Sleepless Nights

Last night was rough.

Isla was coughing and unable to find her way back to sleep once it woke her – the Mr. wisely abandoned bed for couch and I lay there in a half-doze for what felt like HOURS (I didn’t dare check) as she seemingly bounced around the bed. At one point as she rolled onto my arm AGAIN I kinda snapped at her a bit, and she whimpered, and then it occurred to me that in however long we’d been trying to find sleep I hadn’t offered a cuddle. So I did. “Would you like a hug?” “Yeah please.” Her little forehead pressed against my cheek, the breathing became normal and started to deepen… the coughing stopped, the fidgeting stopped, all in minutes.

A whisper: “I love you, bunny.”
No response. Yes, she’s asleep. I can sleep.
“… I luff you, too… mama.”
YES. I’ve got this.
And then the alarm rang.

This poem below came across my Facebook page from my now-favourite blog, picklesandpords.com (ignore the fact that the author spelled her own site’s name incorrectly in this now-viral image. She points out that sleep deprivation is winning).

More great bits and pieces from this author here.

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How is cosleeping?

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My lovely girl,

I wrote this blog post in my head at night when I couldn’t bear to get up and type it out, because you were snuggled up beside me and I didn’t want to leave… but mostly because I was so tired.

You are 23 months old. One month (a little less now) until you are two. You already tell people you are two, much to the giggly amusement of our little neighbours who argue the exact facts with you. “ALMOST two,” they say. But you laugh: “No, I two! Two.”  Sweet Pea, you don’t even know what it means to be in a hurry and you already are.

You are growing so fast.

Normally, we walk you to sleep or almost-sleep, snuggled up in a woven wrap next to me. You request to be on my back now – I think it gives you more room. Then I carefully place you in the big bed where you sleep between me & Daddy. You pull up your purple blanket and place a hand on one of us so you can stay in touch.

“How is cosleeping?” a cousin of mine recently asked.

Sometimes I’m grumpy about it and want my space. Sometimes I stare at your face and see my newborn. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of what you’re dreaming about. Usually, if I’m being honest, I am so exhausted by the time I make it to bed that I can’t stay awake to even contemplate “how it is.”

Always, it is worth knowing that you are happy and feel safe.

Last night, something new. Instead of wrapping and walking we went to bed and read book after book after book, and when you could hardly hold your eyes open a moment longer, you said “one more, read.” And so I did, and then you turned over and went to sleep.

Some night, I’ll read to you in your own bed and you’ll fall asleep there, and you’ll probably come into our bed sometime in the night.

Some night, you’ll stay in that bed, and I’ll wake up in the morning and have to go get you.

Some night, you’ll go there by yourself.

Some night, you won’t need me… but tonight you do, and so it’s okay to remind me and it’s okay that I needed to put my computer away. It’s okay that I’m writing this blog at 1am because you’re happily sleeping now but needed my attention earlier.

It’s okay these blog posts are very few and far between.

It’s okay I might need an iced coffee to get through tomorrow.

It’s okay that sometimes I feel totally crazy, because we’re heading toward that number 2 together. And 2 is crazy, no doubt.

Goodnight, little girl. Let’s not hurry this month.

This Roller Coaster Ride, Take 2.

This is the roller coaster ride that I originally experienced when we were trying to conceive. Years ago. This was the monthly thing that started to happen when I realized things might be difficult, but didn’t yet have medical support. This is what people think of when I say that fertility treatment is a bumpy journey.

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But there is a much bumpier journey, to me. The treatment itself is something that most people just have no idea about. There is a media expectation that you decide to do IVF, go to a clinic for some tests, take a bunch of injections at home and are really cranky, and then get a baby. Or not, as per the above chart. But it is rarely that straightforward.

We are really only at the beginning of trying again, but already… well, I just thought I might give you a bit of an idea:

09Oct2014: Have surgery to clear tubes. Great news – it worked. Maybe we can hope for the best, here. We consult with our awesome doctor and agree that the best case scenario is that we can go for an IUI (intrauterine insemination… relatively cheap and easy). Celebrate!

23Nov2014: Start some oral medications for pre-IUI. Hooray!

30Nov2014: IUI day! Go to clinic. No go… The Mr. didn’t react well enough to HIS medications. What? They worked two years ago. “Oh yeah. We have a 4th infertility factor. Yeah, that makes sense.” IUI canceled. Cried a lot.

21Jan2015: The Mr. goes in for some further testing. Nope, this IUI thing isn’t going to be an option. Well, shit.

22Jan2015: Start to prepare myself for the idea that we will go ahead and transfer our last frozen embryo. Anytime. Anytime now. Terrified. Decide I need a solid decision on what we will do if it fails, BEFORE we go for it. Lay awake all night long.

23Jan2015: Talk. Talk a lot. Research a bunch. Run budgets, call nurses. Decide to do the frozen and transfer, and that we will bite the bullet and do whatever it is that we need to go ahead with another full IVF cycle if our little frozen snowflake decides not to stick. Worry.

25Jan2015: Amazingly, now that we’ve made the decision, the financial concerns seem to fall away. Gratitude.

26Jan2015: Realize, with some shock, that if the above is going to be true, we need to ahead and do this rightthisminute. Call the clinic. Hurry hurry. Scramble. Make appointments. Too busy to feel much of anything.

27Jan2015 am: Take my daughter with me to the fertility clinic for a very early morning blood test. Now we’re getting real. She snoozes in her jammies and shark slippers on the waiting room couch, curled up beside me and I feel guilty. She gets up and drinks her milk, and she beams at some of you. She doesn’t understand why it’s quiet, why people aren’t being social. If you happen to look up, she gives a small wave and says hi, tries to show you her companion, Grover. Some smile back. Some stare harder into their iPhone screens. I wish I could tell you this girl here is an ICSI baby, who came about with help from the very doctor you’re about to see. I can’t, but I hope you know anyway. And I’m so sorry.

27Jan2015 pm: I get the blood results back. Doc says it’s a go. Start to tell family, friends, people I run into, anybody who wants to know what’s new. I’m over being quiet about this stuff – I’ve done that before, it didn’t work for me. I’m feeling certain, and awesome. Calm.

28Jan2015, am: Another long drive to the clinic. This is orientation day. This is where we mark a little paper calendar with all sorts of colour coding, and get a refresher on how to mix up the little vials of medication that might as well contain gold. Build camaraderie with the nurse who is going to walk us through this entire process. Speak to the financial lady… not that fun, but not terrible, because everything is looking rosy.

28Jan2015, pm: Look, I know. I know that these things never go without bumps. Do I think we’re going to get a February cycle? No, I do not. I do not think my body is going to cooperate with that. There are decisions that are just made. Not by me and my husband, or my doctor, or even my bank account. If my cycle doesn’t agree with that colour-coded calendar, we just don’t proceed.

Do I know for sure? Not yet. I’m okay, though. If we have to do an early spring cycle, I think we can make that work, and I’ll be happy with it. I now expect the ups and downs, and that makes them a whole lot easier for me to cope with. It’s just part of this game. It’s okay now.

It’s okay for me because my ICSI baby is downstairs, cuddled up with Grover and a plastic tea dish (yup, weird), sleeping soundly, and unaware that her family might (hopefully!) change. I am privileged that the roller coaster is feeling safe this time… it didn’t always.

Kiddo’s Book of the Week: Pouch

UnknownA new feature on the blog… we’ll see how it takes off. I’ve got a toddler who loves books. We probably read for an hour a day, cumulatively, or close. We’ve started going to the library regularly just so I don’t get bored, and I found this gem of a book: Pouch, by David Ezra Stein.

We loved it so much that when it was finally due back at the library I ordered a couple copies – one for our library, and one for a 2nd birthday gift last night for a fellow babywearing family.


What it’s about:

Little Joey Kangaroo is ready to leave his mama’s pouch and explore the world. However, whenever he comes across another animal he gets a little spooked and yells “pouch!” while he leaps back to his secure spot. Eventually, he meets another little kangaroo and they find it very funny that they are both scared… and decide that maybe this time they don’t need to retreat after all.

Why we love it:

  • Each time Joey leaves the pouch he hops a little further. Two hops, three hops, four… good counting fun, here.
  • Beautiful, gentle, simple illustrations.
  • It’s fun to yell “POUCH!” together when Joey spooks and jumps back to his Mama.
  • We are babywearers. So are kangaroos!
  • We can relate to the need for little ones to explore but have a homebase “pouch” to come back to. Eventually, I’m sure, I will offer “wrap?” and Sweet Pea will say “no thanks.” Excuse me, I need a tissue.

You might need this book if:

  • You like kangaroos.
  • You have a toddler who is just starting to explore the world.
  • You babywear.
  • You are sappy about babywearing.
  • You are happy-sappy about your toddler’s increasing independence.
  • Your toddler is starting to make friends.
  • Love You Forever is just too sad for you.
  • You just enjoy a sweet, simple story with beautiful illustrations.

This is good in board-book form for your babies, and probably still a fun story through about 5-6 years old.

Just to make sure I’m clear: these hops toward independence are an experience any parent and child can relate to, babywearers or not. We just happen to love wrapping, and so find it fun to read tales of other parent-baby duos with carriers.

Interested in checking out Pouch? The whole thing is on YouTube, which is another fun way to enjoy the story:

Carrots from Scratch

Confession: I am not that great at vegetables.

I’m currently following The Grocery Shrink Plus menu plan. I’ve just started, and I love it so far. She suggested homemade crescent rolls alongside a pot roast dinner, and friends – baking with yeast is something that intimidates me. It just is. I don’t know why, but I’ve never really done it. I thought, in the spirit of following the meal plan, that I should give it a try.

Okay anyway, I made them. I was impressed with myself. I served up our pot roast dinner and the Mr. got ready to dig in, but I had to make sure that he too, was impressed.

FullSizeRenderMe: “I made everything here from scratch! Are you impressed, or what?”
Mr: “Well… I mean, I knew you were cooking things.”
Me: “But everything! Does something here surprise you?”
Mr: “ummm…”
Me: “Take a look! There’s something here I’ve never made from scratch before.”
Mr: “…carrots?!”

Okay, okay. I don’t cook carrots that often. ;o) I’m just flattered that he thinks I’ve been making the dinner rolls all along.

New Year, New Blog

We’ve been here in our cohousing community for a solid 8 months now, and the last of the boxes upstairs have been unpacked. We’re on to painting and other exciting projects, and if I’m being honest, I stopped blogging because “The Little Farmhouse” felt awfully irrelevant.

So, here we are, making my blog relevant again. At least to me.

Why Love and Peas Mama?

When I took my nutrition courses many years ago, I registered loveandpeas.ca as a possible business website for the future. I’ve never done anything with it, and a few months ago we directed The Little Farmhouse to this URL.

It finally occurred to me, late last night, that it’s actually an excellent name for this blog, as I try to fill our new home with love, good food, and listen to “pease, Mama” dozens of times a day as my girl discovers there is power in words.

So that’s it, friends. That’s the quick story of the new blog title and look. Welcome to 2015, and welcome to Love and Peas Mama. We hope you’ll stick with us this year for recipes, crafts, musings, and messy life with a toddler.

Deck the Halls

One of the delightful things about my daughter these days is the enthusiasm with which she notices things. In some ways, she’s more observant than I am – though I credit her proximity to the floor for noticing that my mother had replaced the floor vent cover in the kitchen.

At 16 months old, she seems to have developed an appreciation for “pretty” things, and so the decor of this holiday season is creating much excitement!

A recent Target run caused the purchase of a couple sheets of these $1 gel clings. I put them up during nap time, and she noticed them right away when she got up. Appreciative sounds like “ooooh, ooooh, preeety, ooooh,” made me feel so accomplished that I sat down with a cup of tea and put my feet up for a while. You know… for 9 or 10 days, anyway.

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When I recounted this story on Facebook, a friend commented: “She doesn’t even know what’s in store with the rest of the decorations! Her wee mind will be blown!”

That’s pretty fun, isn’t it? So forget Elf-on-the-Shelf, here’s the bedecking that is awaiting morning toddler notice and approval. Not my idea, of course… floated by on Pinterest, as the Mr. cleverly noted.

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Happy December, friends!

Keeping Calm: the next chapter of our fertility journey

Hi, it’s been a while. This post has been waiting to be posted, and it’s just taken me a little while to consider whether I wanted it all over the blogosphere or not. I decided to go for it. Almost a month ago, I posted this to my Facebook friends:

4cf59c0b5cf1e92a70ecdff876357de6My task today is to clean up my computer files. I’ve just come across a bunch of files relating to the three IVF cycles it took to get Sweet Pea. Notes, numbers, schedules, charts, photos of my little embryos… my heart and hopes in a petri dish, magnified x4000. A mantra I could never quite follow in the form of dozens of .jpg versions of “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Finance spreadsheets that never ended up with a total because by the time we got to “the end” I couldn’t bear to look at anything that showed the monetary value of our failures. Files I still can’t look at, but will never be able to throw away.

Hastily typed-up notes from a phone call with my amazing doctor, May 2012: “recommend another fresh [cycle] ASAP. Frozens there, suspended in time… may not be able to do retrieval in 1-2yrs if wait.” Even now, my heart beats a little fast and I’m slightly nauseated when I read this.”

The last month has had a bit of underlying stress to it as I consider what I want to do, what I hope for, how awesome our family of 3 is as I work on the positives that will hold me together if another baby doesn’t show up.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, exactly one week after my miracle baby turned one, we go see our awesome doctor at the fertility clinic. We owe him a 1-year-old’s birthday picture, anyway. I don’t know what this appointment is going to bring. It is just a discussion of the future. It holds many hopes and lots of questions, but no promises. I have learned to let go of guarantees in my head… but my heart continues to beat just a little fast as I try to meditate away that knot in my stomach.

After much discussion with the Mr., we are sharing this with you, dear readers.  I’m not going to pretend it is an easy decision to share this journey, whatever it brings – on the contrary, it’s rather terrifying. When we started fertility treatment I spent hours reading the blogs of people who were brave enough to write, trying to get some glimpse into what the process might be like. If I can offer that in return, good. If I can offer some perspective to people who have no idea what this is like, good. If I can bring awareness to an issue that I think needs awareness right now, then it will be worth it. And just maybe it’s a little bit selfish too, because I know that support and love can go a long way in carrying people forward.

#thisismystrikepay = Food For the Soul

Heather Hart @bwasgrumpy posted last night that #thisismystrikepay = food for the soul. I just happen to agree, and am hoping she doesn’t mind me borrowing that phrase for the title of this post.

Wow, what a weekend. #thisismystrikepaIy carried on as we were all hopeful over the weekend and disappointed with negotiation news this morning. Nobody could be more surprised than me and the Mr. We’ve had a hard time looking away, which is a sentiment I’ve heard from others, with tweets like this one:

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This is my personal favourite tweet from tonight:

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It’s true, isn’t it? Teachers suddenly had all this TIME that used to be filled with marking, so they posted and blogged and retweeted, and some of my friends even learned how to use Twitter for the first time so they could participate. My husband’s picket sign reads “Teachers Taking a Stand,” and I’ve been enthralled watching B.C. teachers do exactly that.

This simple hashtag took off. Why? So many teachers are parents too, and even those who aren’t have kids they’re concerned about. The fact is that every single one of the kids tweeted about this weekend is as important as any other. Every single one deserves the support of a fully funded education system. Is there a poster child for this campaign? Sure – thousands, in fact. It’s the thousands of kids across the province who are without textbooks. It’s the kids who don’t get time with their teachers due to overcrowding. It’s the special needs kids who need extra support. It’s the kids who are graduating this month who have spent their last 13 years in an education system abused by the government. It’s the kids who haven’t even stepped foot in a classroom yet. It’s any number of these, and many many more.

It’s the kids pictured here:

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And it’s my kid:

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And it’s yours.

So, you can read about how #thisismystrikepay got started here, but more importantly you can keep your eye on the Twitter hashtag. These are the stories and images that are important.

It’s time for me to look away for the night… I’m off to do some regular ol’ mama-ing and make a new t-shirt for Miss Sweet Pea to wear on the picket line tomorrow.

Please, carry on.

This Is My Strike Pay

How did #thisismystrikepay start, anyway? I’ve been asked a couple times today to explain more, and I think the best way to do that is simply to quote my husband. When he captioned the image of our daughter last night with “This is My Strike Pay,” he posted the following:

Let’s start dispelling the myth that this is about parents vs. teachers, shall we? Many teachers ARE parents and are in this fight as much for their own children’s future as anything else. Why would we vote 86% to strike without pay if we didn’t have cause to believe this is right? This is my pay. Her name is Sweet Pea and I want a better education system in place before she starts kindergarten. Teachers: consider sharing this please. Teacher parents: please consider posting a picture of your own child/children with the caption “THIS is my strike pay ” and the date they will start/started/graduate from school. It’s the next side of the “human face” of this movement and no one else is going to get it out there but us. Solidarity, sisters and brothers. And solidarity to our children, too.

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Personally, I think that says it all. Thank you to all the wonderful B.C. Teachers who participated in #thisismystrikepay in the past 24 hours. It turned into something I didn’t dare imagine when I posted to Twitter last night: a heartwarming reminder to all parties involved that the kids are at the heart of the current negotiations. Carry on, friends.