Friday, August 21, 2009

Golf and the cottage.

It's the VERY LAST DAY to enter my CycleBeads giveaway!
Winner will be posted & notified on Monday, August 24th.

Today's the big day... okay, not so big. But it's the annual golf tournament at my husband's work. First of all let me say I am NOT a golfer. I don't really get it. And I'm not that interested in getting it. So it's more of a long walk with boring scenery and some annoying ball business getting in the way. I don't even have the right clothes... I'm a shorts and tank tops, or jeans kind of girl. Not appropriate. I dug out an old pair of cotton capris and a t-shirt for this, and I still feel like I'm dressed all wrong.

But it "Builds Team Spirit!" is "Good For Morale!" and the old men in the company think it's dandy. So we go. And afterwards there is a big dinner with prizes for everyone. One year one of the prizes was a big flat screen tv - we didn't win that one - mostly we end up with golf shirts that are the wrong size or corpbrand coolers. Sometimes gift cards for gas or electronics stores.

With the economic downturn that everyone's on about, the golf course we're going to this year is about five steps down from last year's. It's golf on a budget, with a shabby green and small clubhouse. Dinner will be outside in a tent, because there isn't enough room for us indoors. And it's supposed to be both 27 degrees and thunderstorming - should be a steamy night! (and I don't mean the fun kind!)

Dinner is a buffet - and I have very low expectations. Typically at this kind of thing, I end up with a potato and a roll on my plate. I'm vegetarian, so that cuts out the main dish (which is invariably meat), and apparently old golf-loving men don't eat veggies unless they are potatoes. I'm taking some granola bars.

Despite all my grumpy complaining, I usually enjoy the day - we golf in a foursome with another couple about our age, who I like. I mainly laugh at my crappy golf swing (hitting the ball 1 out of 4 attempts is my average) - and we play "best ball," so my husband tends to carry the rest of us through the course.

After all this, we are driving up to Wiarton (about 3 hours away) to go to a friend's cottage on Georgian Bay. Apparently the weather will be fairly cool this weekend (19 or 20 degrees), and the water much colder than that - but it should be lots of fun. The friends we're going with are my brother- and sister-in-law, and three of their guy friends, all about 10 years younger than us... so we can play like we're in our early twenties and hopefully keep up!

So I'll be away from the internet for the weekend... how crazy is it that I know I'll be missing it... In fact, I'm taking my laptop (in my new bag! it came!) although I doubt there'll be service up there.

Anyway, can't leave without a quick couple of giveaways, I know after yesterdays' exhaustive list it's surprising to see more!

For baby:
  • Win a One Baby, One Earth fitted diaper at Mama Kenz Studios. Ends August 28th.
  • Win an aden + anais muslin swaddling wrap at Sweeps4Bloggers. Ends August 30th.
  • Win a set of Bummas cloth wipes at Sweeps4Bloggers. Ends August 30th.
  • Win a $100 gift certificate to Zutano's Itzy Bitzy collection (newborn clothes) at Sweeps4Bloggers. I'm loving Sweeps4Bloggers today!
For the ladies:
  • Win a Medela Mid-Blue sleep bra at MomFuse. Ends August 28th.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What you've been waiting for...

So nobody found the perfect pregnancy journal? There must be one out there that is good. I guess I will keep looking. Not that we have good news at the moment. I've got time.

Don't forget, tomorrow is the last day to enter my CycleBeads giveaway!
The odds are pretty good right now for this prize...

Okay, on to the good stuff... giveaways from out there in the world of blog.

For baby:
  • Win a $50 shopping spree at Eco Bebe Boutique (a Canadian company) at Moms on the Go. Ends September 16th.
  • Win a Silly Billyz pocket bib (in girl or boy design) at Feisty, Frugal and Fabulous. Ends August 28th.
  • Win an Organic Dragonfly baby blanket from Sage Creek Organics (a Canadian company) at Canadian Natural Mama. Ends Spetember 21st.
  • Win a $25 gift certificate to Maternitique (three winners) at {Natural} Mommie. Ends August 27th.
  • Win a Wahloo baby carrier at Organic Girl. Ends Sept 18th.
  • Win a Happy Heinys diaper (Peace Bear or solid colour) from the WeeCare Diaper Company at Organic Girl. Ends September 22nd.
  • Win an esFitted diaper and esWrapping cover (in the size and fabric of your choice) by esBaby at Your Mama Reviews. Ends August 25th.
  • Win a Hook'n'stroll and a BearView mirror at My Wee View! (Remember My Mom's View? She's just moved over to a new name and new site address!) Ends August 28th.
  • Win a Little Lasso at A Mom's Balancing Act. Ends September 1st.
  • Win two onesies/tees of your choice by Snugfits at My Organized Chaos! I love the future artist one... perfect. Ends August 28th.
  • Win a kids area rug from CSN Rugs at A Kindred Spirit's Thoughts. Ends September 9th.
  • Win a muslin aden&anais sleeping bag at Minnesota Mama's Must Haves (formerly Thrifty Minnesota Mama). Ends August 28th.
  • Win an organic tee of your choice from iKookie at Sticky Feet Reviews. Ends August 29th. Yay, organic!
  • Win a Zoobie Pet at Lipstick to Crayons. Ends September 3rd. These are so cute!
  • Win a Thirsties Fab Fitted with a V2 Cover at Mama Kenz Studio. Must sign up for email newsletter from Earth Angels Diaper Co. site! ends August 21st so hurry.
  • Win a Rocky Mountain Lime and Lemon OS diaper at Mama Kenz Studio. Ends August 21st so hurry! I have heard good things about these!
For the ladies:
  • Win a Sole Delight Foot Therapy Kit by All Things Jill (a Canadian company) at {Natural} Mommie. Ends August 27th.
  • Win a Shabby Apple dress at Baby Makin(g) Machine... and you've got to watch Jennifer's video! She's lovely and the dress is too. Ends August 29th.
  • Win Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross and some HR fabric (nice!) at Sew-Fantastic. Ends September 1st. Okay, I'm sure guys can enter this one too. Any guys out there who like sewing, go for it.
  • Win Spice Up Your Life, a flexitarian cookbook by Bindu Grandhi, at Wishing Penny! Ends August 23rd.
  • Win a bar of Godiva Solid Shampoo by LUSH at Feisty, Frugal and Fabulous! Ends August 26th.
For grown-ups:
  • Win a Bedside Lovers Tool Kit from Eden Fantasys at Leslie Loves Veggies. Ends September 2nd. Hey, when you're TTC (or when you're not) it helps to have a little fun with it!
Wow. Did you get in on all of these? That's a lot of giveaways for good stuff! Good luck, folks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pregnancy journals...

Did anyone find an awesome one?

For my short pregnancy recently I picked up The Everything Pregnancy Organizer (2nd edition). It was a spiral bound book with places to fill in info and some journal pages, as well as information on pregnancy. I liked that it had a place to write my questions as I thought of them between appointments. I liked that it had pockets for ultrasound pictures, the prenatal class brochure, business cards and such. I liked that it prompted me to ask some questions I wouldn't have known to ask (like what is the fundal height at each appointment). I liked the day-planner aspect of it.

But I didn't like it as a whole.

I hated the cover - too cutesy, too pink, and the texture of the plastic cover was nasty. I'd been intending to make a slipcover for it just so I wouldn't cringe at the ugliness when I took it out of my purse at the midwife's office to get my list of questions or fill in some blanks.

I hated that the pages were pink inside. And that the amount of space for writing was all broken up between the months, as sometimes I had a lot to write and sometimes not so much... so there either wasn't enough space, or I felt like I wasn't being 'good' about journaling.

I just didn't feel like it was tailored to me properly... I wasn't always sure where to put my information (like, was my first visit to the midwife the 'first pre-natal' if it was so early that they weren't checking for all the things I was 'meant' to fill in?)... it wasn't my style.

And beyond all these complaints, I feel like that one needs to get tossed... it's filled in with two months of hope and then blank... it just makes me sad. I don't want (or need) a reminder. And it makes me grumpy to think I spent $16 on it when I didn't even like it (it seemed the best of the bunch at the local Chapters).

As is patently obvious, we are planning to 'try again' (I hate the term - it makes it sound like we failed the first time... maybe we did... anyway) and I still like the idea of keeping some sort of journal and place to organize my info, dates, questions, that sort of thing.

SO my question to all you mamas out there is, did you keep a pregnancy journal? Did you find one that was perfect for you?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beach plans

I haven't been to the beach yet!

Madness, right? Okay, there was one trip up to Algonquin, but although it was beautiful as always, it was rainy and a little chilly (the weather's been weird this year, no?) - definitely not swimming weather.

So finally summer is HERE in Ontario - with heat and sunshine to prove it - and now we've been invited to a friend's cottage up in Wiarton for the weekend. I am really looking forward to it!

Then - oh my - we are going out west for just over two weeks! We're heading to Victoria, Tofino and Ucluelet, Whistler and Vancouver, then over to Edmonton for a quick stay at our friends' place before coming back home. We're going the 'cheap' route - staying with friends and in hostels for the most part. I absolutely cannot wait.

And today my mum sent me this link to an article about the World Beach Project. Artist Sue Lawty has challenged the world to make art on beaches with stones, photograph the beach, the process and the artwork you make, and then upload your pictures. You can add your beach to a map as well. Here are some of the loveliest images I've seen in quite a while, from the project:
LEFT: 'Sandsend, North Yorkshire' by Katrin Freitag, 1 December 2007 and RIGHT: 'Kilkeel' by Holly Millar-Whyte, 17 June 2009

Aren't those lovely? So, things are turning out beachy after all this summer. I hope to do my own stone work for the World Beach Project, if I have the time out west! I love the idea and the global scope. You could do one, too! Why not?

I also wanted to say thank you for the comments on yesterday's post. It is a tricky topic but an important one. I really appreciate your comments.

Here's a start on some giveaways for today:

For baby:
For anyone:
  • Win a $25 gift certificate to Amelie Jo American Baby Boutique at Forever and Always. (They have mom and dad clothes, too!) Ends September 1st.
Oh! and ladies, don't forget about my CycleBeads giveaway. It ends on Friday!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What (not to) say.

On one of the forums I'm on, for women coping with miscarriage, a woman wrote in to ask how she could help her friend, who had just told her she's miscarrying. This got me thinking about the things people said (or should have said, or should NOT have said) to me when I miscarried.

Hmm, maybe that's a little misleading. The truth is, I still think about it all the time - and cry about it, and sometimes just go quiet and space out, and feel wistful and sad and frustrated and angry... So thinking about this is not exactly out of character for me right now. It's still very present in my life.

Anyway, the point is, if your friend is having a miscarriage, there are a few things you should know if you want to support her.

The best thing you can do is listen.

She will need someone to talk to who won't judge, won't pretend it's not a big deal (it is a huge deal when you go through it) and won't make her feel bad for hurting or giving "too much information". She will need someone who will offer hugs, cry with her, and let her talk about the pain, the plans she had made for the baby, the emptiness and futility she may be feeling now.

Miscarriages happen before 20 weeks - after that it's considered a stillbirth - so being so early in the pregnancy she may not have yet told anyone she was pregnant. So she may want to talk about the way she felt being pregnant, to relive the joy a little and even the first trimester complaints.

Many women I know are having babies later in life. (I'm 33 and just had my first pregnancy which resulted in the miscarriage - and I have so many friends my age with their first pregnancies or newborns.) So she may be feeling the pressure of 35 looming, with its increase in probability of fertility problems and chromosomal problems or other birth defects. She may have been trying to conceive for a while - years, even - and gone through the frustration of different fertility treatments. She may have seen her friends having children and been feeling so left out and heartbroken. To go from that situation to that Big Fat Positive on the pregnancy test, only to have that joy and hope taken away is truly traumatic.

The worst thing you can do is not call, not ask about it, pretend it didn't happen or act like it's not a big deal.

So your friend needs you. She needs to borrow your strength and your shoulder to cry on. She needs someone to rage about the unfairness of it all with her. So, what can you say?

The best thing you can say is:

If you need something to say, "I'm so sorry" works! Or ask how she is feeling, what she is feeling, how her partner is handling it, what her doctor/midwife said, if she is going to take time off work, if she wants a project to keep her busy, anything - just ask about it. She may feel like she can't talk about it - because no-one does - and that's not right. Women should talk about this.

Before I had a miscarriage myself and learned more about it, I had no idea how common it was. None. Nobody talked to me about this. The pregnancy book I bought - nearly 500 pages - has one paragraph about miscarriage. Neither my family doctor nor my midwife talked to me about the possibility of miscarriage.

Now I know that the best estimate is that 20-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in four! And this is only an estimate, because it is believed that many miscarriages happen before a woman even knows she is pregnant, so those aren't counted in the stats. Think about that... for every three kids you know, one baby didn't make it, and one woman has gone through a miscarriage. Some women go through many miscarriages before carrying to term. I can't imagine how hard that must be. And nobody talks about it.

I had no idea what to expect physically. My doctor was actually cheerful when I went in, sobbing, knowing in my heart I was about to miscarry. My midwife was kinder and talked to me about it over the phone, giving me some information. But I learned the most from the forum on the internet - from other women.

And I really want to emphasize that we girls need to talk about this. If I hadn't read the words "gushing" and "contractions", I would never have expected these things during the miscarriage. I think I would have expected a heavy period. Ladies, it's not like that at all. I would have flipped at the amount of blood and the feeling of passing tissue. I know this may sound like Too Much Information, but a little TMI is so much better than none if you are about to go through it. Or if your friend is going through it - learn a little about this, help her know what to expect.

The worst thing you can say is:

* "it was (wasn't) meant to be"
* "it will happen again for you soon"
* "lots of women have miscarriages"
* "at least it happened now and not later"
* "just think of the miscarriage like a period, only a little late"

... anything that diminishes her loss in any way just ends up hurting. This was a baby to her, not a "pregnancy" or a "fetus". A baby. Her baby. Most likely much wanted and already loved. Hours or days ago she was a happy, pregnant, mother to be. And suddenly she is not any of those things.

The last thing I will say is, it's not the kind of thing that is 'better' after a week or two. She may still be physically going through it even 4-5 weeks from now, and will certainly be grieving emotionally for a long while. A quick hug or even a phone call and a "How are you feeling?" over the next few months will mean a lot and show you care.