Sparrow in the Tree Top

find your song and sing it

21 Weeks

PregnancyEmily KellyComment
22weeks.jpg

So on one hand September seems like yesterday. I mean literally, where did five months go? And on the other hand, June seems like FOREVER and a year away, although it's less time....  So I'm currently left feeling like either time will fly by or creep it's way to June. I'm hoping for a mix of the both because we still haven't really started any room preparations - and I have maybe 3 swaddles, one stuffed rabbit and a Sophie Giraffe for little baby K. Priorities, amIright?!

  After having a pretty crappy week 20, we moved into week 21 and just kept sighing about how lucky and grateful we are. Looking at these pictures I think you can see it in my face too. I'm just going to keep riding that wave.  I'm currently craving (in no particular order) Grapefruit, bananas and burgers (always burgers. I'm still not sure that's a symptom of pregnancy... more likely just my regular life.)  We don't know if baby is a boy or a girl and to be completely honest, because we had such an upsetting ultrasound experience, I'm glad we didn't find out - it would have been overshadowed by worry. And as the saying goes, in the end, we just want a healthy baby. Of course now I'm just itching to buy cute little gender specific outfits, but I really, really can't wait for that moment of elation when we finally meet him or her and it's all about that moment only. And I think it will be such a special moment for Mike to call friends and family and let them know that we're parents of a little boy or little girl.  And that's a wrap on week 21! We're taking the bump to meet Mike's granny tonight - today's her birthday and she's 101 years old! Hope your weekend is sunny and bright :)

 

After having a pretty crappy week 20, we moved into week 21 and just kept sighing about how lucky and grateful we are. Looking at these pictures I think you can see it in my face too. I'm just going to keep riding that wave. 

I'm currently craving (in no particular order) Grapefruit, bananas and burgers (always burgers. I'm still not sure that's a symptom of pregnancy... more likely just my regular life.) 

We don't know if baby is a boy or a girl and to be completely honest, because we had such an upsetting ultrasound experience, I'm glad we didn't find out - it would have been overshadowed by worry. And as the saying goes, in the end, we just want a healthy baby. Of course now I'm just itching to buy cute little gender specific outfits, but I really, really can't wait for that moment of elation when we finally meet him or her and it's all about that moment only. And I think it will be such a special moment for Mike to call friends and family and let them know that we're parents of a little boy or little girl. 

And that's a wrap on week 21! We're taking the bump to meet Mike's granny tonight - today's her birthday and she's 101 years old! Hope your weekend is sunny and bright :)

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew

FareEmily KellyComment

For me, there is a sweet spot in the winter - it's that few weeks when I'm still enchanted by the announcement of a snowfall and I like staying at home for dinner best. We've been trying to do a lot more cooking at home (more economical and a bit healthier!) and a few weeks ago I made this stew in an attempt to keep in line with this.

It's a work in progress - I made this from memory based off of a meal a friend made for me a few years back - it combines my favorite flavours of sweet potatoes, cilantro and peanut. There are so many versions out there, I get the feeling it's more fun if you just go with the principle of "if it looks pretty, throw it in the pot." Next time I think I'm going to experiment and add some coconut milk. And maybe I'll use an immersion blender to get a more soup-like consistency. 

Anyway, I was pleased with this outcome. I'm tempted to re-name it winter soup because it's got those spicy warm undertones too which is perfect for warming up a belly after a cold wait at the bus stop (can't get enough of that at this time of year! :) )

If you're interested, I've included the recipe I followed below!

 

Moroccan Sweet-Potato Stew

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and chili powder
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp each light peanut butter (or almond butter) and minced fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, red pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add gingerroot, cumin, curry powder, coriander and chili powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.

Add broth, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in peanut butter simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot. garnished with cilantro. 

Goodness

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

What a difference a week can make. Some Mondays I don’t really bounce out of bed as quickly as I’d like - but I'm just so glad that this Monday is a 180 turn from where we were last week at this time that I’m basically singing my way to the office. Last Wednesday we got some really relieving news. We’d had a pretty ambiguous ultrasound the week before when we went in for the routine 18-20 week anatomy scan, and we spent the week in a purgatory waiting to talk to someone who actually could explain to us what was going on. During that week we did a lot of praying, a lot of trying to distract ourselves, talking to family members and a lot of comfort eating. By the time we sat down in that really intimidating room with the specialist and the emergency box of kleenex both Mike and I were completely emotionally drained. In a moment of pure blessing and grace we heard the news that every parent wants to hear “Your baby is fine. Everything is completely normal. Go enjoy your pregnancy.” 

As I tend to do in moments like that one - the really important life changing ones - I don’t know how much I showed on my face. But inside me a million little pieces of worry just evaporated and when I walked out of that office clutching Mike’s hand I think I felt the lightest I’ve ever felt in my life. It’s true that parenthood is one worry after another - I know we’ll be faced with so many moments throughout our lives where there’s uncertainty and worry. But it’s another truth altogether to be in a situation like this one - before you’ve even started - and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I also don’t think everyone gets tested like this so early (I hope that if this was the test, we passed!) The whole scenario has made me question ultrasounds - or at least make me understand them a bit more. They don’t just give you “a picture of your baby” - they give you a whole lot of information. Maybe that’s an evident statement? I don’t know - I wish someone had told me that before I went into it. 

I have to say I am blessed truly inside and out to have Mike by my side in this world. I’ve never felt such a spectrum of low to high like I felt during this one week period. He never wavered and let me know that no matter what, everything was going to be alright - even though I know he was just as scared as I was. But regardless of how he was feeling, he reminded me that we’re doing this together. During the follow-up ultrasound, one of first pictures we saw of the baby showed him or her giving a thumbs-up. Mike said it was our baby's way of telling us that everything would be fine and "I've got this mama."

So yea - easy to say that was probably the worst week of my life. But it ended with one of the happiest moments of my life. I'm still really not sure what to make of that. I do know it gave me the rock that's my husband - I knew it theoretically before, but I'm carrying that with me now and for always. And man-oh-life are we ever ready to have this baby in our world. Every little flip, flop and back-ache I'm just so thankful that we're waiting on our most special gift ever. 

What I'm Loving

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

I have been super lucky to be surrounded by people who have already done this whole pregnancy thing, and while I’ve come to find some really good books on the subject, I still maintain that the best advice can come from close friends and family. I watched this Ted Talk by Jennifer Senior a while ago and I remember how much it surprised me to hear her say that new mothers are more likely to seek advice from the internet or book store than their own mother. Do we all really collectively think that the way our moms did it was wrong? (The funny thing is, I think if we’re even questioning their methods, they did something absolutely right :))

At any rate, I couldn’t be luckier to have a sister who’s a midwife, a best friend who has had a baby in the past year, and another friend who is due about a week before I am. And then there are all the other strong women (long-time friends, work friends, non-pregnant/mother friends who have actually some of the most reasonable advice I've heard!) who just have so much to offer in terms of practical experience. Although, I think it does make sense to think about who you solicit advice from (learned this the hard way!) but I have found over the past few months that it’s just so much better to get the advice from a comforting voice than the internet or a book – because there are SO many books and websites and it’s hard to know where to turn right away.

Beyond all the tidbits of life advice I've received, I wanted to share some valuable recommendations that have completely improved my life in some way over the past 4 months:  

1. The Snoogle (Recommended by my best friend): I don’t think I’d be sleeping half as well as I do without this strangely shaped and perfectly named object. It has become my new bed buddy and we’re all better off because of it ;) (Mike even tries to steal it sometimes because I make it look that comfortable).

2. This Yoga and This Pilates DVD (Recommended by my Aunt): My Aunt was actually kind enough to send me some personalized yoga exercises for upper back pain (it’s been killer for me since about the second month!) and they’ve done wonders. So much so that I also purchased these pre-natal DVD’s – I’ve enjoyed switching up between the flexibility and flow and strength routines. 

3. This Humidifier (Recommended by my friend at work/researched by my savvy husband!): My worst symptom of pregnancy? Worse than throwing up and back pain? (ok maybe not that bad) Stuffy nose/face/everything – I am so congested! Anyway this humidifier is non-mould producing, non-germ spreading and the Snoogle and I basically sleep on top of it. My congestion isn’t gone, but it’s about 100X better than it was before we had it. (This one really just makes good life sense. I should have had it so long ago!)

4. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (Recommended by my sister): Hands down, best intro book I read when I first found out I was pregnant. It completely set the tone for how I’ve looked at pregnancy since the stories reminded me that pregnancy isn’t a condition, illness or struggle – it’s the most normal thing that humans have ever known.  And that was so comforting to me since everything happenning to my body did not feel normal at all. ;)

It's our first real ultrasound today and I can't wait to see that little one for the first time!! <3

Do you have anything you'd add to my list? 


Favourite Pizza Dough

FareEmily KellyComment
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With the busy Christmas season over, and the typical January Ottawa deep freeze setting in, we've been enjoying having hibernation-type nights. Since my favourite hibernation-type night forever has and forever will include pizza, we've gotten better about experimenting with our own formula of sauce, toppings and homemade dough. On Friday night we put together maybe the best combination yet - goat cheese, spinach, spicy chicken and sautéed red onion. It's always so tempting to get delivery but after we put together our own work, it feels (and tastes!) so worth it. The making it part really is half the fun.  I have a go-to recipe for sauce that I always use and below you'll find a recipe for dough if you're interested in trying it out yourself! I've tried a tested out a bunch of different combinations and this recipe has been hands down the easiest to throw together with the fluffiest results. With emphasis on the "easiest" especially on a Friday night after a long week of commuting in snowy weather. 

finished product ^^ before rising.

Quick and Easy Fluffy Pizza Dough

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (aka 2 & 1/4 teaspoons if you have a jar like I do)

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Stir with a spoon until a bit gummy and "stringy".
  3. Kneed with your bare hands - it doesn't take much; about 30 seconds. 
  4. Roll into a ball and massage with olive oil. Let rest for 5 minutes - 2 hours. Dough will rise up to approximately 2x it's size. (note: you can actually get two crusts out of this recipe and I recommend splitting the ball into two before you letting it rise. In splitting it you end up with a thinner crust - and more pizza!)
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. I used a rolling pin to roll it out to desired thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet - any old cookie pan will do. (I line the sheet with parchment paper to avoid cutting the pan when divvying up the pizza). Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Quick and Easy Pizza Crust from All Recipes. 

Hello Monday!

Emily KellyComment

Hey there Monday. Why do you always seem so far away on Thursday night? 

We spent most of our weekend ripping the house apart, and then trying (unsuccessfully) to put it back together. The house remains a complete disaster and I still haven’t managed to get rid of this overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by too much stuff despite two trips to Goodwill with a carload of donations and the very-in-the-way massive pile of recycling in our hallway. Being pregnant is funny, right?  You take issue with the strangest things. So we spent most of Saturday culling and purging items from our cupboards, closets and our storage room. Last month I had Mike build us a bunch of these and I have to say, it’s made organizing the storage room more fun then I anticipated. My nesting self just looks at the neatly organized rows and squeals a bit (this is what gets me going these days, honestly!)  I’m just looking forward to the day when I can feel that relaxed feeling of “I’m done,” but I’m sensing as a new mama-to-be that may never be the case, because there are endless things I want to do around this house to make it just “so.” 

On Friday we made homemade pizza (pizza night is always the best night of the week!) and watched Trouble With the Curve (Justin Timberlake is in that movie. Who knew?!) and managed to stay awake it to past 10:30 - an accomplishment these days (That's Cliff above in his "regular" seat when we have dinner in the basement^^^). And then on Saturday after the great purge, I splurged on a new bra at this amazing store (which has turned out in only the past 24 hours to be a complete lifesaver and well worth the money), and then we went to Hintonburger for what is in my opinion, the world’s best burger. This is just to say, I’m liking burgers a little too much these days but I wouldn’t give that title to just any burger. (Also I thought when you were pregnant you craved specific food items like “pickles” “cheese” or “pineapple” - how is it that I crave an entire meal? It’s a hard craving to manage, I’m just saying. 

Alright Monday, prove the world wrong and make yourself the best day of the week. 

Found a Desk

MarriageEmily KellyComment

I find there's something largely satisfying in a Thursday night date that takes place at Ikea. A cheap meal, some shelving and one new desk later and I'm full and have many different plans in my head for redecorating. And honestly! Who doesn't love a night out at Ikea with the colours and that familiar smell of pine and cardboard? (If I could get stuck in a place overnight - it wouldn't be a museum, it would be that Swedish store. I bet all the art deco characters and plush children's toys come to life and they make giant forts.)  

I should mention we're no longer planning to move (we didn't sell our house in time and we didn't want to move with a) one of us being overly pregnant or b) a brand new baby so we decided to stay put) but it's been a pretty fun few weeks imagining up what changes we want to make to our place. To be honest, I mostly just couldn't take waiting any longer. There's this insatiable need to start making our home so ready, now. Not in four months, but; now :) 

So now we've got big plans to spend the weekend tinkering with Universal Ikea instructions and making room for baby. 

Have a good one everyone :)

Almost Half-Way There

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

Yesterday we made it through frigid cold weather and greasy, snow covered roads to my Midwifery appointment, and the first thing she said was, "Woah! We're almost half-way already!" I was taken aback - June feels so far away still! Maybe it's because we're in the dead of winter and those dreamy June nights seem like another world away? I'm not sure but when she said that, it dawned on me that this whole pregnancy thing is going by way too quickly! That's not to say I'm unhappy to be out of the first trimester. I mean, those body changes and hormones do a number on you! And I can say this now because it's behind me, but I would be happy one minute, sad the next; wanting to eat something, but rejecting it before getting it in my mouth; outwardly happy about being pregnant - inwardly grumbling that I'm completely loosing control of my body (and then embarrassed to admit it at the risk of being called out as ungrateful). And then all of a sudden, at some point over the last two to three weeks I've stumbled out of that stage and into the next (thank the good Lord!) and it's completely amazing.

For the past 4 or 5 years I've had the most beautiful recurring dream;  I'm pregnant, and I've got my hands on my belly and my skin feels so smooth and stretched out. And in it, I'm so aware there's life in there. I would wake up holding my flat stomach with a bit of a pang that it was only that, just a dream. Do you know what I mean? When you wake up wishing it had been real, or trying desperately to get back to sleep so you can hold onto the feeling just for one more second? In the first trimester I kept praying for this feeling to turn up, and now, I'm walking around with that dream-like feeling all day every day. I somehow lost that panic of "Am I actually  pregnant? I'm told I am, but feel like crap/how in the heck did we ever think I was capable of becoming a mother? I can't even handle morning sickness without whining!" 

So at 18 weeks I'm distracted sitting at my desk at work because I just want to have my hands on my protruding belly. I sneak feels or rest my hand there when I have a minute throughout the day. And I love my body again. For me, the hardest part of being pregnant for the first time was watching my body change so rapidly - now I just marvel about what's going on. I love that my breasts have swollen to two times their size - at first I begrudged the fact, but now, lightbulb! I get their purpose. Maybe this is straightforward and apparent to most people from the start but for some reason, it's taken me the past few months to come around to the idea. I love that my hips are more turned out then they used to be. And I love the extra room that's being made across my back and shoulders.  There's a life in there! I know there is! And I love that I've been gifted this opportunity. I feel so much lucky, it's overwhelming if I think about it too much. 

So at the end of the appointment we heard the heart-beat again and Mike giggled like a little kid when it started echoing throughout the room. He's always better then I am at wearing his emotions on his face than I am and it's one of the reasons I just love him to the core. I'm grateful he's able to show it since it's exactly how I feel too.

Like, is this for real?! Life is beautiful. 

It Snowed!

seasons, Around OttawaEmily KellyComment

Happy New Year! For us it's back to life, back to reality after a fabulous break from the regular stuff.  Over the weekend we got our first official-ish snowfall of the season. We've had dustings here and there but yesterday afternoon, it started snowing in that way that makes me want to grab my fuzzy socks and cup of tea and hole up. I love a good snowstorm - there are points in the winter where I'll threaten to move somewhere hot for good (like last year after about 3 months of Polar Vortex) but when it comes down to it, I'm a good Canadian girl at heart and I honestly don't know what I'd do without our four beautiful seasons. I just couldn't resist a little cuddle after dinner on Saturday night, and then a little dance with Cliff in the backyard when we made it safely home through the snowstorm! (Also, how amazing are the holidays for getting to see dearest friends from far away who are in town for a visit!)

The other good part of being pregnant is, I have a good excuse to pass off the shovelling. Especially since this snowfall was followed by freezing rain - it looked from a distance like it was heavy. Heavy, but pretty.  Thanks for getting out there and taking care of that Mike ;) !! I gave some moral support by way of taking photos. Also Cliff gave his two cents from the window upstairs (our driveway's too close to the road to have him outside with us), so really it was like Mike had two people helping him.

Yay for the start of a fresh New Year!! 

New Traditions

Emily KellyComment

One of the things I really love about Christmas is that it's a universal day we can just restfully sit inside and be with our family. Other years we've mixed it up and driven to my parent's house after having Christmas Eve here in Ottawa with Mike's family, which is lovely in it's own way, but since this was our first Christmas as a married couple we decided to do things a bit differently. Next year at this time we'll have a busier household, and I had it in my head that I wanted Mike and I to have a day where it was just us. So we got up early, opened stockings from each other and made a gourmet breakfast for two, which is basically a pregnant woman's only Christmas wish (that or you know, an extensive back-rub!). Mike made hollandaise sauce for the first time and I've been craving it ever since it was SO tasty.

After breakfast was over we decided to try to get a "family" portrait - it took about 37 takes (I really need to invest in a tripod!) but we ended up with something we were happy with to mark the occasion of our first Christmas as our "new" family unit! 


2014 meets 2015

Emily KellyComment

I can’t believe it’s the start of a NY already!  I think throughout 2014 I pinched myself more then any other year I’ve been on this planet - and I owe so much of it to my family, friends and of course my husband (4 months in and it’s still kinda weird to type that!).  I know all years can’t be years where you get married, or find out you are expecting your first baby, or you get the chance travel to beautiful new places, but I have to admit, I was a little sad to say good-bye to 2014!

I remember last January thinking that 2013 was one of those years I was more eager to leave behind since it was a year when one thing after another kept challenging us - to be braver, to be smarter, to be better. Isn’t it funny how sometimes life conditions you to think in terms of some sort of big pendulum? I have to quickly remind myself that there’s no one keeping score, and life is this year, as it has been every year, exactly what I put into it.

I have so many hopes for this upcoming year. I think that’s what happens when you are pregnant. I'm spending a lot of time scheming and plotting about what’s to come - I'm telling myself it must be the natural process of “nesting” and wanting to get my life ready and baggage cleared out for a true new beginning.  And I've noticed that pregnancy is hilarious for making me look at my life and surroundings differently - I know every year around this time I try to think about how I can make some changes and take on new challenges, but gosh! I never felt like taking on the world like I have with this new little life inside of me.

I’m really looking forward to making new memories with our family as it changes. I know that won’t come without it’s learning curves and challenges of it’s own so I’m going to try to not be so hard on myself this year, to try to remember to take it in stride. (Patience is going to be a big mantra for me I believe!) And since sometimes I get ahead of myself with plans and dreams, I’m going to try really hard to love where we are right now, every day.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that wherever place you are coming from, 2015 is a year full of pinchable moments, big and small! Thanks for reading and being here with me on this journey!

Sharing a Few Pictures From Our Wedding

MarriageEmily Kelly3 Comments
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I had a chance to post a bit of the preparations from our wedding earlier this Fall, but a few weeks ago we received our package from our photographer! It was such an amazing experience to sit down and relive the entire day, moment by moment. (We've been married four months, so now's as good a time as any to post wedding photos right? What's the statue of limitations on wedding sharing!? :) ) We are just so, so happy that Brittany was able spend the day with us. I will be grateful for these memories archived like this for the rest of my life. It's amazing how photos can at times capture as much as moving pictures - even though they're still shots. They truly are better than anything we could have hoped for!!

I'll share a really special moment - it poured rain on our wedding day. Like the degree of rain in which you are soaked the minute you leave your car to enter the church. Luckily, we were blessed that the rain didn't start until after our formal photos were done, posing problems only for getting into and out of the church and to the reception. Honestly. Do things not always work out exactly as they're meant to? Anyway, my best friend's father had the foresight to bring with him a pile of umbrellas (I really do love this man like family!!) and as we exited the church he started handing them out to the wedding party because we had planned to follow our bagpiper on a route through town to the wedding reception which was in my sister's backyard. After ringing the bell on our way out of the church, we paused to open the umbrella as the entire reception of people behind us became back logged because the umbrella of course, completely over extends itself in the wind. It was a pretty great moment because really, neither of us could have cared less what the weather was like, or if we were about to be soaked, or if our umbrella was malfunctioning; we were married and nothing was going to change that feeling of absolute crazy in-love giddiness. I'll remember so many moments from this day, but this one I know is going to stick out in my memory as a moment in time for all our time.

Just a reminder, all photos are copyright protected. Please do not pin or re-post without permission :)

The Most Beautiful Story Ever Told

WordsEmily KellyComment
Charlie-Brown-Christmas
Charlie-Brown-Christmas

You know, there was a point in my life when I was an English Major. It's true. It was a "pick a subject" sort of situation when I hit Grade 13 and since I liked to write and read, it seemed like the natural choice - except, as I soon found out, it really couldn't have been a worse fit for me. I ended up switching to the Social/Political sciences where my slightly rational side found a home rooted in subjects where I could passionately work myself up into a bit of a sweaty rage when I was told things like "development is colonialism."

I remember the point in which I reached a fork in the road with the English studies. My second year professor proclaimed to us - or rather, through about 3 or 4 classes used symbolism and metaphor and then in a round about way "proclaimed" to us (because English professors never just come out and say anything - rather they like to tease it out of you by albeit eloquently, beating around the bush.)

Anyway, she told us that Love isn't real; Love is narrative. Humans only love because it's the story we've been told through eons of human relationships. Instinctively, we don't love. We only love because we're told to. Because it's our coping mechanism for the bleak world that is human existance.

I don't like to be accused of doing things because I've been told to. So I questioned it. Both inwardly by looking at my own relationships and probably outwardly too. Because lawd, I don't stay too quiet in an institutional setting.

And as a good "feministy" English teacher is won't to do, she pointed to the evidence: Disney movies, Hollywood, War Propaganda. So obviously the research is there.... research I'm sure she poured about 10 years of her life into while earning her PhD.

I love this time of year for so many reasons. I love the early dark evenings. And the ritual that ties me to every year that's come and gone before this one. And I love the general spirit of things; you know, the more likely smiles you get from cashiers, people holding doors open or colleagues at work. You get hugs from people you wouldn't expect! And you can put some of the dirty regular stuff on hold until the New Year hits and you're ready to tackle the things that have plagued you year in and year out, with a fresh outlook.

But of course, whether you're a believer or not, we all know this is centred around the greatest story ever told.

And it may be a bit of an oxymoron but if there's one thing our culture of non-believers believes in, it seems, it's Christmas. Never was there a story we were more in need of. So I get what my University English teacher was getting at, we like a good story, and if it's good enough, we'll keep telling it. Year after year, generation after generation.

But this is where I can't help but question her absolute certainty that this story only supports something that's been fabricated - merely for our hollow satisfaction.

We needed this story, yes. But not because we needed to believe.

In fact, it's in spite of our disbelief, in spite of all the calculated ways in which we think we don't need this story, we realize, we do. Because when it comes down to it, we don't believe because we've been told to.

We believe because we choose to.

And that's why, to me, The Christmas Story is called the most beautiful story ever told. Because it's a wonderful life to be able to believe in things that at times seem impossible. Like peace on earth and good will toward all men.

Eat the Damn Cheese and Other First Thoughts on Being Pregnant

WordsEmily Kelly3 Comments
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I have so many lovely things to say about being pregnant. But this isn't a post about that.

Oh and I feel like I should preface this with the following caveat: This is a blog about my life, and life lately has been a lot of me thinking about being pregnant, feeling pregnant, and dreaming of being a parent. And so it is written.

Without further ado, here are some uncollected and undigested first thoughts on being pregnant:

1. Our Culture is Pregnancy Obsessed.

Seriously. As if being pregnant and giving up your body and life wasn’t enough to ask of a pregnant mother, but hello! You also have the weight of the unborn world put upon your shoulders. Because it’s 2014 don’t you know! And they’ve done EVERY possible study under the sun to prove to you how one wrong move and you could harm, developmentally delay or even you lose your baby. Being pregnant is the most precious gift. I get it. But Google is not your friend when you’re pregnant. And the annoying voices of people of the internet are not your friend when they make you question your ability to conceive, birth and or raise a child. This is obviously a problem because I like the internet, and would quite like to continue my relationship with it. I’ve just had to limit and block myself from questions like “Can I eat feta cheese?” Because guess what, they’re gonna tell you you can’t, but the stress of chasing back the product line to possible sources of remotely unpasturized milk it ain’t worth it. Eat the damn cheese. 

2. The Internet is Not Your Friend.

Tied closely to number one; websites like “Baby Centre” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” will be the bane of my existence come next June. Unfortunately, they seem to be the internet source’s most likely search engine hit when it comes “pregnancy and…” For example, naive unknowing me clicked on a prompter email earlier this Fall. It was called “Weight Gain and Pregnancy.” Did you know according to Baby Centre, you’re only supposed to have gained 3 lbs in 8 weeks. Um… 3 lbs? 3 lbs?! I’m more than POSITIVE I gained 3 lbs in EACH BOOB ALONE during this timeframe. Unless I’m considered morbidly obese and endangering myself with a ridiculously unhealthy diet, please do not tell me what a “typical” person should gain while she’s pregnant. News flash: none of us are typical. And my body is going to do what it’s going to do while it’s growing another human being, thanks very much.

3. Everyone Has an Opinion About Your Choices.

Also closely related to #1 and #2: pregnant women in comment sections can be mean. If you’re doubting me and you want like 2 hours of entertainment, take a look at this thread here - these girls get absolutely nasty when it comes to one woman’s statement (I'm paraphrasing) “I’m from France and we actually don’t see anything wrong with a drink of wine every now and again when pregnant.” Comments quickly spiral from “ALCOHOLIC” to “YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PREGNANT.” I wish I was exaggerating. (I couldn't help myself.... sometimes comments sections are like a train wreck and you can't look away.)

4. Awkward Conversations with Your Boss.

Talking with your boss about being pregnant is the most awkward it has to get. (Well actually my actual bosses were lovely about it, the awkwardness happened with my boss’ boss). She tried to be nice but started with “Emily…. (pregnant pause) I know” And I’m going.. “What? You know what? That I stole post-its? That I shopped on Amazon at work? What do you know?”) And just before I blurted out all my secrets as a good little guilty girl might be won’t to do in a situation of power imbalance, she says “I can tell you’re pregnant by the way you’re carrying yourself.” Lucky for her, it wasn’t just the extra hamburgers type of baby, it was the actual baby-baby.

5. Bedside Manner is Important to a Sensitive, First-Time Mother.

It’s annoying to talk to a General Practioner about being pregnant. This isn’t a generalization because I”m sure there are GP’s out there who are fabulously lovely and embrace fully the role of providing antenatal care to women. I’m just speaking to my own experience when I say I’ve had lacklustre health care in the past when it comes to reproductive health, and when I went into the doctor to “confirm my pregnancy” (seriously that’s what they call the appointment), I can’t say it changed my mind on this point. The doctor literally entered the room with this question “So. Was this a planned pregnancy?” (His hand was literally on the door still and it was half-way open, and I’ve seen this guy a total of 3 times and he’s introduced himself a total of 3 times.) I found it completely offensive that he would assume one way or another that this was the most important element of the conversation to get out there, and not conducive to creating an environment of trust (no matter what my answer would have been.) The whole appointment went downhill from there - he stuffed my hands with offensive public health pamphlets that said obvious things and other documentation that was equally as incomprehensible (Integrated Prenatal Screening and Why You Should Consider It!) The appointment ended with him stating, “Well. I don’t make a big deal about these things until about 12 weeks.” He handed me a requisition should I want to get the IPS screening (considering I didn’t even know or understand what it was, it could have been greek and I had little idea of what to do with it) and I left feeling like the most precious gift I’d been given in life was commonplace and felt completely intimidated about having any follow-up questions, because they don’t matter in the first 12 weeks ("if you make it that long, then I’ll care!”) In short. I’m just trying to say how grateful I am to have found a mid-wife. Because that's been awesome so far.

6. "The Announcement" Makes People Stare At You.

Announcing to a room full of people that you’re pregnant can be completely mortifying - all of a sudden your co-workers or extended family are all staring at you after they overhear you casually trying to slide into the conversation that you're pregnant with an ice breaker “Man, yea, that was a rough few months. I threw up in front of a string of commuters yesterday.” And then before you know it, people around the room or table start to go quiet and they’re like “What! You’re pregnant!?” They’re obviously acting so happy for you and acting incredibly kind but all you’re thinking is, please stop looking me and asking things like “How did this happen!?” And “When?!” because then I’m thinking about The Act and I really don’t want you to be able to read my thoughts right now. I guess I'm just not a "make a personal announcement to a room full of people" sort of gal.

7. She May Be Mighty, But She Can't Move Mountains.

That Old Grey Mare just ain’t what she used to be: I’m finally feeling like exercising again (and yes I realize that I'm comparing myself to livestock. When you are pregnant you are allowed to refer to yourself as such. When you are not, you may not make such jokes in the vicinity of a pregnant person). I went for a run the other night - I’ve been able to run about a total of 4 times since September because this has not been the smoothest of first trimesters - and let me tell you that run, it was pure bliss. And then I was like “Emily! You’re back’s been hurting you! You should do lunges!!” So I stopped my run and did 50 lunges. Because I have to WIN. All the time. Even if it’s just me on a sidewalk, I have to act like a super hero. And then enter today, me doing the full waddle, because well, 50 lunges as it turns out is about 40 too many for a girl who’s been sitting on the couch since the beginning of October. I get home and I’m like… “Mike. Do you think it was too many and I injured the baby?” Because it's really easy to feel guilty or worried when you're pregnant.

Luckily Mike's a rational guy in my moments of self-doubt.

“No but maybe next time you should just ease into it Emily.” Indeed. Indeed I will heed this advice next time dear husband.

But had I not, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here in this chair licking my out-of-shape wounds and rant-writing this post to the internet so guess what?! The internet wins!!

Have any of you been pregnant before and felt similar first thoughts?

Happy Dance for 15 Weeks

HEARTEmily Kelly9 Comments
15 weeks
15 weeks

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time but there's been a lot of puking and moaning from the couch which has derailed the best of my intentions :)

But here we are! Almost 15 weeks!! And yesterday I got to hear the heart beat for the second time and I melted into the sofa in my midwife's office. There's a little buddy in there! And at times the Doppler picked up my heart beat overlapping with the baby's; It was synced in rhythm and it blew my mind that we were doing that together. Just beating away. While the rest of the world does their thing, we're just beating away.

ps. Does this make me a mommy blogger? ;)

Safely in that Season

WordsEmily Kelly1 Comment
christmas-wreaths
christmas-wreaths

Today I checked Environment Canada and The Weather Network two times to see if they had posted some sort of "Green Christmas" forecast. I came up empty handed re: any actual predictions, but good news! I just looked outside the window and it's dark but it's snowing! And we're safely into the Christmas season at this point so I should be able to mention this freely without fear of accusation that "it's not December 1st yet" :)

I have a confession to make. Mike and I are starting to save up for a few things which is why you'll understand how guilty I feel about the horrible impulse buy that I let happen today. (Online shopping! It's like you aren't even "buying" things I tell ya. They just magically show up at your door....). It's a giant lime green sweater with a reindeer's face on it. Oh yes I did that. And I'm going to wear the heck out of this thing (granted it gets here in time...).

This is my favourite time of the year. The house feels so much cozier with Christmas decorations spewed about - even though most have been haphazardly placed at best. I've been so tired from work the past two nights that I consider having moved the totes from the basement into the main living area + the setting up of the tree, (complete with two solitary ornaments), to be progress.  Here I'm sitting in the comfiest of spots, right next to the tree. And I decided that indeed, this is the best of the seasons. Sometimes at this time of year, it feels a whole lot easier to just sit and take it all in. What is that feeling about? Maybe the glow of our lights and candles? Maybe because it's dark so early and I don't feel particularly drawn to have to go do something with my time? Because if I'm going to be honest, my time right now feels good just standing in place, enjoying these short few weeks when we've got that love for the little bit of light while it's mostly dark outside.

Early Christmas

HEARTEmily Kelly4 Comments
CliffJoy
CliffJoy

That crisp feeling is back in the air again! This past Monday we had some warm weather again and I was all “Nooo! I was just getting in the mood for Christmas” but I’m happy to report that today Cliff did that thing where he sniffs the cold air and I almost rushed back inside and turned the fireplace on. The person I am come March when we’ve received another “last snow fall of the season!” always surprises me since around this time of the year you couldn’t really pay me to live somewhere that doesn’t have 4 seasons. I just love, love that feeling of Winter coming. (cue ironic photo of Cliff above ;) )

(Oh and while we’re talking about weather - have you guys heard this weather rant from a guy in Saskatchewan? You can just hear the seething weather rage in his voice... but you just can't help but laugh.)

Last week I bought a box of clementines and a massive bottle of vitamin C and zinc because everyone (everyone) around me at work has been hacking and sneezing. In an open cubicle environment you can’t help but think “Man… I might be next.” I continually try to counter this thought with “You won’t be next! You’ve got the immunity of a rhino!” Because I think I can trick my body. Despite my best efforts I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a bunch of used kleenex on the floor beside our bed. So today I’m embracing the colder weather outside and listening to a Christmas station on Songza because really there’s only a month left until Christmas - As of today!! I just realized that while in the process of typing and my heart soared a little.

christmastreehunt
christmastreehunt

This upcoming weekend is a scared weekend - it’s the Murtha Early Family Christmas - we’ve been doing it for about 26 years either during the last weekend of November or the first weekend of December. My cousins and I were so close growing up but we lived so far apart and we honestly looked forward to spending “Christmas” together every year, even if it wasn’t on the day. We put on probably a million well orchestrated (or we thought so) plays for our family members - I really need to dig out those pictures. Whenever I tell people that this weekend I’m headed to my family’s “Early Christmas" I get a funny look since it’s so far in advance (seriously last year my sister had a Christmas tree up at her place from about the middle of November because she hosted and she refused to take it down with only a few weeks left to the actual “approved” holiday season. That's us at the Christmas tree farm in my hometown last year around this time picking out our "early" tree). At this point the Early Christmas is a tradition that’s part of me and introducing Mike to it over the past 5 years has been so awesome. It’s so great to get to turn to the person you love and go “See?! Isn’t my family crazy and awesome? And don’t you love my second, third and fourth cousins?! (Because at this point we’re dealing with quite a few generations!) Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about on this slightly chilly, stuffy nosed day! Bring on the season!

On Why I Stopped Blogging

WordsEmily Kelly13 Comments
piggy
piggy

I'm not sure how to just start blogging again after being away for so long. Today when I saw a shiny glimmer in my eye while waiting for the blank computer screen to kick-in, I knew that maybe I was interested again - in what precisely I'm not sure, but I thought to myself that I could write something and that maybe alas, Sparrow in the Treetop was coming back from the dead.

At first I cautioned myself that I should really sit down and think about this... you know, make it good and well thought out, something beautifully written and proof-read... poignant and to the point (which generally I compare myself to other well-written blogs and I think... "Why don't I come across more polished like they do?") But after some deliberation and note writing while sitting jammed against a foggy window on the bus, I decided that there's nothing deep about this. Blogging just hasn't "been" me for a little while now. I wasn't feeling the benefit or the inspiration. Might I just say for the record that I absolutely hate writing this sort of post? I know there's a pattern of it buried deep in the recesses of these pages; diligent planning and plotting and blog-world networking and then, without warning, I lose interest. This generally followed by the "But I promise, I'll Change. I'll be world's number one blogger!" (To whom I'm making this promise other then myself, I'm not sure, but trust me, it's out there.) It drives me crazy that I'm not a "Follow-Through" person. That I don't have a sponsored network, that I'm just spinning my wheels on the internet. If I get too "Bloggy" (ie. DIY, Cook this! Read That! Wear this!) I'm self-conscious that I'm not writing enough "Real" content... and if I write "Real" content (quotations marks because let's be honest, what content on the internet is "real" anyway?) I feel like an over-sharer and totally vulnerable. Anyway, the blogging medium is intense. And I haven't felt intense lately... pretty much the opposite (more on that if I decide to write "On Why I Stopped Blogging Part 2"!) and hence the radio silence. But I do miss it. And I miss just using this space to think through things and catalogue some of the moments. So that's my foray into this blog thing again. I think I'm growing up and I'm looking into this space and I'm wondering if it still fits me as a person. I'd like it to grow with me... I just have to figure out how to go about translating that into HTML :)

Anyway. If you're the people I've gotten to know over the past few years... what is NEW? What has been happening? And what have I missed!?

ps. Gratuitous micro pig because.... LOOK AT THAT SNOUT. And also there are no pictures that capture... "blog absence."

Cozy Fall

around my house, seasonsEmily Kelly10 Comments
fall collage
fall collage

Staying at home feels so good in the Fall. All of a sudden my house is cozy again. In the summer I’m like, “Let’s do stuff! Let’s go to every concert and eat random take-out food on the curb.” In the Fall I’m like, I want grilled cheese with ketchup, a blanket over my legs, and I’m just going to sit here on this couch and read a book I’ve already read at least 10 times.”

To me that’s comfort. And there’s something about the Fall that makes me not afraid to just seize the opportunity to bask in it.

It’s Thanks-giving weekend!! And you know what that means. I’ll be dragging my extra-stretchy yoga pants out of winter storage and I anticipate putting them on at 5:30 pm this evening – I anticipate someone will probably have to pry them off me on Tuesday morning so I don’t end up wearing them to work.

What are some of your favourite comfort things around your home? I’m in love with cooking in our new cheery yellow pots – an amazing wedding present! Also apples, which are my hometown symbol (actually), cooking with the iPod blasting in our kitchen. And of course Cliff. Anything that reminds me of him like that cute note pad from Hatley I got at Indigo earlier this week.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Weekending!