Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hello? Is anyone out there?

Could it possibly be the Christmas season already? I could have sworn that summer had just ended and I was in the hospital staring into the eyes of this new human I call daughter. Suddenly I look around and wonder who put the lights up and where is that choral music coming from? Yikes, I am still in a mommy fog. I now understand the well known saying that goes: "parenting is the most selfless thing you will ever do". I have been living this statement for 5 months now and it has been the most fantastic and insane time of my life. I feel we have won the baby lottery and have received the most beautiful girl that we could have hoped for. I'm sure every parent feels this way when they get to know their babies. It is truly the most amazing feeling.

I am not going to lie to you...things are still incredibly challenging. I feel like I will be sleep deprived forever and may never have much time for myself. I constantly dream of paintings and projects that immediately get shelved in my mental idea log when Simone wakes from a nap or starts cranking for my attention. I suppose it will be awhile before I have the time or energy to do anything other than care for my bubby or sleep. I have many plans for this blog and one day I will achieve them again. I miss posting and I miss finding endless inspiration all over blogland. Until then I will be here at home focusing all my attention on this little delight.

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday and perhaps you will see more of me in the new year...that is if I can figure out a way to adapt to this parenting lifestyle of broken sleep.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bienvenue Simone Helen!

Ok, I've logged onto Blogger 4 times over the last 5 weeks to post an update, and each time as I typed my password, the cries from the baby monitor interrupted any progress I could make. But I'm learning very quickly that life with a baby is filled with interruptions...and messy kitchens and cluttered living rooms and absolutely no more time for myself. I can guarantee this post will have several grammar errors and spelling mistakes, simply because I must type very fast and post before the interruption occurs again!

But how could I get upset with this gorgeous face?? My cousin Christy was over a couple weekends ago to take some photos of our precious girl, and I'm pleased as punch how they all turned out!

What a whirlwind we have been caught up in over the last month! I've never experienced quite an emotional roller coaster since Simone has arrived. We took heed of all the warnings that life with baby would be difficult to adjust to but, wow, I had no idea it would be THIS difficult. The hormonal changes, the recovery from surgery and labour, the sleep deprivation, the constant crying...and then more crying, and let's not forget the incredible challenge that breastfeeding presents. I had no idea it could be so unnatural - breastfeeding is definitely a learned skill. I have now learned it is NOT as easy as those moms at the mall make it look. But one other valuable lesson I have learned is that this period of adjustment is temporary and since we got back from the hospital each week has been a vast improvement from the last and this has made me hopeful! I am certainly looking forward to Simone sleeping 5 hours in one go and I'm even more anxious to see her smile and respond to us. Right now I wonder if she sees me as more than her milk factory and nappy changer - hmm... probably not.

But so far, there have been many magical moments. I still can't get over the enormous amount of love and protectiveness that continues to grow within me each time I see her. When I watch her feeding I try to imprint her beautiful face in my memory...already she has changed so much and I hope I can always remember her sweet newborn smell. She is beautiful and I feel incredibly lucky to have her as my own. She is most definitely a gift that I hope I never take for granted....even when she cries for 3 hours straight and is completely inconsolable. These are challenging times, but the face of an innocent baby puts it all into perspective. Now if I can just figure out how to put my baby to sleep in less than 45 minutes, that would make a world of difference!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Star is Born!

We are home with our new baby girl Simone Helen! She was born last Saturday, July 14th at 9am - healthy, happy and ready to take on the world! After a very LONG labour she decided that she didn't want to come through my pelvis and we ended up in the OR for a C-section. We're home now and happy to be recovering in familiar surroundings.

You can check out more pictures here and when I have some more time, I'll write more about this whole experience that has completely turned our lives upside down!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Return of the Nesting Instinct

I've had a very productive week :) No sign of a baby yet, but I was struck with short bursts of energy and a sudden realization of "Omigosh, if I don't get to this NOW, it will NEVER get done!"...This nesting instinct has come and gone over the last month or so, but this week it hit me with new level of urgency. I suppose this means that labour could begin at any moment. My due date is actually July 17th, so theoretically I have 10 days to go, but everyday I wake up wondering if today will be the day. Half the time I'm completely nervous to go through the unknowns of labour and the even more frightening prospect of taking care of another person, but the other half of the time I'm so incredibly uncomfortable and ready to get this extra weight off my body that I want labour to start this very instant! Perhaps in a couple more days I will only think the latter thought...or so I hope!

Well, these "bursts" of energy don't exactly last long, so I've been trying to make the most of them. Besides cleaning all the kitchen cupboards, filing away stacks of documents and bills, and reorganizing all the closets again, I've finally got the nursery in order...check it out!
Here is the welcome wagon anxiously awaiting the new arrival!
And the quilt that I finally got around to finishing and binding - geez, that project took way too long to complete!
I even had some extra fabric to whip up this pillow and I also knit up my first little stuffy just for baby. The elephant blanket was a gift from my parents - I love this crib set. It's from Target, designed by Amy Coe.
Well, that's it for now. I suppose I will have another week of projects ahead of me to post for you again...unless I am busy trying to induce labour on my own or I become so fatigued that I can no longer get off the couch OR even better, I go into labour. But, hey, let's not jinx anything :)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Counting days

Ok folks...I'm in the homestretch now. And honestly, I am amazed that I have the energy to sit here and make a blog entry. Lately it seems to take everything in me just to shift positions on the couch - not to mention get up and walk to the bathroom. The computer is a major stretch for me right now! My belly is something to behold - I am in awe at the size it has become and somewhat freaked out to think how this watermelon is going to get out. I read in one of my preggo books that a woman isn't fully pregnant until her belly has corners - ie. the baby's elbows, feet, fists, poking out. I never understood that until the last couple weeks when the alien movements became visible from the outside. We are thinking there may be an alien in there! Yikes!

I'm so relieved that work is done and I'm officially on mat leave - I have been off one week so far and it has been exactly what I needed. Napping, resting, eating and watching movies have been the main events of my daily routine now. Already I miss all my co-workers and the social part of my job. But I don't miss hiding my dozing eyes or fighting to comprehend my colleague's explanations. My brain has completely gone in the last month or so...I really do hope it returns eventually.

Another good part of taking an early mat leave is that I have been able to catch up on some crafty projects and work on some illustrations. There were 3 other moms to be in my department at work and we're all due around the same time. Talk about bonding time with the girls! We all had a great time sharing experiences and comparing our bellies. I am the first of us in line, so I guess that means I'll pave the way - unless of course the baby is stubborn and doesn't want to come out on time! I spent some time last week making more bitty booties and doing some quick knitting for each of them. I didn't do nearly as much as I had intended - simply because I am the worst procrastinator and my energy level is in the pits. But here is what I accomplished:
Assuming I won't go into labour next week, here is a rough list of my upcoming activities: pack bag for the hospital, finish ATC for Flossy-p, finish embroidery for Babelfish, wash all baby clothes and re-organize nursery, nap, rest, watch movies, buy nursing bras and a large maternity knit dress/tent to wear around the house (it's supposed to get up to 27 degrees by Thursday - Lord help me!)...maybe I should add a trip to the YMCA pool...

Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments and emails! It's been so fun for me to share my pregnancy experience here. Thank you for all the support!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Big Honkin Belly

Well, I don't normally like to post photos of myself - especially now when I'm feeling so enormous. But I haven't posted anything in such a long time, I thought I should let my blog friends see what I've been up to lately, which really only consists of growing a baby and not a whole lot else.

I'm now at 33 weeks gestation, so only 4 more weeks until my mat leave begins and then the baby can come out anytime after that. (Please, not before!) I'm impatient to finish work so that I can stay home and nap everyday, but I don't think I'm quite ready for the reality of it all. Thank goodness there is 9 months to prepare the mind and body for the pain of childbirth as well as the huge responsibility of bringing another human into this world. It still overwhelms me from time to time, but the excitment of meeting this new person still outweighs all my anxiety. I think we'll get through this just fine, although I must admit, I would be an absolute basket case if it wasn't for the wonderful father-to-be who has doted on me since we learned about our little Cleatus. I am an incredibly lucky woman.
I am still present in the blogsphere, reading up on all my favourite blogs. It's just that I'm usually so exhausted by the end of the day, that commenting regularly just hasn't been possible. But I want you all to know that I am reading up on your posts during my lunch breaks at work and I'm loving all the creativity that is going on around there. You are all inspiring me daily, even if it isn't reflected here on my blog. I hope to join you all again someday soon!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Oscar's Lucky Quilt

On April 4th, my good friends Amanda and Warren welcomed a new human into the world and they named him Oscar! The perfect name for such a perfect little guy. When I went to visit them at the hospital, I was overwhelmed by how tiny he was since I had never seen a baby who was only a day old. It kind of freaked me out to think that in a few months I'd have one of my own, but when I saw how easy Amanda made motherhood look in such a short period, it didn't take long for my nerves to calm down. It's quite amazing to see those motherly instincts kick in so fast.

Last week, I attended a shower for little Oscar. I had been working on a quilt for him over the last couple weeks and managed to get it done in the nick of time. I called it Oscar's lucky quilt because of the red squares and Asian prints. Here is the lucky quilt in all it's glory. Welcome to the world Oscar!

My creation

Also, I have got a second wind for making stuff for our own little one and I made a pair of bitty booties. I had found the most unique trim at the salvation army last fall and finally got around to using them. The little balloons go perfect with the felted wool I picked up a couple weeks ago. I really can't wait to see if these actually stay on a baby's feet - I have made a couple pairs for friends, but have no idea if they were actually useful or not. Anyways, I shall soon find out for myself.

Now that the arrival time is getting a bit closer, it is really fun to start accumulating little baby things here and there. I have taken a couple days off so that we can start hunting for the big essentials like car seats and strollers. Hopefully we can stay focused and not come home with a bunch of useless baby gadgets. Eeek. Wish us luck ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What is going on?

Well, I am still here. I am the hopeless sporadic blogger now as I am so busy with work and nesting....and growing! It's amazing how important home has become to me in the past couple months. I've reorganized closets and cupboards, cleaned the fridge (although it really needs it again!). We've sorted and purged all sorts of things and driven a carload of junk to the Salvation Army to make space for all things baby. A couple weekends ago we painted our soon to be nursery a honeydew green. It is pretty bright, but I think it looks fresh and happy now that I'm used to it.

And good news! I can knit again :) I've finally finished a little sweater which I started last October! Geez that was difficult. But I think I'm on a role and already have some patterns for stuffies I'd like to make.

I'm also working on another quilt, but that is all I can reveal about it for now since it is a gift for a certain someone and I'm not sure if she would happen to come across this posting...

Oh, and here is a (very blurry) peek at the emerging belly. And let me tell you, it is popping! This week marks my official entrance into the third trimester. It is the final stretch, only three more months until I meet the little boxer growing inside me. I am dying to meet him/her!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Visual DNA

I've been wanting to post this for awhile, and I finally have a few minutes this morning to get it up. Flossy-p, Love Squalor and Red Button Tree have started the trend and I just wanted to join in the fun! Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend - I'll be posting an update on my current adventures very soon!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Quilting Doubts

So, in preparation for the new addition which is slow cooking in my belly, I've decided I must make a keepsake for him/her. A couple weeks ago, I went a little crazy in the quilting store down the street from us and picked up a collection of bright cheerful fabrics to get going on my a baby quilt. I figured these colours would all look so cute together and appeared to coordinate perfectly at the store. Well, here I am in the middle of fabric squares, realizing that the colours just don't jive all that well. I have spent several evenings putting patch next to patch trying to figure out how I am going to make this work, but I'm just not happy at all with any results. This quilt will be completed, the only problem is I don't know if I will actually want to keep it. At any rate, I will keep you posted and share the finished product once I get there.

You may be wondering why I am not knitting up a storm for this baby - considering I made this for my nephew and these cuties for friend's babies. I must share with you that since I've found myself pregnant, I cannot stomach knitting. Yes, this is very bizarre, but every time I sit down and try to knit a row, I get ultra nauseous - similar to how I'd feel if I were on a small boat in a torrential ocean storm. How can that be? Initially I thought it would pass after the 1st trimester, thinking that it was all related to morning sickness; but, I am now 5 months along and still I suffer from this horrible ailment. I am beginning to think this baby does not want me to knit - I'm not sure what he/she has against it, but it certainly is opinionated. We're definitely going to have a chat about that when we meet in July.

(**Please stop reading now if you are tired of my pregnancy babbles...)
In other pregnancy news, I am gaining weight at super scary speed and this baby is growing faster than I imagined. The doctor has assured me that this weight gain is pretty normal due to the size of our fetus; Cletus is going to be a big baby according the U/S measurements. Sounds like we can expect a whopping 8lb. baby. All things appear healthy, but I can't help but become overly self-conscious about all the fat that is being deposited on my body. I've always maintained my weight and this is the first time I've felt powerless about it. Poor Hubby is so tired of me complaining about my growing hips, butt and belly. I am working on my attitude to simply surrender my body to this little person growing inside me...but let me tell you, it is tough! I really had no idea it would be so difficult to let go of my body. Did any other moms out there struggle with this? I just know that I'm going to have a lot of work ahead of me after this baby comes if I want to get into my favourite jeans again. Bring on the challenge!

Illustration Friday - Gravity (late submission)

Yes, I know it has been far too long since a painting has been posted on my blog, so without further delay, here is my latest piece. It is a late entry to IF, so I won't post it on the site but I thought my few visitors would like to see it. I guess you could say it is my idea of Mary Poppins, but Hubby thinks it looks more like unhappy housewives trying to escape their mundane lives. Well, whatever works I suppose.

I have been experimenting with acrylics for quite sometime, and even attempted to paint this image with the medium. But I missed my watercolours so much that I abandoned the acrylics and slid back into my comfort zone. I will revisit the acrylics, but I probably won't show anything for sometime - not until I feel comfortable working with them and I am happy with some sort of outcome. Currently the results are quite muddy as I've completely forgotten how to work with paint on canvas.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy. I will try to be more consistent with my entries but I can't promise much more than a post a week right now. Other projects I am working on include a quilt for our growing baby and a super duper embroidery I am working on for a swap with Babelfish - but that one will remain a surprise until she receives it. Yipee!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Half way there!

As a proud mom to be, I just had to share my ultra sound photos with you all. We are nearly halfway through the pregnancy and doing very well. I wanted to thank all of you for your lovely comments of congratulations and well wishes to Hubby and myself. We appreciate every one!

Now, isn't this just the cutest pickle you've ever seen? Well, ok, except for the alien face shot. I do admit that is pretty scary. But the bitty foot and that perfect little nose brings a tear to my eye. I can't wait to meet this little person - but for now, I'm really enjoying my expanding belly and I'm amazed by my crazy new eating habits (I have become the bottomless pit!). I have to say that I'm really surprised by how pleased I feel with pregnancy so far. I know there are a lot of aches, pains and strange body changes ahead of me, but it is quite a miracle to know there is someone in there. I don't think I've felt this little guy or girl move yet, although when I'm working out, I can feel something going on. I'm still not clear if it is actual fetal movement or if I'm just sloshing everything around and it is causing extra gas...

And on the subject of guy vs. girl - I'm pretty chocked about the gender determination restrictions out here. I was 19 weeks to the day when I got this ultra sound done and just dying to know the sex of our baby. I was looking forward to this day for weeks! The first question to the technician was "could you please tell us the sex of our baby?" And his response was, "Sorry, no can do until 24 weeks." Arg. He said I could blame it on the cultural issues of this area which has affected all parents to be. It seems that certain couples have actually gone to the extreme of aborting a perfectly healthy baby after discovering the baby's sex to be inappropriate according to some crazy cultural guidelines. I just find this so outrageous and incredibly sad. I also heard that this is only a problem in the Vancouver area, and in most other parts of Canada, they will tell you the sex of the baby at anytime. Anyways, I suppose we will have to wait, and the important thing is to know the baby is healthy and growing. But I am tempted to make an appt for 3D ultrasound. I am seriously considering it since I just found out that my benefits will actually cover it.

Ok, enough on the baby update. In other Sally news, I am working on a painting right now so I should have it up by the weekend sometime. For my b-day last November I received a set of acrylics and a couple blank canvases, so lately I have been experimenting. I must admit, I find this medium quite challenging after working with watercolours and ink for the last while, but I'm determined to get something done with them. And as soon as I do, I'll be sure to share it with you. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Embroidery Swap

Back in October, I signed up for Faun's embroidery swap - my first ever swap within the blogging community. And how exciting it was to see this surprise in the mail!

I got this hilarious embroidery from Fizzelstix (sorry about the poor quality picture - click on her name to link to better photos on her blog). The embroidery is entitled "spank the chicken" where a beaver appears to be about to swat the chicken with a whisk. I love her quirky sense of humour and she is a super talented illustrator. I've been eyeing her blog for quite some time now. You can also see a better photo of my embroidery at this link since she has obviously swapped with me.

And as an added bonus, Faun threw in a print of her illustration! I am so happy to have a piece of her art. I love her style and the print is such excellent quality. I must learn her printing secrets.

Both these items are perfect decor for the baby's room. I'm anxious to frame the print and hang it up. And I think I will make a special little pillow (perhaps to hang on the door knob?) with the embroidery. Love them both - thank you thank you to both these talented artists! I'll be sure to update you all on the items when they are in their proper spaces.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

5 Things

I've been tagged by Flossy-p with a fun little game called "5 things" which means I must now share 5 things about myself that I haven't left on my blog. Well, what a great way to get my butt in gear and post something already. Thanks Flossy! It is no secret that I have been in a funk for quite awhile now and I just haven't wanted to post anything since I figured I'd be moaning and complaining the entire time and who the heck wants to read about that! Well, here is a nice format for me get back into the groove, it is also a fun way for me to make my BIG announcement, so please, read on!

1.) Ok, don't know how else to tell you, so here we go : I'm Pregnant! That's right folks, knocked up and getting ready to pop out a baby in mid July. I suppose that is the main reason for the uncreative rut I've been in lately. Between the fatigue and constant nausea, it was difficult to do more than eat, sleep, and pray that I wouldn't lose my lunch on the sky train. Even work was becoming unbearable! Also, if I have had any energy, I've been consumed with pregnancy books, references, and anything related to baby this and baby that...wow, never thought I'd get to this point in my life! But here I am, and holy cow, are we ever excited! (I'll be blogging more on this soon!)

2.) I grew up playing the violin and if my audition had been good enough to be accepted to Western, I would have majored in music. Currently my violin is in the closet, strings loosened, gathering dust. But I do miss playing and hope to one day revive it and join a string quartet. There is something truly magical about playing an instrument in a larger group!

3.) I secretly wish I could be a boxer. I'm not really one to spend the afternoon watching boxing matches on tv, but ever since I read Bryce Courtney's The Power of One about 5 years ago I have been quite interested in the life of a boxer. When The Contender reality show aired in 2004 (you know, the one with Stallone and Sugar Ray), I wouldn't miss a week - I was so caught up in the individual fighter's lives; the glory of the wins and the tragedy of the losses. And let's not forget about Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood's finest achievement. After seeing that movie, I searched all over our neighbourhood to see if there were any boxing gyms where I could train...of course I totally chickened out and decided I'd live vicariously through Hillary Swank.

4.) I work as an artist in video games, but I have to admit that I absolutely can't stand video games...Yes, I know... What am I doing in this industry? I absolutely despise talking tech shoppe away from the office and I have a hard time explaining exactly what I do when someone asks. I suppose it's one of those careers where you wake up one day and ask yourself, how did I get here anyways? Especially when I had studied traditional animation and fine arts for 4 years. I'm not complaining, it is a great job and I love the people here. But I dream of a day where I can work from a small studio and create my own art and actually make a living from it.

5.) The last one..On the subject of jobs: The worst and toughest job I've ever had was working in a greenhouse during the hot humid Ontario summers to make money for school. Everyday for 4 months my best friend and I would leave our comfortable air conditioned homes to face the 100 degree Fahrenheit oven called a greenhouse. We'd cart around bedding plants and load them onto racks for shipping all over Ontario, Michigan and Ohio. The worst part of the job was that we'd arrive each morning with no clue when we'd leave. Early summer was so busy that we could end up working until 10pm or even midnight 7 days a week. And all this fun, for minimum wage and no over time pay. Good times! We were zombies and completely unaware of what day of the week it was. I did this for 3 summers and was so so happy to land my next job at a paint-your-own ceramics studio. It was less hours and crap pay, but I have never taken air conditioning for granted ever since. It sounds cliche, but I think every person needs a job like this to truly appreciate all the future careers/jobs they will have. I know I do!

Well, that's it folks. Now it's time for me to tag some others:

Babelfish from CrustStation (however, I think you've done this already...)
Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits
Hubby hubberson

..I'm not sure if anyone reads my blog anymore, but if you read this post, consider yourselves tagged as well. Have fun!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stuck in the 90's

Happy New Year everyone!...yes, I know it is quite a bit overdue. But, hey, better than never, right? I have to admit, I am still in quite a rut as far as my creative activity is going. I wish I could say that Christmas was the rejuvenating break that I was expecting...Unfortunately a long plane ride to Toronto brought a dreaded cold and more exhaustion. Gotta love recycled air! It was wonderful to see the family and I did get a ton of rest while I was home. Even my Dad was concerned with the amount of time I spent crashed on the couch. So, here we are back on the west coast awaiting yet another wind storm and I feel like the break was some sort of dream and here I am back at life. I do believe I need to pick up the Artist's Way again and get a kick in my creative pants. This is getting ridiculous.
But before I dig that out again, I'd like to share with you one of my Christmas gifts. My ever so thoughtful brother and his wife were kind enough to buy me this Natalie Merchant CD which has been on my amazon wish list for about 4 years now. Don't ask me why I didn't ever just pick it up myself, I have no idea...perhaps it's because I get music amnesia every time I walk into a CD store. But I was so excited when I opened this gift because it brings back sooo many memories. My first apartment, roomates, college papers, art projects and all those years of dating Mr. Hubby. Yes, reliving the late 90's all over again :) This is the part of my life I like to remember. Forget high school, it was awkward, painful and filled with horrible decisions. But leaving home and embarking on a new beginning, new friends, and of course, no money. Sigh. Those were the days. So, off I go to listen to it again. Have you all heard of this CD? I think I am a bit stuck in the 90's , but it really is one of my faves.