countdown

Maddy in her cozy bag jacket

The day that Madison was born was obviously a day that completely changed our lives forever. There aren’t going to be very many life changing events like that one, but I’d have to say that Sunday is going to be pretty close. In just a few days, we’re moving to Calgary. (Cue all the comments about the cold weather here…) Yes, we know that Vancouver is rated the top city in the world to live in once again. It’s not like we don’t love it here, and we certainly didn’t expect that we’d be leaving our families and pretty much everyone we know to move to another province… Especially so soon after our baby was born!

But sometimes an opportunity comes up that you just can’t say no to.

It’s scary, for sure. We only know a couple of people in Calgary. We’re leaving our families and our friends, our support network. We’re leaving our hockey teams. It’s sad, too. I don’t think we’ve ever felt so close to our families as we have since Maddy was born. It’s like she has brought everyone together. She’s the first grandchild for any of our parents, so obviously the news that we are moving away was not met with a lot of joy. I know it will be hard for them to be away from her now that everyone has fallen in love with the little miss, despite her sometimes difficult disposition. She’s just so damn cute. One smile or gentle touch from her washes away all memories of the massive meltdown she may have just had.

I booked our flight to Calgary earlier this week and I just about had a heart attack when I clicked the “one-way” option instead of “round trip”.This week has been all about counting down. Our last weekend in the house, when we had a little going away party. The last Mom and Baby group on Monday. Our last Wednesday in this house. Murray’s last day in the office on Thursday. Our last Huskies hockey game on Friday night.

I talked to my mom about this yesterday, how this week is all about “lasts”. As you’d expect, poor Lola has been dreading the day that we move since her little granddaughter won’t be coming for her weekly visits anymore. So what she said really amazed me. She said “But next week will be all about firsts.”

I’d never thought of it that way since recently we’d really been focusing on all the things we’d be leaving. I guess it brought some perspective back to us – it reminded us again of why we decided to go. Yes, it will be really hard to leave our families and our friends, but we’ve got an exciting new start in Calgary. We have a great opportunity for our family with Murray’s new position and we believe it will be the best thing for us in the long run.

So – here’s to all the “firsts” that we’ll be experiencing. All of our “lasts” will stay with us, of course, but just like we created a new life with miss Maddy, we’re going to create new memories as a family in our new home.

me time

Since the moment we knew Madison was on her way, my life changed. Suddenly it wasn’t all about me anymore, it was about the tiny life growing inside me. Then, of course when she was born, that change intensified. Our daily routine was all about baby, every decision we made was with miss Madison in mind. So – yesterday was a bit of departure from that, and I gotta say, it was awesome and very much needed.

Anyone who knows me knows I love the spa. For years, I made a point of getting massages on a pretty regular basis. When I worked at a spa, I discovered facials, and those were also added into the rotation, though on a much less regular schedule than my massages. I’m a bit of a facial snob. Most facials are crap. I have all the stuff at home, and sometimes I’m left feeling like I could have just done a better job on my own. Yesterday, however, was an exception. Before Christmas, I had booked myself an afternoon at Spa Utopia. I was going for it – a massage AND a facial. It was time for some pampering!

I’ve had plenty of massages at Spa Utopia, and they are always fantastic. I like to get there early so I can enjoy some time in their eucalyptus steam room, then relax in the lounge and snack on dried mango until they come to get me for my treatment. I hadn’t had a facial there yet, so I was looking forward to trying one. I decided on the 75 minute Designed for You Exclusive facial. One word to describe it: BLISS. This place does it right, with the steam, and the face/neck/arm and even foot massage. I fell asleep three times yesterday afternoon, one during the massage and twice during the facial. I came out of there feeling like pudding. It was awesome to be able to completely relax and unwind for a couple of hours.Nothing else existed outside of my warm bed in the darkened room.

Meanwhile, dad took care of baby and did the grocery shopping.

Madison already has dad wrapped around her little finger.

last christmas

Madison's first Christmas tree!

I’ve always loved Christmas, but this year is different. It feels even more exciting, more special than ever before because it will be Madison’s first Christmas. I hope that she grows up with as many wonderful memories of the holiday season that I did. Last night, as I fed her at bedtime, I thought about how magical tomorrow will be for all of us. She’s too little to understand what Christmas is right now, but I got giddy at the thought of her two or three years from now, her big eyes wide with wonder as her stocking, empty the night before, is now full of gifts from Santa. I held her tight to my chest, her little body already heavy with sleep, and thought back to last year. My eyes got wet with tears as I thought about how a year ago, she was already with me, a tiny speck inside my belly, unbeknownst to Murray and I.

It was Christmas morning when we found out I was pregnant.

One of the suggestions when you take a home pregnancy test is that you test using your first pee of the day. As my luck would have it, I woke up at 2AM that morning with a full bladder. Wait, I told myself, don’t ruin the test in the morning by peeing in the middle of the night. Hold it, hold it, hold it. So I went back to sleep but woke up again at 3:30. And again at 4AM. And once again at 5AM. I had to go, but I didn’t want to potentially ruin the test. However, I wasn’t particularly interested in fumbling with the test at five in the morning, either. After wrestling with my thoughts for several minutes, I decided that I just couldn’t hold it any longer – nature was calling.

Honey… I whispered.

Murray grumbled and rolled. What??

I gotta pee, but I don’t want to ruin the test for later if I pee now. I can’t hold it anymore, I’ve had to pee for like 3 hours. Should we just test now?

He laughed. Might as well.

So, still half asleep, I climbed out of bed, unwrapped the test in the bathroom and followed the directions carefully. I placed it back on the counter, finished up and came back to bed to wait out our 3 minutes. When the time arrived, we both got up and walked to the bathroom door, which was still shut. I took Murray’s hand as he opened the door to look at the results.

We both had to lean in closer to see, but there it was…. two pink lines. One was lighter than the other, but undoubtedly, there they were: two pink lines staring back at us. Merry Christmas, baby!

We could not have asked for a better Christmas present! It amazes me to think about how much our lives have changed since last Christmas. Having miss Madison has given me a new perspective in so many ways, and I can’t wait to see the magic of Christmas through her eyes.

All ready for Santa in her candy cane sleeper. H&M, $19.95

don’t f with mama bear

Don't mess with mama bear.

Of all of the ferocious animals in the wild kingdom, there is none more fearsome than a mother protecting her young. A hungry hyena knows better than to go after a little lion cub when it knows her mother is nearby. A mother will fight to the death to protect and defend her little ones, and that’s often why female animals are better fighters than their male counterparts, even though they are physically smaller in size.

Apparently, this applies to humans, and to me specifically as well.

This past Saturday, Murray and I went for our weekly shopping trip at Superstore. Although it’s way more busy than the Save On Foods that we used to go to, the carts they have there are two levels and accommodate a baby car seat. The ones at Save On are just the regular kind, and it’s hard to fit any groceries in there unless we start putting them on top of Maddy! So, we’ve switched supermarkets. First on the list was some Breathe Right strips. (Murray snores. It’s horrible.) Murray was pushing the cart with Maddy in it, and I was following a step behind as we went down one of the pharmacy aisles. Absentmindedly, Murray must have left the cart at the end of the aisle when we found what we were looking for. As Murray grabbed a box of Breathe Right strips, I heard that metal-like clang that the carts make when you put your cart away. I looked over my shoulder and noticed that the sound was caused by some guy who had rammed his cart into our cart with Maddy in it!

I looked at him in disbelief and said “Excuse me!”  He didn’t apologize. Murray then took note of what had happened and he asked the guy, “Was that on purpose?” To my shock he said yes! What kind of person would do that sort of thing??? Murray said, “That’s just ignorant! There’s a baby in that cart, you idiot.” His reply was that it was ignorant of us to have left the cart blocking the end of the aisle.

OK, while I agree that it was inconsiderate to leave our cart there, it wasn’t done on purpose. Most normal human beings would simply move the cart out of the way. Maybe if they were in a bad mood, they would rudely point out to us that it was blocking the aisle and tell us to move it. But who the hell rams a cart with a baby in it?? This is the perfect example of an ignoranus, a person who is both an idiot and and asshole.

We exchanged some choice words with him then continued on our way. Moments later, we were coming up an aisle that he was just starting to come down into. I was still furious and shaking. My mind was racing. He rammed my baby. MY BABY. What if he had woken her? Made her cry? Worst of all, what if by crashing into our cart with his, Madison’s carseat had gotten knocked out of the cart and fell onto the hard ground? The imagined sound of her painful cry rung silently in my head, and I lost it. Without making a conscious decision, as we approached him, I stepped past Murray and lunged towards the guy, pushing his cart and sending it flying out of the way so I had a clear path to him, grabbed him by the lapels of his black leather jacket and shoved him.

That’s right. I shoved him. Mama is a lioness.

I think I said something to the effect of “That’s my baby, you #@!&*^!!” I think he was too stunned that a little Filipino chick just came at him to react. Murray stepped in to make sure nothing else happened, and nothing did. We walked away, but my blood continued to boil as the adrenaline was rushing full force through my body.

Now, no one would ever describe me as a wallflower, but even Murray was surprised that I went at this guy. I don’t know what came over me. I guess it is that mothering instinct that is ingrained into our DNA. No one messes with our kids, man. I’ll end this post with a quote from one of my favorite funny movies, Role Models.

“I am a very animalistic woman. And when it comes to my son, I am a lioness. A black sheba. I am a lioness, and that boy is my cub, and if you let anything bad happen to my cub, I will claw yo’ ass up until you shit sideways.”

miracles

Madison and Sylvie

The other week, I met an friend for coffee. We had gotten to know each other a bit while we were pregnant, since we were due only two weeks apart. I used to look for her to see how much her belly had grown to get an idea of how my belly might look in two weeks time. We would chat about how we were feeling, how the babies were kicking us, and how we were looking forward to finding out if we were going to have a boy or a girl. Shannon’s baby girl, Sylvie, was born the day after Madison, on August 26th, 2010, but actually they were just hours apart.

We met at Starbucks, and we set up shop in the comfiest-looking chairs with our Lattes and Artisan Sandwiches, strollers in tow. Madison was asleep at first, while Sylvie was awake. Then Maddy woke up shortly before Sylvie went to sleep, so the two girls got to meet at last! It was such a neat thought to know that they had already been in close proximity several times before, but they were each tucked away in their momma’s bellies. Madison had heard Shannon’s voice before, as Sylvie had heard mine. They they were, our precious baby girls, face to face at last! We shared our labour and delivery stories, sleep deprivation battles and breastfeeding adventures. But then Shannon shared something that rocked me to the core. Sylvie was not her first baby. A little over a year ago, she had a little boy named Oliver, who was born still due to a condition called Trisomy 18.

I was too shocked to ask very much about it, but later Shannon sent me a link to Oliver’s memorial page. I read it that morning. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to read, as well as the most beautiful. I don’t know if I would have the strength to deal with what they went through, never mind having the courage to share that story with others. It was heart wrenching to read, and I thought about what we might have lost if this had happened to our little girl. As soon as I finished wiping the many tears from my eyes after reading the story and looking at each of the pictures, I ran upstairs to hold my precious Madison. She was asleep, but I picked her up anyway and held her tightly, pressing her tiny, warm body against mine. I kept whispering, I love you, I love you. I’m so glad you’re here…

Every one of us deals with tragedy. Sometimes privately, and sometimes openly, with the support of our friends and family. I believe that this serves to make us appreciate the true miracles in our lives. I asked Shannon if it was ok that I shared her story, and she told me that one of the things she wanted most in the world is to keep Oliver’s life alive in this way, and to help others who might be going through the loss of a baby by talking about their experience. Please, take a few moments to help keep Oliver’s memory alive and celebrate his life by reading Shannon’s incredible story of love. Link: Oliver Paul

Monkeying around

Madison having a full monkey meltdown

Yesterday was Maddy’s first Halloween. When I was a kid, growing up in Edmonton, the best part of Halloween was dressing up and getting loads of candy, and the worst part was the tummy ache from eating way too much sugar. As a teenager and in my twenties, the best parts were the dressing up and the parties, and the worst part was the hangover the next day. For my first Halloween as a mom, the best part was seeing my little munchkin dressed up in her monkey costume and the worst part was dealing with her crankiness all afternoon!

It was really tough to even find her a costume. I had been on the lookout all month, but every costume I found was going to be way too big for her. I really liked this strawberry costume from Children’s Place, but it was an 0-6 month size and would have been hanging off of her. I looked online, too, but was never sure of the sizing, so never ended up ordering anything even though there was a really cute white bunny costume that would have been just adorable.

I had pretty much given up, thinking I would have to just draw a nose and whiskers on her, when we came across the perfect outfit! We were in Sears because Murray wanted to buy a frying pan and as we walked toward the exit, there was a rack of infant Halloween costumes. The one at the end was a pumpkin, which I grabbed and was about to buy, until I saw a little monkey face on the hood of another costume. How perfect! Murray always calls Madison his little monkey, so we knew this was it 🙂

As cute as she looked as a monkey, she was a dragon all day long. Maybe she was just cranky or tired, or maybe the costume was itchy, but she spent most of the day either grumping or sleeping. Daddy and I both did our best with rocking, bouncing, swinging, singing and shushing, but not much was working.

We would answer the door and greet the little goblins and princesses with our grumpy little monkey in tow. They got their candy and an earful of screams before going off to the next house. There was even another little monkey who came to our house, but he was in a much better mood than our little one. In fact, he walked right into out house to check out Maddy’s costume while his dad reminded him he shouldn’t just walk in to people’s houses.

Maddy won’t remember her first Halloween, but of course, we’ll remember our first Halloween as parents. Based on this picture, we might forget the grumpy part and just remember how freakin cute she looked.

Madison in her first Halloween costume

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