clutter already in my home.  I have always been fairly good at letting go of things I no longer use, including clothing; however, I have never been very good at letting go of books.  I hold onto them for dear life.  Until today I have never really stopped to think about why.

I realized that these books are my friends.  I have such fond memories of each of them.  Since I was a little girl I have loved reading.  I used to read voraciously and still do, when I have the time.  For example, on our last vacation (3 weeks in Greece in 2006) I think I polished off 10 or 12 books.  I hardly ever read a book more than once, yet I can’t seem to let them go.  Our bookshelves are overflowing and we have no room for more shelves. So what’s a girl to do?

I am finally going to bite the bullet and pass on some of my well-loved books for others to enjoy.  But first I took a picture of each and every one.  It might seem silly, but I think I have alwasy taken pride in looking at my bookshelves full of the books I have read.  I think it says something about me as a person.  That and I feel like if I just give my books away I will forget all the amazing stories that I have read over the years.

At first I thought about making a list, but what mother with a 5 month old has time for that?  Plus, pictures can be worth a thousand words…so I’m hoping that each time I look at these pictures of the books I once owned, I will recall the words that made each book my friend in the first place.  I think this compromise will finally allow me to let go of books that have been needlessly taking up space in my home – some of them for almost 20 years!

Now I must admit that there are still some titles with which I am not yet willing to part (like the first book I read that was over 500 pages) but I’m hoping that once I realize I can survive without these books I will be able to let a few more go before we move in the fall. We’re working in baby steps here!

They are all packed in a box, ready to be taken to the used book store for credit, so that Nate and I can make some new friends!

I’m not usually a huge believer in fate; however, Wednesday, at a time when I am slightly terrified about going home and managing on my own with Nate, I saw two t.v. shows that had an almost instantaneous impact on me.

 First, Wednesday morning on Canada a.m. there was an interview with some author (sorry – didn’t catch the name!) about how people think – or more accurately, how little we actually think!  One thing he described was a phenomenon called monkey brain, which totally resonated with me.  Bascically, it’s when, late at night, or while you’re daydreaming, you think of a million and one brilliant ideas and then just as quickly as they were there, they’re gone.  I know I’ve mentioned before how at 3 am when I’m nursing I always have witty and wonderful ideas that by morning are long  gone – this is exactly what he was talking about.  And he said that if we concentrate and focus on those ideas, we are harnessing the true power of our minds.

Second, while I was feeding Nate after his afternoon nap, I was watching Oprah.  Her show Wednesday was all about getting the life you want.  They were discussing the ideas presented in the book The Secret (which I haven’t read) and how powerful positive thinking can be in your life.  I wasn’t totally into the show at the time, although a few comments caught my attention.

But (yes, there is a but) when I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep the information from the two shows seemed to come to some collision point in my mind.  I was thinking fleetingly about how I’m hoping things will go for me when I get home to Comox, and about all the changes I would like to make in my life and how unattainable those things sometimes feel.  And usually I would have just rolled over and eventually gone to sleep, but not last night.  No.  Last night I got up and grabbed a pen and paper.  And believe me…for a new Mom with a sick 5 month-old (just a cold – no worries!) that was a huge deal.  Because sleep was soooooo much more appealing at the time. 

Anyways – I started jotting notes about the kind of life I want to live.   And then I got thinking about a word for 2008.  I think it’s kind of a scrapbooking thing….though I’m not sure where it originated.  My sister picked the word HARMONIZE.  It’s been in the back of my head to choose a word but nothing was jumping out at me so I had kind of forgotten about it.  Until now.

My word is going to be MINDFULNESS.

To me, mindfulness is about living in the here and now; acknowledging my strengths and my limitations and then learning from them and growing spiritually.  Mindfulness is about not letting the enormity of my goals overwhelm me, but rather taking things one step at a time and relishing each moment for what it is. 

Embracing my present will help me find the future that I want

Dale and I learned a lot of these concepts during our hypnobirthing sessions before Nate was born, but I think in the hectic days of new motherhood I had forgotten many of them.  I realize now that I haven’t really been living my life to its full potential – I have merely been coping.  I don’t want to cope.  I want to LIVE.

I think I often try portray myself to others as a positive thinker, when inside I’m really just teeming with doubt and negativity.  Lately I have been setting a lot of goals for myself…but haven’t really had any kind of plan in place as to how to attain them.  I think I am starting to put together a plan…and I’m excited about it!

One thing I want to remember as I move forward with my plan is that ACTIONS speak louder than WORDS.  I can’t just talk about the changes I am seeking, I need to actually make the changes.  This may seem blatantly obvious to you more enlightened folk out there…but it’s somewhat of a revelation to me!

Wow…I’m pretty sure this is about as “Jen” as it gets!  Hopefully I haven’t bored your socks off with my ramblings 🙂  I think that my new sense of direction will actually spawn some more interesting posts in the days and weeks to come…I have big plans for this little blog!  You’ll just have to bear with me while I get myself back to Comox, settled in and sorted out.  I’ve been checking out really great new blogs like this one and this one.  I think I found them both through Megan…but they have been filling my head with lots of new eco-friendly ideas which I’m excited to put into action.  In the meantime, let’s all do our health some good and try a few moments of meditation, eh?