Monday, July 30, 2012

beach bum

jeff and i were so lucky to have a night out (sans child!) on saturday! it was my beautiful girlfriend stacey's 30th birthday, and our incredibly generous friends, steph and lee offered to keep finn overnight so we could both attend the evenings celebration. it was such a treat to stay up until all hours of the night (for us that meant being in bed by 1:30am - very late by most mama standards!) and then to sleep the morning away- recovering from a few too many caesars the night before. finn had the best time and did not want to come home! such incredible friends we have!

needless to say, sunday was spent quite mellowly. we lounged around the house most the day and after finns nap, decided to venture down to sandy beach (where we are getting married!) for a little sunshine and a splash in the river. it really was the perfect afternoon for a couple of hurting parents and an excited two year old.

Finn with uncle Lee        ||          Auntie Stephanie! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

becky's wedding!!

wow! one of my bestest and most beautiful friends got MARRIED a few weeks ago and they just got their wedding photos back! it was the most insanely perfect wedding and every single photograph is a direct reflection of that! i am so happy to have been a part of it all and am eternally grateful to have her be a part of mine! i love you becks!!

here are a few of my favourite photographs from the day - all pictures were taken by abby + dave - two incredibly gifted photographers and totally wonderful people! you can see all the photos from becky and blaine's wedding here (the main page has the most beautiful slide show ever made! be sure to check that out!)

finn barging in on the first dance! 

xoxox love you guys!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

baby talk

it has been a week full of baby love for me!! my amazing, inspiring, courageous and beautifully STRONG friend Lana gave birth to her second incredible little babe last week, AND my dearest and oldest friend kyleigh (since we were 3 and 5!) gently welcomed her first little darling son into the world! WOW! I am so filled with love at the thought of these wee babes and the amazing families they have been born into! just WOW!

a quick note before reading the rest of this post - i want to say that my views and beliefs on a lot of things in life are not often in line with the status quo - perhaps you have noticed that, but i also feel like i maybe soften a lot of the opinions i express on this blog - it's not always the appropriate venue for meaningful conversation or back and forth. i have strong opinions and ideas around a lot if topics, some fairly contentious, however, i am always respectful of people with differing viewpoints or ideas- so long as it is coming from a place of love and education and not a place of ignorance. i realize the topic i am about to embark on may be one of these contentious ones. i want to say i am in no way trying to offend, question or pass judgement on ANYONE by posting about this - every woman is different. every birth is different. every one is different. i fully acknowledge there is a time and place for just about everything with regard to the birth experience. we all deserve every right to be able to choose what is best us and our babies, but also to feel immensely proud of our experiences - no matter the path that was taken to get there. my only wish is to share information and resources with anyone looking to learn more - much like myself 3 years ago.

when i found out i was pregnant with finn, i knew there were a few things i wanted for our birth - most of which surrounded the idea of having a natural and unaugmented birth experience. in the beginning i wasn't quite sure WHY i wanted this experience or what made me feel so strongly about it, and to be totally honest, i wasn't fully convinced i had the strength (or more likely, enough knowledge) to carry through with the idea.

finn in my belly - around 9 months
i personally am a huge google-er. i research EVERYTHING to no end. it started with a bit of reading about midwifery (i knew i wanted one, but couldn't fully verbalize why) which led to further reading- breastfeeding, natural childbirth, babywearing, attachment parenting, vaccination, circumcision... like i said - ENDLESS! a friend of mine had suggested watching the movie 'the business of being born' - (sidenote: if you haven't seen this film, even if you aren't planning on giving birth anytime soon (or ever), i highly recommend you take the time to watch it. it is SUCH an eye opener to the way birth has changed in north america, and how different our society is from the rest of the world.)  i remember sitting in bed with jeff, watching this movie with tears pouring down my cheeks. i kept saying to him over and over 'we HAVE to get a midwife.' to say this movie was a tipping point for me and my views on natural birth almost feels like an understatement. it changed my life forever. it gave me starting points and a lot of the answers i needed to engage in dialog when people asked me why i wanted a natural birth (of course a lot of wonderful books, our prenatal classes and many other amazing women helped with this too). i felt strong, courageous and empowered - fully capable to have any birth experience i chose, but also the knowledge that in my choice, i was giving finn an amazing gift to start his life with.

ever since my own birth experience, i have had this excitement and fascination with birth in general. i eagerly hang on every word hearing peoples birth stories- each one so unique, so personal. a courageous tale of the beginning of life and our experiences in new motherhood. i love this seemingly new commonality and awareness around midwifery (and doulas), or at the very least, an eagerness and openness to learn more about it. i love that more woman breastfeed (again, no judgement passed on those that could not or would not) - that seeing a mother breastfeeding her child in public is absolutely normal - her right. it will always bring a smile to my face. i think mostly though, i love the endless possibilities that a small 'revolutions' like this brings. that the more we talk about it, the more women get together and share their experiences, the more movies made, the more we connect, love, share, write, read and research - we are all part of something so much bigger than just having babies. simply put, what an incredible time we have been born into!

* the business of being born has also come out with 4 additional films called 'more business of being born' - last night i watched the first of the 4 episodes - an interview with ina may gaskin - pioneer midwife and absolutely amazing human being! the level of knowledge and understanding she has around birth in its purest form and infant and maternal health is absolutely astounding - i have no other words to even describe how incredible the things she has done for women and their children all over the world. just an amazing woman! (you can watch this talk with ina may online for $3.99 via paypal HERE)


Friday, July 20, 2012

greens greens and more greens!

we have tried for many years to grow food in our north facing outdoor space. some years are more successful than others, but usually we end up with a few greens, lots of herbs, and some sweet memories to share - never enough to sustain us through the summer months though. this year we signed up for CSA (consumer supported agriculture) - the concept of a CSA is simple: you purchase a share in a local farm and in return receive a weekly delivery of locally-grown, organically produced food for approximately 16 weeks during the growing season. Additionally, our investment provides farmers peace of mind knowing that we both take on the the risk (and rewards) that come along with farming - most of their crop is pre-sold allowing them to focus their efforts on growing high quality food. it's really quite amazing! we signed up with a wonderful little farm just south of calgary called noble gardens. tim and brenda along with their 6 young children and a handful of volunteers tend to their growing farm producing everything from herbs and greens, strawberries (the most amazing i have had outside of ontario), peppers, broccoli, squash, and even free-range eggs. they work so hard, and the food they deliver each week is a beautiful result of that. 

we have had three weeks of deliveries so far and, i will totally admit that the volume of food has caught me a bit off gaurd. i expected the first month or so to be relatively small in size, but WOW! we have received SO much food! of course, TONS of greens (kale, chard, various lettuces and spinach make a regular appearance) but we have also received their AH-MAZING strawberries, broccoli, a beautiful and thriving basil plant, and some of the most delicious leeks around. it's been so much fun being a part of this - each week venturing down to the hillhurst sunnyside farmers market - popping by to say hello to our usual vendors and then picking up our bag of goodies from our farmer- and its also been so refreshing to think outside the box a little in terms of what we eat. being given a bag of food that you didn't pick out yourself is exciting! it forces you to cook based on what you have rather than planning and shopping to support that, and we can ALL use more greens in our life!

anyways, we have ended up with a HUGE bounty of kale. so much so that i have had to do a bit of research around what we can do to use it all. below are a couple of really simple and yummy recipes should you find yourself in a similar kale overload predicament. just remember to cut out the really tough stems from the centre of the kale leaves. 

kale chips- 
i found a great basic recipes here, but if you want to fancy them up a bit, you could add anything from vinegar or lemon, nutritional yeast (my fav!), spices like as paprika, curry, pepper or even sprinkle them with finely grated parmesan cheese. Just add these ingredients with the olive oil.

fried kale with garlic, leeks, seeds and braggs all purpose seasoning sauce (from my good friend paula)
simmer a bit of garlic and a few chopped leeks in some olive oil. toss in the kale and mix around until starting to wilt a bit. add a couple handfulls of various seeds and a good couple of splashes of braggs all purpose seasoning and simmer for 4-5 minutes until kale is reduced and well cooked. really yummy as a side dish or spooned onto crackers or corn chips. (spread a little goat cheese on there to really make this dreamy!)

i also love boiling kale down with vegetable broth as a super easy but totally tasty side dish, tossing it in with a few other greens in a fresh salad (duh), and of course, my old standby - hail to the kale salad

enjoy and happy growing season! 

this moment - 2012-07-20

{this moment} - a friday ritual. a photo (or two) - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (inspired by soulemama)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2 going on 12

finn is fearless when it comes to most things. lately he has taken to climbing pretty much everything in site. he talks about it constantly - often just saying over and over  'climb... climb... climb'.  i have a hard time sitting back and letting him do things that make me a little completely freaked out- thats definitely something jeff encourages in him and is better at dealing with than me, and i hope that i can find a balance between stifling finn's curiosity and actually bursting into tears when he does things that beyond my comfort zone. it's impossible to believe he is only two years old - he is so independent, opinionated and such a free-spirit. he now corrects me and says 'no mama' when i call him 'baby' which is of course hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same time. every day is an exactly perfect mix of exciting and tear-jerking. bittersweet. watching my baby become his own person- a little human right before my very eyes. oh goodness. where does that time go?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

every party has a pooper.

stampede has kidnapped my city. the centennial birthday means more 'cowboys' on every street corner and more busyness than i have ever experienced. it probably comes as no surprise that we aren't really stampede goers - quite the opposite actually. i don't know if i am hyper-senetive this year or if its actually crazier than usual, but i find myself a little on edge. there seems to be so much chaos! so many sirens passing day and night, so much noise, garbage, clutter, beer cans, hecticness- everywhere we go. i appreciate that most of the city if having a lot of fun this week, but i am also looking forward to a little bit of quiet, a small amount of calm, and enjoying a somewhat slower pace in our beloved city.

(ok, i won't lie - the crazy additions to the midway food this year sounds pretty wild! bacon sundae funnel cake, deep-fried kool-aide and jalapeƱo corn dogs?! whaaaat??)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

birds of a feather flock together

(cross-posted from our wedding blog)

i really wanted to incorporate feathers into a few details of our wedding, but of course had some general concerns around how feathers are sometimes obtained (not always removed from the animal in a kind or respectful way) and most of the feathers i was finding in stores or online were being shipped from china (kind of a long way to travel for something that isn't really super crucial). a few months ago, i found an AH-MAZING little shop that sells (get this) 'free-range, cruelty free feather'! frogworks is a small family run business out of california. they have a variety of birds that they care for including parrots, macaws, cockatoos (one very special cockatoo - she's blind) and many free range peacocks, guinea hens, geese and banty hens. as the birds feathers are naturally shed, they collect them and sell them through their shop with all the proceeds raised going back into the care and feeding of the birds. how wonderfully rad!!

 guinea hen feathers

Friday, July 6, 2012

this moment - 2012-07-06

{this moment} - a friday ritual. a photo (or two) - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (inspired by soulemama)

photo by jeff thorburn

stress (and other bummer topics)

so, i'm a bit of a stresscase - always a little bit in my everyday life, but hugely so when things pile up around me. i don't do well with change- im a planner. i love lists, spreadsheets, thinking every detail through from start to finish and premeditating conversations. i am NOT a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. not even a tiny bit.  i was talking the other day with my friend steph and totally realized that i'm also a stress eater - i crave REQUIRE crappy food when i'm feeling overwhelmed- just plain junk. and it always makes me feel awful afterward but in that moment, i need it. i'm actually certain you could find a direct correlation between my stress level and my french fry intake. this week has been a major junky week - yesterday i had frozen yogurt AND an ice cream cone, so i thought it might be good to get it all out there - air my stress filled laundry and hopefully process and deal with some of it a little bit. (and then stop eating frozen dairy products for a while. sheesh!)

so, a few things i'm currently kind of freaking out over-

1) my dad - he is having some pretty major surgery in the coming days which, in it self is quite unsettling, but being so far away (us in calgary, him in toronto) - too far away to ask him or his doctor questions, too far to help, support or simply be there. i feel stuck in this weird limbo of worry/ possibly over reacting, but also possibly not reacting enough. i feel like everything will be fine, so i'm trying to stick with that feeling, but am still just generally uneasy about it all.
nathan, my dad and i
2) my general health. its been a rough couple of months. well - six months actually. i have been on and off sick since january and at the height of my worries, reluctantly went to see a doctor who literally gave me a prescription and kicked me out the door - not at all putting my mildly dramatic and possibly hypochondriac mind at ease. i have felt better for a few days, but still have a few lingering symptoms that just wont go away.

3) our wedding - it is 3 (THREE?!) months away and we all know how fast three months just disappears. all the big stuff is mostly done (or at least started) and i'm trying not to get frazzled by any of it, which until today was working pretty well, but - its one of those weeks so today i feel a little frantic. (have i mentioned i haven't ordered my dress yet? yikes!)

4) possibly moving. i'm trying to be so cool and calm about all of this and act like its not a big deal - 'we will cross that bridge if we get there' i have heard myself say a bazzilion times over the last few months, but there is a possibility of a pretty amazing career opportunity for jeff. incredible! amazing! so freaking over the moon proud of him! but- it would require us to move to vancouver. obviously, so many amazing things to be discovered and a wonderful change for us, but also something im totally freaking out about. as i previously mentioned, im not a big risk taker or change maker. i freak out a bit when the grocery store is sold out of the toothpaste we normally use, so the idea of moving to bc - away from my family, friends and everything i have ever known is terrifying. i KNOW it will be amazing. i know this is everything jeff has worked so hard for and i am beyond grateful that people out there are taking note of how incredibly talented he is. there is a part of me that is so excited to move away and start new, but im a touch worried that i wont make friends - like- deep meaningful connections that i am abundantly surrounded with here. i am quite shy when i first meet people, and that has always been an initial barrier for me. i am also worried about being away from my family. i love them all so much and they have all been such a tremendous support to us - especially since finn has been born, so not having them a quick drive away is really... scary. and the thought of possibly having to plan the rest of our wedding from another city is, well - crazy. (this is actually probably the entire reason im stressing about the wedding). plus- selling our condo and then actually MOVING! how on earth are we going to pull this all of? wow.

 vancouver 5 years ago. 
yeah, i feel much better now. dont you? bah! :)


Sunday, July 1, 2012

toddler pals

last week we had a reunion with almost all of the babies from our prenatal birth class (we missed you dearly, krista & carter!) i have written before about how grateful i am to have met all these wonderful woman, their husbands and children, and for a couple of them now, their second babies, but this last get together reiterated just how lucky we are. as our littles grow older and wilder, it definitely becomes more challenging to find the time and space to connect as often as we once did when our babes were just bitty new borns breast feeding and sleeping all day long while their mamas gabbed and ordered in pizza- but thursday was a kind reminder of that time and a truly wonderful morning spent in great company! i'm so thankful - to be able to watch all our children grow up, play, learn and enjoy being around one another, and to have wonderful, inspiring, and connected woman to lean on, vent to, learn from and laugh with. so much love for all of you!

(you can see a few older group pictures here and here... all just seems like yesterday!)

L to R: carly, ellen, malek, gethin, finn, athena & victor.