Monday, July 26, 2010

the bird & fawn shop

I have slowly been teaching myself how to do some basic metal stamping.
These are some of my most recent creations for markets and custom orders.
Just thought I would share...


go gently & be wonderful

Friday, July 23, 2010

{this moment}

{As so many times before, this is inspired by Soule Mama}

But oh, to just be able to pick one is impossible! 

{this moment}
A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

go gently & be wonderful


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

thirty three weeks

Yesterday we had our appointment with the surgeon who performed my emergency c-section which brought the not so little Poppy into our world.  I am under the care of the same midwives as with my last pregnancy primarily, but had a mandatory meeting with the surgeon.  He is an older man with a bad dye job and zero bedside manners.  It was impossible to get any real dialogue going with him.  We went in figuring he would be telling us the usual risks of VBAC we were already aware of and he didn't let us down.

What we were told:

Due to the reason for the last C-section (pushing for 2.5 hours without any progress) my chances for successful VBAC drops to about 50 percent.

Because we are in a small town the hospital does not have a surgeon or anesthesiologists on staff and would therefore have to be called in in case of an emergency (about an hour wait)

Chance of uterine rupture is 1 in 200.

Although I knew what we were going to hear, there were a few surprises like the points stated above.  It got a really honest dialogue going between Mike and I.  Mike is a cautious and logical man and is really great at breaking down problems to find answers.  I have felt uneasy with committing to a decision since the day we found out we were pregnant again.  He feels that a C-section is the safest route, but fully respects my feelings of being "robbed" of a natural experience.

After a lot of talking and a few tears, I realize that I don't feel brave enough or sure enough to try for a VBAC, but feel like I should.  I am greatly influenced and guided by the "crunchy" community, but also have respect for the medical interventions that save lives.  Ideally, I wouldn't have to make this decision, but the reality is that I do have to make the decision.  I have felt from the beginning that I should go with the scheduled section and felt a calm feeling come over me when I mentally commit to that.  I am not sure if it is fear or a gut feeling.  I don't want to make a decision based on fear nor do I wish to make a decision based on some false sense of bravery.

The best question Mike asked me was how I would feel if I tried for a VBAC and ended up with another emergency C-section.  Would I be happy that I had at least tried?  Would I feel bitter?
My answer was that I would feel sad and upset that I hadn't listened to my gut feeling.


Other factors:

I was not really happy with the support I received from my midwives at Poppy's birth.  I have a different midwife this time and have voiced my concerns and bitterness, but still don't know what to expect.

Midwives in Ontario are regulated and covered under OHIP.  This means that they will be doing everything by the book and if I am not progressing by the book medical interventions and transfer of care can happen quickly.  Which would mean I would then be under the care of whatever surgeon was on call.

The local hospitals have a 45 percent c-section rate.

My midwives have only done a couple of VBACs in the last year. or more.

Ultimately this is my decision, but this is also Mike's baby.  I am a mama and wife too.  This is not just my decision.  I have found myself wishing for the baby to be breech or too big just so that I wouldn't have to be the one to make the decision.  I could put the reasoning on something else.  A c-section goes against so much of what I believe and yet it sits right with me when I look at my two options.  I can't imagine going through the nightmare of labour and surgery and the long recovery that required again.

As of today, Mike and I have decided to go with a scheduled c-section at 39 to 40 weeks.  Though I feel at peace (aside from the nervousness of knowing I am going in for surgery) with that decision, I feel the need to defend my decision.  It is an easy choice until it is your baby, your body, and your choice.

I guess I just needed to put it in writing.

Thank you everyone who has shared their stories and experiences!

go gently & be wonderful


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spreading peanut butter on toast this morning, I listened to the quiet of the early morning and felt calm and grateful once again.  Glad to know I am not alone.  Empowered to know that I get to choose how I perceive it and then tackle it.

After yesterday's blog and an email exchange with my "Great Snail Mail" Exchange partner I feel refreshed and purged of venom and feeling sorry for myself.  Nothing has changed overnight.  I am still puffy and sluggish with pregnancy, but there is a shift in perspective I suppose.  I never forget that I am blessed in so many ways, it is just that my gratitude sometimes gets crowded out with the mundane and tiring things in life.

I am learning.

I hope I didn't come off as too harsh when speaking about the inspiring blogs we all know and love.  I find great inspiration within those blogs.  Sometimes it just makes me feel jealous and hopeless.  I also know that they are the ones enlightened enough to frame the brilliant and simple moments and that everything else will fall away in good time. 

Of course it is always better to focus on what we want more of, but I also have those days where I don't want to see the bright side.  I just need to wallow in it for a spell.  Get good and dirty.  Only then can I get up, dust myself off and carry on with more resolve than before.  It seems to be my rhythm.  My ebb and flow.

Last night we finally watched the documentary No Impact Man.  We really enjoyed it.  Movies like that always spark something in me.  The idea of letting go of so many conveniences looks liberating and awful all at once.  It brings me back to my own ideals and values and how far away we still are from living in such a way that matches our beliefs.

Things I would be willing to try or do:
  • Cut out all conventional / non local meat (we are extremely blessed to get free organic beef and pork from my dad and step mom's farm 2 hours away)
  • Seeking out a farmer offering raw milk (though it is not legal in Canada, there are some loopholes.  We could get such milk from my dad, but it would mean a 4 hour round trip each week)
  • Buying local as often as possible
  • Purchasing whatever we can at the bulk store and farmer's market
  • Making and using fabric bags for use at the bulk store, farmer's market and grocery store
  • Refusing to buy over-packaged foods to reduce both our trash and recycling output
  • Having electricity free nights in which we could play games and talk by lantern light
  • Buying nothing new (something we are already pretty good at)
  • Growing and preserving as much of our own food as possible
  • I would love to have a couple of laying hens, but will respect Mike's wishes to wait until we move out of town
  • Cutting out winter use of our dryer (we already do so in the spring and summer months)
  • Giving up television (we don't have cable, but we do watch online tv and movies a little more than we should / would like to)
  • Getting back on the cloth diaper and wipe wagon (neither of us love this idea, but it is the right and economical thing to do.  We prefer the (expensive) bum genius AIOs, but maybe it is time to go back to basics and use the cheap and simple prefolds.  Two babies in diapers is detrimental to our budget and environment.  Our only local baby store closed its doors this spring as well.)

Things I would not be willing to try or do:
  • Family Cloth is never likely to ever happen in this house
  • Living in Ontario, I can't see us eating only local food all year round, but I would like to get better at planning and preserving our summer bounty to last through the very long winter months in order to reduce the amount of non-local, conventionally grown foods which have travelled far too far.
  • Cutting out electricity
I think today will be filled with:
  • meal planning keeping in mind that the zucchinis, cucumbers, green beans, and lettuce are growing madly in the garden and what we already have on hand
  • being mindful of Poppy's every trick and quirk
  • letting go of stressful expectations and letting each moment be what it is
  • working on our "Life Chart" complete with goals and another five year plan

go gently & be wonderful

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You may have noticed I have become quiet again.

I have been attempting to find balance in so many areas of our life; financially, emotionally, socially, and nutritionally.  The humidity mixed with 31 weeks of pregnancy forced me to take refuge inside the house with many fans blowing against the relentless heat while I entertained Poppy, read books, websites, and blogs and watched too many free episodes of Till Debt Do Us Part online.

All of this came after another disappointing day at the Farmers' Market.  I made two sales.  Twenty three dollars.  Our tent, which has only been used 5 times, is broken in 3 different places and nearly impossible to put up.  On the drive home we discussed our next step while covered in dust, raspberry juice, and sweat.  We thought we had realistic hopes for the Market bringing in a little extra each month for emergencies and savings, but it is proving otherwise.

It has brought me to the proverbial fork in the road.  Do I continue fussing and stressing over this tiny little business of craft in a feeble attempt to make more money?  Or, do I put my energy into making our home and budget a more sustainable one?  I often wish I could just enjoy being home with Poppy rather than stressing and fussing and becoming impatient as I try to make it all work.  It all seems to defeat the purpose of me being a stay at home mama when I feel so unavailable.  I love baking and knitting and making gifts and ruffling our little nest.  I would be happy to make bread and homemade pasta and every meal from scratch if it meant I could stop worrying about making more money.  As trite as it may sound, I am a homemaker, mama, and wife at heart.  It is my one true calling.  Anything else is unfulfilling and annoying.

We live a very simple sort of life.  We have no cable or cell phones.  We have one tiny 2002 car which is paid for and decent on gas.  All our furniture is second hand.  Our wedding cost about $1000 and our honeymoon was a couple of nights spent in Ottawa.  Our most extravagant trip was a road trip to Newfoundland 5 years ago where we were able to stay with Mike's mom for two weeks.  We are not incurring any further debt and have very good interest rates on our remaining {though significant] student loans.  Our credit card is the lowest limit we could get and pay it off the day we use it.  Mike has an hour-long commute each way to work which eats gas money and puts a lot on our aging car, but we won't be able to move for at least another 2 years.  If I go anywhere, I walk.  I make most of our meals (all since we implemented the meal plan of course).  We are bargain shoppers and love a good yard sale.

As you can see, we have very little fat to trim, but we do have some.  I went through our online banking statements with a fine tooth comb and got to work on our first real budget and meal plan just over a week ago.  July is a rough month as it has lined up with many extra bills and expenses while we are still recovering from the $1200 surprise car repair last month.  The dogs need their shots.  The tri-monthly water heater rental.  The tri-monthly hydro.  The tri-monthly utilities bill.  Not to mention the extra half {$600} mortgage payment we agreed to pay in order to switch to a more manageable semi-monthly payment plan.  A rough month indeed, but we are determined to stay on track.

We don't have extravagant tastes, but we tend to nickel and dime ourselves a bit.  We don't go out for fancy food, but we spend tiny amounts here and there on forgettable food that adds up to much more than a nice dinner out.  We don't buy expensive clothes, but we buy things we don't always love at the local thrift shops.  I am a firm believer that your don't need things to make you happy and we live in a crazy world of over-spending and too much stuff, but I do love to shop.

This brings me to my next lesson in balance.  Since we are recording and categorizing every penny we spend in a log book it makes one think about everything she buys or wants to buy.  I am still in the stage of the budget implementation where I feel a little sorry for myself.  I feel like I will never buy anything frivolous or beautiful again.  It is becoming clear to me that eating and shopping have filled some sort of void in my life.  I know, I know, so cliche right?  But it is true.  I am going through some sort of crazy withdrawal this week and I didn't even know it until I wrote that sentence.  I have been bitchy, irritable, anxious, impatient, and obsessive all week.  I feel all twisted and contorted inside and I am scrambling to find peace and steady ground again.  All I can do now is ride it out, wave after wave, until my irrational brain catches up with my rational brain and realizes less is more.  That there is much to be said about planning and waiting for those things we want.  That spending unnecessarily is the cause of my stress not of my peace.  That by living without some of these things allows me to be home.

So we are thinking about ways to save.  I have decided to stop pouring any new money into the crafting, but have signed up for three local craft shows over for this month and next.  We are giving the Market a couple more weekends and, depending, we may give it up altogether or drop our commitment to only 1 weekend per month.  We are looking into free things to do on weekends and planning on more hiking and outdoor activities for the future.  We take snacks where ever we go and eat before leaving the house.  We're doing it together and both feel hopeful.

I have no idea why I am being so candid, but I think I am tired of reading perfectly glossy blogs with the happy stay at home mama and homeschooled/unschooled babes.  They are popular and inspiring, but sometimes it is all a bit too much good and not enough real.  I am happy and I hold strong to my ideals, but it isn't easy.  Sometimes it would be nice to see the real side of things.  The struggles.  The blood and sweat that makes those households float.  How to find community when it seems there isn't one.  How to teach yourself to let go of perfection.  What drives you crazy.

The online world of natural, attachment parenting mamas seems to want to uphold this image of perfection.  Sewing by candlelight and having it all together.  Never losing patience with the constant demands and movement of children.  Happily washing smelly cloth diapers every second day and never admitting to want to use disposables.  I have found myself feeling more and more trapped by this image on a totally subconscious level.  I think that is why I have gone quiet and begun writing privately again.  I can't keep up appearances. 

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't give up being home with Poppy for one second.  I am utterly blessed that I get to stay home with her.  I am committed to our ideals and visions 100%.  That being said, it isn't always easy.  Being home requires that we give up many of the tiny extravagances we had.  I feel like tearing my hair out and have been known to cry along side her some days.  Despite constant cleaning, the house is a mess.  Despite our simple tastes we have limited money.  We live in a town that seems to be void of many kindred spirits.  The only fabric shop and yarn store in town closed this summer.  I hate our neighbours.  Our garden is a weedy mess.  The local library system has none of the books I am yearning to read for inspiration and tips on living sustainably and frugally.  I can't seem to find any non-religious unschooling groups in the area.  I am tired and sore and can't sleep because of the pain in my hips and the heartburn.  I swear too much and can't seem to find the patience to stop myself.  I spend too much time with myself, but ironically have no time for myself.  I want to do some freelance writing and have sent in a couple of submissions, but can't seem to find the right words or topics.  None of my clothes fit.  I feel like a beached whale.

I am not seeking an escape.
I am seeking balance.
I am seeking candid truth from other mamas.
I am seeking community.
I am seeking self-acceptance.

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