4 Months and Counting

24 07 2017

I need to preface this post by saying that I actually wrote it about 4 months ago.  Life is different ~ absolutely better ~ and it has either gotten easier or I have just adjusted to the new norm of 6am being a sleep in day (but to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I slept until 6am).

 I re-read my post today and it still holds true to exactly what I was feeling back then (not some distorted sleep deprived reality) when I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning many months ago.  

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I think it’s time to take a detour (hopefully brief) from all of the typical travel blog posts and talk about a new adventure that I have been experiencing: motherhood.

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I have to say, the transition from ‘mother-to-be’ to ‘new mom’ has been a rocky one.  Perhaps it is because I loved being pregnant – I was definitely one of the lucky ones – I felt great 90% of the pregnancy, it didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to, and apparently I ‘glowed’.

To be honest, sometimes I still mourn the loss of that role and sometimes I feel a twinge of jealousy when I see a pregnant woman walking down the street, or when I heard that Beyonce was pregnant with twins!  There is just something magical about the potential of being pregnant.  You read up on all of the crazy things that are happening to and inside of your body, you spend hours looking over baby name lists and you plan and visualize exactly how you want your labour and delivery experience to be.

What you don’t realize and what you can’t understand when you’re pregnant for the first time, even when people tell it to you, is that you have very little control over how your baby comes into this world.  Right up until two days before my babies were born, I knew that I was going to have December babies, we would call our doula over to the house when I went into labour, of course it would be during the evening/night and then we would make our way to the hospital…and then the rest of what would happen was always kind of blurry, I just knew what kind of beginning I wanted to have, with little thought to the end I guess.

Since crossing that invisible line of ‘mother-to-be’ to ‘new mom’ I have realized that that is the key to my emotional turmoil.  I am a very good student, and I studied up on everything I could get my hands on about twin pregnancies and then, when the babies finally did make their appearance (in November!) and opposite in almost every way that I had imagined, all of my studying and everything that I had learned had no use anymore.  All of a sudden I was in a new school, with a different set of rules, and I was behind.

As I walked slowly through the waiting room at my OB’s office six days after having my twin girls, I felt like my world had shifted.  The last time I walked through the front door of that waiting room, seven days prior, I never left, and instead was wheeled out the back entrance to the hospital.  I looked around the room at all of the other woman in various stages of pregnancy, and I just thought…’you don’t even know!’  And I know that that’s not fair to say since not all of these women were going through their first pregnancy, but I truly felt like I was in that room, no longer a naïve ‘mother-to-be’ but someone who knew something that you can’t know until you know – and it had changed me forever.

All of a sudden I have these two new little bosses in town.

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And they are in control of my life like no parent, teacher or employer ever has been.  They control when I sleep, when I eat, and even when I go to the bathroom.  They often make me question the last time I brushed my teeth or washed my hair….and laundry….if it wasn’t pooped on, it probably isn’t getting done.  Perhaps the most maddening part of this new super-controlled lifestyle, is that there is no rhyme or reason, no set schedule that you can wrap your head around and make sense of.  You just have to simply get used to eating cold food, drinking cold tea, taking 15 minute cat naps and holding it.  And some days you just lower your expectations and don’t even try to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom…and on those days, well….inevitably emotional breakdowns take place.

I would like to say, ‘it gets better every day’, but sometimes it doesn’t.  I think I could possibly say, ‘it gets better every week’, because sometimes it did, but I can definitely say that ‘it gets better every month’.  Those first few weeks were full of tears and a lot of confusion.  I literally cried over ‘spilled milk’.  Our ‘solid as a rock’ relationship took on some blows.  I felt desperate to make sense of these two new babies in our lives and try not to question their presence and long for life (and the freedom) pre-babies.  So I spent a lot of time reading articles/blogs and buying things on amazon that I thought would help some aspect of our new way of life: swaddle pods with velcro, a second rock n’ play, a second bjorn bouncer, a bottle washing brush, clothes that the babies would actually fit, more clothes because we already outgrew the other ones, and the list continues.  I read an article that said you should disconnect your credit card from your amazon account when you have a baby….I can see their point.

I walked into our two month pediatrician appointment asking about sleep training schedules and I think I surprised our doctor when I told her I had just read a sleep training book for twins.  When I think about how busy my days are now, at almost 4 months post-baby, I don’t know when I found the time to read a book.  But, then I realized, it was because I wasn’t sleeping.  You can get a lot of things done when you’re not sleeping.  Until you can’t get anything done because you’re not sleeping.  Now I am getting ready for bed at 7:30pm.

During my pregnancy and during the first few weeks/months as a new mom, what I have wanted more than anything in this world….was for someone to give me a definitive answer.  Just tell me what to do, and I will do it!  Breastfeeding.  Pumping.  Formula supplementing.  Sleep training.  Dealing with crying babies.  What I now realize, is that when it comes to pregnancy, labour and delivery, breastfeeding, babies in general, is that the most common answer you will hear is, ‘it depends’.  And what am I supposed to do with that??!

We have made it to four months with twin girls.  Sometimes I still cry when I look at their faces (out of love now, and not sleep deprivation…ok sometimes sleep deprivation).  I often want (and sometimes give in) to turn on the light at night and watch them sleep.  They watch me from across the room with their big eyes.  They give me wide mouth Buddha baby grins.  They light up and sing along to the ABC song.  I could watch Nathan playing with them forever.  And I can’t believe how they have their grandparents and aunts and uncles (and the rest of the family) wrapped around their little fingers.

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Needless to say, my life is forever changed.

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Spring Break: WestCoast Style

5 05 2015

Spring is here!  And with Spring comes Spring Break.

Now, it’s been years since I’ve thought about Spring Break and that’s only because I happened to visit Lake Havasu City during Spring Break and got to witness the shenanigans that took place – drunk guys wearing boxes on their heads, girls sporting pasties and old men showing off what they’re working with in waaaay less clothing than they should be wearing.  And before that, when I should have been one of those dancing beach bombshells (kidding) we didn’t really have ‘Spring Break’ – those of you at SFU know that what we had was ‘Reading Break’ – which doesn’t really inspire spontaneous trips to Cancun or Cabo or some other spring break sounding place.

Well this year, Nathan and I took Jonathan, who is now 16 years old, out for Spring Break – WestCoast style.

First up:  Victoria, BC

After narrowly missing the Black Ball Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria because we just HAD to stop for the ‘Best Fish & Chips’ at JJ’s Fish House in Poulsbo, we found ourselves basking in the sun on the upper deck as we motored our way across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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After an hour and a half we found ourselves in downtown Victoria – which brought back memories of Spring Break like times from yesteryear….first year university and all the girls went for a road trip and found ourselves in Victoria.  We all chipped in to stay at Paul’s Motor Inn (which I saw this trip) and after, probably more than a few drinks, found ourselves on the stage at a Karaoke Bar singing Girls Just Want to Have Fun.  And I think we made it through a verse and a chorus before somehow the song was over already and we were being ushered off the stage….still haven’t figured that one out. Ha!

Well for this trip to Victoria, we took the opportunity to walk the harbor and take in the Parliament Buildings.

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After a quick overnight, we were back on the road and headed to Tofino, BC.

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Now, this is the second time we’ve been here with Jonathan so we knew the drill.  Our first stop was to rent a couple of wetsuits and boogie boards.  And after a quick lunch on the water we were suited up like seals with hoods, gloves and booties ready to brave the balmy 48 F waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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Cox Bay Beach

 

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An hour and a half later we dragged ourselves out of the water.  I was still on an adrenaline high – for a girl who can’t really swim and isn’t the best at water sports, I was riding those waves all the way onto the beach!  Now Jonathan on the other hand, well turns out his gloves had holes in them, so after an hour in the water he ended up with white hands and what locals would call ‘The Claw’.  It took a soak in the hot tub and another couple hours inside before his hands started to resemble something other than an arthritic old man.

Our second day in Tofino we decided to ease back on the water activities, at least those as physically demanding as hurling yourself at an oncoming crush of water to see if it’ll let you go along for the ride or if it’ll twirl you around and spit you out on the other side.  So we went on a boat ride in the middle of rainy/stormy weather to enjoy the Hot Springs.

And after a bumpy, slightly nauseating ride where we saw eagles, harbor seals, seal lions and a glimpse of a sea otter, we found ourselves at Maquinna Provincial Park and just a 2km walk through a WestCoast rain forest from the Hot Springs.

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We arrived to the Hot Springs platform and change rooms about 45 minutes later and although there was a slight sulphur smell in the air, the view was enchanting.

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There’s something about sitting in geothermically-heated hot springs with the rain falling down on you as you hear the roar of the waves crash against the rocks around you that just seems a little crazy.

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After a soak and then watching some adrenaline daredevils jump from the rocks into the waves…we headed back to the dock…

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…where we were greeted by our ride home!  After enduring the hour and a half ride jostling in the waves to get there, the Sea Plane – with its 15 minute trip time – never looked so good!

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View of the Hot Springs from above

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It was a gorgeous way to see the coastline and a perfect way to cap off our time in Tofino.

The next day it was an early morning drive to Parksville – a stop in to see my parents – before hopping on a ferry to Vancouver, BC.

I always forget how beautiful and peaceful it is on the Island – I definitely took it for granted growing up there – but I never forget how fortunate I am to have called Vancouver home, even if just for a short time.  It’s just gorgeous!

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View of Coal Harbor from the Westin Bayshore

And so there you have it – ferry boats, boogie boarding in wet suits, marine life, Hot Springs, sea planes, mountain views and all you can eat sushi (not shown but definitely eaten):  Spring Break – WestCoast Style!

 





Just a little more pool time please

13 06 2014

There’s only so much sitting around the pool and soaking up the sun you can do……but I have to admit, I could have done just a little more.

We spent a long weekend in San Diego to celebrate our two year anniversary and it was fantastic!  We’ve done road trips and quick trips to Arizona and San Francisco this year, but it has been a really long time since we took a trip with the sole purpose of not doing anything.  We didn’t get a rental car because we didn’t want to feel forced to use it.  So that meant wandering from pool to hot tub, to room for a nap, to an onsite restaurant for dinner and back again.  Three days of heavenly, lazy bliss.

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There were plenty of water sports to partake in if we wanted to.  But, the pool seemed way too inviting.  And there was a fitness center, and I even brought my running shoes.  But did those shoes take one step outside of the room?  Actually, did they take one step out of the suitcase?  With mixed emotions, I say ‘no’!

It wasn’t until our last day when we had checked out of our room already and were looking to kill a little time, did we finally explore the resort other than the direct paths between the pools, restaurants and our bungalow.  And we found a tropical jungle.  There’s something very prehistoric feeling about some of this foliage.

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Sunset Magazine says, ‘Loveliest Spot in the World’

16 01 2014

There’s something about driving along the coast and sucking in the sunshine.  The magic of California definitely spun its web around me as we drove along Highway 1 from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara.  We spent a leisurely Sunday morning browsing a Farmer’s Market in Berkeley and picked up a tasty collection of  goodies for a picnic lunch: pumpkin bolani and sundried tomato spread, apples, grapes, dried apricots and chewy ginger cookies.  And I had just the place to stop for our lunch.

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  Part of the Big Sur area and home to this beautiful view of a sandy beach cove, turquoise water and an 80 ft waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean.

 

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The best view for our picnic lunch.  We got comfortable on a bench and dug into our feast.  Off in the distance we saw spouts of water mist as we watched the migrating grey whales.  It was a pretty popular place to visit and there was a constant stream of traffic of people walking the path, seeing the waterfall and moving on.  But we felt like we had a secret – everyone was so focused on walking the trail and feeling disappointed that the waterfall wasn’t larger (come on people – it’s not exactly rain or snow melt season!) that they weren’t even paying attention to all of the whales that were in the water.  So we kept quiet, enjoyed our farmer’s market picnic lunch and enjoyed the magic of the moment.

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Our lunch detour took a little longer than expected….but we still made sure to enjoy the sunset before heading onto Santa Barbara.

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Time for a Staycation

26 06 2013

There is just something exciting about packing a bag and leaving the house, not really knowing where you’re going or what you’re going to do.  This time, we packed a bag and knew that we were heading towards the Olympic National Park, but other than that?  Nothing.

So we found ourselves driving along a country road and came across the cutest fence post.  Little birdhouses on every fence post around the yard and up the drive way.  And the best part about that is that they were actually being used – little swallows were hanging around all over the place.

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Down another detour, that turned into a road leading to nowhere but another dirt road leading to who knows because we were too chicken to see where it went.  Correction – I was too chicken, because we were in a rental car, had no cell reception and I had no idea if we were just driving further and further into the depths of the park with no guarantee that it came out the other side.

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And we eventually made it to Hurricane Ridge.   I did my research, looked at the webcam and saw mountains and mountains of snow.  So I came prepared with jackets and snow boots and layers galore (similar to my trip to Big Bear Lake, CA).  Well it was 65 degrees at the top of the 5200+ ft elevation, and everyone was running around in flip flops amidst towering walls of snow.  Really a bizarre experience when you’re used to equating snow (especially that much of it) with cold weather.

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After a little bit of calling around, we did end up finding a place to rest our head for the night.  Although spontaneous, I will admit that sometimes it is nice to know where you’re going, but at least we didn’t have to double back, much.

Day Two of our staycation found us jumping out to Ruby Beach that had dazzled us during sunset the night before.  It’s a whole different feel when it’s day time and the water is so still that it shows perfect reflections of the sea stacks, and, oh yes, it shows off the perfect ripples of a skipped stone.

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A short drive from Ruby Beach and a short hike, and all of a sudden we’re in a dense forest with tons of greenery reaching for the sunlight.

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And the reason why you go on a hike is to get to the pay off – to get to that final view that makes the huffing and puffing worthwhile.  Marymere Falls – where the waters of Falls Creek drop nearly 90 feet from a cliff into a small plunge pool near the trail below.

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And after 45 hours, 450 miles, one suitcase, 2 pairs of wet shoes, an elevation of over 5200 feet, and many, many photos, we hopped on a ferry and headed home, needing a rest from our Staycation.   But what a great view on the way home. 

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The Other Side of the Hudson

14 04 2013

Sometimes you get so caught up with the bright and shiny, the hype and the frenzy, the minute details, that you forget about the big picture.  And nothing puts that into perspective than staring across the Hudson River, looking at the iconic skyline of New York City.  You see the city as a whole and can picture all of the tiny moving parts, the people, the taxis, and the decisions that are being made within.

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Skyline view from Hoboken, NJ

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Wait….Am I Boring?

10 12 2012

Sometimes it takes a question as simple as ‘what’s new with you?’ to make you jump up and realize that things need to change.  Or sometimes to make you realize that things have changed.

Someone asked me that simple question a couple weeks ago, ‘what’s new with you?’ and I realized that for the first time in a long time, I had nothing to report.  After four years of a life that was constantly in motion, where I was in a constant stage of waiting for the next leg of the trip, with no need to make plans because something would always come up, and inevitably, any plans that I did make would have to be cancelled, the fact that I had nothing exciting to report, nor did I have any immediate plans, kind of threw me.

At first I rushed into immediate plans.  I headed to the city to get lost in the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle, trying to wake myself up from the West Seattle haze I had found myself in.  Don’t get me wrong, I love West Seattle, but not a ton of excitement minus the orca whale sightings.  I scoured the event listings and bought tickets for the Seattle Symphony, the holiday show at the 5th Avenue Theater, and found myself at the Showbox at the Market on a Monday night seeing ‘Walk Off the Earth’ live (who would have thought that youtube video we watched a year ago would come back around like this?). 

Showbox at the Market (Seattle, WA)

Showbox at the Market (Seattle, WA)

Walk Off the Earth "Somebody I Used to Know"

Walk Off the Earth “Somebody I Used to Know”

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Summer Jammin’

After that initial panic that I was wasting away my days, I realized that not being on the road and traveling constantly was actually a good thing.   It’s true that in the past few years I never had to make any plans for adventure because there was no way I could avoid a last minute trip to NYC, a weekend in Chicago, an opportunity to see Martha’s Vineyard, have access to concerts, or have the opportunity to sing ‘on the road again’ again and again as we drove straight across the country for the 5th time that year.  But for the past few years I never made plans.  It seemed like I could never make a dr’s appointment, much less attend a neighbour’s holiday party or BBQ.  I sounded like a recording stuck on repeat, ‘who knows where I’ll be.  I’ll let you know, but probably won’t be able to make it’.  And it’s a little hard to make new friends when you can never commit to spending time with them.

It hit me suddenly that now I have the freedom to MAKE PLANS.  To commit to a schedule.  What??  The value of having the freedom to commit to a schedule?  Who would have thought that that was important?  Well, I have now thrown myself into ‘planning’ wholeheartedly.  A girl’s night, a weekly grocery shopping trip, a holiday ornament exchange, hosting a Christmas Cocktail Party, attending a friend’s holiday party – all things that I can say have happened in the last week, or will be happening in the week to come.

So, what at first seemed like a horrible realization that the excitement in my life was dependent on the twists and turns of work (which means I’m actually a very boring person), has now turned into the fantastic realization that I’m in control of my own adventures (and that I’m not actually a boring person by nature), and part of that adventure is this new opportunity to put down some roots!