Sparrow in the Tree Top

find your song and sing it

Peach Butter

FareEmily KellyComment

I'm still in vacation mode but I wanted to share this recipe before peach season was over! I had plans to do canned whole peaches for the first time but alas I think I've missed my window of opportunity! I did however get to try out this recipe for Peach Butter from One Sweet Mess that I found on Pinterest. I'm trying to put my money where my pins are so I've been making my way through some of the ones that I had on my "summer" board - this one in particular caught my eye because peaches and also butter ;) 

I decided to do these in the middle of the heat wave earlier this month - heat wave while wearing a baby makes for a sweaty mess of a kitchen. It was fun though and super easy (if a bit cumbersome because the canning process is always a bit of a to do what with the boiling of the jars and the sterilizing.) Essentially all it involves is cooking the peaches down on the stove with a large amount of sugar and then blending the liquid to make it smooth. My only comment would be the volume I got out of what was originally a large batch of peaches - I guess I should have divided the batch up into smaller jars. 

I'm so excited to try this in the winter when a little bit of summer in a jar will go a long way!

Next stop; SALSA!!

Happy weekend!! Get out and enjoy this last bit of August while we can!

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Holiday Workout

Fitness, TravelEmily KellyComment
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To me, the ideal holiday involves time to run and sweat. This is a good thing because in my opinion, holidays are also about good food and if I don't mix a bit of exercise in there, it's so easy to feel sluggish. And then when I get home, I feel the need to overcompensate. Ideally, the holiday IS the cleanse, as opposed to the crazy juice concoction you force yourself to drink to get rid of the Las Vegas you brought home with you.... Also there's something to be said about breaking from your normal routine; most days it's about jamming the workout in there out of a feeling of obligation, but when on holiday it's about being intentional about your health and taking time to enjoy feeling vibrant and alive.

With that being said, I know most people don't go on holiday to "work out" - but I believe you can actually get MORE out of your vacation time when you take time to get your heart rate up. Here are my tips for loving the holiday burn:

1. Get out and explore: Forget the hotel gym. If you're in a new place, a good run around the neighbourhood is an awesome way to feel like a "local" while you're on vacation. I always love picturing what it's like to live in the place I'm visiting, and a run through the area always lets me get a glimpse into this life. Of course - I like to map out the run beforehand, tell someone where I'm going and also 

2. Work it into the schedule: I know the last thing most people want to do is draft an excel spreadsheet of your holiday time, but if there's one thing I insist on "Scheduling" while I'm on holiday, it's a bit of time to get the heart rate up. If I don't do it, it's way too easy to just push it aside in lieu of falling in a puddle on the hotel bed at the end of the day (or just not leaving the cottage property if you're having a bit of a staycation). Also, I've discovered that communication about "me time" with your partner is essential when you have a little one. If it's possible, carve out even half an hour to do something that makes you glow! 

3. Step outside your comfort zone: Use the new surroundings to step outside your comfort zone. I'm staying at a cottage that's not far from a ski resort and the hill's obviously in the off season - but it's the perfect opportunity to climb the hill. Take a look around and really embrace what the area has to offer. Rent a bike, find some local trails to hike, do an awesome yoga class in the city; trying something new is a great way to really have the trip make an imprint. When you get to your destination, or even in advance, do some research on what sort of things the area offers.

Currently Cottaging

Travel, FamilyEmily KellyComment
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We found the lake and not a minute too soon since August is closing in on us. (How did that happen? Honestly it seems like yesterday it was the beginning of June and I was a gazzillion months pregnant!) It is actually a little piece of heaven here. This lake and the rocky shores are so breathtaking, and I'm reminded of how embarrassingly lucky we are here in Canada to have this in our backyard.

The weather has been amazing so far. Yesterday early in the morning the fog was a thick wall over the lake, but within an hour it had rolled back onto the hills in the distance and the sky was pretty much a perfect shade of blue. Also, Cliff is in his element which actually makes me just so happy. I'm not sure there's anything better in life then bringing joy to a dog. He would probably sleep in the water if we let him and he doesn't go anywhere without a stick or his frisbee in his mouth. I'm just so thankful that we're having an opportunity to soak it all up. It's officially our first family vacation! I know this will only be memories for June that she experiences through photos, but it is really important to me to take time out when possible a family. It's something Mike and I have talked a lot about before even starting our family and so we jumped at this chance to get started early.

It's a bit of a working holiday for us so I'm taking the opportunity while Mike's working and June's napping to share a few pics. Summer for ever!


Evening in Our August Garden

around my houseEmily KellyComment
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I remember the first summer I started writing this blog. I wrote a post about our August garden (at the time we were living in at "Hollywood Parade" downtown Ottawa) because it was just out of control. I'm seeing a pattern because it's four years later and my garden is a bit out of control again. But there's something to be said about this time of summer - I usually find myself just letting go a bit more - or trying to let go a bit more. That's been the theme of our life the past month, with car troubles and other life stuff that's been going on, it's been a lesson in just slowing down and putting things on hold. Which is easier said then done. I have a hard time sitting still, and a week of inactivity or sticking around the house feels like an eon to me. (And sticking around the house with a baby that constantly wants to be held 10 hours a day is a whole other ballpark of cabin fever....) Anyway, all this to say, August seems to have this different pace that you don't find any other month of the year; things aren't growing as fast, or they're done growing for the season. And the evenings seem to linger. That's the best of this month - the evenings; Crickets, warm heat and the twilight. You can't really beat it. The other night June was sleeping peacefully by 7:15 - it was some sort of miracle because it hasn't happened again since (!!)- and I got to sneak outside with Cliff. My tomatoes are piling up! I had to do a crazy twine job tying them to the fence because I didn't cage them properly at the beginning of the season - garden regrets people, the struggle is real. But there are tons of just turning ripe tomatoes on the vine and they're all going to go red at once and I'm going to have to act fast to get them canned in time.

And perhaps my most favourite of all, the sunflowers are almost blooming, which means September is just around the corner. Yuck and while we're on the topic, Songza had a playlist titled "the last days of summer" the other day. I'm thinking that's jumping the gun just a bit. 

^^^ our fence is also in sad shape, but we put off painting it this year because we were a bit busy with the other things in life. 

ps. How cute is Cliff? The one of him squinting just cracks me up. Seriously, that lovely lab has my heart for all the days. 

June's Summer.

FamilyEmily KellyComment

Nannie came to visit last week after Mike hurt his ankle. He wasn't able to do the driving or help with groceries so the extra set of hands around the house was so much appreciated. I've always known it but having a baby makes you realize even more how special your family is. It is so neat to see your parents interact with your baby. And it's just so helpful to know that you don't have to do parenting alone - there's always someone around to help out when you need it. I know it will get easier with (hopefully!) the next babies but right now we sure do appreciate the support. 

Everyone always says how much of a blur the first few months are. I wonder how true that will be? I feel like I can recall each moment since she was born. The pain and fatigue and fascination of the first few weeks. The sublime moments where we just rested in the easy chair. The few nights where there wasn't anything we could do to stop the crying. The success at figuring out how to do a nighttime routine. The non-existent napping during the day. The time Mike hurt his ankle and when he got home from soccer I sent him straight to the emergency room to get it looked at. The visits from my parents and Mike's parents. It's all there filed away. I don't want to forget a minute of it either. Just like I want to soak up all of these beautiful, sizzling summer days and hot summer nights. This is June's summer. And that's probably how I'm going to reference it until I'm sixty-five and I'm still lamenting the fact that her father couldn't help take the garbage out for a couple weeks ;) I kid, I kid. But really. 

One year

HEART, MarriageEmily KellyComment
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Well, we've managed to cram a heck of a lot in one year Mr. Kelly. I feel so lucky every day to call you my husband, to rest my head by yours and night and to have the privilege of raising our daughter together. You make me laugh when I want to scream and shout, and cry happy tears when it seems like it's just a regular old day in the neighbourhood. I can never find the words that you do in the moment, but I hope you know that when I'm quiet, that's when I'm feeling those things that remind me I'm the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you for every moment.  

 

Postpartum Running: Week 3

Fitness, Just RunEmily KellyComment

Well I'm almost done week 4 and I have yet to post my week 3 recap. #LifeWithaNewborn am I right?!

Week three was about Grace. That quote above is one of my favourites from running icon Steve Prefontaine. It's exactly how I feel about running - well it was how I felt about running before I had a baby - I'm sure I'll get back to that point again, but I've spent a lot of the past three weeks trying to give myself grace while running; Grace for not going faster by this point yet and grace for still feeling like I'm so far off the mark of where I'd like to be.

I know most people would think... "well having a baby will do that to you." But the thing that I've discovered about the postpartum period is you struggle with adjusting to life as a "new you" - I've struggled that I don't feel like "myself" - I mean, I'm me, but it's not my body the way I used to know it, and I'm constantly struggling to give myself time. T-I-M-E. I've always been so competitive, that when I go out for an "easy run" I'd have to constantly tell myself not race the clock. It's also why I'm so bad at doing races "Just for Fun" - the Army Run at the end of September will be my biggest challenge to date; to just go out there and run "because I can," as opposed to running because I need to beat my personal best. I hope this doesn't sound pretentious... that's not how I mean for it to come out. It's just that it's hard to go from being a competitive runner to a "jogger." And so I spent a lot of this week telling myself to go easy, take the time I need and to just understand that this postpartum period is about baby steps.... Pun intended ;)

My "easing into it routine" for Week Three:

Monday: 3 km +plank challenge Day Three

Tuesday: 3 km + plank challenge Day Four

Wednesday - rest

Thursday: 3 km + plank challenge Day Five

Friday: Rest + plank challenge Day Six

Saturday: 4 km  Day Seven

Progress Pic:

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And Sweaty mess because it's been SO lovely and HOT outside!

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Nectarine + Chicken w/Cilantro Avocado Dressing

FareEmily KellyComment
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Not to sound like a broken record, but cutting dairy out of your diet is no easy thing... especially for someone like me who happens to have been a bit of a dairy-a-holic. But there really is such a drastic difference with June when I eat dairy that reason calls for it. 

So with no dairy, and a desire to eat cleaner as part of a postpartum regime, I've been getting creative with the salads. I just want it to be summer always. Eating fresh in the summer is always so much easier for me! They really do feel so fulfilling at this time of the year, and there are so many options for dressing them up, it's hard to get boring. This one in particular hit the mark - I'm a sucker for anything cilantro/avocado. 

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Salads are so easy too - I always think.. "oh we've got no food in the fridge" but after rummaging in the veggie drawer it's almost always possible to pull together a salad bowl. 

For the dressing on this one, I blended 1/2 an avocado with the juice of 1 lime, a handful of cilantro, a few tablespoons of coconut milk, 1/2 a cup of olive oil and garlic. Combined with the nectarine & chicken, this salad bowl was just perfect!

 

Two Months

FamilyEmily KellyComment
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I'm sure I'll say this every month, year and decade of your life June, but honestly how are you two months already? Eight whole weeks has gone by and I hardly know how we've passed the time. It seems like the day will just get underway and before I know it we'll be having quiet time in the basement & watching Our Shows before bed. So far our favourite is Nashville and we've gone through a few seasons thanks to Netflix - it's the reason I now sometimes break out into a twang just because I can and because God didn't give me an opportunity to have one here in Ontario. 

At two months you are smiling at us and turning your head to hear us when we say your name. You make the most beautiful sounds when trying to talk. You are a morning baby - you love conversation over a cup of coffee. We perch you on your chair in the middle of the kitchen table. We still take about 25 photos of you a day because neither your Daddy nor I can get over how beautiful and special you are.  

You are still bald as a billiard ball and your eyes are still a deep bluish grey. You kick your feet like mad when you are uncomfortable or want to be picked up - oftentimes this is when you are in your car seat. At home I wear you around the house in a sling and you cuddle in right against me.  

I love walking and swaying with you in my arms. You fit so nicely between them resting on my chest. Your Daddy is so in love with you - he spends a lot of his time entertaining you with a black and white block that makes sounds when you crinkle it. We've taken you out shopping and to restaurants for a few meals. Last week I took you to the byward market for the first time so you are now officially a resident of Ottawa!  

For your two monthiversary you slept through the night! Until it's a steady pattern, I'll call it a fluke but either way, we'll take it!!  

Two months! Slow down summer so we can soak up these special days.  

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On breastfeeding

WordsEmily KellyComment

It's world breastfeeding week - something I honestly never foresaw marking down on the calendar before life with baby, but it's now such a central part of my everyday, I understand why it deserves a whole week. 

I'm not yet ready to get into the public debate about de-sensitizing breastfeeding, but I will say I have a new appreciation for the challenges of breast feeding in public - that being said,I also get that it's a shared space, and you can't make everyone comfortable... Mostly I've just decided to not have a problem with it myself and I'm happy to report that I've had no confrontations with non- supporters to date. It almost makes me wonder if there's anything to be fussing about really, and what it boils down to is, you do your thing and we'll do ours.... Ok I lied, maybe I am ready to get into it publicly... 

Here's what I really wanted to say about breastfeeding; it's so hard. It's the hardest thing I've had to deal with since June was born. First of all, it hurts. I had a 1 cm crack on my nipple for 7 weeks- no lie, it JUST went away. I would chew cherry blasters and tears streamed down my face in the first month of her life every time I fed her (the cherry blasters were supposed to be a distraction from the pain). And to be honest, I'm sure that's not even that bad. I've heard complete horror stories from friends and family where it was just absolutely too painful to continue. I get that. I get that toe-curling misery where you think- ok I'm through this feed but I'm going to have to do it again in like 1.5 hours. When will this end!? For the warrior in all mothers who endure this pain for a week, an hour, a day or months, it's absolutely necessary to have a week in honour of this sacrifice we make with our bodies. 

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It can also be hard for other reasons- not only is it physically exhausting and draining to have that sort of dependence and responsibility,  you are constantly aware of what you are putting in your body. I have been anyway. One of the first things they suggest doing to help out babies with reflux is to cut dairy out of your diet. I'm pretty sure before June was born I made a comment about her not being allowed to be lactose intolerant because I love cheese ALMOST as much as I love being a mama. Anyway, what was the first thing to go? Dairy. The next? Caffeine. Quickly followed by chocolate, fried foods, sugar, spicy foods - basically all that is holy and sacred in the foodie world. Sure I'm going to be much healthier but, please. Cheese is like my favourite thing ever - and that list up there  ^^^ makes it really hard to find things that are quick and easy to eat on the go.  

Aside from the jokes, it's actually a weight that can start to bare on your mind; June's little cries that come out of a dead silent sleep are enough to bring a mother to her knees- and I would do anything to avoid hearing that painful sound. There's a bit of a guilt complex associated with always wondering about your milk and if it's what's making her tummy hurt. And I imagine it's the same thing for women who are struggling with over- under supply; breastfeeding isn't just a magical thing that happens- there's a lot of tweaking that needs to happen to get it right. And when it comes down to it, I'm doing it despite the struggle, because I want to feed June. 

And yet, the moment on day three in the hospital; June has jaundice and has been banished to the light therapy tent in her bassinet. I'm instructed to remove her only for feeding, and she screams bloody murder 80% of the rest of the 1.5. Days she's stuck under there. And I'm exhausted and I just want to sleep with her. And a nurse sees what I'm going through and sees that we just want to be together and she plucks June from the incubator, wraps her in a glowing billy blanket, and instructs me to lay on my side. Before I know it were laying together and she's peacefully getting the comfort that she needed. It was a pretty magical moment. 

When June was five days old I had a lactation consultant tell me that she had never had a mother tell her after the six week mark that it wasn't worth it. And she was right in my case anyway. By six weeks, despite the nipple crack, we had reached the sweet spot. I've had so many precious moments in the quiet with June, it almost doesn't do them justice to talk about them here. There's a certain feeling of love that can't be replicated outside of this relationship and I'm so happy to have been able to experience this with her. 

Note: I understand and respect that not everyone decides to, is able to, or wants to breastfeed. I'm just referencing my own experiences and I completely respect that everyone has their own chosen paths. This isn't to say one is above the other, just that ours has been unique and sacred because it is just that- ours. I hope whatever path you've taken with your children, you feel the same way.  <3


Postpartum Running: Week 2

Just RunEmily KellyComment
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Despite not having many opportunities to get out and about, by the grace of God I got to continue with my running routine last week. It involved setting mike up at the kitchen table and positioning June in her chair, but he was able to keep her smiling and interested for a good little length of time while I snuck 4 quick runs in over the course of the week. Thank you husband. Even with a bum ankle, you pull through for me <3. Above, my post run recovery which was absolutely necessary in order to catch my breath....

It has honestly been just the most gorgeous, perfect running weather as of late which makes me extra appreciative to be out and living it. 

Before Mike hurt his ankle he was starting to get into running (which makes me so happy because I've always wanted to be a "running couple" ... Our first date was supposed to be going for a run together but he changed our plans last minute and that run has actually never happened since). This weekend he mentioned to me that he's jealous of my ability to get out there for a jog. It's interesting because when I was (very) pregnant and he was training for a 10km race in the Spring, I was so envious of his glow when he came in from a good run - envious in a good way. Happy for him to be in that moment but really eager to get back into it myself. And I know I go on and on about this, but honestly one of my biggest soundtracks going through my head when I'm running is how lucky I am to be out there. Mike's comment just reminds me, having the ability to use my legs for running and having a healthy body are something I never want to take for granted. So that's my carpe diem PSA speech for the day- never take for granted the two legs that carry you out the front door so you can get your lungs pumping. 

Week two postpartum running prognosis: still slow but I was able to run the whole length of my route and HOT damn did that ever feel amazing. I've started to incorporate some body weight and resistance exercises because at the end of the week I noticed an old Achilles tendinitis injury creeping up on me - it always comes back after I've been out of the sport for awhile and my leg muscles aren't strong enough. So to try and work on the strength, throw in 25-50 squats while facing June on her change table a couple times a day, and I'm doing the 30 day plank challenge! I'm on day 5 only but it's fun and I'm seriously skeptical about reaching five minutes by the end of the month; but there really never was anything more motivating in my opinion then a healthy dose of skepticism to get myself all amped up!  

(^^ I really have to start cutting my head out of my out of those progress shots... I never really know what to do with my face...)

Two weeks down!  Next week I'm gonna post my workout schedule so I can see when things really started to get going :) 

Long Weekend

FamilyEmily KellyComment

Well, that was a long weekend in every sense of the word. Hello Monday night, I thought you were Wednesday... because when you have a baby that's got an ugly case of Reflux and a husband who's on crutches and not able to stand on two feet, you don't really keep track of the days. And you're not really aware that it's even a weekend. I do remember hearing something about a Full Blue Moon on Friday night? (Or is that redundant ... are all Blue Moons full? I'm not sure.) It was pretty cool to stand up and stare at while I waited for Cliffy to do his evening business. 

Either way, we've come out of it alive. We're a far cry from where we were last year at this time; wedding and honeymoon planning! We've taken to talking about a possible road trip or bigger trip next Spring because it's fun to think about times when Mike doesn't have to hop around on one foot and when poor baby June is able to enjoy her dinner (that I worked very hard to prepare. That was a breastfeeding joke.... see what I did there??!! <----) But as they say, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. Ain't that the cold truth?! This is life for the moment, and we're still trying to make the best of it. Sometimes not as eloquently and as composed as I would hope for, but gosh darn it we're trying. Here's to a new week ahead of us. And beautiful summer weather. :)

 

Milestones

BabyEmily KellyComment
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As new parents, Mike and I have been excited to reference a "milestone" timeline as June's been growing. It's fun to follow along and see her develop as she hits new benchmarks. She grabbed for something the other day and I almost had to declare it on social media.... I stopped myself though, you're welcome ;) 

The hilarious part is, we've been going through so many of our own changes. It would help to have our own milestone timeline to reference so we can better appreciate the "developmental leaps" we're hitting along the way. From what time I've had to reflect, I think it would read something like this:

"In week one, parents hit new emotional levels they didn't know existed - feelings of joy, pride and happiness surface in those first days and hours. It's a honeymoon phase as they stare and gaze lovingly at their sleeping newborn. You might recognize this behaviour as they repeat the birth story to you in specific detail for the third time. Just let them do it, it's part of the actualization process they need to go through at this milestone. 

In weeks two-four new parents are learning new skills and during this time, they will learn to hone in on emotions like grace and patience. Be gentle with them as they learn to navigate the world of caregiving with very little sleep. Remember, this is uncharted territory for new parents as they learn to put another human's needs completely before their own. By the end of this milestone, they'll be able to juggle letting the dog out with making a cup of coffee while cradling a baby. Dad will be able to pick up the new born without fear of breaking it and mom will have reduced her morning shower time by 89%.

After week four, new parents will feel more capable of tackling the world again. This period is followed by a time of relative calm where a routine is established and life begins to sort itself out."

Which brings me to our almost eight weeks on the milestone timeline.

At the start of week seven, Mike chipped a bone in his ankle- meaning we've been down a set of hands in the Kelly household. And of course this means, one less person to help juggle the house stuff. 

But since we're down a parent (new found respect for single mums out there!) I've had to let go of that stuff this week. It's turns out it's the week June is going through some changes of her own; the kind of changes where her world is turned upside down and she needs closeness with the only constant in her chaotic world; me. 

I know she doesn't talk but I can hear her saying to me, "Let's just sit mama. Let's not worry about anything else but you and me. Can we just cuddle today? I just want to sleep on your chest and hear your heart beat." 

I might have understood the principle of it beforehand, but this week I reached my own milestone when I just gave myself over to it. I pushed aside the to do lists, the walking of the dog, and let the grass grow. Because of course, time spent holding your baby is never wasted. 

And what a wonderful new world this is.  

Nights like these

Bird SongEmily KellyComment
  Nights like these when everyone else in the house is asleep and you step outside and it's nothing but crickets and heat.   The past two days have been scortchers - also coinciding with an ankle injury for mike. Apparently he chipped a bone in his ankle (didn't realize that was possible) playing soccer on Monday night and he's been laid up in crazy pain since. So we've been hunkered down in the AC with the blinds drawn like shut-ins. I stepped out twice today, once with June on my own (only my second time ever) and once to take a picture of my beets because i could tell from my kitchen window that they were wilting in the heat. Juney and I met a lady in a parking lot and we bought a new baby wearing wrap... It's called a "ring sling" and I'm just floored by this underground market of babywearing mothers that exists in like, every city. And the prices of some of these wraps! Incredible - the other day I saw a "Tula" wrapped listed for $1,800!!  I don't know what that means exactly except that I hope when you put your child in it it in scripts the winning lotto numbers into their brains subconsciously and then she picks the winning numbers on a ticket that is your Mother's Day present when she's 10. Anyway, that was a side tangent but babywearing - extremely fun and useful and special bonding with your child but apparently also a racket of a black market. Who knew?  Anyway our AC in our car is almost broken - as in it blows some air that's almost not worth keeping the windows up for - as in, it's a tad stuffy when it's officially the hottest it's ever been in Ottawa on this day in history. I was concerned the whole drive about June melting in her car seat but she held up like a champ. She was incredibly fussy the rest of the day though so I think AC or no AC, the heat's getting to her. 

 

Nights like these when everyone else in the house is asleep and you step outside and it's nothing but crickets and heat.  

The past two days have been scortchers - also coinciding with an ankle injury for mike. Apparently he chipped a bone in his ankle (didn't realize that was possible) playing soccer on Monday night and he's been laid up in crazy pain since. So we've been hunkered down in the AC with the blinds drawn like shut-ins. I stepped out twice today, once with June on my own (only my second time ever) and once to take a picture of my beets because i could tell from my kitchen window that they were wilting in the heat. Juney and I met a lady in a parking lot and we bought a new baby wearing wrap... It's called a "ring sling" and I'm just floored by this underground market of babywearing mothers that exists in like, every city. And the prices of some of these wraps! Incredible - the other day I saw a "Tula" wrapped listed for $1,800!!  I don't know what that means exactly except that I hope when you put your child in it it in scripts the winning lotto numbers into their brains subconsciously and then she picks the winning numbers on a ticket that is your Mother's Day present when she's 10. Anyway, that was a side tangent but babywearing - extremely fun and useful and special bonding with your child but apparently also a racket of a black market. Who knew? 

Anyway our AC in our car is almost broken - as in it blows some air that's almost not worth keeping the windows up for - as in, it's a tad stuffy when it's officially the hottest it's ever been in Ottawa on this day in history. I was concerned the whole drive about June melting in her car seat but she held up like a champ. She was incredibly fussy the rest of the day though so I think AC or no AC, the heat's getting to her. 

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And so on nights like these I love finding a few quiet minutes. But then I make my way to bed and there's the soft sound of a baby breathing in the bassinet next to my bed and it's just the kind of special that makes me have to write. 

Postpartum Running: week one

FitnessEmily KellyComment
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The chronicles of me getting back into running may or may not be of interest to the general Internet. But whether you were a runner, a swimmer, a crafter, a singer or a writer before you were pregnant, we all have something in common - trying to find the balance of your hobby/passion in life with baby. It's not an easy to just jump back into something when postpartum life involves very little time and energy for old pursuits.  

Both of these points were true in my case. I waited until six weeks postpartum to start running again, and truthfully even then "starting" to run again was more like a walk/jog (and its possible I could have benefitted from waiting another week or two.) When I had June I experienced a uterine tear and subsequently received a blood transfusion to deal with the blood loss. I was down to 65 count, and a pregnant woman's hemoglobin is about 115 (it's even higher when you aren't pregnant). So needless to say, personally my biggest struggle since June was born has been energy and liveliness. But I was just so eager to get going and feeling normal again that once I got the all clear from our midwife, I decided I would start back into some sort of routine.  

My approach has been "do only what you can do." Meaning, I've had to completely shut down the competitive "just push a little harder" part of my brain; not so hard to do when your body literally, physically won't go faster then a sauntering cat.

Last Monday was my first run - I decided beforehand on a short loop through the neighbourhood. I jogged and walked and spent the time inbetween paying attention to how my body felt. Never before has my butt jiggled so much. Never before has my stomach moved up and down as my butt did. I quickly realized how much my body had changed since a year ago at this time.

I know this won't be the typical case for everyone who was a runner beforehand because there will be some of us who bounce back in two weeks time and others who take a bit more coaxing. I wasn't out of shape before I got pregnant - also I exercised throughout my entire pregnancy - I jogged until it got too icy outside and then I swam up to three times a week. But getting back into running is going to be an uphill battle for me. Luckily I am competitive because while mentally it's a hard blow to feel so drastically different in my postpartum body, I'm also seeing it as a challenge. I think it will be fun to keep track of my progress so that I can contrast just how slow and cumbersome I feel at six weeks postpartum to six months from now. 

The second part of the first week back into running involves separation; it was an anxious process to leave my six week old baby, but it was an important thing to do for my sanity. So I tanked June up with milk (and tried to empty my breasts as much as possible because running when you are breast feeding, ouch!) and Mike took a shift. We decided to try a morning routine for running because that's when she's least fussy at the moment (omgosh she just loves sitting and "chatting" with her Daddy right now. It's the sweetest thing to watch I'll tell ya - makes it even harder to get out the door!)

me post run ^^^ I've never felt so accomplished about getting out for a run in my whole life. tiny steps make you feel big things sometimes!

me post run ^^^ I've never felt so accomplished about getting out for a run in my whole life. tiny steps make you feel big things sometimes!

So, a support network is important - it's important in all aspects of postpartum life and in my opinion it was essential to remember that the support is for me too and not just for baby care. It was actually the most elating feeling getting out there. It was the worst run of my life but also the best. Does that make sense? It felt so good to do something for myself, something that I love and something that was so much a "part of me" before I had June. 

And that just about sums up week one. I managed to get three jogs in. By the end of the week my legs already felt stronger, and so did my head & heart. I should also mention I signed up for the Army Half Marathon in Ottawa back in February. It might have been a foolhardy decision; the race is at the end of September so I'll have to see if I'm in fact able and ready to get out there by that date. I'll play it by ear and see how my progress goes!

Auto-Pilot

WordsEmily KellyComment
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The other day I managed to get June to sleep in her crib for a total of 20 minutes.

It's that coveted time when you have free arms to do things that you took for granted before you had a baby; some examples: showering, brushing your teeth, sweeping the dirt that your dog tracked inside two weeks ago after it rained. Stuff like that.

Twenty solid minutes in which I frantically ran from task to task, like a squirrel, noncommittal to each. I first wandered into our bedroom and tripped on the overflowing laundry basked so I started to fold a few shirts that were on top of the mound. And then, my gaze fell on the bathroom door and I thought to myself it had been ages since I'd cleaned the bathroom sink so I dropped what I was doing in light of the new household priority and I started to wipe the taps down; it was about two minutes before my brain jumped to the cup of coffee I wanted that I hadn't had a chance to make, so I quickly ran downstairs and put a pot on. When I was in the kitchen I noticed that the counter was still full of dishes from the night before, so I threw my rubber gloves on and started to wash what was in the sink. All this before I remembered I hadn't yet showered or brushed my teeth. And heck, I might as well just mention that I was still in my pyjamas - and the pants were inside out. My brain was saying; use this time to do ALL THE THINGS. 

And just as I realized I was short-circuiting, she woke up. Everything looked pretty much the same as it had twenty minutes before I'd started the three ring circus of moving from room to room and shuffling things around. 

By the time Mike got home from work I was pretty burnt out. At some point around three PM I realized I had been staring at a house for the past six weeks that contained tasks I wanted to tackle. Call me a freak but I actually like having time to take care of my living situation. And I was feeling overwhelmed and craving time not just for the housework stuff but the 'me' stuff. My mind was a mess of a million things I wanted to do. The result was I was a bit cranky and I felt like a zombie trying to hold a conversation.

He asked me if there was anything he could do - and it's such a sweet question, it really is, but right now, there sometimes really isn't a whole lot other people can do. We're only six weeks in and for example, we're just figuring out a rhythm for feedings and I'm learning how to read her cues: a cry for hungry, diaper, comfort. If I'm being totally honest at this point there isn't much I want other people to do. And I know that sounds like I'm a control freak since I've just spent an entire paragraph explaining how I want "me time," but I love the stuff that my life is full of right now. I love being the person June needs in the world. I love that we're learning how to "do" nap time and how to rely on one another. There will be a day, in probably only a few months time where outsourcing what she needs to someone else will be much easier. For the time being though, I'm that life source. And that's the most amazing feeling. This time is going to go by so quickly.

With that being said, I was wholly aware that I needed a bit of time to myself. I've stumbled upon the dance that parents do; my life is devoted happily to my child, but how do I still get to just breathe a bit? And this non-existent nap time of 20 minutes wasn't going to cut it. When Mike asked the question, I ran through what it was that I really needed. Sure I needed to shower, I needed to nap and I could have put my laundry away. But I also just desperately needed to put myself on auto-pilot for a bit. And so the first thing that popped into my head was my garden; it has been ages since I've paid it any attention. Before June was born I'd have to say that my three areas of "escape" were running, writing and gardening. I get a lot of solitude when getting my hands dirty and playing with the growing things. So first thing this morning, Mike took over and I headed outside. And I got dirty and scratched from pulling the massive thorny weeds from the garden. And it was a glorious moment of solitude for just me on my own. 

Auto pilot feels good, and it's one of those luxuries I didn't know I appreciated before I had a baby. 

lemon Iced tea

FareEmily KellyComment
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Currently ^^^

I thought one of the hardest parts of being pregnant would be cutting out the wine. Surprisingly I made it nine months without a strong craving, and now that I can have a drink or two again, I still haven't got my appetite for wine back... which shocks none more than me, let me tell you. This is probably because I know subconsciously that one glass of wine would just make me so sleepy... something I can't really afford right now. This, coupled with the fact that as soon as I start breastfeeding I'm parched beyond belief, and wine isn't the thirst quenching type of beverage I usually have in mind. If I sit down to feed June without putting a glass of water or something beside me, I could just kick myself because there really isn't anything worse then being thirsty and not being able to quench it (#privilege). 

One of my sweetest friends brought us some groceries just after June was born, including the best "organic black iced tea with Meyer lemons." She seriously got me addicted to the stuff. I could easily down a glass like it's water. So I tried re-creating the recipe and of course it's no where near as perfect as this Mecca of ice-tea, but it's a good substitute. I'm sure you all have a recipe for sweet tea, mine includes lemons and honey, in case you were interested ;)

On the topic of beverages, I have a pinterest board of only drinks and it's one of my favourite and least referenced of all my boards. I think I'd like to make my way through a recipe or two before the summer's over. I don't know if it's the new addition in the house but I have a huge desire to make things and experiment and get out there and live the best life. I'm not sure how that relates to sweet tea or pinterest ideas but it's been something that's been on my mind as of late and since we're having a drink, I'd thought I'd share it :)

Life Lately with a Baby

SnapshotsEmily KellyComment

New favourite pastime: taking and looking at photos of June. I'm afraid I've started spamming my friend's Facebook and Instagram feeds... because I just can't not take a photo. What if it turns out to be a major milestone? ;) And I said it would never be me, but I mean, c'mon. Look at that face ^^^. That photo of her sleeping in her carseat (of which I have probably 15 more exactly the same) makes me melt every time I look at it. I would say I average a mean 3-4 photos an hour. For the most part I'll just content myself with looking at the photos when I need to kill time. But if you only knew how many photos I wanted to post and didn't (Anne of Green Gables reference anyone?!) you would be proud of me. Gold star. 

We're starting to get into this thing called a routine; we've moved beyond "surviving with a newborn" to living with a newborn. Not that we weren't living before, but priority number one was "let's all make it through the day" now it's changed to, "Let's all make it through the day AND get out of the house a bit." Yay for progress! On the weekend we even made it to a farmer's market close to here. Also an outlet mall where we splurged and got me suited up for my first postpartum run! How amazing does it feel to get out running again after a long winter pregnancy hiatus? The answer is amazing. And it helped to have a new cute running outfit and shoes because let's be honest - I feel anything but cute and mostly gargantuan when I try to put one foot in front of the other. When in need of a confidence boost, dress the part I say! Anyway, more on running later because there is much to say about finding my footing again. So happy.

Speaking of happy, I'm pretty much on cloud nine. Sleep deprived yes, but just so, so happy to spend my days with June and Mike and Cliff. June and I cuddle a lot. I'd like to make her some of those cute knotted headbands (hence the "learn to sew book^^) but I'll have to figure out if I can manage the machine wearing her in front of me; we tried for official Nap Number 1 in her crib this morning and it lasted about 10 minutes. I can't blame her. It just feels so good to have naps together. But I suppose at some point we need to get into some sort of sleep "regime" and I figured we would start "practicing" at 6 weeks, and it's six weeks TODAY! I'll just keep getting her used to the room and the sounds and the pattern of nap-time for the next couple weeks and hopefully it will help us get somewhere by the time Napping (with a capital N) needs to be serious business (which is when by the way? can anyone help me out with that?)

I decided because June was six weeks old it was time I started to do my hair again and make an effort to eat more cleanly, you know the general self-care things that let you be an active and not outcast part of society... So during sleepy time I googled a couple youtube videos and tried my hand at braiding my hair (hard to do with a baby in your lap....). I figure this is the easiest and quickest way to doing something different with my hair that doesn't involve a hair dryer or straightener... because let's be honest June loves me either way. On the nutrition front, I figured Monday was a good day to call it quits on the night-time snacks and I reintroduced the morning smoothie to get a little more green into my diet. Thank-goodness for husbands who help run the house in the morning; Because of Mike I was able to have a run this morning AND a yummy smoothie for breakfast.

I feel very lucky lately. Times 1 million.

Babywearing Stage One

BabyEmily KellyComment

It took approximately one day after arriving home from the hospital to realize that our baby was the kind of baby that you carry and you don't put down. I don't know why, but I had these visions that my newborn would like to spend time in a swing, or the cute little fisher price vibrating seat we got for her. Although I'm typing this and realizing how ridiculous that sounds. What type of baby doesn't like to be carried? What type of baby likes to be far away from their mother? It makes complete sense to me that a baby, especially when brand-new, would prefer to be in their mother's (or father's) arms. And that's just how June sees the world; let's hang out together - all day, everyday.

At first I'll admit, I was exhausted. It's a tough transition to go from being an independent person, to having a living, tiny, very fragile human being dependent on you. But there's this magical thing about being a mother and about being around your newborn - the more time you spend together, the less time you want to spend apart. June has put this spell over me and now I'm at a point where things are just better and more "right" in the world when I"m holding her close. She'll fall asleep on my chest in the rocking chair and I'd rather keep rocking then look for the pack-and-play that's set up in the corner of the TV room. Enter babywearing. Because, really, a mama can't just sit and watch Netflix all day (well she could but the numb bum will get ch'ya after a few days). 

Before June was born I had purchased a Solly Baby wrap. I just loved the look of those newborns all snuggled in there, nice and warm. When I pulled the wrap out of the package I had severe doubts that I'd be able to put it on and successfully transfer her into the folds. I mean, it's essentially just a really long piece of stretchy fabric and the idea that you have to wrap it just so, is a bit intimidating. But I watched the video Elle (founder of Solly Baby) put together about a hundred times and finally worked up the courage to take my fussy, back-arched baby, and finagle her in there. I'm proud to say after about 2 attempts, she was safely tucked in. About 5 minutes later she was sleeping. MAJOR SUCCESS!

And that's been our first foray into the Babywearing world. And life has gotten so much easier. June is less fussy in the evenings (and throughout the day) - and it could be a coincidence because she's a bit older, but according to the research, babies who benefit from being worn during the day, are apparently less fussy at night. Something about having trust, comfort and their needs actualized. Go figure. 

Anyway, not for everyone I assume, but for us it's working. And we're gonna keep going with what's working at this point.

Baby June's Nursery

around my houseEmily KellyComment
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Working on this nursery for June has easily been the my most favourite project I've put together. We decided her room would be our old guest bedroom and looking back at the way I threw that room together, it was almost as if I was subconsciously anticipating it becoming a baby's room someday. It makes sense because I do love pastels and bright colours, and I seem to naturally gravitate towards interior decorating that's best suited for a baby's room... something that became much more apparent to me as I started pulling items from around the house to add to the space. This also came in handy since we had just painted the room when we moved into the house a few years ago. The colour is  Coventry Grey by Benjamin Moore, and because we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, we were in luck since it's a perfect base for a gender neutral theme.  I'm really happy with how it turned out. It feels like a warm and cheery space without being too much of a deviation from the way we've decorated the rest of the house. I also feel like she can grow with the pieces we've chosen to include which is a bonus. Also since we finished it before she was born and we knew she was a June Bug, the room is largely devoid of large swaths of pink, something I wanted to avoid from the outset. 

babygirlnursery.jpg
babygirlnursery.jpg
babygirlnursery.jpg

Theme: I tried to have a theme for the room when I started out... but then I quickly realized it would be more expensive to stick to a theme rather then work with what I already had. I think in the end the theme turned into something I'd like to think of as whimsical and nostalgic. 

Pieces that bring the room together: My two most favourite elements of the room are the yellow rocking chairs. One for baby and one for mama. The large rocker is one that we found on a curb two years ago and I refinished it in yellow at the time, honestly not thinking about future babies - but it couldn't really be a more perfect accent colour. Can you believe someone threw it away? It's really comfortable. And that's saying a lot considering I'm most likely to be sitting in it at 3 am!

The pint sized yellow rocker is another stellar find. I'm part of a Facebook "mom swap" group and as soon as I saw this perfect match pop up in my feed I arranged to pick it up for 10$! Actually, timing couldn't have been more perfect; we picked it up from the woman's house on the Sunday after my water broke! It broke after we had been out for breakfast and it didn't seem like too big of a deal at the time so we just continued along with our errands. Nine short hours later I was in the hospital and pushing! 

Working with what I had around the house: All the other bits and bobs came from around the house. I pulled together the gallery wall from pieces I'd kept over the years; cards from friends like the Winnie the Pooh one, and the art was pulled from books (Oh the Places You'll Go!) and post cards I'd bought at a craft and art sale years ago. (I knew they'd find their place one day!) And the frames were in a gallery I had in the living room which we removed when we repainted this past Spring. I ordered the bunting banner from an Etsy shop last summer for the tent at our wedding - I think there must be about 300 feet of it so I love the idea that a piece of that special day is making it's way into this space. 

A few small investments: The dresser and crib are from Ikea. Honestly we shopped around and nothing seemed to be as reasonably priced. The crib is a good size too; so many of the cribs we looked at elsewhere seemed so bulky. The dresser took forever to set up but for Ikea it feels sturdy and like it will hold up for a long time. Plus the drawers are big enough that it will grow with June and her bigger clothes will fit in there someday (not anytime soon thankfully! Please stay little!) and we bought it during the bedroom event so bonus sale!

We invested in hardwood floors for the nursery and new guest bedroom/office this past Winter and it was one of the best decisions we've ever made. Labs are lovely but they tend to leave a bit of them in every room they enter and hardwood flooring makes it easier to keep up with the dust bunnies. When I was pregnant I wanted to clean every surface in sight and honestly the carpet was driving me crazy because I could literally picture all the dust mites buried in the depths of the dusty rose pile that had originally belonged to the previous owners of the house. 

Everything old is new again: My mom found the Baby pillow in the crib at a yard sale, and we found the rocking horse at a yard sale too. The blocks are Melissa and Doug that I snatched from that Facebook Swap Group - and I didn't think of it until I got them home but they are going to be the perfect centre piece in the monthly photos I'm doing of June. So many good finds!

Finished product: Other than the hardwood which I consider to be more of a house upgrade, our only real expense was the furniture and the carpet ($14.99, also Ikea) totalling $370! And for that I'm more then happy with the finished product!