100 Babies!

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in my 100th birth.
So many stories. So many photos. So many beautiful families growing and welcoming new life. I’ve seen transformations as babies are born, mothers and fathers are born too. Thank you friends for inviting me into your lives, and trusting me to hold you, care for you and love you during this tremendously intimate time.

In my tiny Pender cabin, I sit as the rain pours down, in front of my wood stove and my wee girl sings “Rudolf” at the top of her lungs. And I think about how sweet life is even with all its storms.

Seeing so many beginnings humbles me to remember the beginnings of my own journey as a mother and as a doula.

 

And now that September is almost gone!

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As you can tell from my lack of blogging, September has been busy. I’ve done 4 babies this month. We started another year of homeschooling. This is our first “official” year as Gabrielle is registered in Kindergarten through the homeschooling program at the school.IMG_0209

For our first day of school, we made a time capsule, to be opened on the last day of school. She has goals for this year. She wants to learn how to climb trees, read and write, and finally, she wants to learn every bone in the human body. Ya know, nothing lofty for an almost-five-year old.IMG_0216

This is our first day of “school” with the Spring Leaves program at Pender Elementary school. I’d say we are on the right track! A sunny beach day, really it doesn’t get better.IMG_0221 IMG_0606

Because kindergarten is mostly about games, we play lots of games. For reading, we obviously use books, we use the game like the one above. And I picked up a sight-word Bingo game. And we do lots of letter practice by writing notes and signs. For math, I picked up a Saxon math curriculum from another homeschooling mama who was getting rid of it. It’s a bit advanced for her yet and since we want to keep everything light and fun, we do a lot of playing with cuisinaire rods.

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We extracted honey, with another batch coming. It’s delicious. Different than last year. I found last year’s batch quite dark, and the year before, quite light. This year you can taste a burst of flowers at the end. It’s divine!

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I got to be involved in a Doula Get-together. Past clients brought their babies to the park and we ate snacks and got to visit. It was so wonderful to see these families. They are so so dear to my heart and I felt very blessed to be invited into their lives through such a big transition. Thank you for coming friends.

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And then just because I have permission, here are some beautiful babies that have come this month. Oh aren’t they squishy delicious?

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Happy Autumn!

Snapshots: The End of Summer

IMG_20150819_185648~2I have this special place. A place that is this oasis from real life, though it was my real life for a while.

When I was 18 years old, I moved out of home and a friend brought me to this house and said that if I was ever in trouble, this is where I could come. This house was filled with music and warmth. It was a place that I could be welcome no matter what. Here, I could rest. And be loved.

IMG_20150819_185645Now I come back to this home and the feeling is the same. The smell of the house is the same. And some of the people have changed but they have only added to the beautiful house. And now I get to share this with my kid.  IMG_20150819_141413

There isn’t much better than going to a place you love, and having the people you love, pour their attention onto your child. They are not obligated to give her attention. They do not have to play with her, or entertain her, but they do it because they too, love her. And it fills my heart right up to the top. IMG_20150818_193422

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Another cool thing happened on this trip. We got to visit the boat we lived on for 14 months. Gabrielle didn’t remember the boat. I got to tell her where we hung her jolly jumper, and where she slept, where we changed her diapers. I told her where I had to sit when I was pregnant with her because I couldn’t fit anywhere else. And where the cat always slept.IMG_20150818_184212 IMG_20150818_182511

And she got to fish off the bow of the boat, just like I imagined she would when we were living on it.

Soon we returned home to enjoy the last couple weeks of summer because the Autumn busyness comes. It’s all good things, but definitely different things.

Please enjoy the last few snapshots of our summer. IMG_20150815_165601 IMG_20150815_131630~2 IMG_20150814_065958 IMG_20150813_152432 IMG_20150812_121332~2

From our tiny home to yours, happy end of Summer days.

Portlanding

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Charlotte did a beautiful post on our trip to Portland together. You can find it here. It is such a completing and wonderfully written post, that I hesitated to add anything to it. So I’ll just add a little.IMG_20150806_153849

Charlotte and I met online when we were both pregnant and living on boats. There was an immediate mutual admiration and connection because of this lifestyle choice. We communicated often through social media, through an online forum that Eric and Charlotte started. And we blogged and got peaks into each other’s lives. Charlotte’s generousity and her openness appealed to me immensely.

The first time we physically met was in Mexico when I was invited to attend her birth. Who says no to an offer like that? Our families spent a month together, living as neighbours as we waited for Charlotte to go into labour, and then as we were able to be there for the first two weeks of Lyra’s life.

After Mexico, we weren’t sure when we would see each other again. Then tragically, we met up in Texas to attend Kitty’s funeral.

Meeting to first attend a birth and then attend a funeral, it seemed we had covered the heavier aspects of life. Now it was time to have fun. And fun was had!

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I took the train from Vancouver to Portland. I had never travelled by train in North America. It will certainly not be my last time. It was such a sophisticated way to travel. I mean, they didn’t start serving alcohol until 7am but that can be forgiven. The seats were spacious, the cost was low. The food on Amtraks is terrible. I can drink some pretty bad coffee but I could not stomach this stuff. So, I highly recommend the train. But bring your own snacks and coffee!

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The scenery is amazing. The passengers are fascinating. There are plug outlets so that if you don’t get lucky enough to sit next to anyone, you can use your laptop.

And then, there is Portland itself.

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Portland has this really cool vibe to it. Where everyone is wearing a cool, funky, retro or completely bizarre t-shirt. We saw many examples of these shirts in stores.

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I loved the fun quirky stores, the thrifting, the micro-brewery beers on tap, the knit shops, the book store. But the people were the best.

 

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Portland was the kind of place that is just waiting for the flash mob to happen and then everyone in the city would join in.

For example, Charlotte and I had been preparing to see each other by challenging each other to do 100 push ups a day. The first afternoon we arrived, we did push ups on the side walk before we went out. The next time we did push ups, our beautiful host Jessica joined us. The next time, two of her neighbours joined in. By the last day we were there, there were 12 people on the side walk doing push ups together. (Including a couple people that just happened to be walking by.) The people of Portland seem to be up for anything and they are willing to make time for weird and random happenings. This attitude of openness was so fun!

In our wanderings, Charlotte and I came across a store that sold beekeeping paraphernalia and mead. They were primarily selling equipment for Kenyan top bar hives, which I hadn’t seen very often. But they had the regular Langstroth hives too. Also, there was lots of tasty mead.

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Thank you to the beautiful Jessica for hosting us. Your place is beautiful and was completely ideal for us. Thank you to all the wonderful people we met by chance and happen-stance, by their sense of humour, by letting us try to guess and then never succeeding in guessing their names.

And a hugest warmest Thank you to my sweet friend Charlotte. I’m so grateful for you in my life. Your sense of adventure in living on a boat, then inviting me to Mexico, (Heck! Birthing in Mexico takes guts!) sailing across the ocean and being up for pretty much anything! This is just one of the qualities I love about you, friend. Here’s to the next city we take by storm.

And thank you to our wonderful husbands for watching the kids, encouraging our adventures and friendship.

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Thanks Portland, for keeping it weird.

July since 2009

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I have been blogging since 2009. Life has changed a wee bit in 6 years. But also, not really.

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This is the first year we ever had a garden. A few tomatoes and a mammoth cabbage that we had no clue what to do with. (We’ve actually refrained from growing cabbage two years in a row because we get so many with not enough consumption.)

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Then in 2010, I was pregnant and still gardening. 2010 was the first year we harvested honey. It was quite the harvest.honeyfromlucinda uncappinghoney2 ramona2

It was the year before the blog was inundated with pictures of my child, so the cat still got a starring shot every now and then.

Then in September of 2010, we moved onto a boat. And stopped gardening for a year. I don’t remember missing it, but I was very busy caring for a new baby. And living on a boat is incredibly time consuming. Everything takes longer. I posted recently about living slower, but then I realized I don’t have to spend time pumping out the grey water tank, or boiling water to wash dishes. Bathing doesn’t have to be planned because it takes up a good chunk of the day. Slower living is definitely boat living. Below are pictures for July 2011.

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Then in November 2011, we moved back onto land and slowly began reclaiming a garden from 8 foot high blackberry bushes.

img_1653Above is 2012. And the little one grew and grew.

img_1474 img_1682I had started my Doula work, so everything for Brie was babies.

ontoabirthsmallThis picture is of me, after a birth. I’ve been awake for 50 hours in this picture. I remember the birth well.

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Then July 2013, Brie is growing! And after a lot of hard work, my body is back to it’s original size. This is the year I recognize our life again. Our activities are similar to what we are doing today, and I am wearing all the same clothes.

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IMG_1512And now we are almost caught up.

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Gabrielle looks familiar to me in these pictures. The garden, again in July, dominates most of our home activities. We are processing something most of the time. And usually our life is mostly outside.

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Above is 2014. 5 years later, we are still showing off our tomatoes.

I am so grateful for this space. There have been times when I’ve thought, “Why do I do this blog?” But I’m glad for the record of writing it. I’m glad to see the pictures, read the stories. And I’m incredibly thankful for the worlds that it has connected me to.

For whatever part of the journey you have joined us, thank you to you too.