Nurse Loves Farmer


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Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:31

Stress and Confusion...

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So I've already mentioned how last month was a stressful time for my husband and I, but I didn't outline another 'thing' that was keeping things complicated because I didn't know what was going on...

A few months ago, my husband and I decided that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I became pregnant with another baby.  For a number of reasons, I would like to have my babies close together, and since we had trouble getting pregnant with Celia, I thought I should allow some time to have the same struggle again. 

So about three weeks ago (right in the middle of my husband's joblessness), I started experiencing some symptoms that I thought might be indicative of pregnancy.  I took a home pregnancy test that said nothing.  I still thought there was something going on, though, so I waited another couple of days and took another test.  My husband told me I was imagining it, but I swear that a faint (ok, REALLY faint) positive showed up on that stick.  I tested every morning for the next few days until FINALLY - a pink line that my husband agreed was there! 

I realize this was jumping the gun, but I got pretty excited - I started thinking of our family as though it already had two children and thinking about what to name this new baby.  My husband was pretty excited too. 

Two days later, I took another test that was very clearly (even to me) negative.  I know that many pregnancies end in early miscarriage (what 'they' call a 'chemical pregnancy') - and that it is only because we have such sensitive tests now that we even know about these lost pregnancies.  I was still pretty devastated.  Even two days of thinking I had another baby was enough for me to be quite attached...

But still I waited, and continued to be late.  A week later, I took another test and again - I was sure I saw another faint positive!  Thoroughly confused at this point, and still no obvious signs that I WASN'T pregnant - I went online and learned about things like cancers and ectopic pregnancies that could cause low levels of HCG... ok, I'll admit - this was one time when maybe over-educating myself was not helpful.  Two days later a test was negative... again...

I eventually ended up at my OBGYN's office, and she assured me that although she didn't know why I might be getting a faint positive on a pregnancy test - except for the first one - that I was not pregnant.  So I'm back on Serophene!  Bring on the multiples!

I am still late, and my only answer for this is because of my PCOS and the fact that I am heavier than I have ever been in the past due to the excess baby weight that I still haven't lost.  PCOS (which causes weight gain, and is also made worse by weight) causes irregular periods and infertility, so I suppose I should not have been surprised.

Anyway, wish us luck! Hopefully it will be as easy this time as it was with Celia. 

We don't really want multiples though, by the way...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 10:09

Ignorant Skinny B!@#$s

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I am probably not the best person to rant about this, because although I have PCOS which makes it much more difficult for me to lose weight and keep it off than the average person, I am lazy and I could weigh a lot less if I made it a priority to do so...

However, I have a couple of friends who have this difficulty as well - one with PCOS and one with Hypothyroidism who are overweight by all definitions, but at absolutely NO fault of their own.   One of these women is actively involved in a number of different sports, works in an extremely physical job and also either bikes or walks a couple of kilometers to work each day.  The other friend is a mom of two who despite her busy schedule at home, regularly goes to the gym, and is extremely careful about the kinds of food she and her family eats at home.  I probably deserve to be overweight, but these women don't.

The second of these friends told me the other day about a situation where she ended up at the dentist with her three year old daughter who is starting to get cavities.  I understand the dilemma of having bad dental genes, which she was telling me was also in her family, and knowing how she feeds her children I completely believe that this little girl's cavities are not caused by too much sugar!

The presumptuous dental assistant, however, made the snap judgement that obviously this overweight Mama must be feeding her children junk.  She commented that my friend's daughter was eating too much sugar.  When my friend protested that actually her daughter ate almost no sugar - aside from what is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, the assistant tried to educate her on the amount of sugar that is found in all kinds of other junk food like chips and fast food.   This friend had just confided in me that earlier that day she had indulged in fast-food with her family, but that it had been the first time in over a year, and that they simply did not eat junk food at home.  I wish I could say the same for my husband and I - I admire the habits of my friend, and would like to strive to emulate these habits at home.   I doubt that even this perfect-looking dental assistant has such healthy habits. 

Anyway, to everyone out there who is blessed with a speedy metabolism and no thyroid or blood-sugar related health issues - be glad that you are blessed with this, and don't take it for granted.  Also, understand that although there are many people out there who work hard at looking healthy and slim - for some people, no amount of work is enough to fit into a pair of size 4 jeans.  My friend voiced her frustration at constantly being judged, and wished she could wear a t-shirt that said 'I have hypothyroidism - that's why I'm so fat!' - which I thought was funny, but I understand her frustration.  There are lazy people out there (like myself) who are overweight because they don't put enough effort into their physical body - but you can't tell who these people are by looking at them, because many of these lazy people are also perfectly skinny.

Rant over.

Sunday, 16 October 2011 19:10

Life can be stressful...

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This past month has been undoubtedly the most stressful period of time that my husband and I have experienced to date in our five and a half year marriage. 

After being led on by his past employers, his job term ended and they chose not to continue his position after all.  Ack!  So he was left jobless with no notice, and spent the next month job hunting with our mortgage, car payments and all of our other bills and debt payments hovering in his consciousness.  I tried to be supportive, but I felt the need to give him advice and pointers on job hunting at every step of the way, and probably drove him completely crazy.  Every time he took a few moments to relax, I felt the need to kick him in the butt, but (usually) I suppressed this urge. 

Last week Tuesday he was interviewed by a man who we discovered knew a lot of our friends, so we were hopeful about the outcome.  Much later that evening, as we were sitting in front of the tv, snacking, as we often do in the evening (bad habits that I suppose we should break before our daughter is old enough to realize what we're doing...), he left the room and came back with a bottle of wine.  He had mentioned a couple of weeks earlier that a bottle of champagne would be his first purchase when he finally got a job and (although he decided on a Reisling afterward, since I don't actually like champagne...) here it was in front of me.  My first thought was that he must have gotten it as a gift from someone, because he had been jobless so long I must not have really expected he would get a good job, but Yay!  The guy who had interviewed him that morning had called later that afternoon to offer him the job, and he was to start on Thursday.  This was SO EXCITING!!!

After a month of stress and nervous waiting, why do I not feel happier?  I actually find myself feeling strangely subdued, and maybe even a bit depressed.  I'm the sort of person who thinks - a lot- about what is going on in my head, and I wonder if I was playing the 'supportive wife' for so long that now that he has a job I feel less needed? Or maybe it is just because we have been so tense for the month that all of the emotion has built up and now I am needing to release it.

Anyway, I know I should be completely happy and overjoyed, but I don't honestly feel that way.  Even Brian has been a bit testy, but maybe that is just because I'm acting hormonal and he's just responding to me.  Either way, what should be a great time in our home has been less than enjoyable. 

I feel like I should end this blog with a 'What I have learned from this is...', but I'm not really there yet, so I won't.  Maybe I never will be. 

Monday, 10 October 2011 11:29


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Brian and I are blessed with having almost all of our Grandparents still living, with the exception of only one - Brian's maternal Grandpa, who passed away only a couple of years ago.

I want to preface this by saying that I love the fact that our daughter has so many people to adore her, as I had a wonderful relationship with my Great Grandmother as a child, and I love that she will also have relationships with hers. 

However... being the oldest in our families with so many (relatively) young Grandparents has its frustrations when it comes to the holidays.  First, I'll outline what our family looks like... Brian's paternal Grandparents had three sons, of whom only one had children - Brian and his younger brother.  His maternal Grandma has a large family who rarely are able to get together for gatherings due to their number and how spread out they are.  My family is slightly more complicated... when I was a baby, my biological parents split up, and I was left with my Dad whose parents had a large hand in raising me until he remarried when I was 8.  So I have three sets of Grandparents - my bio-mother's parents, my step-mom's (who I will always refer to as 'Mom') parents, and my paternal Grandparents who are probably closer to me than Grandparents often are due to the fact that they were so much like parents to me when I was a child.

It has always been our tradition as I was growing up, to spend a half-day at home with my parents and younger brother, then juggle the other three Grandparent gatherings into the 24th, 25th and 26th of December.  Brian's family had a similar tradition. Needless to say, trying to juggle all five Grandparents plus two parents gatherings into three days is a bit of a challenge for us.

In three of these families, Celia is the first Great Grandchild.  Luckily for us, all of our maternal Grandparent families (coincidentally) are larger and have already become accustomed to the concept of spreading out the gathering or moving it to a less busy time in order to accommodate everyone.  That leaves us with two sets of Grandparents, each of our parents as well as spending our own time at home with Celia.    The most difficult part of this for me, is that one of these Brian's paternal Grandparents are completely unwilling to negotiate on the day and time of their gathering, and are offended when we can't attend whatever they have planned.  My paternal Grandparents on the other hand, are completely understanding of our difficulty and are far from offended if we are unable to attend their gathering.  This is difficult for me, since theirs is the one Grandparent gathering I would like to never miss, considering my close relationship to them - although it seems unfair to prioritize them since it isn't Brian's Grandparents fault that my mother chose to leave me (which is why our relationship is so close - my paternal Grandmother being the only mother I knew until I was 7).


Anyway, I would love to bring up our daughter to enjoy holidays and the busyness of family gatherings, but I fear that our stress of trying to accommodate and appease everyone will be too evident.  Brian particularly hates these times of year - especially now that he gets to fend off all of the 'have you found a job yet?' inquiries. 

I guess it comes to down to us defining our own priorities and whether they are correct or not - or make anyone else happy or not - do what we can to make these times enjoyable for us and for our children. 


Thursday, 06 October 2011 10:16

The Future is Uncertain

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Brian had a frustrating experience earlier this year when his internship was about to end, and his employer gave him the distinct impression that they were going to be creating a job for him to continue working there.  His direct supervisor even told him not to worry about 'cleaning up' his projects, because she was working under the assumption that he would be there indefinitely. 

So, when his internship ended, he had not lined up another position and it wasn't until he had sat at home for almost two weeks - sending many emails and inquiries - that they informed him that they were not going to be opening this position up after all.   Feeling incredibly stupid and a little bit taken advantage of, Brian was forced to jump back into job hunting, but weeks behind schedule and with no source of income for the upcoming month.


As my maternity leave was coming to an end, and I was deliberating over whether or not to return to the work force - after I had lost my spot at the daycare my daughter was going to be attending, but that's another story - I had decided to risk the loss in income and not return to work.  I had been teaching piano at home for four years, and decided to advertise a bit more and increase my student load to try to make up the difference.  So far God seems to have blessed this decision, because after having 10 students on average each year, I had 15 registered by September, and have had a few more added since and a number of interested emails floating in also. 

As my husband's joblessness continues, however, I have begun to second guess my decision to stay home and wonder if I should, in fact, be job hunting myself. 

I have to trust that God has a plan for us, and maybe there is an even better job waiting for Brian than the one he left over a month ago.   I remember a time when I left a job that I loved for no other reason than because I was certain God was asking me to - I know, it sound's crazy, huh? - but there it is.  I loved my boss, the job was challenging and I was getting raises by leaps and bounds based on the work I was doing.  I had a number of great friends in my department, and I was over all, probably as satisfied as I've ever been in a job.  And then I quit.  I took a job that I hated and ended up dropping shortly afterward also, and eventually landed in a job that was completely not challenging and paid dismally.  I found myself frustratingly asking God 'Why?', until I found out what had happened in the job I left.  My boss ended up leaving, and after a significant amount of unrest, there were firings and layoffs and a lot of management shifts that evidently made the department an extremely stressful place to be.  I could not have known this - but God did.

The one downside of my old job - the job I loved - was that the management was extremely strict about productivity to the point where they didn't really care about your personal life.  As in, leaving the office for a family emergency might just get you fired.  Another thing God knew that I didn't was that I was going to be getting pregnant.  And my Dad was going to be experiencing a number of brain bleeds that would have him in and out of the hospital for months.  My new and dismally paying job was absolutely beautiful to me in this respect.  They were totally wonderful and understanding - they gave me all kinds of paid family time off to be with my Dad in the hospital, and there was no question of letting me go when I was calling in sick from pregnancy issues on more days than I was actually coming in to work.  So although some aspects of this job were less than I would have wanted - it was exactly what I needed.

Now when I casually look at job ads, I still get the distinct impression that God wants me to stay home with my daughter, and I give up the search.  As He has before, I need to trust that God will take care of us, and that He has a plan that is much greater than we could have planned for ourselves.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?        Luke 12:22-26

Monday, 03 October 2011 21:37

Finger Painting!

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I have a friend who is always doing things with her kids that look incredibly fun - and typically way younger than I would have thought of doing them.  Like when she had her 18 month old decorating cookies at Christmas time... I can't wait for that! 

Anyway, I asked her if she had any ideas for Celia at 9 months, and she suggested finger painting with dyed yogurt.  So here we are!  At first we plopped three different colours in front of her on her high chair tray, and she poked a finger into one but it took her a little while to really get into it.  After a few minutes, however, my crazy little monster started shrieking and going at it like a regular Jackson Pollock. 

We were just hanging out in the kitchen otherwise, and my poor husband got so stressed by the mess she made.  He kept commenting on how he would never have done anything like this with her - and it's a good thing he wasn't a single Dad, because she would never be able to do something like this!  It really was a mess - there was yogurt all over the floor and splattered on the wall behind her.

I promised him I would clean everything up - and I did, except for the odd splatter that I missed and found days later.  Celia was in only a diaper, so no clothing needed to be cleaned, and the high chair was completely washable - the fabric cover was washed overnight and ready the next morning.

We've done this once since (it really is quite a bit of work when house cleaning is a near-impossible task anyway), and although she still enjoyed it, we might not do it again until she understands the concept.  At 10 months old, she knew that yogurt was food and seemed to be more frustrated with how difficult it was to eat than she was interested in playing with it. 

Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:54

How I Got Here

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A few months ago, I read an article in 'Parenting' Magazine about an online 'dating' website for families, and after excitedly logging in to see what it was all about, I discovered that the website did not yet exist.  Having my own computer-programmer in the house, I got the brilliant idea to create the website myself and started a blog to take advantage of the fact that other people would be searching for this same website - my assumption being that they would follow me to the new website, once it was created, and... the end of the story is, I'd make a ton of money!

After talking to my husband about it a bit more, I was informed that a proper website (kind of like a 'facebook'/'dating site' for families) would take three to five people a year of full time work to successfully create.  This is more than my husband can commit to, particularly since I would like him to support us in the meantime.  I wasn't the only one to have this idea either, since I was unable to purchase the domains to 'playdatemyfamily' at .net, .com, or .org... Two sites are currently in the works, neither of which have anything to do with me, but oh well - it was a thought.

Anyway, this started my blogging.

I've always been interested in writing, and I love to rant and rave about whatever my current passion is, so although my initial purpose is gone, I will continue blogging simply for the fun of it.  My husband did build this site - from scratch, I might add... no templates for me! 


Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:35

This is How I Roll...

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As a new Mom, I have limited to zero experience with many parenting problems that can and will come up as a child grows up.   I have learned, however, that this is how all Mom's begin, and we all embark upon a journey to learn how to parent our children and continue to learn as we go.

One comment that I heard repeatedly (annoyingly) was that I was reading too much in reference to parenting my infant daughter.  I did notice the excessive use of the words 'I was reading about...' or 'I just read that...' escaping my lips, which had me considering whether or not I was capable of forming my own opinions.   The comments regarding my superfluous reading were suggesting that by reading about potential health problems and growth delays, I was worrying myself about things I might have been better off not knowing about.  I respectfully disagree.  Although this may be the case in some instances, I can look at countless times throughout my pregnancy when I experienced some sort of pain or symptom that panicked me - only to look it up online to find that many other women had experienced the same, perfectly normal, phenomenon.  I have also come to realize that I read by nature - it is my primary learning style.  I am unlikely to ask my mother or grandmother, or even my best friends what they think I should do in a specific situation because I recognize that my parenting (and life) priorities may differ greatly from theirs and might feel uncomfortable obligations by asking for their opinions.  What I do appreciate, however, are factual and unbiased accounts of how they did things and how that turned out.

That being said, I think there are many different learning styles that depend on our personalities, as well as our communities.  It is much easier to ask the advice of a close living relative or friend, than to ask the advice of parents still living in their country of origin when you have moved halfway across the world and now reside in a much different environment.

As I have already said, I am a reader, and a researcher.  I will read different accounts written by different people and accept the method that makes sense to me and my world view.   Some people learn by observation - in the case of parenting - they may see how children around them behave and respond in certain circumstances and take mental notes about what their parents are doing.  Some people ask for the opinion of a trusted friend, family member or medical professional, and follow the advice they are given.  Some parents may even trust their own instincts completely.  If I were to give my completely unqualified advice, I would suggest some sort of balance of all of these methods.

I would like this site to branch all of these while assuming the position that although there are certainly 'wrong' ways to parent, most choices in regards to parent come down to parenting styles and learning methods - as well as personality types and world views.  I will seek to encourage and support all legitimate styles of parenting, only questioning methods if some form of abuse is suspected.  I encourage any and all readers to do the same - if you disagree with another parents views or methods, choose not to criticize or argue and to understand that there are many different accepted ways to do things - yours are not the only correct options.

Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:33

Connected Parenting

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I began reading a book recently called 'Connected Parenting', by Jennifer Kolari.  I had never heard of 'connected parenting' before but fully expected to disagree with it entirely.   I personally find myself dismissing anything that seems related to 'Attachment Parenting' (which I, admittedly, don't know very much about), and presumed that although I was interested in reading this book for scholarly reasons, I would find nothing of use to myself.

I was very wrong.

The basic point of this book (so far) is to encourage parents to empathize with their children.  This may seem like common sense, but as I read on, some of the examples given by the author reminded me of some of my own frustrations in childhood.  I have an excellent relationship with my father, but I was continually frustrated by his attempts to 'fix' each and every situation I found myself in.  I have learned that even now I cannot tell him about a negative experience I have had, without an "It will all be ok because..." or "Next time do this differently...", etc.  Now, he means well and in retrospect I realize that this is a completely natural response for me also - this is what we do.  What I wanted from my Dad as a child, and still do, is for him to just LISTEN, with maybe a 'Yeah, that sucks' every so often.   'Connected Parenting' outlines exactly how to do that, and although at times her examples are a little extreme and it sometimes seems like a long-winded response to a very simple question, it may not be easy for many people to do.  Particularly if, like myself, they have grown up with a very different 'norm'.

I was discussing some of the principles Kolari mentions with my husband this morning, and having decided a while ago that parenting by instinct is the best way to go, he immediately got defensive and started outlining reasons why her theories were wrong.  I don't deny there may be holes in any theory - and not everything will work for all families - but I have come to a sort of agreement with myself;  In the future when I pick up a book to read (and I plan to read as many as I can get my hands on, as a scholar-mom), I will assume that it will contain something valuable for me to learn.  I think most of us can admit that there may have been some behaviors passed down to us through generations that may not be helping us to be the best people - or parents - that we can be, and if my reading can bring my attention to these things, I want to be ready to learn.

I came back to my husband later in the day and asked him to consider adopting a similar philosophy.  I mentioned how our relationship has not been perfect - how each of us does things in ways that we think are normal and beneficial because that is how our parents treated each other, or whatever.  I don't think there's a relationship out there that doesn't have some imperfections in this behavioral 'code' we all have in us, so personally, I don't see how we can assume that our instincts will be correct in all circumstances either.

Maybe that's just me.

Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:32

Meet Me and My Pet Worms...

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I spent a glorious couple of hours today wandering around the city doing casual errands while my husband watched my baby girl at home.  I don't get many moments like these, and although I love my daughter immensely, it was nice to have some time alone.

Part of my errand running included stopping by a local store that focuses on naturally made products with minimal packaging that encourages buyers to live as eco-friendly as possible, including organic cotton clothing, natural and locally made body and health products, toys and books made from recycled everything, etc. It is what my husband calls a 'hippy store' - as though that's a bad thing.

Growing up, my Mom had encouraged me to seek out these kinds of things.   When my parents were building their cabin at a so-far undeveloped and nearly deserted lake property, we spent much of our summer holidays with no electricity or running water.  For the first year or two we didn't even have an outhouse, which meant setting up a roll of toilet paper on a nearby tree.  As a city girl, living this way was foreign and a little scary but I came to enjoy it.  As a teenager I appreciated the lack of pressure to keep my hair clean and my makeup done.  Life was purely about function and clothing was about comfort.

As I wandered through this shop wearing my long flowing skirt, and a reusable shopping bag slung over my shoulder I thought about my husband at home who is striving to get a good paying job so that someday we can buy a big house, new BMW vehicles and enable ourselves and our children to wear expensive clothes and have ample extra for entertainment.  Not that these dreams don't appeal to me also, but I seem conflicted on what my priorities actually are.  It's funny how being married and having children can turn you into different people than you ever expected.

The purpose of my shopping trip today was mainly to research an indoor worm-composting bin that the store carries, which I had been interested in purchasing for awhile.  I looked at the bin again today and realized that it would be too small for our needs, and decided to take a friend's advice and build my own out of a Rubbermaid bin.  If it didn't work, I would only be out the $10 cost of the bin and worms.

And so, I left the store empty handed and wandered through a few more shops thinking about who I was and who I had become as an adult.  Is this really who I am?  Can a person like me still be compatible with someone like my husband? I laughed to myself as I pictured myself someday gardening in our backyard with my children all in bandanas and up to our elbows in dirt, with my husband coming home in his BMW SUV carrying a leather briefcase and wearing a $2000 suit.  It's funny how sometimes completely different people can feel so much at home together.  Maybe I'm not that committed to myself, but I see no benefit in trying to change my husband - particularly since he sees no need to change me.  He is completely supportive of living an eco-friendly home life, and has been talking lately about teaching our children about delayed gratification - such as gardening or film photography.  He also loves to cook and is completely into the idea of eating as natural and healthy as we can - as long as he gets his occasional Pepsi.

So this is who I am, right now.  I am a 'hippy'.  I am a suburban wife.  I am a cloth-diapering, soon-to-be homeschooling and overprotective mother.  I am a child of God. I am a worrier.  I am an artist, a writer, an honest friend - honest to a fault at times. I am a cook, and housekeeper - although not a very good one most times, an occasional philanthropist.

For now.

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