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little bird turns five + two of twelve




This weekend we celebrated Poppy’s 5th birthday. Excuse the cliche, but my, oh my, where has the time gone?

On Valentine’s Day we went to watch the Lego Movie and pick up your requested birthday present; a Princess Anna dress.  On your birthday, we had planned to go for a play at the YMCA, but they were calling for freezing rain so we stayed local, picked up some party favours for your guests, made pizza at your request, and watched the Disney Planning DVD that arrived.

On Saturday, you finally got to wear your birthday party dress.  Clementine wore her Elsa outfit and Silas had to be bribed to wear his Kristoff/Hiccup outfit for a photo opp.  You spent the morning twirling and singing “It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!  It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!”,  “Happy Birthday to Poppy!” along with “Let it Goooooo” from Frozen and you could barely keep your fingers out of the frosted blue cake we made.

Soon the house was filled with friends and family dressed as fairies, princes, dinosaurs, unicorns, butterflies, and princesses.  Nana made a bunch of the cutest edible Olafs and brought fresh eggs for everyone to take home along with their party bags.  You were rather confused as to why people brought gifts and asked who they were for.  You were just so over the moon to have your dress and a house full of fun people.  There were a couple impromptu story times and a couple crazy accidents (a cracked rib and a somersault down the stairs, but everyone is recovering well).  Overall, it was a loud and happy time.  It felt like an important party for you; as though you suddenly went from being a baby to a little girl.  It made our hearts swell to see you so happy with your friends.

That night, and the next night,you slept in your party dress.  You finally took it off and wore jammies to bed last night.

  • Your love for your sister grows more intense with each day and you go to great lengths to get a giggle out of her.
  • I had no idea you found a bow tie I mad a few years ago and placed it on your kitty, but I got a good laugh when he sauntered out of the kitty litter box what had to be hours later, looking very dapper indeed.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books,  Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch treasury.
  • You love watching Barbie, Equestria Girls, Frozen, How to Train your Dragon, and Clifford.  You love playing with your growing collection of My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Merida, Anna, Elsa, and Rainbow Dash.  (There is a sentence I never thought I’d be writing when my parenting adventure began!!)
  • You’ve been singing songs from Frozen nearly non-stop.  When I ask if you want to learn more of the words to it you say “No, you learn it.”.
  • You adore painting.
  • We discovered that your 6 year molar (46) is making an early appearance!
  • Last week, we traced your bodies and then drew onto your bodies whatever you pleased.  You gave yourself chicken pox, because you’re rather obsessed with drawing chicken pox.  You then drew the path your food takes through your body.  You asked me to draw a heart in your chest.
  • You love watching the Disney Planning DVD to see where the princesses and Captain Hook live.

  • You’ve always been one to prefer household objects to toys and I’ve started documenting your rather interesting and entertaining sleeping buddies and quotes.  It has turned into a little project that has been enjoyed on Instagram and Facebook.  Daddy and I decided if we were to ever create a book out of these pictures and conversations it would be called “Bed Folk + Pillow Talk with Silas”.
  • The other night, he wanted to sleep with Poppy. I thought it would be endless playing and giggling, but they fell fast asleep as soon as the lights were out. Silas hates it when the lights first go out and Poppy comforted him saying “it’s ok Silas, you can see me. I’m with you.” I love their love.
  • You really do say the darnedest things.  Here are a few more examples:
  • Silas: I was talking to The Perogie Man.
    Me: Who is the Perogie Man?
    Silas: Um, just the yummiest guy in the world.
  • Poppy: Mom, I want a brown baby.
    Me: Well, we don’t have brown skin so we can’t make a brown baby.
    Poppy: Oh, right. I love our baby.
    Silas: I want some brownies.
  • Me: Do you guys want some milk?
    Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
    Me: Um, yes. I think so.
    Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D.
  • You hate having your hair washed.  The other night you said you didn’t want your hair washed “…because it would turn into a girl’s hair”.  After it was washed, you were distraught that your hair “looked different now”.
  • Just yesterday morning, you woke up early with Daddy and wanted to wear some red mittens and a toque.  Once they were on you exclaimed “Look at me Daddy!  I’m gorgeous!”.
  • There is no jealousy or animosity, but you keep a safe distance from little Clementine.  Every once in a while I see you two sharing a flirty little smile though.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books, the Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch Treasury.
  • You love watching Equestria Girls, Clifford, How to Train Your Dragon, Clifford, Barbie, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Dinosaur Train.  You play with pretty much anything that isn’t technically a toy, but do enjoy playing imaginative games with Poppy.

  • You remain super happy even though I think your teeth are coming in and you have developed a rash/eczema on your back and tummy.  We are trying to get to the root of the rash, but can’t be sure yet.
  • You don’t often make strange with people.  You seem to take your time watching them carefully and then smile.
  • You usually wake 1-3 times in the night and nurse right back to sleep.
  • We finally captured some giggles on video.  It’s adorable.
  • You’re now wearing 6 month clothes.
  • We’ve started giving you little bits of food (the rash began before food was introduced), but you’re not overly enthused.
  • You love playing with the remote and crinkle-taggy blanket I made years ago.
  • You seem to have super human ab strength and can do a full sit up.




  • Mike saw a big moose sauntering down the middle of the road on his drive home one night.
  • We had our big load of logs delivered.  $875.
  • We’ve begun planning and saving for our Disney Trip 2017.  We are super excited.
  • We’ve begun working through a grade 4 french workbook to see what we remember.
  • Mike continues to enjoy playing his ukulele.
  • I am struggling to find my balance in many aspects of life.
  • I am starting to wonder if my hair will ever stop falling out.
  • In an act of self preservation, I am not allowing myself to even think about spring right now.
  • We are hoping to get a YMCA membership for the family.  It is over an hour away.
  • Our community is lobbying for a recreation center and indoor pool, but I won’t hold my breath.
  • Making plans to get the kids and I out of the house more often throughout the week.  I am thinking one day out locally (Early Years, Kinder Gym, etc), one day out in either Peterborough or Lindsay (Early Years, Chapters story time, YMCA drop in craft or gym time, groceries, YMCA land class etc.), and one day out as a family to do swimming lessons and other errands.
  • I don’t regret moving to the country, but I still struggle with feeling so isolated.
  • A second car is what dreams are made of.
  • In all honesty and if we had our time back, we would have approached my parents about buying a tiny plot on their farm, and built a tiny home so we could help with farm work and they could spend more time with the kids.
  • I often daydream about finding another family to build a tiny house in our woods so we could begin our own intentional village.
  • I made my first batch of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  It was delicious and simple.  A game changer.
  • I still hate meal planning.
  • I crave meditation and jogging.
  • I have grand plans of writing letters and sending care packages to friends and family.
  • I suck at blogging these days.
Also posted in 365 photo project, 52 portraits, celebration, family, feather + anchor, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, photography + writing, the anchor, wellness | 4 Comments

earth’s best sundays

The kids love visiting the farm.

While Grampa and Nana did chores Poppy and Silas ran around the barn wildly exclaiming “This is a happy place!!!” over and over again.

It was Dad’s birthday on Thursday.

We were going through old photos when Silas saw one of me when I was about 6.  He brought it to me and said “Look, that’s you.  You were a boy!”.  Then he looked up at me and said “But now you’res a girl”.  Sigh…yes, it’s true, I looked like a boy for most of my childhood.

We ate copious amounts of lemon birthday cake and artisan bread while chatting about home projects and writing topics.

If Silas had his way he would have stayed the night…and taken Nana’s porcelain piggy home to sleep with.

go gently + be wonderful


Also posted in celebration, earth's best sundays, ellenberger organic farm, family, life | 1 Comment

project 12

Last year, I attempted project 52, but failed miserably when the nausea hit.  This year I thought I’d like to try again but for monthly records rather than weekly. Why?  Because, even when you think you’ll remember the daily sweetness forever, you forget.  I thought I might even include a section for tidbits of my own month.

So here goes…



  • Next month, you turn the big Oh-Five and you want to have a strawberry cake with blue icing and candles and pizza.  You’ve told me who you’d like to invite.  You want a Frozen themed party complete with an Elsa dress because we went to the “movie house” and watched it before Christmas and you’ve been quite taken ever since.
  • You’ve been writing your name for quite some time now (a year maybe?), but have just started showing interest in writing other letters this month.  You struggle with “S”, but do a really nice job and seem to be a natural, but begin to balk as soon as I ask for more.
  • Last night you got your 4-6 year vaccination.  Daddy and I contemplated the best way to prepare you for it and decided to tell you two days in advance.  We also told you it would hurt, but by the time you said “ouch” it would be over.  You freaked at first, but got braver as time passed.  When the time came, you were so brave and then ran out to tell Daddy and Silas “I got a shot!”.  You were very proud of yourself.
  • You continue to go to bed late.  Sometimes you stay up until we go to bed and other nights you tell us when you’d like to go to bed earlier.  You sleep through the night and wake between 7am to 9am.
  • You still refuse to eat veggies, but you LOVE fruits, meats, bread, and dairy.  We don’t heavily restrict junk food, but when you’ve had enough you stop and tell us you’ve had enough.
  • You love playing with your dolls and ponies.
  • Back in the fall, you had a bad cough and would wake in the middle of the night EVERY night coughing like crazy.  Daddy would take you downstairs, he would give you a steamy bath, then you’d eat a fruit juice freezie and watch Sponge Bob until the coughing had settled.  It was a nightly ritual for a couple weeks.  Now, most nights before you go to sleep, you ask Daddy to take you downstairs for this little ritual.  Which makes me hope you forever remember those midnight dates with Daddy.
  • Your favourite colour is pink.
  • You love having your nails painted.
  • You HATE having your hair done.
  • You love drawing people and sometimes animals.  You don’t draw backgrounds or the sky yet, but you’ve begun drawing bodies instead of just heads.  You also like to draw the universe which I find so interesting.  Your preferred medium seems to be paint, but it always ends with water and paint pooling and drawn EVERYWHERE including on your brother so we have taken a little break from that.  It may be time to get some more.
  • You don’t really care what you wear as long as it is comfortable.
  • You are madly in love with Clementine.  When she fusses, you run to her and comfort her by saying “It’s okay, I’m right here.  Poppy’s here.  I’m not a monster, I won’t hurt you.  We’re all right here.”
  • You fidget like crazy.  You bounce everywhere you go.
  • You love My Little Pony Equestria Girls and can often be heard singing the cafeteria song.  This is the song that has inspired you to enjoy spontaneous dancing again.


  • You are 3 and a half.
  • You never miss an opportunity to make us laugh.
  • You notice all the little details (you’re a lot like Mama).  The new bedding, the new plates, the tiny piece missing from your cookie or cracker, the new welcome mat.
  • You love watching and being a “Hero” and “saving he day!”.
  • You also love having your nails painted.
  • You are incredibly particular about what you wear and especially, incredibly particular about what jammies you wear.  Your favourite pair are the Halloween ones Nana bought you and Poppy two years ago.  They are full of holes, the feet have been cut off and are threadbare, but they are still your first pick.
  • You are an early to bed, early to rise type.  You’ve begun telling us when you’re tired and we take you upstairs to your big boy bed, tuck you in and leave the light on where you fall asleep.  You’ve been known to forgo the evening snack of  frozen yogurt so you can go to bed.
  • You love fruit and are only slightly more adventurous with veggies.  You will eat carrots and corn, so that is something.  You don’t like meat.
  • I often find you climbing the counters and eating butter.
  • You refuse to draw on paper and instead prefer finding bits of charcoal from the woodstove to doodle on our walls, the large TV unit we made, the wood box, the windows, etc.  You still aren’t drawing people or things though you did draw one “person” on the floor one day with charcoal.
  • We went to the doctor’s office for Poppy and Clementine’s vaccinations last night and, even though you weren’t even getting a check up, flipped out when we got there.  You screamed and clung to Daddy in the waiting room until Poppy came out to tell you proudly that she had her shot.  Hopefully you don’t do that when it is your turn.
  • You still refuse to potty train.  You will sit on or stand by your little potty and make pretend pee sounds, but have not had success yet.
  • You enjoy snuggling by the fire with one or both dogs in the morning and throughout the day.  You still play with your “freckle” (eyebrow) or that of the dogs.
  • When Poppy kisses you, you say in a swoony sort of voice “Oooooh, she’s soooo awesome!”.
  • You hate having your hair cut, but have no trouble cutting your own.  Sigh.
  • You have a habit of carrying around and sleeping with random objects and toys.  Last night it was a red balloon, a few nights ago it was a brass apple and a calculator, a few weeks ago it was an old caulking gun.  Other items include fly swatters, strainers, wooden spoons, forks, a whisk, the Hulk and Ninja Turtle toys, a pastry brush, the soup ladle, a book by the Dalai Lama because it was your cookbook, another book about Islam because the author looks like Harry Potter, a broken tire pump.  It is kind of poetic.
  • You can count up to ten items (sometimes 12) and know most of your letters, numbers, colours, etc.  You have no problem remembering names and details about animals and love dinosaurs.
  • Me: Do you guys want some milk?
    Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
    Me: Um, yes. I think so.
    Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D



  • Oh my.  You are sweet.  Daddy thinks you’re the most smiley of all our sweet things.
  • You settled into a night time routine fairly quickly and effortlessly.  You fall asleep while nursing and then usually wake once or twice per night.  Some nights it is four times, but you always go back to sleep quickly.  It’s a blessing.
  • You are the tiniest of our babies and still fit in some three month outfits.  Your brother and sister only fit into those for a few weeks if at all.
  • You never shed your baby hair and you were born with a lot of it.  I am quite certain it will be curly just like Mama’s and Poppy’s.
  • You are a very content baby.  Sometimes I will get caught up in doing something and suddenly wonder where I left you.  You’re usually in your exersaucer just watching the world or you’ve fallen asleep in your play pen though I like to hold you as often and as long as your brother and sister will allow before they make requests of me.
  • When you’re tired you will often start to babble loudly and you have fallen asleep in your exersaucer.
  • You look at everything with wide eyes and usually a smile.
  • You have a knack for knowing when I am just about to sit down to yummy meal and demand to be fed yourself.
  • You made strange for the first time a couple of weeks ago when friends visited.  It may have been his hat.  You did it again the other morning when Daddy sat in front of you without his glasses on.
  • You got your first shots last night.  After the first one you recovered quickly, but the second one required a big hug and nursing to calm you down.



  • You’re tired and stir-crazy, but madly in love.
  • You are itching for change so you did a DIY ombre on your hair.  It wasn’t a disaster, but you wouldn’t mind a professional cut and colour…even though you have trust issues with hair dressers
  • You have shopping dreams.
  • You fantasize about a second car.
  • You’ve been wearing the same jogging pants since…Monday?
  • You suddenly enjoy painting your fingernails and feel a twinge of guilt every time you do it.
  • Reeses peanut butter cups are rocking your socks currently.  As well as the Ruffles ranch chip dip (AKA creamy crack).
  • Nearly everyday you wonder if you should throw in the towel and send the kids to school, but then something wonderful happens and you remember why you wanted to do this in the first place.   This is hard, but worth it.
  • Honestly, homeschooling three kids under 5 is a lot like “teaching” stoners with a wicked case of the munchies.
  • You’ve lost 7lbs of the overall 40lbs you’d like to lose by following old school Weight Watchers.  You feel better already.  You know it isn’t rocket science, but it gives you the structure you need.  Don’t give up on yourself.
  • You find it hard not to turn into a drill sergeant when teaching Poppy how to write letters.  She is good at it, but she needs to go at her own pace.  Don’t take the fun out of it.
  • You would love to find a sustainable way to make a little extra cash for the household each month.  Writing would be ideal, but you seem to have a case of writer’s block.
  • You are teaching yourself how to cook Indian food and enjoy learning how to layer all those decadent spices.
  • You’d like to re-learn French…if only you had appreciated the daily french lessons from grade 4 through 10.  Sigh.
  • You’d really like to get a large, meaningful, family tattoo on your shoulder, but feel a big twinge of guilt when you think about that as well.
  • You’re still learning that you get to do this homesteading, parenting, homeschooling gig however you feel is right and good.  You don’t need to paint yourself into a corner.
  • You’re getting better at trusting your gut when it comes to parenting.
  • You’ve decided to plan a once in a lifetime, balls to the wall family Disney World/Harry Potter trip in 2017 by doing the 52 week savings plan.  You’re ridiculously excited.
  • It took you the better part of a day to write this post (between all the mama jobs).


go gently + be wonderful


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soul fever

To be honest, I don’t know where to begin.

Life is good.

That seems as good a place as any.

We are blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed with a wide eyed, smiley babe who warms my heart and smells ever so sweetly, a fiercely brilliant little boy who doesn’t miss a beat or a chance to make us laugh, and an intensely loving, super adaptable, whip smart little girl who will turn 5 next month.  I am blessed to be madly in love with a bearded husband who is ever-present and, after 10+ years, still makes me weak in the knees.  We are blessed with a warm home in the country, freezers and cupboards full to overflowing with food, warm duvets, hot coffee and tea, wonderful friends and family, perfect health, good benefits, a great job, chortling chickens, playful and ever tolerant pets, good books lining our shelves, and a toasty woodstove to and dry our clothes and roast marshmallows by.

And yet.

And yet, I seem to be suffering some sort of social media induced soul-fever.  An overwhelming brain fog.  It isn’t postpartum depression/anxiety.  The fog and fever was far worse when I was pregnant than it is now.

You see, I feel it is brought on by spending too much time online.  I love Pinterest, I do.  It is like crack for this creative, visually driven girl.  I don’t buy magazines for the pretty pictures anymore because I know I can find it all and more on Pinterest.  It is loaded with inspiration and ideas and homeschooling resources.  Hell, it was stumbling on this pin that inspired me to actually write this very post!  But I find myself constantly comparing our humble little cabin to the perfect homes I see online and forget to be happy with what we have.  Facebook connects me to the people I miss as well as to the people I’ve never even met in the real world.  I am grateful for all the people, kind advice, and heated debates I have acquired and participated in via Facebook, but I can’t deny that it also gives me a false sense of a social life.  Both of these sites have their merits, but they also fill my brain with anxiety-inducing posts and pins about the dangers of wearing deodorant or bras at night or hot dogs, and radiation making its way across the sea and land, and house fires, and car seat fails, and kidnappings, and missing children, and how TV rots your brain, and vaccine fear mongering, and conspiracy theories, and allergies, and other people being stellar parents, and crafts we will never do, and 4 year olds reading, and perfectly pretty houses and paint colours, and luscious hair, and thinspiration, and clean eating, and too good to be true recipes, and really funny memes, and how to organize and clean, and be more productive and yell less.

And then there are the pictures and videos we take and post.  Though I love having a record of the daily and monumental events, it seems kind of pointless when you weren’t fully present in the original moment, no?  Louis CK says it better than I ever could.  This became very apparent to me when Poppy had her ears pierced a couple of months ago.  Like an idiot, I was trying to capture the video (for Mike who was at work and unable to be present) and was still fumbling with the phone while my mom swooped in to comfort her after the deed was done.  It should have been me.

All this to say, I am not quite sure how to find the balance.  I don’t blog much anymore because the world is full of bloggers saying so much of the same and I honestly don’t know that I have much more to bring to the table.  I would be lying if I said I weren’t struggling with the feelings of isolation since moving to the country.  I miss being able to walk downtown with children in strollers and strapped to my chest in order to get some social interaction and window shopping in.  The trails are too deep for little ones to navigate for any length of time and the highway we live on is not suitable for afternoon meanderings.  The days are so very long when we are left without a car.  That is the only thing we would change about our move to the country, but it is financially out of the question for now.

Social media fits conveniently into a day with 3 children under 5.  10 minutes here between snack demands requests, bum wiping, clean ups, homeschooling, and meals.  30 minutes there while the baby nurses and falls asleep on me.  Homschooling consists mostly of free play mixed with 15 minute stints of writing our letters, drawing pictures, reading books, and using the iPad.  To be honest, the days feel long and aimless for me.  Though it is a perfect pace for young children, I crave productivity and structure for myself.  I read books and attempt to crochet, and rearrange furniture but my mind wanders and my attention is pulled away.  My days are fragmented.  So the pace of the internet fits my day, but it also drains me.  My mind feels an awful lot like our living room; disheveled and lacking focus.

We recently listened to an interesting Freakonomics podcast about parenting.  The conclusion was that obsessive, over-scheduled parenting (that seems very much the norm on social media) is pointless and the best thing we can do for our children is to be happy and kind.  Makes sense, no?!  Seriously, I want to tattoo those words on my forehead.  We don’t do too many activities or crafts with a set outcome because it inevitably makes feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and impatience bubble up in me.  I am driven by the outcome while the kids are in the moment and it rarely ends well.  I know my kids are far better off with a basket full of crayons, paper, scissors and glue to use at their own discretion than any Pinterest craft and a results-driven mama. We do extracurricular activities because they’re enjoyable and provide the social interaction we crave and need.  The path of least resistance and genuine inspiration really is the best and happiest path with these tender ages.

I have no answers.  Perhaps it is a little bit of precisely this type of mourning mixed with a wicked case of Pinterestitis and social media fever.  Whatever it is I find myself aching for depth and joy and inner work; a lonely run, and finding my breath and pose on a yoga mat, and scrawling my messy handwriting across pages of a forgotten journal; belly laughs and company who stay late into the night, and window shopping; boundaries and limits and wild things.

We’ve become quick masters of self editing.  I find myself wishing I could remember what it felt like to just be…(Once again, Louis CK nails it)  .  To be alone with ourselves and our thoughts without comparison, input or labels.

I shall leave you with this as I ponder my next step. (source unknown)

go gently + be wonderful



Also posted in family, feather + anchor, homeschooling, life, wellness | 16 Comments

hello + welcome little one

So far, my attempts at getting a nice shot of all three has been…well, like this.
This may be our Christmas card this year.

Some of you may or may not recall that I was pregnant.

I was scheduled for my third c-section on Thursday September, 26th.

Little Miss Clementine had other plans.

I awoke at 5:30 am on Tuesday September, 24th with stronger than normal contractions and they were coming irregularly, but around every 15 to 20 minutes.  As I was ironing Mike’s work clothes I told Mike he should probably stay home with me until things settled.  I had a warm bath because that had stopped contractions earlier in the week a couple times (I had a feeling I was going to go early).  Instead they started becoming more frequent at about every 8 minutes and I found myself wanting to hold my breath as they came; they were getting stronger.  We called the midwife and they told us to come in to be assessed and to bring our hospital bags.

By 9 am I was at 2 centimeters and we were on our way to the Orillia Hospital an hour and a half away.  I was having one or two lighter contractions and then one hard one about every 5 minutes all the way there.  By the time I was taken into triage I was 4 centimeters.  I saw nurse after nurse, was hooked up to the monitor, IV placed, blood and urine samples taken.  I was told I would be having my c-section that day, but they didn’t have a time yet.

I continued to go through my contractions alone and quietly (so as not to disturb the two other women in the room) on a rather uncomfortable exam table.  Mike tried to come in and hold my hand, but the kids’ were too antsy and the loudness made the contractions worse.  The contractions were getting more intense and frequent and they still didn’t have a time for the OR.

A nurse checked me again around 11:30 or 12:00 and I was 7 centimeters.  I remember she said it was time to get the lead out now and the surgeon finally came to check me.  He said, with very wide eyes, that I was more like 8 centimeters.  He asked me if I wanted to do this naturally.  This was the point I lost all composure and became terrified.  I had no idea what to do.  I was still frightened I would rupture.  I was terrified of the pain.  I wasn’t prepared for any of this.  The contractions were on top of each other now.  People were asking if I wanted to have Mike in the OR with me or the midwife.  I couldn’t think straight.

As they rolled me to the OR, they stopped in a room to check me again and I was still 8 centimeters.  By the time I got to the OR doors, my water broke.  They moved me to the metal table and turned on the huge lights above me.  The urge to push was crushing me as they attempted to place a catheter, and strap me to the table flat on my back which made the contractions unbearable.  I begged them to make the pain stop.  I was sobbing and so frightened.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.  Then they placed the mask over my mouth and told me to take deep breaths.  One breath.  Two breaths.  Three breaths.  Darkness.  No dreams or visions, just blackness.  I found out later that I was fully dilated by that point.

I awoke in the recovery room to someone asking if I knew what I had and I recall apologizing to the anesthesiologist who was standing beside me.  He smiled and said it was ok, that I did a great job considering the circumstances.  It was a slow climb out of grogginess as the pain settled in and I kept waking thinking I was still in labour.

I was finally able to hold her and nurse her once I was rolled to our room, but it was all a bit foggy.  Mike left to take the kids home where my mom and step dad were waiting.  Our midwife sat with me and we chatted.  She asked if she could drink my tea if I didn’t want it and fed me ice chips and jello.  Then  I found out they were going to keep Clementine in the nursery overnight due to her needing a couple artificial breaths to get her started again.  There were two different stories of what happened in the OR and they ended up calling a “code pink” (pediatric emergency), but looking back we figure someone jumped the gun.

I awoke from broken sleep around 8pm and was frustrated.  Where was Mike?  Where was my baby?  I needed to nurse her again.  Then Mike walked through the door and a nurse arrived with a wheel chair to take me to the nursery.  We spent a lot of time sitting in the nursery holding and nursing her that night.

She was finally allowed to stay in our room at noon the next day and all was right again.  We were discharged from the hospital on Thursday, the 26th.  The day she was supposed to be born.

I have had time to process all that happened and how it happened.  It is interesting that with my first birth, I wanted a natural birth with midwives, but ended up with a c-section after pushing for nearly 3 hours.  With my second birth, I went back and forth between wanting a VBAC and scheduling a c-section still feeling like a bit of a failure for not having the natural birth we all hear so much about.  Just a week or two before the birth day, we decided we were most comfortable with the planned c-section.  After that, I was at peace with the way it all went down.  I was prepared and at peace with having a baby this way.

I am well aware that c-sections are happening far too often and are not the ideal, but I am also  grateful for the surgery.  I became very aware of the subtle ways women shame each other about their birth experiences and choices.  I hated every article I read about how c-sections hinder bonding and breastfeeding and ridiculous birth imprinting.  It is all bull shit.  I became annoyed when hippies would assume I had a home birth and looked at me with pity and perhaps even a little arrogance as I told them I had c-sections.  One guy even said “Oh, sorry to hear that.” when I told him I was scheduled for the surgery the next week.

There was a time I felt robbed of that one womanly experience.  It felt like such a foreign concept that babies could be born naturally.  I read Ina May, and Dr. Sears and wished things had gone differently.  But then I got over it.  I healed.  I accepted that it was just not in the cards and scheduled my third c- section.  So yes, this brought up some old hurts, but I moved through them quickly.  I wasn’t mentally prepared for this kind of birth.  There were still risks to trying for a natural birth such as rupturing and the cord was around her neck (not always an issue, but a possibility).  We could have tried for a natural birth, let things progress even further, and then have worse complications.  There is no way of knowing, but when it comes right down to it, it would have been a traumatic birth regardless.  I was on a metal table, panicked, under bright lights, separated from Mike who was in the hall listening and waiting feeling powerless.

It just wasn’t in the cards.

All that to say, she is here and she is perfect in every way.  She looks a lot like both Poppy and Silas when they were born.  She never really cries, and sleeps and eats like a champ.  She spends her awake time in quiet alertness and has been sleeping in 4 hour increments.  She has an incredible amount of hair (it looks as though it might be curly like Poppy’s) that is nearly two inches long at the nape of her neck and a red mark on her inner left eyelid that I assume is some sort of birth mark.  A calm and gentle soul.

The kids have dealt with the change with incredible ease.  Poppy didn’t skip a beat and fell instantly in love.  She is obsessed with her dark hair and constantly asks if her eyes are open or closed.  When she first saw me feed her she got very worried and gasped “Why is she eating yours boobies?!”.  Silas was a little more reserved and tried to be stoic about someone taking over his role as baby, but he brings her his beloved toys to play with and kisses her often.

So yeah, we’re good and blissed out.


go gently + be wonderful



hereness & thereness by Amberlea Williams

First of all, a huge thank you to Erin for featuring me in this space. Erin and I have been friends and neighbours-in-our-minds for a long time, and reading her blog always grounds me and resonates with me; I am continually inspired by her soul-baring honesty. 

September has always been a time of change, renewal, and beginnings for me; so it feels right that this year it marks a new change in my life: starting my own creative business.

For the last seven years I was a graphic designer. Before that, I was in school for seven years to get into the field (a degree in fine arts, followed by a diploma in graphic design). Somewhere along the way, I became disillusioned with the industry, and realized there was a creative part inside of me that wasn’t satisfied. Though I was designing, I didn’t feel that I was creating. I had lost my passion for my work. That was a scary realization. It took traveling around Asia for 6.5 months to realize that I couldn’t come back and be a graphic designer. But at some point over the trip, that stopped being a scary thing. Why not do something different? I realized that up until that point I was looking for permission to change paths. But really, starting my own Etsy shop is just a new direction on this same creative journey. The path I’ve taken has led me here. It couldn’t have happened any other way.
So now, when my head and sketchbook are bursting with new ideas, I can run down to the sewing machine and get to work. Working with new and upcycled fabrics, I create Wee Fabric Houses with lots of tactile details, a variety of fabrics, and even hand-painted details on some. Each house is unique and tells a story. For instance, the Wee Hobbit House has some laundry on the line out back, beside a rake and broom (with bristles made of twine), suggesting that perhaps when he isn’t curled up in the velour armchair beside the fire, or taking a little stroll down to the river, that he likes things quite clean and orderly.
Other than this patchy, appliqué style of house, I make another style using fabrics custom-printed with my own illustrations. There’s a Birdhouse with a little chickadee resting inside the soft, felted nest, and judging from the wall of family portraits, this particular chickadee comes from a rather regal lineage; and a Japanese Teahouse, which opens to reveal a little table and cushions overlooking a zen garden. There’s a Gingerbread House in the works as well as a new line of hand-puppets to appeal to littler folk, both of which will be ready in time for the Holidays. It’s fantastic watching the houses and puppets take shape, and exciting to imagine how they’ll ignite the imaginations of all ages.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS – Amberlea is offering FREE SHIPPING on her photographic prints until Sunday September, 22nd, 2013!
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the making of a pie

Making pies, or more precisely, making pie pastry was something I figured I would never master.  Much like I had mastered making bagels, pitas, buns, and pizza dough, yet couldn’t make a decent loaf of bread to save my life (until, of course, Kira shared her dutch oven method).  I have made many a tasty desserts, but shied away from pastry figuring I just didn’t have the special touch.

That all changed last fall when I happened upon the Martha Stewart Living Magazine iPad edition in which there was a short video of their tried and true method of pastry making.  Since then I have been making pies like crazy.  Curry spiced beef and veggie pie, chicken pot pie, even some tasty Jamaican patties.  With a few more tips and tricks from Ashley English’s book A Year of Pies, I have realized the art of building a pie from the ground up.

It has become my favourite thing to make and find myself in an almost meditative state while making one.  To be honest, I never really got people’s obsession with the pastry of things, as I grew up in a house where you ate the filling and left the pastry for dead because it was simply not worth eating.  You ate it to be polite.  With the little bit of knowledge I have gained over the past year I have mastered a pie crust that I will never leave behind.  Firstly, I learned that keeping it icy cold is not just a suggestion and that without a good food processor I would likely still not be able to make it.  Second, I learned that butter makes it taste wonderful (in fact, butter makes everything better, the end) and shortening makes it flaky so I find I like to use 3/4 butter and only 1/4 shortening.  And third, I like an egg wash finish sprinkled with a coarse sugar.

Pictured, are the two most recent pies I made.  One is a browned butter apple pie with lattice top and the other is a triple berry with lattice top.  Lattice tops are my new fave thing.  I honestly don’t use much of a recipe for the fillings and feel that simple if better for our tastes.

Afterwards, with the leftover pastry, I roll it out and let the kids go crazy with their cookie cutters, use a bit of the egg wash and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Next time though, I think we will have to make Nun’s Farts as suggested by Stephanie.


fawned friday


01)  heat wave induced dreams of fall are dancing in my head.

02)  i love this men’s cut.  I am certain it is outside of my hair cutting abilities, but I bet an old barber would be just the ticket!

03)  oh!  but what word would you choose?

04)  yes.

05)  these look yummy.

06)  must make for post-baby wear!

07)  i just love white, white, white interiors!

08)  this image reminds me of the passing of time and how very sweet these young days are.

09)  cute pillow.

10)  love me some kilim.

{fawned fridays inspired by who else, but miss fawn}

happy weekend.


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52 portrait slacker

I love watching these two interact.

They both have incredibly strong personalities, but in very different ways.  Silas tweaks if we try to put the wrong shirt on him and Poppy tweaks because he won’t put his shirt on.

When playing he often lets her run the story line and when he strays from that, she will correct him loudly.  His reply is usually “okay, okay, fine, fine.”

They’ve always loved to wrestle roughly with each other, but neither will tolerate the other hurting them out of anger or bossiness.  It is a relatively new challenge for us to deal with as they try to enforce their own rules and have things run their own way.  I try to let them resolves conflicts between themselves, but have been stepping in as the slapping, pinching, pushing, and scratching begins.

They declare in one heart-wrenching moment that they are mad at the other or that the other is bad, but are playing happily again within minutes.

The other morning they re-enacted the midnight dance scene from Cinderella.  Poppy was dressed in her tutu and Silas was wearing a blue play silk as a cape.  They danced in a circle holding hands…

Silas: Gasp!  The clock!
Poppy:  Oh no!  I have to go! (runs away)
Silas:  Wait!  I never got your name!
Poppy:  Oh!  I dropped my shoe.
Silas: Here, I put it on for you (helps her put an imaginary shoe on)
*Silas then took creative liberties and declared himself to now be Superman and he wanted to kiss Cinderella*
Cinderella and Superman kiss then smile smugly at each other then at me
Annnnnnd scene!

I may be biased, but I thought it was brilliant.

Silas calls granola bars “granilla bars” and still calls toots burps.

Last night we went to the beach and you’re both a little braver this year…more so with the life jackets and bathing suits off.  It must feel more natural that way.  We’d like to find some swimming lessons for you both though it is proving a little tricky and spendy!

In the winter, I have a hard time keeping clothes on you, but on the most humid of days or nights you are both asking for sweaters, demanding socks and slippers, and donning fleece jammies.  It makes me sweaty just thinking about it.

Poppy has a rather intense fear of buzzing sounds and fans.  Like when a battery operated toy is dying and makes funny sounds it sends her into hysterics.  Also the hand dryers in public washrooms.  Or when Silas sticks a flexible straw into the floor fan because he likes the clicking sound it makes.  I makes her mental.

Silas’ fear of roosters has increased since we got rid of our rooster.  Poppy was attacked mildly and only once, but when she knows Silas is upset because the chickens (the laying hens are delightful and would never hurt him, but he thinks all chickens are evil now) are coming too near, Poppy will run wildly at them screaming “don’t hurt my brother!”.  He is slowly learning to trust again.

Both kids become very concerned when they see me cry or when I hurt myself.  They touch me softly and quietly say “Don’t cry Mommy.”  “You ok Mommy?”.  The look on their faces is heart warming.

Last night Silas slammed his head into my belly and caused a charlie horse-like pain.  He said a heartfelt sorry and then again a few minutes later, came and rubbed my leg and put his head down on it and said Hi Mommy, I’m sorry I hurt you Mommy.”

Mike started a little good night game with Poppy that always starts with him saying “goodnight olives” and Poppy replies “goodnight pickles”.  It goes on like this and the two nouns are usually connected, but different somehow.  Silas likes to play too, but in a more random fashion.  It is a sweet little ritual.

Poppy loves meat.  For some reason, this surprises me because she has been such a stubborn eater for so long.  She will gobble up sausage, kielbasa, tuna, meat sticks, etc.  Though you won’t eat my homemade burgers.

I think we have the only two children who won’t eat McDonald’s food (yes, we sometimes eat at McDonald’s, and yes, I realize this is a good thing that they don’t like it.)  You will eat the yogurt, drink the milk, play with the toy, and love the play place, but you refuse to touch the fries, nuggets, sandwiches, or even the apples (I agree, they taste funny, and never turn brown.  Not right)

We can’t keep enough fruit and yogurt in the house.  by the time we have groceries unpacked and put away, you have both devoured at least one full container of berries and still want more.

You both still refuse to eat veggies though Silas had a few days where he ate a few carrots and one cucumber slice.  It was a big win.

Poppy has started making names up for her dolls, and random animals she sees.  The most memorable was “wandercrisp” , the dog in the car beside ours, and Harpress, the baby doll she just got.  Silas named his robot “TaTa”.

Poppy loves painting and drawing while Silas has almost zero interest in it.

Silas still has no interest in potty training.  I was hoping we would be through that by the time baby arrived, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case.

Silas has become slightly more interested in letters and knows a handful now.  He also loves lining things up and counting them.

You both play quite easily with other children and adults.

Poppy, you hug nearly everyone you meet whether they ask for one or not.

Silas enjoys laying on the floor with either Soma or Huck while he quietly rubs their “eyebrows” or paws.  The dogs tolerate him well and he has been know to fall asleep while doing this.  You’re not always gentle though and have bitten (yes, bitten) Huck on the face making him yelp, but he is incredibly tolerant of you and has never so much as growled at your antics.  We are trying to get you to be gentle all the time.

Poppy likes cereal with milk for breakfast and snacks, and always drinks the milk from the bowl.

Poppy hates having her hair washed, brushed or styled and refuses to leave anything that controls her curls in for more than 5 minutes.

You have both given yourselves your own haircuts.  Not devastating or hilarious, but enough for me to remove all craft scissors from your reach.

You both love playing rowdy games of chase, hide, pounce, wrestle and tickle with Daddy.  He really is good at it.

We took you to your first movie in the Kinmount Theater to see Epic on our wedding anniversary.  You both loved it.  Since then we went to see Despicable Me 2 in the giant theater in Peterborough.  The purple monster minions scared Poppy, but not too badly.

Silas has been carrying around Mike’s book “The Mindful Carnivore” for a day now and looks rather smart as he pretends to read from it.

Silas likes to have his nails painted when Poppy and I do it.  He wears Poppy’s old pink rubber boots and claims they are his Spiderman boots.  He loves Strawberry Shortcake as much as he loves Spiderman.  Poppy loves pink and princesses.  Silas goes for the tractor and Poppy goes for the horses when we visit Nana and Grampa’s farm.  Gender stereotypes are a pet peeve of mine, but it is funny to watch them maneuver through them in their own way…crossing some and living up to many.  Interesting.

And just because we were overdue and all of this makes for great fodder for the annual Poppy, Silas, Baby Girl Christmas Book for the grandparents, I made another one of these for each of them.

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hold me steady, beloved anchor of mine

27 weeks 5 days.

The third trimester always seems to bring with it a special kind of emotional tidal wave.  I spend the day counting down to the day I won’t be full to overflowing with a baby, swollen, fat, puffy, charlie horsed, and varicose veined.  I then  lay awake at night worrying about the c-section, the hospital stay, the transition, the sleeping arrangements, the outings, the patience this will all require.  Am I mom enough?!

It all sends me into a tailspin and then I hear an old song that reminds me of who I once was; what I had time for, and I cry.  Big, heaping, noisy,wrenching cries that come all the way up from my toes.  The cleansing kind that scares anyone who witnesses it, but oh! If they only knew how good it felt to cry and shake and feel every hurt leave my body.  Then, as a thunderstorm washes away the humidity, I am ready to love and work again.  But, just as this Ontario summer seems to go, the humidity- thunder cycle repeats itself without much reprieve.

I took the car on Sunday.  Alone.  I had hoped to get a haircut, but she was closed so I went to the drug store instead.  I must have spent over an hour there looking at pink lipstick, moisturizers, and skin care products.  I won’t lie, it was glorious.  I haven’t worn much more than mascara for the past few years because I thought it would bring my skin back to a natural radiance, but the reality was that I just looked tired.  So if some BB cream (I didn’t know that was even a thing, but I have been waiting my entire makeup life for it) and hot pink lip gloss (I am not yet, brave enough for the opaque stuff yet!) make me feel a little more like my old self, then so be it.

Being inside my head is exhausting.  I miss being creative, but can’t seem to find a solution to the lacking.  I love baking, but I also love eating and if I ever intend to feel right in my skin again, I need to strike a balance there.  I enjoyed making jewelry, but it is an expensive hobby and I never really made any money at it anyway.  I would love to get more paid writing gigs and even do some fun/creative content marketing, but,unfortunately, the Clever Girls Collective is not accepting Canadian members and I don’t know where to start.  I enjoy sewing, knitting, and crocheting, but when I am pulled in a different direction every 5 minutes, I can’t focus on counting stitches or any sort of pattern with ease, never mind the cats and Silas running off with the balls of yarn and the dog chewing my needles.  Sewing is a no go what with all that tempting fabric to rumple, toss, and use as capes.  I like painting and it is something I can do with Poppy with minimal frustration, but I have no idea of even the most basic techniques, and despite nearly every woman I am closely related to being a naturally talented artist/painter, I am not sure that I got that gene.  I’d love to take a pottery course again, but know in my heart of hearts that I won’t go in the evenings when I am ready to collapse.  Also, once I start nursing, I won’t be going far anyway.  This isn’t forever.  One day the kids will play and read and imagine hours away quietly.  But, I won’t lie, there are days I feel like my brain might turn to mush and run out of my ears from the boredom I feel.

Today, there is a cool breeze and, though the humidity is at 100%, the sun remains hidden.  My sprouts are ready for eating.  The Postal Service is playing an old song.  I find myself thinking of Autumn (sacrilege, I know, but summer and I are on the outs this year).  The wild roses by the gate have released the most intoxicating, unadulterated rosey scent I have ever enjoyed.  The poppies (the ones I almost gave up on) in the front garden have exploded into life  and I can’t help, but smiles back at their happy, papery faces.

And finally, I am so loved.  Despite all my issues and frustrations and anger, and mad fluttering, and pregnant hot messiness, I am so loved and it makes me weep more tears of gratitude.

Hold me steady beloved anchor of mine for the wild bird in my rib cage will settle her wings again soon.

go gently + be wonderful


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