Monday, September 21, 2015

A life off balance

I am currently living a life that feels very unbalanced, and I am not just saying it to justify my 21 day absence from the blog (especially after promising not to disappear).  I have started a training program in order to revisit my old OB skills and start applying them again, i.e. attending to births.  It is hard to describe how many hours per day are consumed by this program, but I am guessing that at the moment it is around 10-12 hours, plus multiple commutes daily (some of the work involves going home and coming back to the hospital at all hours of day and night).

This is taking place in Vancouver, where I chose to be in a smaller hospital that would remind me of my home town, and that is within 15 minutes driving from my parents' house.  I brought the kids, and the nanny, to stay here as well, but despite having them here with me, I don't think that they are seeing as much of me as they need.  They are still little, and they are used to me being their primary caregiver, despite the fact that I work about 30 hours per week.  Back home, a lot of those hours are in the evening, and on weekends, and so the daily average is still pretty low, between 4 and 6 in general.  They hate it that I am away from them.  I hate being away from them.  I am struggling to complete this program, and feel that I cannot stay longer than another week, although I initially was going to be here for another week and a half.  I think that I might just skip the last three days, particularly because I am ready to say screw it and give it all up.  Both kids have colds, and diaper rashes, and they fight more than usual, and they cry more than usual and I generally have a harder time interacting with them in a semi-civilized manner in the evenings because they are very prone to fits of temper.

We barely have time to wash and get dressed in the mornings, and to read a book and have dinner in the evenings, with very little time to go anywhere because I am constantly on call and may have to go back.  Swimming in the city is nothing compared to the beautiful and spacious pool that we have back home.  It is crammed with kids, and lessons, and there is not much room to enjoy life, although I do take them swimming sometimes.  I, on the other hand, did not have any chance to swim in the past month. I was able to run this weekend, and got my mother quite upset in the process because she thought that I should have stayed home with the kids and not taken that little time off to myself.  No, she did not have to watch the kids, my husband was looking after them, but that never stops a mother from being disapproving, as we all know. (However, I had not run for eight days, which is forever for a regular runner, and I needed to go, so go I did, even though it was pouring rain.  Best. Run. Ever.  Except that I got to hear it from my mom for a few days afterwards and also I now have shin splints, which is what happens when you only run once a week instead of every other day).

Anyway, I am rambling.  I miss my kids is the bottom line.  I have no idea how people can live with seeing their children only for a few hours at night.  I hate the wasted time in traffic, and feel that my moments with them are shortened by a hundred red lights. I am counting down the days until I finish this gruesome schedule and vow to not undertake such an endeavour anytime soon, although I shudder to think that someday I might need to work this way to pay for my living expenses, which is what I am noticing that more and more people have to do, with expenses going up and wages staying roughly the same.  I would like to know how other mothers cope with full time work and commute in the city, if anybody wants to share.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It has been a century

I miss my blog.  Over the course of the week, I have realized how much I miss having a place to write, and think, a place of my own for self expression and for generally documenting my thoughts as life goes by.

I have not updated here for so long that when I tried to log in, I realized that I forgot my password.  I then reset my password, logged in, and my blog had disappeared!  I thought my, that is a bit harsh, I go away for five seconds months and look, my blog is deleted off the face of the internet.  Then I figured out that hey, I am logging in with the wrong email.  Duh.  In my defence, I am not as smart as I used to be after having the kids.

My blogging time got eaten up by exercise time.  That is because for some reason I have decided that it is now time for me to start getting into some serious athletic shape, after lying in bed for the entire pregnancy with Daniel (and with Emma before), and after never being able to compete in any running or triathlon races due to never ending IVF madness.  After Daniel, I have finally felt that my body was back to normal, my own to operate and shape in any way I want, and I the first thing that I did was to get insanely fit.

I have run two half marathons this summer, one of which was a long mountain race that kicked my butt.  I run 35 km per week, swim with the local masters group, and do cross-fit.  My body is stronger and faster than ever before, even in my twenties.  However, all this takes time, specifically 6 am time,  so there goes my quiet blogging moment.

Regardless, I am in need of writing, and so I will have to find a niche of time somewhere.  I am impressed to see that the blog still gets traffic, I have to admit that it is nice to not be talking to myself over here, but at this point I feel like I would write even if I talked to myself.  Writing allows me to observe the world in a different way, to connect my present with my past, and to use my brain in a way other than pushing myself to run uphill six times more than I'd like.

That being said, creating blogging time will be tough.  I will have to see where I can steal it from.  As it is, Daniel is busy trying to plug a lamp into the outlet, so I have to interrupt constantly to chase him away from the power outlet, lest he plug his fingers in accidentally (or on purpose).  Emma is typing on my keyboard simultaneously with myself, so I have to delete gibberish.  And oh, now Daniel is typing too.  I had no idea that it was keyboard skills class.

And now Daniel pooped in his diaper. I really have to go...for now.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

At the end of Mother's Day

I find it hard to say Happy Mother's Day today on this blog, because I know that the women reading it (assuming that anybody actually is still reading:) often are not yet mothers, or they lost babies and hence the word "mother" is filled with pain and grief.  Despite that, in real life I blurt out Happy Mother's day to everyone around me (even to a male police officer-don't ask), assuming that everyone is happy to celebrate like I currently am.

Currently.  There was a time when this day was up there on the list of bad days to survive through.  I recall a time when there were women with children and babies all around me, and not a single one I knew was struggling the way I was.  I remember feeling singled out, pitied, unworthy. It was not so long ago...

I wonder if there is anything that I could say today to the woman that I was back then, with the life experience in between then-me and now-me.  It would likely sound like this, stripped bare of all embellishments:  Life is what it is.  What you see now is what your reality is.  Accept it.  Hope is good and necessary, but even more than hope and living in a dream about the future, make the most of what you have been handed today.  Try to limit the amount of time spent feeling sorry for yourself, and ask yourself what you can do now to life today to the fullest.

I know that, although I am happy and fulfilled today, the future will bring more pain and loss.  It always does.  I hope that when it does, I am strong enough to remember this principle.  Make the best of what you have today, and do not linger in the self-pity party.  Go on and life might bring on more joy.

Luckily, for me it did, and after all that loss, there was a day like today, when MrH, Emma and Daniel took me to a restaurant for dinner and I had a chance to look at my living children (I even brought Adrian's urn too) and to feel immensely blessed.  I know that today is the day that we thank mothers, and I did thank mine, for doing a great job of loving and caring for us.  However, even more importantly for me,  I gave thanks to my children today for coming into my life and making me a mother.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Daniel!

My sweet little man has turned one today!  Here is a picture of him eating his birthday cake
I am seriously in love with my children, but my love for little man is growing and growing as he is getting older and cuter.  He likes to give kisses with an open mouth, nice wet ones, and he likes to put his head on me to rest (any part of my body will do, as long as it is momma).

He is pulling himself to stand, and climbing up stairs.  He tries very hard to go down but has not yet figured out that he needs to turn around.  I would estimate that it will take him a few more months for that kind of discovery, based on what I remember with Emma.

On most days, I cannot believe my luck that I have these two small kids running around the house and driving us crazy.  I mean hello, I am supposed to be infertile hahaha.  In fact I really really am infertile now.  I did some spring cleaning and came across a packet of sanitary pads, which I happily gifted to my friend.  I feel very free without the stupid uterus.  Thank you Daniel for this unexpected bonus that your birth has brought me :)

I am not writing quite as much because I am incredibly busy with work and exercise.  I have become very fit, fitter than I have ever thought I would be in this lifetime.  I just ran 15.5 km (9 miles?) Saturday, and the fun thing is that I do it every Saturday, and have been doing it throughout winter, in the snow.  It is now a fair bit easier actually not to have to fight the snow with each step (we are just going through the melt, and the roads are clear).  If you told me I would be doing forested trail runs in deep winter at -35C I would have laughed, but I did, and I will continue to do them.  I swim twice a week, 2 km each time, and I run three times a week, for a total of about 30 km right now, but increasing steadily each week towards 40 km. I just got my bike out too, and will road bike soon.  I am preparing for a triathlon olympic size in July, and for a half marathon in the mountains in August.

I love being so active, but I would never have been able to do it without my husband's support.  He truly believes that I need time to myself, and has figured that if I exercise I am less anxious and worried, which is a double reason to do it.  MrH has been a wonderful support during this past year, and during my whole marriage to him.  Having two small kids is no small feat, even though we love them more than life itself.  He has done it before, and knows how to put it into perspective for me.

What a year this has been!  one year ago, little Daniel and myself were struggling for life, and now we are thriving and happy and surrounded by love and support.  Thank you God! that is all that I can say.   And hopefully many more of these wonderful years will come.

My son, may you grow to be a good man, an honest, kind, generous and loving man, the way that your father is, and the way that I try to be (minus the man part I mean).  It is a huge joy and honour to be your mother.  You were the last embryo, and honestly took me by such happy surprise when you implanted.  The fact that you are healthy and happy and smart and everything under the sun today is proof that amazing things happen in life.  I hope you will carry this thought with you wherever you go (and of course don't go too far from momma, my love).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I have been attracted towards minimalism more and more since we have had children.  I made a few mistakes with over purchasing in my past life, and now I am trying to destash everything.  I have gotten rid of shoes today, clothes over the past two days, sheets when we moved two years ago, towels ditto, books in two stages, when we first moved here and also in the past week.  It is like spring cleaning but with the goal of halving all of my possessions.

I took an entire bin of toys out of Emma's room and I don't think it was even noticeable.  That being said, she has the least toys out of all the kids I know.  Most of her stuff is educational materials, like puzzles and blocks.  She has about four stuffed animals or so, and only one Barbie which I did my best to hide (it was a gift).

My kids have only four drawers of clothes (Emma) and one drawer (Daniel) total.  Emma's clothes are bigger so they take up more space.  That being said, I still have three strollers and one bike attachment.  Crazy, huh?  One stroller is a single jogger, one is a double jogger, and one is a high seated Stokke which I love for walks as Daniel can see much better and be closer to me.  I think that the Stokke will be the first one to go, but the joggers will have to stay, since I sometimes need both (like when I actually jog with the kids).  The single jogger I use when travelling, as it folds up very easily.

I also have a total of 25 pairs of shoes, and three runners (metal spikes, trail and flat).  We do have a lot of seasons here, and I need office boots, very warm boots, mud boots, elegant heels, the full gamut, because my life is pretty colourful like that.  And, despite culling my sweaters FOUR times, I still have 15 sweaters.  On the other hand, I have TWO t shirts (one white and one brown) and two short sleeved tops for work.  Summer is brief, what can I say.

Please tell me how you gals have reached simplicity, if you have.  It is a never ending struggle, but I am getting better as time goes on.  I think that with most of my possessions, it is a matter of thinking about each and every one to make sure that it really is pulling its weight.  So far, some things have not, but they are in great condition and classics, so I am waiting until something else hits the dust to put them into heavier use.  I know that it is not the way to destash, but on the other hand it makes me feel safe to have them as backup.

I suspect that this is the feeling that I need to work on, eh?

Monday, February 9, 2015


aHere I go again, not blogging for a whole month.  It seems that life is taking me very fast and I am not swimming fast enough to keep afloat.  In the past month, I have become about 200% busier, at least at work, but also at home.  The nanny had to take some time off for health reasons that came by surprise, and I had to scramble to find another nanny, a lady that has a two year old, and that initially left my house quite messy, creating yet more work for me when I got home, on top of pacifying the kids and making dinner.

I also kept busy with exercise, especially with outdoors running.  Winter running is a unique sport around here, as we run on trails not accessible at all times in summer (bog conditions make them...boggy, and mosquitoes, bears, and other friends chase us out of there).  I ran this morning at -30 C and did not even cover my face, just the chin a bit.  After 50 minutes I felt a bit of frostbite starting to tingle on my face, but by then I was home and did not get any skin burn.

If anybody wants to know what we wear when we run, it is not a lot of extra layers, just a pair of thermal long johns, one pair of lined Lululemon studio pants, smart wool socks (one pair) and Solomon snowcross trainers with metal spikes for good traction.  On top, one long sleeve thermal T shirt, one turtleneck (mine is an old cashmere one) and a studio jacket from lululemon too.  I would wear any of similar weight.  One hat that cover ears, and one neck warmer (that I only started wearing recently after a friend gave it to me). Mittens. That is that.  My iPhone wears a hand warmer to stay warm, but today it died anyway.  The shoes are the most important part.  As long as one keeps moving, one is warm anyway.

I also stated doing weekend and one in four days call at work.  Call lasts 24 hours during the week, and 72 hours on the weekend, and we get called at all hours, so depending on what happens, it can be very busy.  This weekend, the nights were especially busy, as I had to go in at 1 am, and got woken up randomly about once an hour.  And so did the kids who sleep with us in bed.  Crazy life, eh.  I forget how crazy it is when I don't do it for a while, and then I start again and it hits me how this is our normal.

Daniel is trying to type, so I will let him express himself:

How did he get the Greek characters?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Adrian's 5 year aniversary

It has been 5 years since the day I gave birth to Adrian.  I pulled out his card that joyfully states in blue letters "It's a boy!" and remembered with a twinge how much the cheerfulness of this card hurt me back then (it still does).  It clearly states the time of birth, 10:08, and the birth weight, 409 g.  I know these details by heart, although funny enough I don't know when my living children were born, or exactly how much they weighed (well, ok, Daniel is easy to remember 'cause he weighed 2.000 kg, how can I forget that one?).  It is not that odd, because for Emma and Daniel I have so many more details to remember:  their first days, their first smiles, their first teeth, the crawling days, their baptisms, and just about endless hours of joy spent together.  For Adrian, all I have is this blue card with the stupid birth announcement and the cruel exclamation mark.  That, and his foot prints, tiny and perfect. This year I will post a picture of them, as I love them so much more than the fuzzy ultrasound paper that is starting to darken already.

That's all I have of him, folks!

And, by God's blessed grace, I have two living children who were there with me today when we lit Adrian's candle and said a prayer that he be in Heaven with God, that our love may reach and envelop him, and that we meet one day.

PS.  At dinner today, Emma was very excitedly telling MrH about how mommy had a baby named Adrian who died when he was born, and he is with God, and is flying with wings (that part I never said anything about actually), then about how some mad people burned him in the oven and he died (sorry about that, I obviously did not explain cremation very well, she wanted to know how he got into the urn and I made the mistake of giving too many details, as I was not prepared for that one).  I did correct her and said that no mad people were involved, that Adrian was surrounded by loving people the entire time, and that he was with God when his body was burned to fit into the urn, but I would clearly say that if you get asked this question by a 3 year old, reconsider when mentioning anything about cremation as it is much too graphic and hard to soften as an idea.

I also told her that he died because he was born too small, and that she was luckily born very big and strong.  She seemed pretty happy at the end of the conversation, and I know she will mention the idea again if she does not get it.  Like when she first asked me why Elsa's parents died (in Frozen) about twenty times.

Here I am, posting about Adrian's anniversary only to write an entire paragraph about Emma.  Adrian, your sister is smart and funny, and very inquisitive.  She keeps me busy.  Your brother, Daniel, is getting ready to keep me even busier with his exploratory bent (he is a man, he wants to move, and to find out all about the physical world around him).  I wonder how much you might have looked like them, and decide that the answer is A LOT, since they look a lot like each other.

I was very blessed to have such a rich life so far, my sweet little boy, and I did live it to the fullest, as I have promised you I would.  For you, for me, and now for them too.