peasant bread

I made my best loaf of bread EVER today and yes, the picture is actually the one I baked before it got devoured. I followed this recipe in Mother Earth News. It takes patience but has only four ingredients! It is easy (no knead)and very pleasing. It's got a nice chewy crust and moderately spring inside. My attempts have usually been too dense to ever get baked right through.

My apologies for the pain this may cause my beloved family members that I can't make this for. For those who can and have been intimidated by baking your own, I encourage you to give this recipe a try.

Update: The recipe worked well with a spelt/rice flour combo but not so much as a gluten free bread. The crust was nearly impenetrable and the inside seemed done but had a very odd texture.


5 things

I've been tagged by Kaili to post 5 things you don't know about me. As a matter of principle I've never done one of these but I figured it was time to grow up and try it. I know quite a few people who know all of these things about me but hopefully it's new for at least someone.

1. I very strongly dislike being in high rise buildings. I like to pretend this isn't true and it doesn't stop me from staying in them but I'd really rather not. It messes up my equilibrium. Oddly I don't mind other heights. Summerland is pretty safe for this.

2. I used to be a fully qualified lifeguard but never had a job doing it.

3. I've worked in what feels like most major types of service jobs: The Body Shop, Starbucks, Costco, a restaurant, a gym, a chiropractor...did I miss any sectors (besides lifeguarding)? Hmm, a clothing store. Never done that one.

4. My bowling alias is "Gus".

5. One of the most gleeful moments of my life was scoring the winning goal in sudden death overtime of...a grade six floor hockey tournament.

I'm exhausted. I had this draft sitting here for well over a week and couldn't think of anything for ages. Maybe that's why I don't do these!


it's my obsession

My love affair (obsession) with coffee has reached new proportions. Through friends of ours who own a micro-roasting company, I have the opportunity to learn to roast! It was one of the three things on my "43 Things" list, which I've completely ignored since I created it a few years ago. If I learn this well it will be one of those win/win scenarios - I get to learn a new skill and they get a backup roaster in case something comes up. Like needing a vacation.

It's fun to learn without the pressure of it having to lead towards "a job" or paying through the nose to have it taught. Learning for the pure joy of it.



Less oxytocin, better delivery for mom and baby: study

Who is getting paid to study this? Of COURSE it's better.


It's hard to believe, but our crew made it out on a family vacation. Complete with Griswaldian moments. It was a fantastic one week Vancouver Island tour that we are going to document, at least in point form, on the Headspace J blog.

The highlight for me was seeing, feeling and smelling the open ocean. The real ocean as I have come to call it. In the dark early morning watching the full moon set, in the midday sunshine at Long Beach or the brilliant sunset - it was all good. It was therapeutic for the soul of this prairie girl. I don't know if the impact is related to the familiar open sky and horizon line or the novelty of it being so drastically different from the landlocked seas of crops I grew up with. I think most people leave that place feeling that way, it's hardwired into us.

Trips are so valuable for breaking me out of patterns of inertia, even if only for a little while. We were gone just long enough to start to get some perspective on what our daily life looks like and where we want to be heading. No earthshaking insights but it put a fresh spin on things. I am so hesitant to put out that much energy to do something with such a young baby. Oh yeah, and two other busy kids too. I'm so busy protecting what reserves I do have from day to day that I don't end up pushing myself at all. That was one of the main points of Jeremy taking leave but now after stepping out of that comfort zone I know I can do a lot more than I often think I can. The rewards can be huge when I do.

Nothing is going to change the fact that we have a little dude to care for that can't talk, use the toilet or sleep through the night. Although that is often tiring, it doesn't worry me because it lasts for a shorter window of time than we used to think. I still have two months of very flexible time left to learn something new, get into consistent exercising or ?? without having to think about childcare. I want to cobble together a few different ways of making income that don't involve having much of a boss and lie in an area of my interest (don't we all?). It's about taking a leap and not caring how much money it makes me.

We travelled with an astronomical number of bags and props, yet it was nothing compared to the chaos that greeted us in our home. Granted the house was a complete mess but I was disgusted by all the stuff we have. On vacation people have so much time for fun stuff because somebody else makes the meals and washes the dishes. Little or no laundry required. And, for me, there wasn't much management of stuff to do. When we moved on from one place we schlepped it all into the car again and were done. No decisions required. I know we can't afford to live like that, but surely we can cut down on stuff, be willing to eat more simply and have fewer clothes. Imagine the time we'd have to...garden for example.

The cute little guy is demanding that some of his simple yet urgent needs be met. That's a good cue to end this rambling post.


Ezra medley

Here's a short movie for the adoring grandparents. The rest of you are allowed to watch too if you're so inclined...


back on the ice

Unlike Kaili, I didn't rock my first hockey "game" of the year. It was a practice with scrimmage and I really appreciated having a coach. I'm at a stage where I can really benefit from getting instruction on even the most basic skills. I had a lot of fun, got good exercise and enjoyed seeing the crew again so you'd think the net effect would be really positive. It's odd how I'm perfectly content to do a lot of things half-assed (like housekeeping), yet the perfectionist in me surfaces at the strangest times (like hockey).

I forget during the off-season that I've only played a few years and was never really as good at it as I like to imagine. I get myself all wired up for the first outing of the year and, well, you can call me the queen of dropped passes and over-skating the puck. I can't count how many times I lost it in my skates and someone else took off with it.

Don't even ask about positioning. That's the challenge and beauty of a scrimmage, you end up playing everywhere at some point. I think I was playing them all at once and to put it kindly, I was a little random. I'm pretty lost playing defense but want to have a grasp on what I should be attempting at least. I love it that instead of discouraging me it only makes me want to put more effort into it. I'm looking forward to the next one.

For any of you who may question my sanity and readiness to play, Ezra is 6 weeks old now and I felt pretty good. I'm not too sore, two days later. My main weaknesses were my core muscles (obviously) which I could feel when we worked on shooting, and my overall endurance. I need basic conditioning, and honestly, couldn't all of us always use more of that?


fall food tally

We've gone into our annual fruit preserving mode. Compiling the quick list of what's in the pantry & freezer helps me understand why I feel busy sometimes. I've been really happy with the amount of food we've been able to get locally the last few months and we're working hard to take advantage of what's available. It's amazing how many dishes you can come up with that revolve around peppers & zucchini (and still enjoy them!). Tomorrow morning we'll hit the farmers market again and come home with loads of whatever seems to be in season. I'll be watching for garlic to stock up on and we'll pick up some locally roasted, organic coffee beans.

I'm not sure why I didn't dry more fruit this year, I hope to do more tomatoes though as we use them all winter in dips & sauces. We managed to grow beans, beets, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onions, dill, lettuce and broccoli in the garden although generally not a lot of any one thing. We have carrots coming yet but they're puny from being way overcrowded.

Here's the tally as it stands now with full credit given to Dianne for much of the jam, drying the tomatoes and generously donating the blueberries. Thanks also to my mom for canning cherries, freezing cilantro and keeping the garden happy while she was here.

Cherries - 16 pints & one cookie tray frozen (and then bagged)
Peaches - 7 quarts & one tray frozen
Blueberries - two giant freezer bags
Nectarines - one tray frozen
Jam - about 3 dozen jam jars (apricot, blueberry, plum, peach, raspberry and Jeremy's pride - yummy batches made from wild chokecherries and saskatoons)
Apricots - dried one batch, didn't turn out as tasty as I'd hoped
Salsa - 13 pints canned and another 6-ish pints fresh frozen
Tomatoes - several bags frozen and a big bag dried
Basil & Cilantro - frozen bag of each
Peppers - 1 huge bag, chopped and frozen sweet peppers
Pears - ??? we'll find out in the next week

Phew...I'm not sure if all this counting makes me hungry or tired but I know it makes me feel incredibly rich. We are so lucky to live in a country with resources like this and have the means to grow & buy them. I'm starting Thanksgiving early, it has definitely become my favorite holiday and I think we should draw it out. Maybe all year in fact.


catch up

Today I really am beat so you mostly get more kid pictures instead of insightful and groundbreaking thoughts. We had great visits over the last week from my brother Mark and my honorary sister, Tanya. I got to enjoy winery patios again after a long dry spell and show off the town to boot. We also made several beach trips, what's not to like?

Hanging out with Mark on the glorious patio at Dirty Laundry although I was disappointed by this year's Gewurtztraminers and Riesling, two of my previous favorites. We chose the Pinot Gris but next time I'd go for the "Hush" on the patio. On a later visit to Thornhaven we loved their '06 Gewurtztraminer and will go back for their Pinot Gris sometime.


proud mama

The photo credits for this post go to Marj Heinrichs, baby lover extrordinaire - see bottom photo for proof. There's nothing I can write that won't be obscene gushing about my own children, so I leave you with the (gorgous-amazing-wonderful-delightful) pictures...



You may suspect that I've been freakishly busy with a newborn and too tired to post. Nope. Lazy. Ezra has this newborn thing figured out and is taking it really easy on us, all things considered. NO, he is NOT sleeping through the night. Are you kidding? We fully expect him to get the hang of that by the time he's three. If we're lucky. I had forgotten that a newborn is actually less intense than many of the later stages can be. He doesn't require much of us aside from sustenance, fresh diapers and snuggling. He's nursing well, sleeps decent streches and is up to 10 and a half pounds at 2 weeks. Plus he's wicked cute. I'll find a picture to throw up here one of these days.

I realize that this has turned into more of a mommy blog than I had intended since the pregnancy thing took over. I guess that's honestly my space although I have been thinking about some of the "green" stuff lately too. I feel some angst over the quantity of diposable paper products going through this house over the last fortnight. Great term by the way (fortnight), it should be used more often. Ezra has been switched over to cloth diapers, thanks to Teri who provided us with the teeny size that we were too cheap to invest in.

The other thing that brought up a lot of questions about environmental impact was the building of the playhouse. I know that due to it's size, it's footprint isn't huge but it's a fascinating exercise to see where my ideals really shake out when they're up against money, time and convenience. I was really happy with the balance my dad and I were able to achieve and thank him for it. He was willing to try some of my used/strange/cheap matierials which was a pain for him but pleasing for me. On the other hand, I was able to relax enough for him to buy what he needed to get it done and do it well.

If I ever do get the opportunity to build a house someday there will be exponentially more of those weighted decisions to make and I can see why it's such a stressful experience for most people. What I found interesting was that there were way too many "choices" in a very narrow field. There seem to be an almost infinite number of companies all making the same things in the same dull range of colours but we came across almost no options that were directed towards healthier choices. There was no mention of sustainable harvesting, embodied energy or off-gassing potential of any products. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough but there certainly wasn't anyone advertising those things.

Back to the baby thing. I need to go to bed now, he's been sleeping for hours.



Jeremy did the work for me. Here are updated photos of Ezra and a shot of the finished playhouse.


Ezra Milagro Hiebert

"I've got a bowling ball in my stomach and a desert in my mouth"
- Tori Amos (Crucify)

That sums up my early thoughts on labour. My water started trickling at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon and within a few hours it was more like a waterfall. I spent an hour lounging in the hammock, listening to music, making notes and relaxing. The Tori Amos song came on and I laughed and laughed. Perfect. I was feeling a lot of nerves, some relief that things were in motion and a good dose of anticipation.

I had a few very early, mild contractions at about 6:30 while we were eating. I was restless and wandering for the early evening and talked to the midwife around 7:45. I was having contractions 6-10 minutes apart but very mellow so we decided I was probably best served by heading to bed and trying to get in a nap before the real deal kicked in.

I think somewhere between 8:30 and 9 I noticed the intesity increasing but not the frequency. I asked the pit crew to get the labour pool ready because I was starting to want a refuge. By the time I talked to the midwife again at 9:15ish I was definately in active labour already and was headed into the pool. She noted that she was on her way. I think my body was starting to go into shock from the speed of things already at that point. I was shaking and every time I moved a muscle a new contraction would fire up and leave me dreading the next. I couldn't recall why "natural" childbirth seemed like such a good idea.

The labour pool and birthing room I had prepared was exactly what I hoped it would be. It was cozy, quiet and private. I felt like a hippie freak when I set it up but it was worth it. It had low light, sari curtains and matching music.

What I did forget was that no matter how awesome the setup was, labour was still going to be rough. I wished I could have appreciated it more but on the other hand was very, very glad that things were moving quickly because I had no desire to prolong those particular moments. At some stage Jeremy noted what a miracle labour & birth really were and I apparently muttered something about "disaster" being more appropriate than "miracle" (Milagro in Spanish). I wasn't feeling particularly brave, strong or balanced. Stoic might be more appropriate. Suck it up Tannis, suck it up. It will end.

Ivy had gone to bed but knew it was the night for the baby to be born and couldn't sleep. She wandered in and out of the living room and spent time with Grandma. She apparently wanted to help me very much and all she could do was let me use her special plastic cup (I didn't want glass). So sweet. She ended up staying awake for the whole thing but didn't want to watch, which is what we had pre-arranged. She did fantastic, I was worried she'd get more upset. Ella slept through it all but woke up and pattered out of her room at 4:30 am to meet little brother.

It must have been around 10:20 when I asked Jeremy to call the midwife back to tell her I could feel the baby moving down and to find out where she was. Luckily she was only 10 minutes away at that point. By the time she had everything hauled in the door I was starting to feel pressure to push. At one point I looked at the midwife and announced that I was starting to panic but other than that I don't think I said much. Every time anything touched me it set off more intense contractions, I don't recall that from other times as much. Even the doppler to check heartbeat seemed unbearable.

Everything flew into high gear and they somehow managed to haul me out of the tub despite my protests. I was quite clear ahead of time that I didn't want to give birth in the tub but of course when the time came, moving seemed like a stretch to say it kindly. I'm glad they're so good at that, I think it went something like this: "Tannis, it's time to get out". "uh, no." "Okay, Jeremy grab her other arm and on the count of three lift your leg and here we go". And off we went.

This was the first time I remember feeling the size of the head and having fleeting thoughts that it wouldn't fit through my bones. I believe I pushed actively for about 15 minutes. The midwife coached me heavily through the crowning with when to push and when to hold back and he made it through without a scratch! I am still blown away by what the body can do and that I had any control over it at that stage. The shoulders came out more easily this time and I got to reach down and pull him onto my belly.

Little Ezra was packed full of mucous on arrival and needed a lot of help clearing his passages. The ambulance got called, just in case things would take a turn the wrong way but we were thankful to not need it by the time they arrived (which was amazingly fast). After things had calmed down Ezra visibly relaxed and his breathing improved. Many, many thanks to the attendants for knowing when to play it safe and when to trust in the amazing power of primal bonding to help things along. What an insane job they have - I'm so thankful they do it. Throughout that time I didn't feel any anxiety or concern about being at home. Everything went as it should in situations where things aren't going smoothly, just as it's designed to do. I attribute my calmness to a combination of trust in caregivers and birth-high hormones. I could see Ezra was breathing and was a decent colour and figured if he really needed help from the hospital, off we would go.

Fast and furious, I think that sums it up. I've always fantasized about a fast labour and finally got it. Ezra and I were both in shock but I wouldn't say I'd ever choose to draw it out longer, as if it was ever a choice. Now that the physical effects of labour/birth are fading I'm feeling more and more thankful for the way everything went. I've had great pregnancies, good labours, and three healthy children. I don't even know how to express my gratitude for it all. I hope I never take it for granted and we chose "Milagro" as Ezra's second name to remind us of the miracle that all of our children really are.



Thanks for all the kind words coming in from all over - I'm sorry I'm not up to responding to each individually at the moment. For those of you that love the birth stories (I'm one of them), I'm aiming to get that up here in the next few days but don't hold me to it. My parents are here taking care of the basics for a few more days and then we plunge back into real life where we make our own food and clean up and stuff.

The playhouse is fantastic, I'll get some photos of that soon too.

Naptime. Or maybe bedtime, I forget the difference.


welcome with love

He made it! Ezra arrived just before 11pm on August 4th and weighed in at a hefty 9lbs 14oz. All indications are that our little michelin man is happy and healthy now that he's getting used to being on the outside. We're going to try to catch up on sleep but pictures will show up on Jeremy's blog later today.



This whole waiting for baby after due date thing is new for me, I've been lucky in the past. I think if this was my first I'd be going nuts by now. It helps to have a pretty good idea what to anticipate for labour and the newborn weeks. I know the babe will come eventually but it's harder to remember in some moments than others. I'm interested to see how well I'll cope with the induction pressures, when and if they come. I've been (and still am) a very critical voice against inducing unless there are absolute physical indications for it. We'll see how willing I am to buck the system once I'm tired of being this big and the OB's are sitting me down to angrily lecture me about potential dangers to my baby.

Overall I'm feeling pretty positive and relaxed, thanks to being surrounded by mellow people and the support of Esther, my encouraging and upbeat twin in this adventure. I have come to suspect that Jeremy is having secret conversations with the baby when I'm sleeping, convincing him to stay in just a liiiittle longer because it's easier that way. So true, but I'm missing any resemblance of a normal body by now. I see people flopping onto their stomachs on their beach towels and gasp, first in horror, then jealousy when I realize that they actually can.

Other tidbits:

The advertising phrase "You can't...rush...a turtle..." keeps running through my head. Odd choice.

Yesterday when I was lounging on the blanket at the beach, half asleep, a duck waddled right up and NIBBLED my toes. I didn't know I could still move that fast. The people beside me cracked up after I explained why I kicked sand all over them and said it must be a sign. But what does it mean?!



Since there's NO BABY yet I'll keep posting about the funhouse. We have deck action and the first coat of paint. The girls did a wonderful job of helping out with the paint but my mom did the bulk of it while dad worked on the masterpiece deck all day.


playhouse update

Look at this thing of beauty! Dad has really been outdoing himself and mom has been a great assistant to him as well as running all around interference with kids, meals AND cleanup. I wander around getting consulted occasionally, sitting in the shade sipping iced tea. Does it get any better? Of course I'd rather be helping and feeling useful but this is good living. Everyone is safer with me and my belly out of the way.

The kids are delighted that there's a project for them to help with today - priming the nails so we can paint on a pretty colour soon. I expect that to hold their interest for at least 10 minutes. I'll have to see if we can get some inside shots that show the loft and it looks like the deck will go on today. That off-centre opening in the front (from this angle) will be a cubby door onto the deck. I can't wait to move into this thing! Oh wait, it's for the kids. Right.


Here we are at 9 months and baby is now feeling huge. Still happy, healthy and feeling remarkably wonderful although if this hits the "10 month" post you're likley to witness some issues cropping up. I've had my thoughts on August 1st for a while now (methinks that would make for a very happy Tante T) so we'll see if I'm even close for the first time. Let me see...I'm going to hazard some more guesses just for entertainment. I'll say a shade under/over 9lbs, trust the ultrasound tech on the "boy" analysis and hope for a labour much like I had with Ella. I wouldn't either be shocked if it was wrong on all counts though, there have been plenty of surprises with this pregnancy.


no spoilers

This post contains a brief and completely benign reference to the "Deathly Hallows" for those of you rabidly trying to avoid any info on it. I'd rather pull out all my toenails than spoil someone else's excitement in reading it.

I've been living in a strange reality (or lack of?) this week. Some random notes on the last few days...

- Harry Potter mania. It may be my only mass pop culture infatuation. I got my hot little hands on Book 7 Saturday morning and finished the last chapter when I woke up at 7am today. Not saying anything. I also went to see the Order of the Phoenix movie this week and it was good brain candy for my lady-in-waiting headfog. I didn't have to think to follow the plotline and it was fun to do the theatre thing which is so rare for me. Nobody paused the movie for my multiple washroom breaks though.

- Ivy got her first loose tooth when she bit into a carrot yesterday. The glow on her face as she realized the long waited for event was happening was priceless. It managed to shock me because it seemed to drive home the enormous changes going on. First born growing up rapidly and a new family unit configuration in the next few weeks. It's like I'll fall asleep and wake up with Ivy leaving for college (or a trip around the world), Ella in the throes of teenage drama and jr. pulling hijinks in middle school. It's a good reminder to appreciate the present, not rush things along because time will fly. Remind me again when I moan about not getting enough sleep.

- Had the impulse to check my own blog to see if I had the baby.



This is not the post you've been waiting for.

The weather has cooled off and I'm not minding the rain one bit. It will keep things growing and the smoke out of the air a few weeks longer. And the house stays cool. My parents arrived from Manitoba earlier this week and have gone gallivanting to Vancouver to see Mark for a few days. Must be nice to retired!

Dad and I worked on at least three different playhouse plans this week and by the time I could make up my mind it had started pouring and it was too late to start. Okay, he mostly worked and I mostly dithered. It was fun though, we had some good laughs and I'm looking forward to seeing it take shape. If it takes a year to finish I don't mind but I'd love to see a roof on it. It's pretty frustrating to feel crippled when I know he'll be working so hard on it. I can carry about the weight of a feather without doubling over from various muscles cramping. The joys of being almost 9 months along...


feeling the heat

Feeling hot, hot, HOT. But not unbearable by any means (yet), in fact the feet are barely getting puffy (yet)! With 38 degrees in the forecast I can't expect my sleep to improve though. The pregnancy is still going fabulously well, despite the bad couple of days I noted in my last entry. The nights are getting less restful and I wonder if it's a hormonal change as much as the heat. It's like I'm drinking 3 cups of coffee just before bed (I'm not) and I'm having a lot of trouble stopping the buzzing. If they were at least interesting, productive thoughts the time would pass more quickly. I'm usually dog-tired by then and resent the half-wakefulness because it means I have to turn over/hit the washroom far more often. Yes, the old wives would tell me that this is nature's way of preparing me for a newborn. I say if nature wanted to prepare me I'd be sleeping 18 hour nights for the month before the birth. Then again, maybe it is more than a month away.

I am delighted to have passed a significant milestone on the weekend, the 37 week mark. It's a big deal for us because it's when the medical community declares the baby to be technically "full term". For most women that means if they go into labour the hospital will no longer try to hold it off. To me it means clearance for the home birth. I now have a 5 week window where it's officially sanctioned - from 3 weeks before the due date until 2 weeks after. That would be July 7- August 11 if I counted right. So please, nobody bug me about still being pregnant before August 11.

Unfortunately in explaining this all to the girls after they heard us talking about it, they are now on high alert and expect the baby at any second. I don't feel anything like full-term most days and am trying to mentally prepare for carrying this one over into August, while sincerely hoping I don't. That said, I'm not feeling any urgency about it yet. I'm having a lovely summer where I get up early while it's still cool and have my coffee before anyone else wakes up. I love this time. We try to get necessary errands done in the morning and then by mid-afternoon there is nothing to do but head to the lake for as long as possible and then stop by the fruit stand on the way home to find some supper ingredients. Repeat.


eight months

...and they still let me drive! Jer got a kick out of the belly getting so close to the steering wheel, I just think it's normal. We took a bunch of other belly shots too while I can still stand. I can't see why I'd ever regret having too many although it does take some effort to set up and I'm more self-conscious than I'd like.

This is one from that set, taken almost a week ago when I was feeling carefree, glowing, spunky and gloriously pregnant. Today...still pregnant, not so much feeling like any of those other things. It was a long week with Jer being gone again and Ivy finishing up school and having her birthday party. I ran myself a little low on energy and then on Wednesday night or Thursday morning the baby changed position. With a vengeance. He shoved me right off my fantasy pregnancy pedestal straight into the throes of late third trimester. I guess I've had that coming for months and am thankful I got off so easy as long as I did. There's also a good chance it will get better again after a few days when my body gets used to the shift.

As far as I can tell the baby is now facing the back (his back to the front of my belly) and it's brutally uncomfortable for the moment. There's some sort of pinching action that occasionally prevents me from moving and has me audibly gasping. On the upside, I got a cute little baby hat crocheted between 3 and 4am and had some great middle of the night snacks, there are some benefits to the madness. I'll try to have a good book lined up for tonite in case I need it. I'd much rather sleep though, I've got my fingers (and legs) crossed.

All this uncomfortable body stuff has changed my thinking too. I eventually got used to the idea of a baby and have gone through all the motions of getting ready but I'm only starting to really believe it now. It's like I've suddenly gone from being the energetic supermom to feeling intensely introspective and stingy with how I use my allotment of energy. I know what's coming. At least I think I do. My body is now telling me to take it easy which I find really, really hard to listen to. Which explains why I went for a bike ride this morning. Of course it could be the the lack of sleep, rainy weather or hormones messing with me, in which case tomorrow I might be feeling downright perky again.

Update: I did have that great night of sleep and it worked it's magic. The sun is out and we've got good friends coming over from out of town. I'm a giant pregnant yo-yo but at least it's mostly good!


tour de knoll

Why is this woman so happy when she can't even find a maternity shirt to fit? Because she hiked to the top of the knoll without incident - after pulling Ella in the bike trailer all the way to the base. An approximately 7 minute ride followed by a one minute climb if you're in reasonable shape. Or like the tour de France followed by an ascent of Mt. Everest if you're not.


pop quiz

1. Do you ever feel like you have a bowling ball grinding on your tailbone when you walk?

2. Has your significant other ever made you an MP3 mix that included the surprise selection "Who Made Who?"

3. Does your belly hang so low that it can rest on the front of your bike seat while you ride?

If you answered yes...

to #1 - You are very likely 7+ months pregnant and may want to get it checked out

to #2 - Your significant other is getting more than his/her share of the household beer. Often seen in combination with a "yes" in #1

to #3 - You are either 7+ months pregnant OR getting more than your share of the beer.

For the record I am most certainly heavy with child, jealous of anyone who can casually drink that glass of wine or a real beer and I enjoy a really good snicker every time AC/DC kicks in on my walks.


car shopping

We had the old Mazda at the mechanic on Wedneday and he gave us the long list of repairs it needed, and some pretty urgently. It didn't take much talking to realize we both felt there was no point putting money into a car with 290,000+kms on it. It's been virtually problem free for 10 years but it was time to move on. We figured we might as well start our shopping in Penticton the next day. We've been doing research for a while already so we had an idea what to look at to begin with. The vehicle we really wanted (a Mazda 5) was/is out of range so we were bracing to settle for something we really didn't like but would do the job.

After the first car lot we were totally disillusioned with the options, (newer domestic boat car, expensive older import sedan, or mini-van), hot and grouchy. So we did what anyone else would do - grab a snack, head to the beach and ignore the real issues. For hours. I got to stay with the kids while Jer went back into town to check out a few more places. He came back with an interesting idea...he found a 2001 Honda CR-V in the same price range as the used import sedans and the fuel economy was significantly better than any of the mini-vans. We hadn't even looked at those because A) it's considered an SUV of sorts, which I swore I'd never drive, and B) thought they were waaaaaay out of the price range. In any case, we drove it, loved it and bought it.

Considering how much trouble we have deciding what to eat for supper sometimes it amazes me how quickly we make the bigger financial decisions. A few hours of stress and it was over. I love it that Jeremy and I generally agree on these kinds of issues and there was no tension between us of wanting totally different things. It's too bad that we both equally detest any kind of wheeling & dealing but we've accepted our lot - we will never get the best deal around but won't either stress ourselves out playing mindgames and dragging out the process.

bikini belly

Here is the 7 month photo for those of you who have been anxiously waiting. I got some snarky feedback for my peeking belly on this pic (thanks Plett) so I figured I might as well let it all hang out on this one. Plus the temperature has been mid 30's and it's too hot for much else anyway. I realize this is getting to be a little odd with only posting pictures of myself but I'm sure that will taper off rapidly once I have the baby.

Since the last post we've had several great sets of company, said goodbye to our decrepit car and purchased a "new" one. Not bad for a few weeks, considering our social schedule is usually pretty slack and we drove the same car for 10 years. It was quite a stroke of luck that both the car kicking off and the weather turning amazing happened while Jeremy was on holidays.

This prego is starting to feel the third trimester creeping up. More grunting and exclamations of surprise when I get jabbed hard in sensitive spots. I'm becoming more entertaining as it gets interesting to watch the belly jump and wiggle on it's own. Suddenly the baby is starting to seem very real...


may long

We had a fabulous May long weekend, thanks to Angelo & Esther for coming up to visit. It was quite a luxury to make a pregnancy related comment and have someone know exactly what I meant, probably even before I was done saying it. On that front, I've now reached the delightful stage of feeling like my skin is ripping open once in a while and the sore hips at night are making an appearance. I feel wonderful most of the time though, despite little buddy packing on the weight. If you were hoping to hear something un-pregancy related...sorry, that's pretty much the focus at the moment.

The backstory to the photo is that I ran out to the garden right after a hailstorm to check on the plants - without my shoes. My feet were so cold I had to jump up on the landscaping tie on my way back to regain the feeling in them before I made it back into the house!



I finally managed to get this quilt done for my mom in time for Mother's Day! I've been working on it for over a year off and on. It's got more sentimental value than most I've made before. Some of the squares were made by my Grandma (mom's mom) and I inherited them. I don't think I could have pulled off a remotely unified look though if Rose hadn't donated some of her stash of vintage fabrics to me (thanks!). A big thanks also goes to Marj for personally delivering it to Winnipeg.

I could get mushy here but I'll just leave it at "I love my mom and miss her a lot". We're very much looking forward to my parents spending some extended time here in summer in their new "in-law suite".



I think I need to come clean after my glowing "bring it on" in my last post. I'm physically feeling great, perhaps my body is bored by this pregnancy thing. Been there, done that, no need to freak out. My mind isn't keeping up as well. I've been pretty sour the last few weeks.

I feel burned out on the daily routine and am starting to have those dreams about being trapped and neglecting my children. Who has been pregnant and NOT had nightmares about forgetting your baby somewhere? I seem to have no reserve of patience and the kids are getting the butt end of that. How on earth I'm going to fit in caring for an infant on top of that is stretching my mind. Oh yes, Jeremy is going to take some parental leave from work to protect my sanity.

I'm pretty sure a good part of it is hormonal because I occasionally wake up in a complete fit of joy about the glorious state of my life. Aside from keeping the kids fed and safe and occasionally even happy during the day, I have very few demands on my time. We can pack up for the beach or park at any time and just lounge or maybe take some crayons and paper and sit at the coffee shop for an hour. That's a good lifestyle by my standards. I really believe that generally I have a fabulous setup so it's all the more frustrating when I can't talk myself out of a crappy day(week). I don't recall all of this being as intense with the other pregnancies although I wasn't also caring for two kids the other times.

Some of it is just real processing about what the next two years are going to look like. I have really been enjoying my relative freedom from the intense needs of infant & toddler and I have to buck up to go back into it. Funny thing about babies, they don't give you a choice about this stuff once it's all in motion.

I love babies/kids and I know we'll figure it out just fine, but it's a different stage yet again and change doesn't seem to come that easily. Is that a sign of advancing age? Plus the change hasn't happened yet so I need to just kick back and enjoy the relative leisure. Appreciate the girls and the uninterrupted time I have with them now. Somehow it's so hard to RELAX when I'm yelling at myself to do it.


6 months

Here's the 5 and 6 month belly shots side by side (almost) - same clothes as last time for comparison. Bring it on, I'm feeling great!


night terrors

I have a five-year-old who had a war nightmare so bad that she's had an upset stomach at bedtime for a few nights in a row. This is a kid who doesn't watch news, doesn't even know anyone in the military and lives in Canada. I didn't get the details of the dream but from what I can pick up our yard was invaded by soldiers who were going to do something really, really bad to us.

She has asked good, insightful questions about death, what a soldier does, why there is an army at all, and why can't people figure this stuff out without war. We are open when she asks us and don't pretend to really understand why people do that to each other.

It's hard to be honest and reassuring at the same time. She might sleep better if we don't tell her the truth but who does that help in the long run? I don't want to reinforce our strong tendency as individuals and a nation (world) to ignore the bad things if they're not happening in our backyards. I've gotten pretty good at blocking it out so my life is more comfortable. That is the opposite of what we want to model to our kids but it's so painful to see that creeping into early childhood. Is there some sort of balance between being sensitive to the pain of the world around us, taking action and staying sane?

Her dream is similar to the ones I often had as a kid. Mine were spawned by hearing about the persecution of Christians in Russia when I went to church. "Communism", the "cold war" and the "iron curtain" were the labels that went with it (I'm not saying they're justified). Running, hiding, waiting in terror, loss, being separated from loved ones. That's a lot for anyone to deal with, nevermind at 5.

The conversation is making me think of all the kids who never had a childhood (figuratively or literally) of any kind and the adults trying to protect them from real dangers. It's overwhelmingly sad, depressing and infuriating. I don't have the answer for that one yet but I would love to sleep tonite.



spur pruned divided Scott Henry?? And if yes, does that technically make it a double divided Smart-Dyson? I think I need another class on this.

I finished my viticulture class a week ago and have apparently been too fried to write about it. That's not really true - it got me so excited about growing things that I've spent a lot of time outside poking around in the dirt and scheming rather than computing.

Some of the content of the course was way over my head, like the molecular structure of various minerals (quick now, the symbol for potassium anyone? Yup, singled out the gardeners in the readership). It twigged some dusty remnants of knowledge stuck in the back of my brain from bio & chem in high school but it was a slow grind. It felt good though. If it had all been easy and familiar it would have been a waste of time. The highlight of the week was definately the field trip on the last day. We wandered around various vineyards observing trellis styles and grapevine selections while soaking in views and sunlight. After four solid days in a classroom with no windows it was most welcome.

I particularly enjoyed the parts about incorporating the intrinsic qualities of the land into the overall vineyard plan. Seems obvious, but how often do you see farmers bullishly trying to grow something where/when/how it doesn't want to grow naturally? Choose the right crop and methods for your soil, orientation, growing season and market demand. You'll have to do a lot less "managing" and will have a better outcome - basic agricultural theory. I'm referring to for-profit agriculture here, I'm not about to slag someone for trying to grow a personal food crop in near impossible conditions because it's all they have access to.

Ultimately it was fun to learn and get excited about something. I'd like for it to translate into some contract/part time work at some point so I can find out if I want to pursue it further - Vineyard Manager has a nice ring to it. I'll take the rest of the year to make some contacts and have babies and stuff, then by next spring I might be ready to take another step. Or maybe I'll be excited about building model airplanes by then. Who cares as long as it engages me?

barista buzz

We have used the espresso machine pretty much daily since we got it, sometimes a lot more than once. It's so fun it's almost embarrassing. I'm not really getting the aforementioned buzz from caffeine because it makes such good decaf compared to drip - I'm assuming that's better for me in the long run and am hoping it results in a babe that will sleep more compared to one that's wired. Mmmhmm, right. I'll need some luck on that one.



I'm hitting the five month point in this pregnancy thing - over half way! Over the last two weeks I've had the feeling of "here it comes". The little gaffer is really ramping up the activity, the weight is creeping (leaping?) up and people are starting to notice. I haven't started bumping into things with the belly or grunting when I get up from the couch so clearly there's plenty of growing left to do.


baby wrap

We had good success with our baby sling with Ella and plan to use it again but I wanted to also try something new this time. A baby wrap is basically a very, very long piece of fabric you wind around and tie onto yourself. I don't know how long it will take to get the hang of it but I'm going to try. The main advantage over the sling is that it distributes the weight over both shoulders. I did a bunch of research and worked off of my favorite designs to make myself one. It took about 2 hours and $10 worth of fabric (carefully bought in the bargain section) plus some very wonderful small pieces of silk that I had.

Ella doesn't look too sure about it in the picture but seemed to actually get a kick out of it. It doesn't fit that comfortably over my belly right now though.



A huge welcome to baby Bubs!


Ivy: "So mom...is Tim Hortons a big company?"
Me: "Yes, very big."
Ivy: "But you like to shop more at family businesses, right?"
Me: "Um, yeah." (not liking where this is going)
Ivy: "So why do we go to Tim Hortons so much?"
My answer: "Well, I guess I often get lazy. You make a really good point though, please remind me next time we go for coffee and we'll head into town instead."

My unspoken answer: "I'm too stinking lazy to drag two kids out of and back into the car to get myself the tiny dose of caffeine I'm so desperately wanting right now. Plus, like scores of other deluded Canadians, I think I actually have a chance at winning that hybrid Camry on one or two mediums a week. And I'd better not hear any whining next time when we're walking to the local shop downtown from wherever we parked."

Kids are great at keeping me honest. In the moment it might be irritating (and/or funny) but what the girl says is true. I've told her myself so I'd better be sticking to it! Not that the local shop isn't getting a very large share of my patronage, but that's no exuse for cheaping out and getting lazy. What really saddens me is that both these scenarios involve the car when we used to be able to walk to everything. No one place has it all.

coffee snobbery

Remember this post about espresso machines? Looks like we just bought one very similar to this that is gently used. Hopefully we can pick it up tomorrow and let the espresso bar fun begin!



We're really enjoying the signs of spring here on the "new" yard. The crocuses have been wonderful and the first tulips are poking up.

There are a lot of overgrown beds that need cleaning out since we didn't do any of the work last fall. So far I'm loving it but hope it won't be overwhelming. Doing little bits at a time seems to be working and the belly isn't getting in the way yet. I'd love to have all the grunt work done before it's time to plant. I hit the Kelowna seed swap with a friend last weekend and got lots of good stuff - not sure if it will all get planted!

The kids each have each chosen a small vegetable box in the garden and were busy hoeing and raking the soil before coming in to the house to warm up and make their lists of desired vegetables. I have no idea how that's going to work out but I'm sure it will be interesting and mostly fun.


4 months

Here's the 4 month plus a few days update. Not shocking change but I suspect it's coming soon!

bus trip

I had the luxury of taking a road trip this past weekend. I haven't been on a trip alone in umm...over three years. Since I was pregnant with Ella and that was work related. The Greyhound was very kind to me, despite the bad reputation of buses. I thought it was deluxe to not have to go through security, to have a fair amount of legroom and look through huge windows. It spilled me out near downtown at Terminal & Main in Vancouver. I seriously regret not taking the 2 minutes to run back into the house for the camera when I was leaving so I have to make do with links to places I went, rather than real photos.

Bill was kind enough to pick me up and take me out for lunch to Solly's Bagels where I much appreciated the hot soup and fresh sandwich. Unfortunately I didn't have proper use of my voice for this portion of the trip but we managed to have a conversation. After that I got to see our friend Rose's place and she baked some fabulous vegan cookies while I watched and learned. I ate more than my share but you don't get that every day.

Mark picked me up and we headed back to East Is East on Main for dinner. More yum and unique, cozy and friendly ambiance. How can you beat someone offering you a steaming chai the second you walk in the door from a rainy walk?! After that feast we made a trek to the ikea mecca to help get Mark's new place set up. I resisted most of the impulse buys and only walked out with $20 worth of merchandise. That I forgot to pay Mark for. He still seems to be talking to me and even sacrificed his bed for his pregnant sister yet again. We had a mellow evening and wound up for shopping again the next morning. I'm not usually a big shopper but with limited options here in the valley and a seriously expanding body I had to put in the time. I found some good stuff that wasn't from maternity stores, meaning it looks more stylish and cost half as much (or less).

I hooked up with Esther in the baby section of the Bay. How bizarre for us both to be 19 weeks pregnant. We looked at a few things and basically bolted in terror. It's not time yet for a lot of that. We scaled the timeline back and decided to tour some maternity stores together. It was hopeless and rather lame so we turned our attention to filling our bellies instead of dressing them. Mexican is always a favorite of mine and Pepita's did not disappoint. With mutual support we bypassed the wine store and loaded up on good ice cream for the evening. In the morning we walked to Cafe Deux Soleils from some Croisscram's. If I end up gaining a little extra this pregnancy I'll blame it on this weekend. We rounded out the trip with a way too short session at the vintage stores on Main. At Front and Company I made some more good non-prego finds that should grow with me for a long time yet.

It was a wonderful trip. Good friends, great food and a whole lot of doing whatever I felt like, when I felt like it. Thanks to the supporting cast at home and the warm, warm welcome I got on Sunday night!



The very civilized daytime birth of Ella Pearl on October 16, 2003.

I woke up at 1am for a usual bathroom break, sound familiar? As I was settling back into bed I wondered if I felt a contraction. By 3:30 I nudged Jer and informed him we'd be having a baby that day. I was dozing off in between mild contractions every 15 minutes or so. I'd had some show the evening before so I wasn't surprised. I was at 40 weeks +1.

We got up at 4am because I was restless and excited. We started getting birth supplies ready and I made sure I had a good snack. I had no intention of getting as low on energy as I had been with Ivy. I managed to lie down again by 5am although contractions were down to 5 minutes apart and were lasting 30-40 seconds. Between the heating pad and Jer rubbing my back at exactly the right times I think I was able to half doze. I couldn't believe how normal and relaxed I felt between contractions - I have no recollection of that with Ivy's labour. That was tense all the way through.

At about 7:30 we called the families to give them the heads up and asked my mother-in-law to pick up Ivy at 8:30. My parents were in town but I wanted them to hold off coming for a while since things seemed to be going so well the way we had it. We called the midwife around 8:30 to let her know it was really happening but that it was still relatively mellow (I'm comparing to Ivy's birth, not to a walk in the park). It is very significant to me that this was the same midwife who had helped me out with Ivy and had since become a wonderful friend. It blew my mind that I had the privilege of having one of my best friends catch my baby.

We updated her at 9:30 to say we were at 50 second contractions, still 5 minutes apart. I figured I still had a long, long way to go. She told us to call back when the contractions kicked up in intensity. Jer and I looked at each other and thought that was a very vague request. Within seconds it happened though and there was no doubt. I had the first completely involuntary gasp and the "oooh, I remember why I wasn't going to do this again" sensation. I had quickly gone to one min. contractions, 3 min. apart. I couldn't believe that I had done that kind of labour for so many hours last time.

The midwife and my parents both arrived shortly before 11am. I was hanging over a rocking footstool, moaning politely (is that possible?) and engrossed in my own little world. The midwife said she expected I'd have a baby by lunchtime and I thought it was a very cruel joke to tell me when I was bracing for hours and hours ahead. It took me a while to acknowledge that I was feeling the baby move down because I was terrified that I was barely dilated yet. This was the most distressing part of labour. Even though I was focussed, I stayed communicative and energetic - totally surreal compared to my previous experience. I recall being determined to enjoy this labour as much as possible and managed to crack small jokes at various intervals throughout. I consider that to be a major miracle and hope to repeat that if at all possible. It lightened things up so much and kept me from taking myself too seriously.

I remembered how good it felt to sit on the toilet during my previous labour so that's where I moved when I needed a change. I think anyone in the house who had needs had to use the nearby Tim Horton's facilities. Things got more intense almost immediately again and I started that grunting stage. The midwife poked her head in and said "Uh, are those grunt pushes or just noises?" and proceeded to call the second attendant to come over. That was exciting, even though I thought it was too early.

I checked my cervix around this point and was very disappointed to feel that lip there again and note that the head wasn't really low yet. I got up to go to the bed so the midwife could check as well. I consented to her breaking my water while I was there and ho-ly it came on fast then. I thought I'd spend the rest of labour in the shower. After what felt like less than a minute and one mighty roar later they came to haul me out to have my baby in the bedroom. I still don't know how I made it from one place to the other and was shocked at how easy I was getting off with this labour.

I could feel exactly where the baby was and was totally coordinated with pushing. It was fully involuntary this time and I had energy to spare. After pushing hard for a few contractions Ella crowned. It stung but not too badly. Then she got hung up on her shoulders, just like Ivy had. I recall being ticked that I had to work so hard after the head was out. It may have been the most effort I've ever put out in my life to get those shoulders to move. Such a little miraculous baby once she made it through! I had forgotten how little anything else matters at that moment. She was born at 12:12 pm, one day after her due date and weighed 9lbs, 10oz. I had a "skid mark" but didn't need any stitches at all which made recovery even faster.

Ella Pearl arrived at a decent hour after a very gracious birth. The negative feelings of frustration, exhaustion and anger I felt the first time were totally absent. I was euphoric and feeling great. I lounged in bed for an hour with Ella, had a shower and then went downstairs to have a bowl of soup with the midwife, who was just making notes on the labour. The experience was amazingly natural, calm and strong.


The births of my girls were as different as night and day. Ivy was my night birth, born on June 30, 2001.

I woke up for a bathroom break at 12:30am, at 39 weeks. I felt warm water running down my leg and confirmed that it wasn't just the effects of an over-stressed bladder. We paged the midwife and she requested that we come down to the clinic to check fetal heart tones and confirm that the water had indeed broken. After a short visit she told us to head home and get some sleep before labour started! Not much of a possibility when you're hopped up on adrenaline, giggly and more than a little nervous. We did sleep a bit in the end.

By morning contractions hadn't really started although I gushed copious amounts of water at random intervals. We took advantage of the hot weather and headed down to the nearest beach to wade in the water. I still only half believed it was happening but was also wondering when it was going to kick in.

Shortly after lunch I had a few distracting contractions but was fairly social until 2:30. By 3:30 contractions were 2-3 and a half minutes apart and lasting 35-50 seconds. Technically irregular but pretty frequent as far as I was concerned. I was rather uncomfortable already and experimented with various positions but it seemed to be best if I moved less. By 4:30 I hit the tub where I found some relief although it was obviously getting more intense. The midwives arrived around this time I think and officially labelled it the beginning of "active labour".

My memory may not be right, but I'm pretty sure that at this point Ivy was "sunny side up". She managed to rotate herself in time for the trip out - does anyone know if that might have slowed things down? That may also be the reason I didn't feel relaxed or comfortable even between contractions. Mental note to ask the midwife. (she says yes, it can slow things down and make it harder between contractions although it didn't cause problems during my labour)

I wondered often how long it would go on and how I'd be able to stand it. Other than being dehydrated the midwives said that both baby and I were doing great. One of them was kind enough to say I looked like a goddess as I laboured in the tub. I made a colourful side comment to Jer at that point about how I actually felt (which wasn't remotely related to a goddess). He was nice enough to make a note of the exchange for posterity.

Throughout the labour I didn't want much attention although I vaguely resented the pizza party I knew was taking place upstairs. I found that any kind of backrubs etc. increased the sensations and made it harder. Jer was great at adapting to what I needed, which was basically for him to be fully "there" with me. The midwife was also fabulous, occasionally offering quiet suggestions but always betwen contractions and never in a pushy or directive way.

6pm? I lost all sense of time but I know I spent a long time leaning on the bathroom counter, rocking my hips and throwing in an occasional squat when I could bear to do it. I threw up a few times and got a nasty case of the shakes. I thought I was in transition and got excited about my progress. Guess not.

Sometime in the early evening (I think) they checked my dilation for the first time. I was 5cm and 85% effaced. This knowledge had the effect of me wanting to bash my head against the wall hard enough to pass out. I had been working at it for hours, several of which were a lot more than I thought I could ever deal with already. I gave up. Lots of times. Funny thing is, labour didn't stop. The gears kept grinding and all I was aware of was that the only way to make it go away was through it, not away from it.

Here's a plug for home birth (or the terror of it, depending on your point of view). If I'd been in the hospital without the comforts of a familiar home with strange people attending me, I would have most certainly accepted any drug at that point. Legal or not. At the time it may have been bliss but on the other hand I did manage to make it on my own after I thought I couldn't. There were no uncomfortable side effects to wear off and the baby wasn't doped up. It made me feel powerful and I got the full benefit of the euphoria later.

9pm? At some point I registered that the sunlight was fading and was shocked that time was still passing. This labour thing seemed to be both endless and timeless. I took a long, nasty shower. I didn't know at the time that I was at the peak of pain and intensity and I whined at the midwife, asking her if it would ever end. Much to her credit she answered me politely and took it in stride. I was physically and mentally beat.

10pm? I plunked myself down on the nearest seating which happened to be the toilet. Oddly it was the perfect place. Over the course of about an hour my contractions started spacing out and I started to feel involuntary little pushes. I got my dilation checked again only to find I was full except for a swollen lip of the cervix that the baby had been pushing against. The exam was painful but nothing compared to the feeling of the midwife pushing back on the lip while I pushed. I think I almost passed out. In any case it turned out to be more successful than either of us had expected.

11pm-12:30am. Learning the pushing thing. I was totally wiped and had no urge to push anymore. The contractions were so much easier to deal with I honestly wanted to take a nap. In retrospect, I probably should have rested for a while, rather than trying to push right away. At some point the midwife explained that I was pushing the baby down each time but not holding her there between pushes so she kept sliding back up. Back and forth. From that point on I would say I made progress with a vengeance. Apologies to Ina May (whom I greatly respect and admire) and the "birth as bliss" folk, but it honestly had little to do with bringing a lovely child into the world at that time, it was about making the hell go away as quickly as possible. I felt and sounded more and more like an angry moose. Jer knows that the best way to get me to do anything hard is to get me mad. I hit that point and pushed HARD.

When Ivy's head crowned I remember thinking what a joke that whole stinging thing was - it seemed so insignificant compared to all the other sensations. Just one more push and those shoulders should slide right out. Or not. Ivy made another half rotation before she decided to show us the little hand beside her head. After that it was still a lot of effort to get those shoulders out. (It wasn't bad enough to be "shoulder dystocia" but the midwife did call it "sticky shoulders".) Ivy's head came out a deep shade of blue and she took almost a half minute to breathe on her own. I was oblivious and saw only her eyes. I would have sworn she started screaming immediately and was pink within seconds. When she weighed in at 8lbs, 15 oz and I saw the video of how her little hand was in a strange spot the long pushing seemed to make more sense.

The placenta and one stitch seemed kind of insulting after all the hard work and I already had a baby in my arms but it was minor. The relief from the stress of labour was immediate and overwhelming. I went back to giggling and delerious. After everything was cleaned up and the midwives had gone home Jer and I looked at each other in terror and awe as we realized that we were essentially on our own with a small human to care for. We were so tired, totally clueless and laughing at the bizarreness of it all.

Learning to breastfeed Ivy would be another long, painful post that I'll save for a very rainy day. The short of it is that it was that after two weeks of brutal effort with intense support and another month of working hard we hit that sweet spot and then made it successfully to 19 months.

intro to birth stories

If this topic doesn't interest you, you may want to skip the next few entries. Since I am once again with child and have some friends in the same boat it's suddenly more fascinating again. I made extensive notes on each birth within days of it happening so there hasn't been too much re-interpretation over time. I've also taken the libery of drawing up my own stages of labour, just for fun. I'll be interested to see if the third birth follows the same pattern or if I have to revise the theory.

There were a lot of people up front and behind the scenes that were there supporting me throughout both labours but I wanted to keep it pretty anonymous. Our families were wonderful and literally kept us fed, clothed (mostly the babies) and sane for a good part of the newborn stage. Many thanks to all of you if I forgot to mention it at the time!

I have some pictures I want to include with the stories but they have to be scanned in - so passe. If I hold up the posts until I do that it may never happen.

my phases of labour

The textbook stages of labour don't tell me much. There are plenty of medical descriptions of what happens, but none of them could prepare me for how I was going to feel. I imagine that everyone would have their own unique flow, perhaps even different with each baby. This is purely for my entertainment and preparation purposes - I don't expect these ideas to be universal.

1. Excited
I realize that a lot of people don't get to experience this part specifically, but both times I knew a few hours before it got going that it was coming on. This was the time to snack, laugh, get nervous and prepare.

2. Curious
Getting uncomfortable now. Hmm, wonder how intense this is really going to get? Interesting experiment. Might be nice if it was a short one. ("early labour" in texts). This is the part where lots of stuff I read recommended playing cards, cleaning the house or otherwise trying to put off paying attention to labour. Good luck with that. I had to fight the urge to time obsessively which I found discouraging for the most part. In my experience there is no doubt when things kick up a notch, numbers don't necessarily correlate.

3. Focussed
I would characterize this stage as starting when my exclamations over contractions are no longer voluntary. Gasps, moans, some sailor-like cursing and raised eyebrows. For me this coincided with what professials call "active labour" although as far as I'm concerned it had always been going on quite a while by this point. Still lucid between contractions.

4. Zoned
I'm gone. The time/space continuum is fundamentally altered. I am in my own bizarre, intense world. Don't talk to me, touch me or heaven forbid, try to move me. Unless it's very, very important (which it sometimes is) or you have guaranteed extremely helpful advice. It takes everything I have to keep it together. I didn't have a very clear "transition"phase, but this was certainly the hardest for me.

5. Down
Focus slides back in. Contractions space out and change. Still super intense and totally out of control but in a really different way I find easier to deal with. I can feel exactly what the muscles are doing and know the baby is moving down. Wild but finally feels like progress. Involuntary grunting as I wait for the dilation to finish.

6. Out
This I can understand. It feels more like a physical challenge than mental now. I didn't expect to have to learn how to do it but it took me ages to get the hang of it with Ivy. I've had both the experience of being exhausted and not having the urge to push and also that of having no choice with the baby coming fast. Both hard work but soooo close now. Finally meet the baby!

7. Blissed
Instant relief. Total euphoria. Possible megalomania. Yay, look at me! Do you see what I did? I am amazing! A superhero! Please wait on me hand and foot for several days (weeks, months) while I sit back and appreciate the amazing thing I've just accomplished.



Greata Ranch Vineyard between Summerland and Peachland

In a casual discussion about learning last night, I realized that I don't recall having taken a formal course of anything for close to five years. I have done a lot of reading and learning on my own but I've been missing having a little bit of external motivation. The brain needs exercise. Jeremy pointed me and a friend towards this course in "Cool Climate Viticulture" in March and I signed up this morning:

”This intensive, five-day short course will introduce the viticulture skills and knowledge required to work in or manage a cool coastal climate vineyard. Students will learn about the physiology of the vine, establishing a vineyard, pruning and trellising techniques and key management tools such as irrigation, pests and diseases and canopy management. Who should attend? Horticulture professionals, wine grape growers, vineyard managers and others interested in improving their skills and service to the cool coastal climate viticulture sector of our region. This Cool Coastal Climate Viticulture Short Course experience will include four days of classroom and a vineyard tour. A certificate of completion will be offered to attendees successfully completing optional exams administered during the program. The following topics will be covered; -Grapevine phenology, growth cycles and stages of development, varieties and rootstocks. -The vineyard year, management and timing of cultural practices. -Site selection, preparation, cool coastal climate considerations and grapevine propagation. -Timing and principles of pruning, pruning systems, yield determination, training and trellising systems. -Soils, fertility and nutrition, cover crop management. -Irrigation systems, soil moisture management, canopy management. -A field trip to local vineyards.”

It's a pretty long description but it's essentially about how to grow grapes for wine. Given the insane amount of vineyards and wineries in the area it's not a bad idea for potential employment. It combines interests I have both in wine and gardening, which is the main motivation for taking it. I have to remind myself it's okay to take a course because it looks fun and interesting, this does not have to be a life quest or means to an end. I'm looking forward to the 5-day intensive learning!


more change

This would seem like an odd photo choice unless you happened to know that little Hiebert #3 has been forming for over 3 months already and my belly used to be even flatter. That alone is amazing, now that I think of it. For prenancy geeks, the picture was taken at week 14 (end of January). More dramatic change on the way - the little one should be arriving late July/early August if all goes as expected.

I'm thrilled to be out of the first trimester which was pretty much as miserable as I remembered even though I had way less nausea than with the other two. I worked hard to be thankful for the small things. Now my energy is way back up and eating seems mostly normal. The belly is starting to peek out and for me this is when the fun starts. I'll keep you posted on progress occasionally. Maybe even more often than every two months, you never know.



Given the long gaps between posts, I feel like I should update some previous stuff. We had a very smooth and relatively uneventful move. The last few days before the move we decided to do some painting and thanks to Jer's very gracious aunt we not only got it done but had some fun doing it. We're loving it here and have been feeling "at home" from the day we moved in. It's quiet, roomy, and has an amazing view. It feels like quite a gift to be able to be here - and it's only winter! I can't imagine how it's going to feel once we can actually use the sunroom and the yard in the spring. Jer's been great with getting the girls outside for sliding and other snow play, that is also a luxury.


Thought I'd shock the world by actually posting something this year. I've been dreaming about a hot tub since some good friends got one (well, actually a lot longer than that), and I came across these. I love the idea of it being wood-heated and more along the lines of a Japanese soaking tub. It obviously wouldn't be as convenient or conducive to having guests, but it would be clean, quiet and only on when you need it. Has anyone actually seen one of these in action? Sorry about the ad picture, I'm too lazy to edit it out and most other images were of a different style.