Friday, July 27, 2012

DIY: Filing Cabinet Makeover

Since the birth of our son, the amount of important papers that need to be saved has increased ten fold. And our sad accordion-style file folder is bursting at the seams. It was time to get an actual filing cabinet.
Getting a filing cabinet feels like a milestone in a young adult's life. It is a symbol of achieving adulthood, in a way. Your responsibilities have grown and with those responsibilities come numerous papers to clutter your life. The more papers you have, the more mature and responsible you must be. We must be very mature then, but maybe not all that responsible yet, since our important documents exist in quite a jumble right now!
Back to the filing cabinet makeover! We bought this one at Value Village for $10. Not bad, not bad. Then we had to buy a bunch of files and a rack that they can hang off of, which came to about $30. Still cheaper than a new filing cabinet. Now I wanted to do something to fancy it up a bit, since I wanted it to sit in our living room. I figure having it upstairs and in a convenient location might actually mean that we will file those important papers properly, instead of leaving them lying at the top of the stairs, waiting (hoping!) for someone to bring them down and file them away. We clearly believe in the existence of a filing fairy, since we rarely do the deed ourselves.

So here is the before picture: (I always forget to take a picture before I get started. oops)
 I like the colour of the cabinet, I just wanted to add some fanciness to the drawers. I printed out a pattern that I found online, and after removing the handles and stuff, I stuck it on with acrylic gel medium and put two coats on top.
 I put the handles and stuff back on when it was dry.

 Ta da! Lovely!
A nice little flower from the garden to top it off!
And now to sort through all those papers and file them properly.... ugh, I think I will wait for the filing fairy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Family Cradle

Before my older sister was born, my mom and her sisters bought a cradle together. Since then, it has served as a first bed for me and my sisters and all my cousins. And now it has become the cradle of my cousins' and my own children.

It sits up against my bed so the mosquito net can close around all of us at night.
 Each child who has slept in this cradle has a plaque with their name and birth date placed on the cradle.
On this side are the names of the next generation to use the cradle. Kesten is the sixteenth baby to sleep in it. We will soon add his name to the cradle.
 Remember that table I made with the old fence boards? I brought it up to my room to use as a nightstand now.
 I love the rough old texture of the wood and paint and the milk glass lamp on top. That lamp sure comes in handy in the middle of the night for feedings.

Do you have a family cradle or other special bed for your baby?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Attempt at Rose Water

I have been meaning to try this for over a year now. I found a link to make rose water and bookmarked it, hoping to get to try it at some point. So last night on our walk, I collected some rose petals and then tried my best to make rose water.
 I filled a big pot with some water, placed my jar to collect the distilled water in the middle, and spread the rose petals around. I then brought the water to a boil.
 I placed a bowl of ice water on top so that the evaporated water would collect along the bottom of the bowl and drip into the jar in the pot.
Well, I only got maybe a tablespoon of rose water from this process. A couple of things were not working in my favour: 1.The pot I had wasn't deep enough to allow a jar to sit on top of a brick (as the instructions suggest) while having the bowl on top create a seal. 2. The bowl had a flat bottom and I am not sure that all the moisture collected on the bottom didn't just drip back into the pot and not into the jar. Maybe I will try again some other time when I have the right tools!

Have you ever tried making rose water? Is there an easier method you have tried?

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Foxes

RIP Momma Fox

I am very sad to tell you that the momma fox of the fox family was killed by a dog a month or so ago. I think I almost cried when I heard the news. I worried about what would become of her family. We speculated that her kits were probably old enough to make a go of it on their own, but we weren't sure. People reported seeing the daddy fox around, but no sign of the babies.
But last night, I went for my first bike ride in over a year (it was glorious!) and as I went around a corner I spied a fox. It was one of the babies! I good deal older, but not quite as big as an adult. I followed him around for a bit and watched him hunt. If this one survived, there is probably a good chance that the other two did as well. I sure hope they did!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Salmon Day

Today was Salmon Day at the Historic site, which meant free entry for everyone and free salmon samples as we got to judge the salmon prepared over the fire by 5 different teams. Everyone loves free food!
 I love the feeling of community that these events stir up. I'm getting to know a lot of people in this town.
 The Farmer's Market Team was the runner-up in the contest. Their salmon was marinated in local birch syrup and served up with local berries. It was delicious!
 The trophy awaits presentation to the winning team...
 Congrats Mayor, council, and district, the 2012 winners!

This evening we took a family stroll down to the lake. The bugs were pretty terrible, so we didn't stick around too long. The crows don't seem to mind though. There were hundreds hanging out.

What a beautiful place! I'm glad our son gets to live here!

It was a Great Day!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Today is my birthday. A lot can change in a year. Last year on this day I got some really bad news. We had been trying to get pregnant for awhile and I knew something wasn't right. I went to the doctor and got some tests done and a diagnostic ultrasound. I got the results on my birthday. The doctor told me it was going to be very hard to get pregnant without fertility treatment, and even then, the odds weren't great. The wait list to be seen by a specialist was over a year long. This was very hard to hear. I've always wanted to have kids, I have always pictured my life with kids. To learn that it might not happen in the way I always thought was very difficult. I had to start adjusting my life and start thinking about what I would do if I never could have kids. I didn't give up hope, but I knew that I had to be ok with things not happening the way I had planned or I would always be unhappy. The next few months were very challenging. I had to start coming up with new goals and ambitions. Anyone who has had a difficult time conceiving will know how hard it is each month to get your hopes up and then have them dashed again. It is emotionally draining.
But then, in October, I had reason to hope that something had happened...And I was right! That was such an exciting moment, getting that positive result. I was shaking from head to foot. It had happened all on its own without any fertility treatment.
My pregnancy wasn't always easy. I spent the first four months or so puking and nibbling on crackers and the last couple months were challenging. But I am so thankful for this little baby that grew inside of me. And now, a year after the worst birthday, I have a baby boy who will soon be four weeks old! What a difference a year makes! From despair to joy. You are a wonderful birthday present, Kesten Alec!
(Oh, and the fertility specialists finally gave me a call to set up an appointment a month ago, and I was very happy to tell them that I was days away from giving birth.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Nursery

I never really posted any pictures of the nursery before we had Kesten as we had to wait until he was born to get the crib and some other things. But now that it is all here, it is time to share!

This is a painting I made for the room with the hot air balloons I also made. It is supposed to look like they are coming out of the painting.

My mom sewed this beautiful bedding for the crib.

I made this shelf to hold toys and books.

 My friend made this beautiful mobile. Kesten loves to stare at it.

 Curtains to cover the closet.
 I made-over a dresser I bought for $10. I had to strap it onto the roof of our car and drive 2 hours home with it. I painted it green and added yellow gingham drawer liners to the front.
 This was the dresser before.
And that is about it. He sleeps in our room right now, but I am sure he will enjoy it when it is time to move in there.
On another note, it is amazing how good you get at multi-tasking when you are a mother. I wrote this blog post as I nursed my son. Yay for learning how to do things with one hand!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What a Journey!

What a long journey it has been! So many changes have happened! This is me at 15 weeks pregnant:
 And at 39 weeks:
 And at 40 weeks and 2 days. I went into labour that night.
 And now we have a sweet baby boy who likes to smile in the mornings. He also loves to make little grunting noises and pumps his fist in the air.

 I love it when he makes this face.
We're slowing getting used to this new pace and schedule. I have been reading a lot of Amelia Peabody books while I breastfeed, which is nice entertainment for Mom! The weather has been hot and sunny and we have spent time on the beach with our little guy. And that is about all that is new! Kesten takes up all of our time!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Birth Story

I love reading about people's birth stories so I thought I would share my story with you here.

The final days of my pregnancy were very uncomfortable and painful. In fact, I think they were worse than the labour itself. The baby was sitting in a way that created a lot of pain and I couldn't sit or stand for very long and really could only lie on my side. Needless to say I was ready to have this baby out!

Sunday night we went to bed after a brief walk and drive around town. Just before 2 am, in my sleep I felt a pop and gush. I jumped up immediately saying my water broke and ran to the bathroom. My husband jumped out of bed and flipped on the light, he didn't want to miss out on any action! My first contraction came pretty soon after that, followed by another a few minutes later. Looking at the clock, they seemed to come every 4 minutes. Remembering what the midwife had told me, I got into the bath to see if they would stop or slow down- we wanted to make sure it was the real thing before driving 2 hours to the hospital in Prince George. Well, just half an hour later, my contractions were 2 minutes apart, lasting a minute. I called the midwife and she told me to get there right away. I was still unsure if I was really making in progress or if I was in "real" labour because the contractions never seemed too strong. It took us half an hour to pack up the car and hit the road. It was 3am at this point and we could see the sun coming up in the distant horizon. I sat in the backseat of the car, cross-legged and holding on to the handle in the roof. I kept dozing off between contractions and waking up to breathe through them. I was convinced that my labour was slowing down and that I wasn't having as many contractions at this point, although I wasn't timing them. My husband kept chatting away pleasantly, pointing out all the wildlife on the drive (a moose, a deer, and 4 foxes) and I just had to ignore him, I couldn't focus on those things. We stopped once at a rest area for me to use the loo, and I remember it not being much fun to get out of the car. Leading up to the birth, people would look at us like we were crazy for wanting to drive two hours while in labour. I myself dreaded what the drive would be like. In the end, it was actually not too bad and I seemed to really be able to manage my pain well in the car. And it is also where I spent the majority of my labour! Because things were happening a lot quicker than we realized!
We got to the hospital and had to go in through the emergency room. The nice security guard led the way for us and pointed us in the right direction, making a little joke which I tried to give him a smile, but I am sure it looked more like a grimace. Do they make those hallways really long on purpose? We finally made it to the maternity ward where my husband called them to let us in the doors. "I think my wife is in labour," he said. "THINK?!" "Uh, I know my wife is in labour," he corrected. They buzzed us in.
We had to wait in our birthing room for a few minutes until our midwife arrived. To be allowed to stay at the hospital, you have to be at least 4cm dilated. I was so convinced that I was either 0cm or at least less than 4cm. When the midwife arrived, she started filling the birthing tub and and I was thinking "you should probably check me first, because I don't think we will be staying." Up to this point, I still didn't think my contractions were all that strong. I kept expecting them to get a whole lot worse, because I anticipated my labour to last for days. Well she checked me and I was 5-6cm already! After only about 4 hours in labour! Well, I hopped into the birthing tub and in less than an hour I was feeling the urge to puch. She checked my again and I was fully dilated and ready to go. Everything was happening so quickly, I could barely wrap my head around it! After reading all those books about labour, and the stages of labour etc. I never felt like I had gone through a "transition phase" or anything like that. I do remember feeling a bit panicked from time to time, thinking "Can I really do this? It's too late now! I'm too weak to go through with it!" But then I would just focus on the moment and not about what I had yet to do.
So once I started to push, I got on my knees in the tub, but it was way too intense and painful and I had to go back to lying on my back. When I had tried to go on my knees, the baby's heart rate had dropped significantly and the midwife wanted me to get out of the tub. That was a little scary! I got onto the bed and lay on my side and we re-checked the baby's heart. It had gone back up again, which was good. I pushed on my left side for a bit and then we flipped me onto my back like a beetle. I never thought I would want to give birth lying on my back, but it was actually a very comfortable position. But I was working against gravity. I pushed for the next 2 hours. I felt like I was in a trance. I closed my eyes and didn't really open them again until the end. My leg went to sleep where I was holding it up, and because I didn't change positions for 2 hours, I killed that nerve, leaving my leg numb for what could be weeks or months. Oops. The nice thing about the pushing stage is that I could no longer feel the pain of the contractions, I could only feel the urge to push. My baby finally made it all the way out and was plopped on my chest. What a relief to have it all over and in less than 7 hours too! He wasn't crying enough though, so they had to take him away to work on him for a bit and then brought him back.
What a feeling to hold your baby for the first time. It was very surreal. I couldn't believe that it was him! He had been the one inside me for 9 months! What a thrill it was. I was so proud of myself for going through labour naturally and for not panicking. I felt like superwoman!
And now we are already part way through his second week of life and he is one amazing little guy! He is gaining weight like a champ and is letting us get lots of sleep at night. We feel pretty lucky to have such an easy going little guy so far.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kesten Alec Nutbrown

I cannot believe he will be a week old tomorrow! I love this little guy so much!

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