the grind


We’ve been looking for a storage bench to put at the end of our bed for LITERALLY YEARS and the other week Taylor found this one on the Best Buy website of all places? Weird. Anyway it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted and when we ordered it it was on sale & therefore cheaper than all the not-quite-perfect ones I’ve seen so it’s a win.



On the weekend I was feeling a little ~inspired and made these tiny grey suede boots for Nicky. I need to adjust the pattern a little to get a better fit but I just love them, and the little appliquéd evergreen trees on the soles are so cute.

This is my first week back at work and it has been… busy? complicated? hard? chaotic? Our original plan (Taylor works nights from home & looks after the baby while I sleep, I work days from home and look after the baby while Taylor sleeps, ugh this was such a good plan!) went out the window with my emergency c section. Why? Well, if you’re not familiar, one of the ~rules~ for looking after yourself after a c section is that you aren’t supposed to lift anything that weighs more than your newborn baby for 6-8 weeks after the delivery. You know what weighs more than my newborn baby? The daycare kids! As I mentioned previously I can do almost all of our regular activities, but I can’t pick them up, and sometimes they need picking up.

This means I need to have someone here to help me for almost the entire day. I can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant so the task falls to Taylor in the morning/early afternoon and Sym in the late afternoon. Since Taylor is awake for the first half of the day it’s not possible for him to work his regular midnight to 8am shift, so instead he’s working 4am to noon, which means I’m tasked with getting up with the kids if they wake up between midnight and 4. This makes waking up at 7 to get ready for work pretty difficult. Taylor’s sleeping hours are split completely in half: he sleeps from about 1 until 5pm, and then midnight until 4. As a result we are BOTH tired and irritable, which is kind of the opposite of what we’d hoped for, and yet another reason to hate my c section. We are still working out the scheduling kinks, so hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get our routines down a bit better and stop being so crabby with one another. And hey, it’s only for three to five more weeks, how hard can it be? (DON’T ANSWER THAT, UNIVERSE.)

The upside of this fairly cruddy situation is the kids themselves, which I guess is the part that makes it all worthwhile. Nicky is a pretty chill & easy-going baby, Gwen has mostly been well-behaved and helpful, and Sym has ALSO been well-behaved and helpful (almost more amazing in a teen than a preschooler). They really are the bright spot in this frustrating time.

the first day

Today is my first day looking after the little kids by myself. When we first came home from the hospital Taylor took the whole following week off, and halfway through that week his mom came down to stay with us to help out for a week. This week Taylor is back at work and his mom left yesterday afternoon. Of course, Taylor is working from home right now which means he is the one who is up with Nicky during the night and he’s around in the mornings to get Gwen up and walk the dogs and just generally be a help. But this afternoon it’s just been me and so far it’s alright. Both kids are fed and dressed and alive (as am I, sort of) and I even managed to do some cleaning.

It certainly helps that Gwen is basically the best kid in the world. She really loves her baby brother and all morning she was asking to hug him and for him to sit in her lap! It’s so cute. She has also been tucking her lovey Elke in with him, which is pretty amazing because Elke is very special to her and is not a toy she shares with others. There have been a few small meltdowns (namely because she wanted to wear her cat-themed hooded sweatpants jumpsuit, which was in the wash) but overall I can’t complain about her behavior.





big sister, bigger sister




all photos by Taylor Laramie

Throughout my whole pregnancy with Gwen I made every effort to include Symphony. She helped pick the nursery furniture (and even helped build it!) and went baby clothes shopping with me all the time. She was present in the delivery room when her baby sister was born and even picked her middle name (sort of; she suggested Viola which became Violet). Of course, she was 11 at the time, so it was a little different from going through this pregnancy with a 3-year-old.

From the very beginning I talked to Gwen a lot about the baby in mommy’s tummy, how soon it would come out and live at our house and be her friend. When we switched the girls’ bedrooms we let her pick which side would be for her and which would be for the baby, we bought her a toy baby of her very own and got a book about a little girl who gets a new baby sibling to read to her (which I still can’t get all the way through with out crying…). Of course I was still worried about how the changes would affect her since she is still just a little kid.

Thankfully so far both girls seem pretty enamored with their new baby brother. Gwen always wants to hug/kiss/pat him and says “awwwww, that baby so cuuuuuute” (or more rarely “Nicky so cute” because she has an aversion to saying names and tends to call most people “that boy” or “that mom” or “that baby”). She helps by bringing him his blankets and his lovey and talks about how when he’s a little bigger she will share her toys with him and they can take a bath and go to the park and do all sorts of things together. For Sym of course this new baby sibling business is old hat, but she still likes to watch him make his tiny funny faces and wave his tiny hands around. She’ll help by giving him a bottle but she draws the line at diapers (I don’t blame her; Nicky is kind of a poop machine rn).

an unexpected arrival

Even though my due date wasn’t until October 7th, it was pretty common knowledge that I was gunning to deliver as close to the beginning of my two weeks off of work as possible. I wanted to have as much time to snuggle and bond with my new baby before getting back to my regular grind. I had said the ideal for me would be to go into labour on Friday afternoon and have the baby Friday night/Saturday morning and that’s pretty much what happened, just one day early, and not at all in the way I expected.

Thursday afternoon I had an appointment with my obgyn, and in accordance with my plans & wishes she swept my membranes to hopefully start things moving a little. At that point I was about 2.5 cm dilated but not at all effaced, so she felt confident I would probably have the baby after the weekend. She warned me I might have spotting, cramping and increased discharge after the sweep, and after I got home I did notice some light cramping but nothing else, so I just got on with my day.

I’m going to interrupt myself here to talk about moses baskets. Or rather, moses basket STANDS. When Gwen was a newborn she slept in a beautiful cradle a family friend gave us, that I laboriously painted a lovely pale grey with blue & yellow flowers. I was so excited to pull it out of the storage room for our new baby to use, but when we brought it into the house… it doesn’t fit anymore. We have replaced & rearranged the furniture and now the cradle doesn’t work in any of the places where we used to put it. It basically only fits smack-dab in the middle of the living room, which is less than convenient.

Once I realized the cradle was a wash I started scrambling to try to figure out where on earth we could put the baby to sleep. Obviously we already had the crib set up in the shared bedroom, but we don’t want to put the baby in there at night yet because it would be too disruptive to Gwen’s sleep. So I started thinking: our old stroller has a beautiful bassinet, which I loved using with Gwen, but I really feel like we aren’t going to use that stroller very much this time? I feel like we will be using the Ergo more, especially once I’m back at work. So why not use the bassinet at home in a stand instead of as a stroller attachment? I did some research and found that this is entirely possible and even found an affordable stand that would be suitable.

Of course I came up with this plan like… a week and a half ago so I didn’t want to order the stand online and risk it not arriving before the baby. It was available locally in a few different stores but I thought I’d try to find it on craigslist first. As luck would have it there was someone downtown selling a stand in the colour I wanted for a decent price, but as luck WOULDN’T have it the person was like… the biggest flake. They only responded to my initial email and I was never able to make arrangements to actually purchase the item! Pretty ironic for someone who puts “SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY” in their craigslist listings…

Sym’s dad offered to pick the stand up for me at Babies’R’Us on Saturday since he’d be in the neighborhood, but while I was trying to get the craigslist flakes to reply to me they sold out of it at that location! So on Thursday morning I started calling around to some of the local baby stores and was able to find it (again, in the right colour bc that is important?). Unfortunately it wasn’t in stock at the location closest to me, but they offered to have it transferred in and I would be able to pick it up after the weekend. Perfect, I thought, because I’m probably not having the baby until after the weekend. However, later in the afternoon I got a call from the store, letting me know their driver had made a second trip to transfer items, and wouldn’t you know it, they had the stand already! Even better! I let them know I would be coming by to pick it up after I finished work.

So while all this was going on, I was continuing to have mild cramping. I completely brushed it off and as soon as I finished work I woke up Taylor so he could come with me to pick up the all-important moses basket stand. The store is about a 20 minute walk from our house, and we were in a little rush so we popped Gwen in the stroller and headed out. Just before we left I mentioned my mild cramps, which by this point had become pretty regular, to Taylor and joked “what if I’m in labour, haha, so funny!” We walked about two blocks and I said to him “… but maybe I am in labour? This could be labour.” He was like “should we really be out RUNNING ERRANDS right now? like do you need to go to the hospital???” but I figured if it was true labour walking around would help it to progress, and if it was false labour walking around would stop it, so I made the decision to keep going. I did download a contraction timer app to my phone on the fly though, and timed each cramp, or rather contraction bc lbr, I WAS IN LABOUR, the whole way to and from the store.

Once we were almost home I let Taylor know that yes, I was pretty sure this was true labour, as the contractions by this point were oh, three minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds and increasing in strength. I was still able to easily walk & breathe through them, so I texted Sym’s dad to come to the house at 7:30 so we could give Gwen dinner and her bath, and put her to bed like usual before going to the hospital. I also needed to PACK MY STUPID HOSPITAL BAG, because if you recall I had not done that yet, although fortunately that morning I had made a comprehensive list of what to pack. I made Gwen’s dinner and gathered everything into my suitcase while Taylor quickly walked the dogs and also started panicking. At once point he dropped everything and was like “I NEED TO WASH THE DISHES, GWEN HAS NO CLEAN CUPS” and started filling the sink and splashing water all over. I kept telling him to calm down, it was fine, and even if I was gonna have the baby it wouldn’t be for hours because look. He was pretty worked up and I really had to tell him to SNAP OUT OF IT because his stress was stressing me out, and no one needs that.

We got to the hospital a little before 8pm (all according to my plan, because they lock all the doors at 8 except for the emergency entrance, which is on the front of the building and we live right behind the building so it’s faster for me to go in the back entrance) and headed to maternity. They put me in the assessment room to check my and the baby’s vitals and then send me to wander the halls for an hour to see if my contractions would continue or stop (nevermind that I had just been out walking around for two hours…). This was very boring because I had to stay in the maternity ward and it’s literally just three hallways with nothing to see, so Taylor and I walked back and forth and up and down. My contractions continued to increase in strength to the point where I could no longer walk through them and would have to stop, so after about 45-50 minutes I went back to the assessment room to get checked again.

At this point I was just 4cm dilated so the nurse told me that the doctor wanted me to walk around for another hour. Argh! I kind of hoped they would just send me home so I could walk around the neighborhood instead since the boredom was too much, but before I went to start my second walkabout she checked the baby’s heart rate and said “NEW PLAN, you’re staying here and we need to monitor your baby’s heart because it’s beating too fast” They strapped all the external monitors to my belly to track the heart rate and my contractions, and also started an IV to give me fluids because one possible cause of an elevated heart rate in an unborn baby is dehydration. We (the nurse and I) also told Taylor that yes, it was time to go home and get my bag because I would not be going home from the hospital that night.

After an hour of IV fluids and monitoring, the baby’s heart rate was still elevated, so they moved me from assessment into a LDR (labour-delivery-recovery) room because it was time to start moving things along. Taylor wasn’t back yet and I was having trouble with my contractions because the positions that made them most bearable were incompatible with the external monitors, so I called him like “WHERE ARE YOU WHERE ARE YOU COME BACK RIGHT NOW.” As it turned out Gwen (who had not gone to sleep when we left and had been in and out of bed all evening heard his voice and wouldn’t go back down until he tucked her back in, so I can’t really fault him for taking too long.

I think it was at this point that the obgyn on call came in to talk to me about interventions. I was still only 5cm dilated and the baby’s heart rate was still way too high. It’s called fetal tachycardia guys, it sounds really scary, and they pretty much only let it go on for 80 minutes before they are like LET’S HAVE A BABY. It had been an hour already with no change other than the heart rate also decelerating more than it should during contractions, which is also bad. So just like.. all bad things, and no clue as to the cause. Remember at 5 o’clock when I was joking “haha, maybe I’m in labour?” Not so funny when you’re looking down the barrel of an emergency c section.

Taylor finally got back and was told everything that was going on, and then my water was broken to try to speed up my labour a bit more. This next part was horrible, each contraction let out another huge gush of amniotic fluid until I was basically lying in a hideous swamp. I kept wanting to flip onto all fours but again, that position wasn’t conducive to monitoring the baby’s heart so between each contraction I’d have to lie back down in a squelch of rapidly cooling liquid. It was so gross and uncomfortable and by that point it was pretty much a given I wasn’t going to be delivering vaginally so like… WHY MUST THIS TORMENT CONTINUE? I was so scared, so afraid of having surgery and so worried about my baby.

Next they asked me (with Taylor’s help) to take off my jewelry. I remember thinking how funny that I made it through my whole pregnancy without having to stop wearing my wedding ring only to have to take it off now, for this. I was given some gnarly liquid to drink to neutralize my stomach acid and then I guess it was time to go to the operating room? I am a little fuzzy on the details now and I’m not sure what time this was at, because I was a) in massive pain from my still-continuing contractions, and b) basically in a blind panic of fear and worry. The moved me from my horrible swamp-bed onto a gurney and rolled me down to the operating room. It’s actually on the same floor as the maternity ward, like basically right outside it, which is very thoughtful and convenient since I was howling the entire way. At some point Taylor was peeled off so he could go get dressed in his stylish scrubs, booties, hairnet and mask, while I continued into the room to get a spinal anaesthetic. This is pretty similar to getting an epidural while in labour, in that it’s really hard to do because you have to sit very very very still through your contractions while they put a needle in your spine.

For the spinal I was sitting up on the edge of the operating table (I think) which is a weird thing to be on because they are a lot narrower than you would think. Like it makes sense that the whole surgical team needs to be able to easily get very close to you but at the same time you feel like you are gonna fall off, at least until your body goes all numb and then who cares. Anyway I was holding hands with the obgyn during the spinal, and I cried a lot about how afraid I was for my baby while she reassured me everything would be ok.

After the spinal was done I was laid back down on the table, and once I was numb from the ribs down they started doing the rest of the prep, I assume stuff like draping and scrubbing and other such things? Oh and inserting a catheter, I didn’t even realize I had one until well after the whole thing was over. Who knows. Things get suuuuuuuuper fuzzy and confused at this point. They put up a big curtain that angled back over my head so all I could see was blue fabric and the edge of one of those crazy huge operating room lights that was above me. Taylor was finally allowed in and he sat by my head while I cried and shook (the anaesthetic makes you all shivery and my arms and head were like vibrating) and then I guess I had surgery.

Having a c section was pretty much the weirdest experience of my entire life. I had only had surgery once before, my breast reduction, which was done under a general anaesthetic. For this not only was I wide(ish) awake, but I could still feel everything except for any pain. So all the weird pulling and tugging and pressure of things being taken out of my body in a way that they would not normally come out? WHAT THE HELL. It was so strange. The actual part where they cut you open and take the baby out is only about 10 minutes, and they talked to us throughout about the baby, stuff like “here’s the head, look at all that hair!” and “such big shoulders!” but with a significant enough gap between those two statements that I think for a minute I just had a baby’s head like… sticking out… of my lower abdomen. Which is freaky to think about.

At 12:13 am on Friday, September 30th the baby was delivered. They asked Taylor to stand and look so he could announce whether it was a boy or a girl, and then baby was whisked over to the little cot to be checked out but the pediatric team to make sure everything was ok; at this point there was still no explanation for the tachycardia and spoiler alert, there never will be because no cause was every determined. COOL. Taylor got to go over and cut the umbilical cord and he said the placenta was there in a plastic bag, all steamy, which is supremely gross but I guess why wouldn’t it be steamy? The insides of bodies are hot.

Once they determined the baby was healthy I was able to do skin-to-skin until my arms got too tired. My fingers were starting to feel all pins-and -needles-y, plus my arm and shoulder muscles were exhausted from the shaking, which hadn’t completely subsided yet, so Taylor took over baby holding duties (also doodies because he got pooped on). Meanwhile on the other side of the curtain my body was being put back together. At one point I heard someone say “I’m going to externalize the uterus now” which was another weird thing to hear. I guess they take it out to sew it up, then put it back inside before sewing up all your muscle and skin layers? I have watched enough of veterinary surgery videos to get the gist, haha.

Eventually Taylor and the baby were taken back to my LDR room to wait for me, and once I was all stitched up they moved me off the operating table onto a gurney and I was taken to surgical recovery. They covered me in about fifty heated blankets, plus one that was like inflated with warm air, to keep me cozy and toasty while I waited for the anaesthetic to wear off. This was the second-weirdest experience of my life; you can’t go back to your room and see your baby until you can move your legs, bend your knees and wiggle your toes, so they ask you a lot “can you move your legs? can you bend your knees? can you wiggle your toes?” Whenever they asked I would try my hardest because I was basically desperate to get back to my baby, so I would be thinking to myself MOVE, DAMMIT, MOVE!!! but I couldn’t make them move. Finally though, after they asked and I tried and failed I said “no, I can’t move them” and the nurse was like “… what’s that then?” and my legs were totally moving all over the place! But like… I couldn’t feel them moving, I couldn’t feel myself make them moving. It was truly bizarre. After that I was moving them as much as I could, with the idea in my head the more they moved, the faster the anaesthetic would wear off, and the sooner I could get back to my baby! idk if that is truly how it works but after two hours in recovery I was allowed to leave.

I was wheeled on my gurney back to the maternity ward and after kicking Taylor out of my bed where he was doing skin-to-skin with the baby I was moved back into it and was finally able to hold my baby again! By this time it was about 3am and Taylor, who worked Wednesday night and only slept a few hours Thursday afternoon before going through what was a very stressful experience for him as well, was exhausted, so he asked if I minded if he went to sleep. I said of course not so after wrestling with the terrible pull-out chair, then getting not one but two nurses to help, then getting an all-new pull-out chair altogether because the original one was broken, he fell asleep and I stayed up and just held my baby for hours and hours until I started drifting off. Eventually I needed to go to sleep myself so I called a nurse to swaddle and put the baby to bed in the little cot, but even then I fell asleep holding onto the railing of the cot and woke up for every little squeak, every little sneeze, every little sound.

I have a lot more things I want to write about, like my feelings about having an emergency c section after two fairly easy & uncomplicated vaginal deliveries (the obgyn said I had a “proven pelvis” haha) but this post is already long as hell so that can wait for another day. Instead here is a selfie I took at 3am after I got back to the room, wearing the same hospital gown I put on at 8pm and had surgery in four hours later and holding my brand-newborn infant son.


Nicholas Albert Laramie, you are so loved. Welcome to the world.

38 + 1


Here is me yesterday at 38 weeks pregnant. I am SO RELIEVED to be SO CLOSE to the end of this pregnancy, like idk if I’ve mentioned it but it has been very physically taxing (jk I know I have talked about it basically NON STOP oh well). Right now the hardest part is I am often too tired and sore to play with Gwen or take her out places and I have a lot of guilt about it. Yesterday when I finished work she really wanted to go outside to play and I was like “mum’s too tired” but then I think she didn’t burn enough energy during the day and had an atrocious sleep last night. It’s hard though because going out for big adventures (ie walking two blocks to the church playgroup one morning a week) with her PLUS the daycare kids pretty much kills me, and by the end of the day I’m usually also killed even if we’ve only gone for small outings.

A friend of mine said yesterday this seems like the Longest Pregnancy Ever and igss I have been pregnant ALL YEAR but tbh it has pretty much flown by THANK GOODNESS.

Also yesterday I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in months and she was like “wow you’re having another! when are you due?” and when I said “in two weeks!” she replied “but you’re so small!” and in spite of what the above pic shows I really really am! I feel like after I give birth I will weigh less than I did in January because THE BABY ATE MY BODY. It makes me wonder how big the baby will be, like with Sym I gained about 30 pounds and she weighed 6lb7oz and with Gwen I only gained 19 and she was 8lb2oz (or maybe 4oz? is it bad I can’t remember?). I don’t actually know what I weighed before I got preg this time so I don’t know exactly how much I’ve gained but I know it’s not a lot.

My wedding ring still fits???

My belly button hasn’t fully popped out yet, maybe like 1/2 or 1/3 popped but not the whole way.

We still can’t think of a middle name to go with the girl’s name we have picked, like we are not even close. Of course we didn’t settle on Gwen’s name until she was a few days old so it’s not really a big deal.

I still have no idea if this baby is a girl or a boy. People always ask and when I say I don’t know they like commend me for my brave decision to keep it a secret/surprise? lol I just have an uncooperative baby and I don’t care that much what form it takes, I’m just happy to have gotten any baby.

Including today I have 6 more days of work left (pray for Tanie that the baby does not make an appearance before those days are up).

Put Up or Shut Up


When you are pregnant people ask you a lot of questions about your baby plans. Some of these questions are pretty innocuous (“when are you due? is the baby a boy or a girl? do you have any names picked out?”) and some are way too intrusive (“are you planning on breastfeeding?” FROM TOTAL STRANGERS, like no I don’t care to discuss my boobs with you), but no question has come to inspire more dread in me than “when are you stopping working?”

In Canada we have 50 weeks of paid maternity leave. I assume many people take it, at least some of it. I took it with Sym and I took it with Gwen, and everyone expects I will be taking it with this baby. But the thing is, I’m not. I’m using my vacation days to take the first two weeks of October off work and basically keeping my fingers crossed (and my legs uncrossed?) and hoping this baby is born during that time because I really don’t want to stop working at 9 months pregnant and start working at 9 1/2 months pregnant. Based on my previous births (Sym 4 days early and Gwen right on her due date) and the fact that this baby just FEELS like they are gonna be ready on time, I’m pretty confident that I have nothing to worry about. I have to be, because what else can I do?

But when I tell people about my plan, the look they give me is just like… SHOCK and HORROR and DREAD, like I’ve said I’m planning on idk, having my baby in a public bathroom and leaving it in the trash? Like not taking maternity leave is literally the most appalling thing people can think of. They always shriek “WHAT???? HOW IS THAT EVEN GOING TO WORK?????” like people have never had a baby and then gone back to work soon after. Newsflash: people do it all the time! And there are lots of different reasons why they might do it. Maybe they really love their career. Maybe their partner is going to stay home with the baby while they work. Maybe they don’t have a choice. Maybe life costs money and they can’t afford to stop working for a year, or even a month.

Something people might not know about Canada’s 50 weeks paid maternity leave is that the government doesn’t just give you your whole annual salary in a shower of loonies and toonies. The benefit is 55% of your regular income. So like… cut your paycheque basically in half, and add diapers (and in my case, formula) to your monthly expenses. You still have to pay all your bills, your rent or mortgage, loan or credit card payments, car payments, whatever. Everything you were paying before, but do it with half the money. Or depending on your income, less than half, because there is actually a maximum amount the government pays, and it’s $537 a week. When I took my maternity leave with Gwen I was getting nowhere near the maximum amount, and were I to take it this time I’d be getting even less, and here’s why:

I’m self-employed. As a self-employed person I am eligible to take paid maternity leave, because I’ve opted into it. But since I don’t have a paycheque from an outside employer to base my payments off of, instead they calculate it based on my net income from my previous year’s tax return. Gwen was born in late 2012 so they calculated my maternity leave benefit off my 2011 tax return. In 2011 I was working a lot and earned a pretty ok amount of money, but for this baby my benefits would be calculated using my 2015 return and let’s just say… it would not be a lot. It basically wouldn’t be anything. So while TECHNICALLY I can take the time off, I can’t afford to take the time off, and unless people are keen to give me many, many, many tens of thousands of dollars to live off of for the next year I would appreciate it if they would shut up. Actually not even the next year, the next year plus however long it would take me to once again rebuild my business from nothing. Because if I take a year (or even a few months) off work, I will lose all my clients and when I start working again I will have to find brand new ones. So let me reiterate: unless you want to give me all your money, I don’t want to hear your opinion on my not taking time off of work. Tbh I probably don’t want to hear your opinion anyway so maybe just keep your mouth shut while your hand over that cheque/click that paypal link, mkay?

The other thing people like to bring up when I say I’m not taking leave (and I think this one is very stupid) is HOW am I going to keep working at my job when I’m up all night with a newborn baby?!?!?! I will never get any sleep! It will be so hard! Obviously as an almost-40-year-old-woman having her third child I have no idea what I’m doing! I’m dumb, so fucking dumb! Well. Here’s how I’m going to work at my job when I’m up all night with a newborn: I’m not. After the baby is born Taylor is going to work from home for a few months, and since he works nights he will be awake and available to tend to baby needs while I’m sleeping. How do I know this? BECAUSE IT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE DID AFTER GWEN WAS BORN. When we had her Taylor took a week? two weeks? off work entirely, and then worked from home until January. I got 8-9 hours of sleep every night and there was actually only one time when he had to wake me up to look after Gwen , and that happened at like 6am anyway. It worked for us before, and it’ll work for us again, and even if I do sometimes have to get up during the night and then work the next day like… ok? Like millions people before me, parents and non-parents alike, I will suck it up and do my job while I’m tired, wow, what a novel concept.

Do I sound bitter about this? I’m sure I sound bitter, and the reason why is yet another reason I wish people would stop judging me for not taking time off after having this baby: because I’m already judging myself enough, thanks. I feel super guilty about it all the time. I’ve cried about it. Hell, I cried about going back to work when Gwen was one because I didn’t go back to work until Sym was three and I felt guilty that I couldn’t take that much time off for Gwen as well. So how do you think I feel, knowing that I can’t really take ANY time off with this baby? I feel like a piece of shit, and the only way I can make it through most days is to try to stay positive and confident and believe that my plan, our plan, the plan my husband and I came up with because ours are the only opinions and concerns that matter, will work and I’m not going to ruin my baby’s life. So when I have people act all horrified and disapproving that in their opinion I’m making the wrong choice it is pretty much devastating because I am already devastated. So like congrats on making a pregnant woman cry? Nice work.

And like… obviously I can’t KNOW that everything will work out. There are a lot of unknowns when you have a baby. Sure, I don’t know the baby’s sex or the exact day they will be born, but I also don’t know if they will have a serious health problem that hasn’t been detected, or if they will have special needs. I don’t know if they will be a very colicky baby who cries all the time and no one will get any sleep. Like you can plan for things but life doesn’t always agree with those plans. I don’t know that I won’t go into labour right now. I don’t know that everything is gonna be okay and the truth is NO ONE DOES. We just have to believe things will work out and they probably will, maybe not exactly according to plan but we all just do our best with what we have (and if what you have is lots of money please feel free to send it my way).

bluer skies


I tried to write a post earlier this week but I had to trash it because it was very depressing and I already feel like this blog is kind of becoming a misery blog? Like I was in a very Bad Place emotionally about the fact that I can’t afford to take what I consider a decent amount of time off work once the baby is born, and I am very sad and guilty about it. I actually had some incredibly thoughtful and generous friends offer to start a GoFundMe to raise some extra cash so I could take more time off but unfortunately the problem is that if I take the time off, I will lose all my clients and have no income when I go back to work, and will have to start all over again from zero rebuilding my clientele.

It’s a pretty big bummer of a situation all round and I have cried about it a lot, especially this week, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m regretting the pregnancy or not excited about it; in fact, I am SO excited to meet this baby in just 8 weeks if you can believe it! I’m now 32 weeks and 1 day pregnant, which is BONKERS to me. This pregnancy has really flown by, but at the same time I’m so ready for it to be done. It’s been hard; it’s still hard. But it’ll be worth it in the end, and I am trying my hardest to be more positive because like… what else am I gonna do?

I never had another ultrasound (in spite of my continuing to not gain significant weight, the baby keeps growing so it’s just like… eating me alive I guess) so we still don’t know the sex of the baby. Taylor is hoping for another girl, Gwen says the baby will be a girl baby (and we should name it Gwen), and when questioned Sym says the baby “can be anything it wants to be.” Sometimes I feel like it’s a boy, sometimes I feel like it’s a girl, but in what I consider a major success, Taylor and I actually have names picked out! Mostly. I think. A first & middle name for a boy, and just a first name for a girl. Considering we had Gwen home from the hospital for several days before picking her name this feels like an accomplishment.

In non-baby/pregnancy news…

It’s Taylor’s birthday in less than a week and I am totally unprepared. Normally by this point I’d have his gifts all ready or at least picked out but I still don’t even know what to get him! I know if it was MY birthday I would want these Vans but I can’t really buy myself shoes for his birthday, now can I? I only have this weekend to go shopping so hopefully I won’t be too sick or feeble.

Next Monday we are FINALLY getting screens installed in our stupid casement windows! I’m so excited as we are in the middle of a heatwave and seeing as how we can only open four windows in the entire apartment it gets very stuffy in here. We are only getting screens on five out of the seven casements but it’s better than nothing and I think I will even be able to get a cross-breeze in here. I CAN’T WAIT.

I’ve been in a major creative slump recently, like beyond having basically shuttered my etsy into permanent vacation mode. I just don’t have the time or energy to make stuff at all, but yesterday I started working out how to make some little tiaras with those crystals I ordered a few months ago. Gwen is wearing my first attempt in the picture above (and yes, I did take her outside just to stage a photo with it against the ivy wall for my instagram WHAT OF IT). I want to refine my wire-wrapping technique some more and have already made a second one which is a little tidier. I also dragged Taylor and Gwen to the craft store with me last night to buy a slightly thinner gauge wire that I think might be easier to work with, and I’m struggling very hard right now to try to stop myself from ordering more crystals. I still have a lot of these clear natural quartz but I have my eye on some in a shimmering blue-green that would make a pretty great mermaid crown. Also some silver and gold ones. And pink. And aurora borealis. Maybe purple? Huh, I will probably have to reopen my shop and start selling these to justify all the colours I want to buy.

get going

Symphony is a teen, and as a teen she is pretty disinclined to do a lot of the things I want her to do. Number one among these is basically anything that involves her leaving the house, like you don’t know how many times I have asked her “do you want to come to the beach/park/Ikea/craft store/mall with me? I’LL BUY YOU STUFF” and she’s just like “nahhh” and stays in her room. Like, I can MANDATE that she HAS to come out sometimes but it usually turns into a nightmare of crabbiness and complaining and it is exhausting and unsatisfying for everyone involved.

But now I’ve figured it out, the thing I can use to get her out of the house at any time, and that thing is Pokémon Go. It was finally officially made available in Canada just yesterday and as Taylor tweeted last night, we’ve caught the Poképox.

Go ahead and laugh but it is actually really fun to play (even for an old like me who has never been into Pokémon). Because we live in the middle of the city there are tons of Pokémon, Pokéstops and Gyms in our neighborhood- there is actually a Pokéstop in the park across the street that is close enough that when Pokémon are lured to it we can catch them from inside the house! Sym is having a blast playing it and I am having a blast with a shared activity my teen actually wants to do with me, outside, all the time. We went out twice last night and we’ve already made two excursions today- one this morning for a long walk and then a quick one just behind the house when I saw there was a lure at the Pokéstop in the alley- and we have plans to go down to a nearby fountain to look for water types after I finish work. We’ve met/had conversations with other players, traded tips and we have some new funny stories (like how when I realized I could catch Pokémon in my bedroom I plucked a Meowth right off my baby bump, and when we warned some people about the real, actual skunks in the park they asked “what kind of Pokémon is that?”).

Sym holding an Eevee in the eeveening.

I know a lot of people (boring people probably…) think it is stupid but like… how can I argue with a game that gets my kid out of her room and excited about something?

to sleep

01 grass shadows

02 gwen nap close

03 bee garden

04bark texture

05 gwen nap full

06 red dahlia

07 hawthorn sun

We’ve been having a bit of a struggle with getting Gwen to bed recently. Like she’ll get into her bed no problem (after a VERY EXTENDED bedtime ritual) but she always wants more hugs and to talk about what we’re gonna do tomorrow and sometimes she also needs to get up to check for firetrucks outside (???). Some nights we need to open her curtains to show her it’s getting dark outside, or what the weather is doing. And sometimes even when we do all these things she cries and cries and cries (literally she does not stop) until we come back and give her more hugs, more talk, more firetruck checks. One night she also turned on the light, got dressed and very very quietly took out her legos to play with. VERY SNEAKY.

Also, a few weeks ago she started regularly falling asleep int he late afternoon/early evening. Like 5 or 6. She’d fall asleep on the couch (or outside, apparently) and it would wreak havoc on our entire night. She’s really difficult to wake up, except for if we would try to move her to her room. These late naps pushed back dinnertime, bathtime, and bedtime and left Gwen (and by extension, me most nights) with a super interrupted sleep schedule with multiple middle-of-the-night wake-ups. And the days I managed to keep her awake she would be SO CRABBY and unreasonable in the evenings they were a huge struggle as well.

Gwen actually decided about a year ago that she didn’t need an afternoon nap anymore, and we’ve been getting along just fine with “quiet time,” but with these recent spontaneous evening naps I figured something needed to change. I started inserting a “quiet rest time” into her regular quiet time, when she could lie in the bed with Taylor and (hopefully) falls asleep. And it worked! I had to negotiate with her about it a lot but for the last week (even on the weekend!) I’ve been able to get her to take an afternoon nap. And while she would wake up grumpy, it would pass and she would be sweet and friendly throughout the evening. Success!

Except… although they didn’t interfere with the schedule for dinner, bath and bedtime, even the earlier afternoon naps made actually getting her to go to sleep (and stay asleep) a huge struggle! I even tried starting the naps earlier, waking her from them sooner, and no dice: she was still crying after we left her room and waking up throughout the night. Yesterday I decided to skip quiet rest time in favour of regular quiet time and at bedtime she fell asleep more quickly and only woke up once, but she was super crabby and argumentative all evening.

So now I’m stuck. Without a nap she is miserable all evening but with a nap she sleeps terribly all night. I can’t really change what time she wakes up in the morning (it’s usually around 7 anyway) and we don’t really have much wiggle room with her bedtime either? Like I finish work at 5:30 and make/finish making dinner, we eat, she has a bath, we do the bedtime things and then she goes to bed. She definitely tries to drag bedtime out but most days we are able to get her settled down by around 7:30 or 8. Now we’re thinking we’ll have to get her down by 7 but that really only gives us an hour and a half with her in the evening to do everything so idk. idk! How is sleep formed, basically.

Unrelated but sort of related: this morning I was putting one of the daycare kids, a 13-month old girl, down for her morning nap (remember morning naps? siiiiiiiiigh) and Gwen wanted to help. She found the little girl’s special sleepy-time toy that had fallen under the crib, brought her a special pillow from her own room to share, and gave her a big hug. Later she ran up to me with one of her special blankets that she wanted let the little girl use as well, but I explained that she was already asleep and we mustn’t wake her up because babies need a lot of sleep. But I asked her if she was going to help me put our new baby down for naps when she/he is born and she gave me a very enthusiastic “Yeah!!” and my heart exploded with love. EXPLODED. Oh also: I asked her recently what we should name our baby and she said “Wappy.” Wappy Laramie. I like it.

beach day

Gwen came running up to me this morning chanting “Beach day! Beach day! Beach day!” so I told her to go wake up her dad and she ran into the bedroom chanting “Beach day! Beach day! Beach day! Taylor wake up, beach day!” Normally I prefer to plan a little in advance so I have like, appropriate beach snacks in the house, although now that I think about it I never do and we end up stopping at the store on the way down the hill. So we sunscreened ourselves and Gwen and she changed into her beloved purple swimsuit and loaded up the stroller with beach towels and my Mexican blanket and a pop-up tent and a big bag of beach toys. We stopped so Taylor could get a coffee and to buy some buns to eat on the way, but didn’t bother getting any fruit or chips like we normally do. It was so windy everything would have gotten full of sand anyway.

It was mid-morning when we got to the beach and as I mentioned, very windy. The waves all had whitecaps on them and the beach itself wasn’t very busy yet even though the sky was clear and the sun was hot. We set up our tent and our blanket on the leeward side of a log, but left the towels in a bag and I ended up using them as a pillow. Gwen sat in the tent with me while she finished her bun and then she and Taylor moved around to the windward side of the log to bury their feet and legs in the hot sand. I lay in the tent and read and felt the baby kicking and watched the gulls and crows and flags flying in the wind.

The tide was out and there were cargo ships moored out in the bay with dozens of tiny sailboats flitting around them, their white sails looking like the wings of small white birds. I walked down to the water’s edge to photograph a flock of geese who were patrolling the sand and to dip my feet in the water, and later Taylor carried Gwen to the shore as well but she didn’t want him to put her down. Last year she loved the ocean and walked fearlessly straight out to sea at every beach we visited but this year she declared it “too wet” and “too scare.” Maybe it was the wind and the whitecapped waves? I hope if we go again on a calmer day she’ll love the ocean again.

01 BD daddy daughter 1

02 BD gwen full

03 BD geese

04 BD shells

05 BD daddy daughter 2

06 BD gull

07 BD gwen profile

08 BD skyline