Sunday, 19 October 2014

Loss and get aways

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I didn't even know how important this past week was until I started seeing Facebook posts, telling me that this particular day actually exists. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day was October 15th and as I scrolled through my Facebook feed and saw how many other people share a story similar to ours it brought me back to all of the same feelings of loss that we experienced not too long ago.

I couldn't figure out why I was so upset as September came to an end. I was extra emotional, finding myself wiping away tears in the silence of my car, waking up sad, going to bed sad, just feeling utter sadness. I remember feeling like my only real distraction from this dark space was going to work every day--being so incredibly distracted by the 27 little four and five year olds who needed every ounce of me that there was no time at all for my own thoughts anymore. But then the moment that I left, got into my car and back to reality I found myself upset and sad once again. What is happening to me?? I remember thinking to myself. I don't do this. I don't usually ever feel this way. And if I do, I'm usually able to quickly focus on something great and get over the hump. My family noticed it. Terry noticed it. And finally I confessed to Terry late one night what was going on.

My due date was quickly approaching--my OLD due date.

I wasn't expecting to have to go through mourning all over again at this point. I wasn't prepared for the flood of emotions to come creeping back into my life once again, as if we just lost the baby this week...not six months ago. But it's happening. And I debated about writing about it, but then decided that maybe it might be helpful to others who have experienced this same loss...to know and be prepared that this might happen to you too. Because I never expected it. But it's difficult, because you start to realize that at this point your hospital bags would have been packed, your belly would have been beautifully huge, your nursery would have been completely finished, and in a couple short weeks you would have been holding your precious little baby in your arms. And it hits you, hard.

I somehow expected too that since I'm pregnant again that it would ease those feelings. That it wouldn't feel so awful. That the sadness would be replaced by the fact that we're so so grateful to be carrying another child. That we know how lucky we are, so we would somehow then move on faster from the loss that we experienced before. But it's not true. Not true at all. We're beyond thrilled about this new pregnancy and so incredibly grateful...but still so sad thinking about the baby that we lost.

I haven't wanted to explain it or talk about it with anyone, including Terry and my own family, since if I talk about it it becomes real all over again and I knew a breakdown would be imminent. But a couple minutes ago, Terry came and hung over my shoulder and asked me what I was writing about...and the flood gates opened once again.  

So we're at Blue Mountain right now. Just Terry and I. Because when your daughter is a mess and you just don't know what to do, you quickly come up with a plan to send her and her hubby away, just the two of them. You book a beautiful chalet for them, book a couples massage and take their two sweet children for a weekend away at Nana and Papa's house (and you of course do the same for Jen and Jeff sometime, since everything is always always equal of course). You tell them to relax, sit by the fireplace, read a book, go for a swim, walk through the village hand in hand, eat out, order a drink other than water for dinner and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the quiet mountains.  


So that's exactly what we've been doing.



Our beautiful chalet that we're staying in...well, a section of it. 



I've been reading my trashy magazines, catching up on the latest celebrity gossip...


and we've made frequent visits to the hot tub, me sitting on the edge with my feet just dangling in (since over-heating this baby isn't exactly on the list of things to do this weekend) and Terry fully enjoying the blissful heat and relaxation...both options still wonderfully peaceful. We've walked through the village, indulging in delicious pieces of fudge and warm glasses of hot chocolate with whip cream. We've sat by the fireplace each morning, eating huge delicious breakfasts that we didn't have to make ourselves, while sipping on orange juice. We laid side by side for a couples massage at the spa and scoped out every possible fireplace in this place to sit by, because there is absolutely nothing more peaceful and relaxing than sitting by a roaring fire. And it doesn't even matter that the weather is frigidly cold and rainy, or that I have bronchitis and can't get through a few sentences without coughing up a lung--because we've been placed in this little paradise, and it's therefore hard to feel anything but happiness while here. Sometimes a break from reality is necessary to pull you out of grief and start fresh again.

Thank you mom and dad for such an amazing time away. We'll do the same for our kids one day when they really need it too--we promise.

Speaking of which, we're missing them like crazy...time to get packed up and head home to see those two sweet little faces.

Happy Sunday everyone, and love to all of those parents who have experienced loss and who are grieving (or who have grieved) the same way that we have.

Love Erica xo  





   




Saturday, 11 October 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Just in case you need a bit more food to fill up your belly this Thanksgiving weekend...I thought I'd share a recipe that is so darn delicious that you might not even mind that it's not pumpkin pie. 



They're called Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars...and they're so so good. 



 I found this recipe online and just had to try it...and I'm so glad that I did because they're super easy, super delicious...and full of chocolate peanut butter goodness.

Taste testers agree.




So, if you want to try them for yourself...here you go.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar 
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips


In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Then set aside for later. 

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together sugars, peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

On low speed, add flour mixture and mix until flour is incorporated. 

Fold in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips by hand. 

Transfer mixture into a greased or foil-lined 9 by 13inch pan and press to an even layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until centre is set. 

Allow bars to cool completely before cutting into bars...then enjoy!!
Makes 24 delicious bars.  



 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Erica xo



Saturday, 4 October 2014

From faint to dark

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It's taken me a lot to get to this point.

Over three months of panic, worry and completely trying to (unsuccessfully of course) detach myself from the feelings of complete and utter love and excitement that I undoubtedly feel...trying to avoid the possibility of terrible heartache once again.

Because...I'm pregnant.




It's taken me a lot of courage to even start telling people this time, because when you have a miscarriage (at least for me) it somehow feels like if you acknowledge the pregnancy, speak of it, or allow yourself to fall so completely in love with this little being as you always do..it might be taken away from you again.

But I'm over three months pregnant now and after seeing our three month ultrasound and watching our sweet little baby bouncing around and watching that flicker of his/her heartbeat, I feel like I'm finally able to let my guard down now. I feel like I can breathe again. And I can't even begin to tell you how excited Terry and I are.

I still remember it like it was yesterday--the day that we found out.

We had just put the kids to bed, back at our old house, and I started to sneak back upstairs to quietly take another pregnancy test, when I heard Terry coming up the stairs behind me.

"I'm going to take another one" I said to him.

And I snuck into the bathroom, pretending that I was fine with whatever the test might say...preparing myself for another negative result.

So when I glared at that little stick, watching one line quickly appear...and then nothing else, I slumped myself over and took myself back downstairs, telling Terry that it was negative again. And he hugged me, reassured me that one day we'd see those two beautiful little lines and that we'll just have to be patient.

I hoped that he was right.

So I went back upstairs to throw the test in the garbage, but as I took one last look at that little line I thought I might actually be losing my mind--because I swear I might have seen an incredibly incredibly faint second line now.

"WHAT?!" I said right out loud.

And I grabbed that little test right off the bathroom counter and held it so close to my eyeballs that it started to go blurry. Then I held it up to the light---oh my gosh, still a very faint second line. So I ran into our bedroom, convincing myself that I might have actually just willed my eyes to see this extra line that I wanted to see so badly...and I held it up to our bedroom light and squinted my eyes, not believing what I was actually seeing.

A SECOND FAINT LINE. I'm not crazy.

So I ran downstairs, almost falling on the way down since my legs were moving faster than I could even keep up with...and I swung myself around the corner to the living room where Terry was, waving that little test above my head.

"There's a faint line!" I said. "I swear...I see it".

And I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him over to the light.

"Look!" I said,  "It's right there...squint your eyes, you'll see it too".

So he took that little test in his hands, and tried to see what I swear I saw.

He smiled for a second, then quickly got serious. "I don't know honey", he said, "I kind of see it I think, but I'm worried about getting too excited right now, because what if it's not actually positive? I don't want us to be disappointed if it's not true".

So I ran upstairs and took another one of course.

Same deal.

So we waited another day, and I think I took a million tests after that, each of them progressively getting darker and darker second lines.

So it was real. It was true.

And finally that last perfect little ultrasound proved it.

We're having another baby.

Erica xo
 

   

Friday, 26 September 2014

When your kids make you cry

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So I'm lying in bed right now, trying to stay put, because I feel absolutely miserable and know that bed is the best place for me right now to fight whatever bug I caught. But as I was lying here, mind racing in the silence of my room, I started thinking about these (almost) four years since I became a mother...and I realized something that I never really realized before.  I've never cried so much in my life as I have since becoming a mother. 

It's something that I wasn't prepared for. It's something that the OB's and doctors don't talk to you about. It's silent whisperings that I somehow never heard about through all of the mommy groups that I got to know. I know that everyone says that parenting is the hardest job in the world (yes, indeed it is), but I wasn't prepared for the shedding of tears that I now know comes along with the title of "mom" (at least for me, that is).  

It's starts from the moment that you take a deep breath and stare at those two little blue lines. Those lines that tell you that you're going to be a mom. Those lines that tell you that your life now immediately shifts, changes and transforms into something else...something wonderful, something incredible. And you cry. Because this is what you've always wanted and you just can't believe that it's actually happening.

Then the day comes when you're lying on that table, belly covered in cold gel, heart pounding as you hear the click, click, click of the computer beside you and the intense silence that fills the room. And then she finally turns the screen and you get that first glimpse of your baby...and you cry. Soft, slow tears of relief and disbelief, because you just can't believe that you're actually watching this little life that is growing inside of you. And that heartbeat that flickers on the screen means that the whole weight of the world has just been lifted from your shoulders. So the tears stream down.

Pregnant with Carter

Then that incredible day arrives when the cramping starts and the phone calls are made and the rush to the hospital begins. The day that is long and tiring and painful and amazing. My absolute favourite day of the entire process. My absolute favourite. The day that I look forward to and anticipate and yearn for for nine long months. The day that that sweet little baby is born. The day that your life changes forever. So as he takes that first real breath, and let's out that first beautiful tiny cry, you weep...because a miracle has just been placed in your arms, and it's the most incredible thing in the world.

Newborn Mya


Then you go home and soak up that newborn smell, and welcome visitors, and change diapers and zip up tiny sleepers and gaze at this precious little soul for hours on end.


Until that moment.

That moment when it all becomes overwhelming. When it's 4am and you're still rocking a crying baby who hasn't slept at all all night long. That baby who wants you unconditionally. Who will sleep on your chest but nowhere else. Who is crying and crying and crying and you just can't figure out how to soothe him...and you're exhausted. And you cry right along with him. Because sometimes it's all that you can do.

Then all of a sudden a year has gone by and your heart is pounding as you strap your now one year old into that car seat and pretend for his sake that you're not about to melt down at the wheel as you pull out of your driveway. And you continue to pretend that you're not on the verge of a full blown anxiety attack as you pull into the daycare parking lot for the first time and walk through those doors. And you hold it together for the moment that you hand him off to those loving ladies who reassure you that his tears will stop once you leave...and you kiss him goodbye, and hold him in that moment for as long as you possibly can before you have to be strong and let go. And you walk out. And you cry. And cry. And cry.

Carter-1yr old

Mya-1yr old

Then another year goes by and you have a two year old who is silly and funny, and fast and lovable. And you can't believe that you're staring at a two year old when it feels like it was just yesterday that you were rushing to the hospital anticipating his arrival. But you learn very quickly that two year olds are tricky and exhausting and emotional and full of meltdowns and crying. So toddler meltdowns become your norm, counting to 10 to keep your patience in check becomes routine and reminding yourself that everything is a phase becomes your daily self-talk. Because two year olds are not always easy. So on days when life is hard, work is stressful, the house is a mess and your two year old decides to scream and cry over every little thing imaginable...sometimes all you can do is wave your white mama flag that tells the world you've given up for a moment, and you sit on your bed and shed a few tears. Because motherhood is not always easy.

Carter, almost 2yrs old...meltdown #1000

Mya at 2yrs old...meltdown #1000

And then when they hit the ripe old age of three, and the diapers are gone, preschool (then kindergarten, in our case) has started, the meltdowns in the grocery store line have ended and they start turning into true little people, you learn very quickly that life is now changing once again. You all of a sudden have a child, not a baby anymore.




You have a child who is fun and witty and still learning who she is. You have a child who will test boundaries, test your patience and who is learning the importance of her tone of voice--because three year olds still have a lot to learn. And so when you go to pick up that three year old from school one day and the teacher pulls you aside, you have a moment of panic because you just don't know what is coming. And then they stand there, smiling, telling you that your daughter is so loving and caring and has a "soul that is so kind"...and you breathe, and then take a minute in your car on the ride home and try to hold back those tears once again. Not simply because you're so proud of her, but because you know that the journey has not been easy, and you're so grateful that you're now finally in this place. So for all of those days when motherhood felt so overwhelming, when siblings were fighting (yes indeed they do), when you could hear your voice getting louder, trying to be heard above the noise (yes, guilty)...well, they're all of a sudden washed away a bit...because her soul is kind. And that's all that we could ever wish for. And not that it's always this way every day--we're still reminded daily that she is still three and still has a lot of learning to do. But the tears that day came from knowing that the work, tireless patience, daily reminders to keep toddler behaviours in check, moments when we felt like we were actually losing our minds and constant, never-ending love and sacrifices that we poured out over the past four years were all worth it in that one little moment.



So when someone tells you to soak up and enjoy every last minute of parenthood, kindly smile and nod and then remind yourself that parenthood is a journey that is hard and tiring and wonderful and amazing. And man, will it ever make you cry.

Erica xo


 







         

Thursday, 4 September 2014

1st day of kindergarten

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So...we did it.


The first day of kindergarten is under our belt.


And although I pretended throughout the entire morning that I was super excited for her...doing the happy dance in her bedroom as we clapped and cheered that this exciting day was finally here...I had a moment in my car as I left her where it hit me hard and I wiped away a few tears.



Because as much as I know that kindergarten will be so good for her and there is no doubt that she will grow, learn, mature and make a ton of new friends (not to mention experience new things that she wouldn't have otherwise)...letting go of your babies into the 'real' world is still hard.


But the good news is that she loved it. Absolutely loved it. She walked through those school doors this morning, smiling, excited and didn't even look back.

And when Terry and I sat outside of those same school doors at the end of the day, the very first eager-beaver parents there, watching like hawks as the doors opened and closed as each class piled out, we finally spotted our girl...and she was smiling...thrilled to see us and even more excited to tell us about her first day.

"I want to go to school a bunch of times mommy!" she said.

And you could feel the sigh of relief coming from both Terry and I.

So, we made it. And we'll start all over again tomorrow, with a lot less anxiety and a lot more confidence. Because she loves it. And that's all that we could ask for right now.

And after school? Well, as Terry and I were making dinner tonight we walked into the living room to find these two snuggling...because a mixture of exhaustion and missing your mini side-kick all day means that sibling time, when they're not wrestling over toys, is now a bit more precious.


So to all of the parents out there who dropped off their little ones to school this week...give yourself a pat on the back. You got the lunches made, you got the outfits picked out, you got the forms filled out and the labels stuck on. You did it.

And if you peeled your little one off of your neck today, tears rolling down their cheeks, please know that it will get easier and easier with each new day. I promise you.
I carried several teary eyed JK's into my classroom this week, reassuring their parents that they would be okay once they got into the school...and each and every one of them was. It's a process that sometimes takes a bit of time, but it will get better, it will get easier...just hang in there and keep telling them how great school will be. It will all come together, I promise.

Happy first week of school everyone--teachers, parents and students alike. We all made it.

Erica xo

 
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