Home Schooling Micah

30 Aug


Hi Friends,

I’ve been itching to write and always- forever putting my alone time on the back burner but Hubby is out with Micah right now, and the house is decent so I can finally sit down to give a decent post here.

I haven’t shared anything in forever but I have had this post on my mind for about that amount of time. ^_^ Now seems like the right time to share about our home school journey and choices as so many loved ones are considering the option of homeschooling during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Six years ago I was hoping and praying, longing and striving to have a baby of my own. It’s not a secret among our friends and family and this sweet lil’ online community that I have had fertility issues and quite a journey into motherhood. I was so preoccupied with getting pregnant that I hadn’t given much thought to how we would raise our child when that day came. 

When finally we brought my son home from the Birthing Center all the preparations I had made for his homecoming became futile. Everything turned inward and instinct took over. As he approached his first birthday I finally had the mental space to think about his near future and I started researching education styles and methods. My husband also had some developing opinions about our conventional options and after a process we both felt strongly that we didn’t want to ‘send’ him to school. We also saw all of the important skills he was learning as a baby and what a great job we were doing teaching him those things. Surely we could give him a basic primary education. 


This is his favourite place to sit and work on his nature journal. 

Over the next two years I read up on different methods, joined social media groups, and did my best to meet home school families who were in the thick of it. I remember feeling really unsure of what it would look like to home school and wanting someone to paint a picture for me so I could “plan” for our future. 

When my son turned three years old I started to do some preschool activities with him like learning the alphabet and numbers, animals, colours, sensory activities, gross and fine motor exercises and more. (thank you pinterest) I wanted to cultivate a habit of teaching him through play. We had copious play dates with other SAHM’s and their little ones and friends on MAT leave, where he practised his social skills. I could see that he was developing a beautiful character.  The picture started to come into focus and it was far from perfect but really beautiful. 


A fort we made in our forest last fall. 

I attended a few home school conferences which were amazing in sparking my imagination. The RVHEA conference and then the Meeting Charlotte Mason mini conference did a wonder in getting me ready for the coming years education and setting me on course as a mother. The picture was gaining clarity. I truly believe that education is so much more then knowledge transfer, text books, lectures and sitting at a desk. I grew up in the public school system and did okay, but there was a lack of depth that I’m still coming to terms with. I want to give him more depth of thinking and less “twaddle”.  More on that another time. 

When he turned four years old and all of his friends were heading off to their first year of JK in the public and Catholic school systems. The biggest change was in seeking out an intentional home school community. We joined a large Co-op and  Forest School where we met families committed to homeschooling for the long run. My son met new friends and really enjoyed the classes and mother-teachers as well as being free to explore the Earth around him. I loved seeing him practice his social skills that we practice at home.  Looking back I think these activities have had a huge impact on my journey and shaping my outlook on home education. I’m really going to miss seeing this community and connecting on a regular basis due to the pandemic restrictions.

I’m finding many of our normally non-home school friends are really trying to figure out how to navigate their choices to send their kids to school or keep them home during the pandemic. Many have been seeking advice and support as they plan to keep their kids home for the year. We are kind of figuring this out as we go right now too. It’s a lot of pressure, but also a great opportunity to pass forward the blessing I’ve been given. If you are planning to keep your kids home through the pandemic or beyond I would love to hear from you and do what I can to support you. Friends who are sending the kids to school, I’m here for you too. You already know that. 😉

I really feel like I have only hardly scratched the surface of the home schooling conversation. As September approaches I have planned in some space “for myself.” I’m hoping that at least once or twice I can update this blog over the next month. It would be a record! Your likes and comments are motivating to me so please keep them coming! 

One last thing. As September approaches I know I need to be on my game as I’ll be keeping the house running and teaching Micah and his buddies. Two things I have chosen to do as the busy days approach.

#1 I’m getting up a bit earlier to spend time reading and praying to start my day right. It is not easy!

#2 I’ve been watching a beautiful free online home school conference. It’s only free for a limited time but I highly recommend that if you are a parent (home or public school) that you at least play it in the back ground while washing the dishes or folding laundry. It’s all about the deeper side of our Children’s education and I really believe it’s worth your attention. Awaking wonder at Home with Sally Clarkson

“Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not stray from it.”

Peace and blessings, loved ones!

Weaning Micah

25 May

This post is nearly a year late! I just can’t let such a life changing milestone pass by without record.


If you have followed the Micah series you know what a big part of our relationship breastfeeding was. We had a challenging start so choosing to wean was difficult in some ways. Breastfeeding became a huge part of how I parented my baby and toddler. As he grew older and approached three I knew I was ready to wean him. He was only nursing before bed, and I was finding it less enjoyable. It was still a really big decision for me. I want whats best for my child.  He found so much comfort in nursing and when he was sick, I always had the remedy.

How would I care for him this fall and winter when cold and flu season hit?

How would I comfort him through his pain and even his big feelings?

The doubts were abounding but in my heart I knew it was time. He’d started asking about a sibling, we were ready too and with my fertility issues, nursing wasn’t going to make things happen any faster. There were certainly enough reasons to start the process.

I prepared myself and Micah months in advance. With Micah’s birthday approaching we decided that would be a good date to be done. I don’t remember exactly when we began the discussion but I told Micah that when he turned three “shoo shoo” was going away. He verbally agreed that it was “ok” to be done as he was a big boy now. He even told me that shoo shoo was for babies, unprompted.

Sigh, he was ready too!

We talked many times (but not constantly) leading up to his birthday. We planned a big birthday party so the occasion was really special. It was a great day and at the end of it he was exhausted.


(He begged for a Fire truck birthday cake… mama sortta delivered. lol He liked it at least!)


When bed time came I laid down with him like I always do and he cuddled up to me. He didn’t ask to nurse but he was sad. He whimpered and I felt a lump in my throat. I asked him if he was sad and when he nodded yes, wiping his own tears from his still chubby cheeks, I told him I was sad too. I asked him if he wanted Shoo shoo one more time to say good bye. With his pouty lip he said yes and snuggled in. I knew it was good for his heart, and mine, but I was scared. I was sacred that we would do this tomorrow and the months leading up would be lost. I held my child, with the lump in my throat growing harder and harder, and I silently prayed for our relationship going forward and for the over all success of our weaning efforts. I prayed for his heart that he would be comforted beyond what I could ever give him by nursing him.


The following day we talked again and come bed time he was ready to sleep without his beloved Shoo- shoo. We went through a fun routine, snuggled in and I prayed with him, sang songs over him and he slept through the night.

Oh glory!

A few days later he did ask for shoo shoo and I reminded him that he was a big boy now and shoo shoo was all gone.

I still had a trickle of milk but my supply went down so quickly.  I made sure to massage and express a little in the shower to avoid mastitis and I weaned without issue!

Now we are about 10 month weaned and life has changed so much. We did catch every virus going around this winter (except measles) and survived them. I did comfort his hurts and feelings. Non of this was done perfectly and I’ve learned a new kind of grace for myself and reliance on God to help me through.

It’s so encouraging to see my baby turning into a big boy. I love him so much and our bond has amazingly grown. We talk more. He is a kid with BIG feelings and he expresses them loudly at times. It’s been a big growing area for our whole family to work through issues in new ways. It’s truly been a year full of big milestones.

Tune in next time for Potty training Micah! LOL

When the stick is negative…. again.

29 May

When the stick is negative again, is there still joy in waiting? I’m five days past my expected period, I was taking the supplement that normally keeps my period regular. I have been having trouble sleeping and feeling tired every day.  There are many reasons to feel anxious about possibly getting pregnant this time (again). That 2-3 weeks of waiting between ovulation and next expected period are long and full of hopes and wondering if every little physical and mental change could possibly be a symptom of pregnancy; Is there still joy in that?

My heart is tender, but there is still joy. What it comes down to is this: BE STILL.

When I pause to observe the beauty of nature, or of my son, or (Lord bless the poor man) my husband. I have joy. When I breath in and out deeply and stretch, there is joy.

This morning when I did the pregnancy test, I had so many mixed emotions. In another life I would have liked to simply shut down for the day week, or busy myself with tedious jobs to find some form of tangible worth. For one thing, it’s not really possible when trying to raise a tender child, and for another, that’s not me anymore. I want to persevere.  I want to be a conquer. I must – be still.

Today I am thankful that the weather is sunny and warm. We took off to our favorite park, in my community that I love. The sun shining and tons of familiar people to make small talk with around me. I still felt distracted. As a friend stared to open up to me I realized how out of myself I was and I had to regroup. I looked up into the trees, leaves rustling sun peaking through the branches, birds giving me a song; I heard in my heart again, “Be still.”

Deep breath, start again. As I reengaged with my friend things took a better turn. The conversation flowed, there was connection. There was joy. There is much to do the rest of this day, including some tedious jobs, but my worth isn’t in accomplishing them. My worth is in who I am and I am most fully myself when I am still from the inside out. I’m as much writing this to show you where I am at as I am to remind myself. These readable tangible words help me to hear my own heart beat and re center. Joy and tenderness are certainly not exclusive in this case. Here I am. Now for the boldness to publish.

Be kind 🙂

I have joy in waiting

7 May

20180507_08053420180507_08054720180507_080534My blog is supposed to be about taking a journey through life together, yet I’ve hardly had a moment in months to even think about what I’d want to write about in my life, and previously it’s been mostly fluff and unfinished thoughts. This will probably be a one off for a while as it is.

I’m processing some thoughts and you my blog and followers seemed like the right place to go. Because this is me, my thoughts, my journey. I hope you’ll join me in this adventure of the heart.

This weekend was incredibly full and has left my mind full to the brim with conversations, ideas and general struggle between my introvert and extrovert sides. I’m not perfectly either. I’ve been told I’m a social introvert. I love all the people time. I’ve gained something from it, but I’m also exhausted. Maybe a bit discouraged on some fronts too. That’s why we’re here!

A common theme in conversation this weekend was, “second child” and essentially, “why aren’t we pregnant again yet?”

None of those asking were being rude or malicious, though some have asked many, multiple, bazillion times. 😜

Here’s the thing. My husband and I do want to have a second. I have PCOS. (hormone imbalance, resulting in irregular periods etc.) We tried four years to conceive Micah. It’s been about four months we’ve been trying for number two. I’m not at all anxious to get pregnant right now. I want to be, but I have this delightful peace about the process. Yes, I expect it will take a while. But truly truly truly, there is joy in the waiting. I only feel pressure when I have to explain this out loud. Sometimes multiple times. I feel like people don’t believe me. We’re not in a hurry. I know I’m getting older. Yes, I know I have graying hair. Yes I’m still I’m my early 30’s.

When I was undergoing treatment to figure out why I couldn’t get pregnant about five years ago, I was incredibly scared, anxious, depressed and hopeless. I had such a journey to come to terms with my condition and those big emotions and I’m so glad I didn’t give up. I wish I’d recorded the process thoroughly but none the less I’m so thankful for where I’ve come to. Not just motherhood, the physical outcome of the journey but also the inner stuff that’s happened. Something changed in my brain during that waiting process. I learned the difference between waiting passively and actively and I learned a new kind of inner beauty that comes with quiet, active, joyful, hopeful waiting. A paradigm shift, renewing of the mind… What ever you want to call it. I feel different. I like it.

I like that I don’t feel instantly angry anymore when things don’t go my way especially when I’m in a hurry to do something. I used frustrated soooo much. When it comes to having another baby or buying a house (another issue of haste to many in my world) I don’t want to rush. I want to really experience the journey. I want to breath in each day not wishing them away to another part of my life. (We make plans, but sometimes they don’t happen, or happen the way we planned. That’s ok too.)

I love just having Micah right now. He’s a wonderful person. When I have a new baby I might not get to soak in the precious moments with him the same way. I want to enjoy it while it is what it is and then watch it grow when, God willing, he becomes an awesome big brother. Isn’t it a beautiful thought to have to wait in such a wonderful space?

Part of the thing I find joyful about waiting is that if done right, it’s rest. Like Sabbath, soul refreshing, happy place ‘rest.’ Waiting is a space to quiet the mind and relax in simply who I am. Not in who I’m going to be or who others want me to be but just me as I am naturally. I read a quote once that paraphrased told a short story of a man who when he gets to heaven is not asked, “why were you not Moses? or why were you not Abraham? He was asked, why were you not Zusya?”

Why were you not you? Were you too busy to even know who you are? “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

“Be still…”, the first part of that verse is like the answer to ninety percent of my issues I this life. “…and know that I am God.” as I continue to wait I think that second part starts to reveal something in me too. Something bigger then just me but it allows me to be more fully me. A not rushing me who is not trying to change or be more because the one I’m waiting with loves me beyond reason. Changes need to happen but maybe they come with patience. Maybe they don’t need to be forced. Maybe there is nothing to prove or explain at all when the inner world it’s quiet and content. Maybe being a little slow, a little quiet, will mean being a lot content. I am content and at the same time hopeful and even excited about what’s to come.

How Greg and Christie loved us. 

28 Aug

Today was my pastors last day at our church. So of course there is much to reflect on.

When we first started attending Mosaic we were in the midst of two very significant life changes. We were changing churches after many years of being established in a church community where we felt belonging and had many great friendships but for various reasons couldn’t remain there. Also, we didn’t know but we were just a few months away from conceiving our long awaited son. Dealing with these big emotional and spiritual crisis’ wasn’t easy on our own but we soon found a little piece of community in Mosaic.
Every Sunday both Greg and Christie would make sure to stop to greet us which was welcoming and kind. There was a spark when I spoke with them that told me these were no ordinary people. Theses were people who love God and love people. Greg invited me to go for coffee and Christy invited me to join chosen Chicks. They in a sense invited me into their lives which was truly what I needed. God knew that I needed to have a team in this new church and he had already given me a core.
2015-06-30 21.07.22

After years of trying to have a child it was soon after joining Mosaic that we did conceive and we were able to celebrate with our new church friends. I’ve never felt so cared for by people who hardly knew me. The culture in this place has been so love-filled. I feel so blessed to have shared this exceptional phase of my life with this church and with Greg and Christie.


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I love my memory of the time I shared my good news with Rachel at the beginning of a worship gathering and she squeaked with excitement, I’ll never forget how Greg walked by and jokingly said, “ Are you having a baby or something?”  And I replied,

“Yes, I am!”

“Oh my gosh! I was just joking! Congratulations!” He exclaimed with his bashful Polish accent.

During that phase they invited us to their home for a BBQ with a few other people from Mosaic and it was the first time I made some new friends with other families in the church. Christie and I spent a lovely brunch together one very snowy winter Saturday where God met with us and my heart was truly refreshed. We also fellowshipped through a mom’s Chosen chicks group. What a bridge building experience for me! I met other Christ centered mama’s and we prayed for each other and encouraged each other.


As my pastor and pastor’s wife, this couple has helped me to become a part of a new community of believers. I’m comfortable that, here, I am free to grow in Christ and follow his will. I am not afraid of the future without them because I am confident that they too will follow Christ’s will, and continue to grow in him. I’m confident that their impact on Mosaic and OKCC is a withstanding one because it was all centered on Gospel truth pulled straight from God’s word. This is the end of a role, not the end of a legacy. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to worship and serve and fellowship along side this beautiful family for the last years of their ministry here.


As my friends this couple have shared their lives with me and my family. They love on my son like another little brother, and I hope that never changes. Even if we don’t see each other on Sundays, there are still coffee shops and BBQ’s in the places they have always been.

I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in this community and in the lives of the Kopczyk family as things change. Because of my own experience, I’m excited to see where God will lead them. May we continue to be united in spirit and in prayer.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.’  Eph. 4:1


15 Jul

Bibimbop was one of the first Korean dishes I tried eating as well as one of the first I learned to make…oh about 8 years ago. I remember making it in my first apartment when my family came to visit. It was tiny and crammed apartment but they liked the meal so the whole visit is a good memory.

Two years ago on Christmas eve I made Kimchi with a friend. We were both pregnant and unable to be with family that day. We had Bibimbop with our husbands for dinner!

When I was newly married my husband and I would eat bibimbop in a big bowl together with two  spoons. Its a young and romantic memory snug and happily tucked in my heart.

Recently friends of mine went through an incredibly hard time. One of the friends had spent some time in Korea so I always like to give her Korean food. I decided to make this comforting bibimbop for her and her family. They liked it so much and wanted the “recipe”. I didn’t use a recipe as this is a dish you just make up as you go. Below is a list of how I prepared the meal and approximate ingredients. This meal to me is one that must be shared with friends. So today I will share my “recipe” with all of you my friends. ❤

Step 1.
Get your sticky rice cooking in your rice cooker!

Step 2.
Prepare the ground beef:
1lb ground beef (brow in a frying pan)

Mix the following in a bowl together:
1/8th cup of maple syrup
1/8th cup Korean soup soy sauce (It’s a bit different then your typical Kikoman or VH grocery store soy sauce, if you are working with one of these just add it little by little and taste as your go)
1TBS sesame oil
combine well then pour over the ground beef and continue cooking until all is reduced. Taste test as you go.

Step 3.
Prepare the veggies:

Whatever you have in your refrigerator that you can cut into match sticks.

eg. Carrots cut into matchsticks, lightly cooked and salted
Spinach wilted and tossed in sesame oil
lettuce chopped and raw
cucumber cut into matchsticks served raw
Zucchini cut into match sticks and lightly salted
Cabbage Chopped and lightly cooked, lightly salted
Lightly cooked and salted mushroom
(I cook everything except the spinach in a frying pan)

Step 4.
Prepare the egg:
You choose!
2)Flat omelette sliced into match sticks
3)If you are serving in a hot pot warm the bowl before serving, plate everything and crack a raw egg into it!

Step 5.
prepare the hot sauce: (about 4 people)
1/4 cup of Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang)
1-2 TBS maple syrup
1-2 TBS Korean Soup soy sauce

Step 6.
fill the bottom of a large cereal bowl with rice. Place each of the veggies and meat in the bowl as if you were making a pie graph on top of the rice. It is more pleasing to the eye if you separate colours. For example, don’t place two green vegetables right beside each other, place carrots between them. Add the egg last, right in the middle. When your ready to eat each person can add hot sauce and mix their bowl up really well. Eat with a spoon or with seaweed paper. Yumm! I want some Bibimbop now!

Consider this a post in progress! I’ll add pictures next time I make it!


Konmarie 1 -2 -3!

27 Feb

Hey there people. Back in November I started reading the “The life changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of organizing and decluttering”. It was a page-turner. I actually had a hard time putting it down. The book is filled with anecdotal stories about the author, Marie Kondo, and her journey to finding a method of tidying and organizing that actually works. I felt I had something in common with the author but also felt a bit at risk as her obsession for tidying can be a bit alarming at times. Tidying and cleaning should only take up so much of any persons thoughts and time. Even as a homemaker with a drive for excellence I don’t want to be consumed by my work. I want to tidy and clean to the purpose of making our home easier and more enjoyable for living in. (…which is very similar to her goal.) I can breath better when our space is free of clutter and find its far more relaxing for everyone. Especially me. I don’t mind house work but I do hate that feeling that its never done.
So I chose to take the plunge and give the Konmarie method a go. I’ve learned a lot in the process, gotten rid of a lot and had some surprising life changing paradigm shifts. When she said the book would be life changing I just sniffed at the thought but in all honesty there are some parts that have shifted my thinking over the last few months. More on that another time, maybe.
First let me show you what has happened in my apartment.

Kondo highly recommends beginning with clothes, so I heeded her advice and jumped into my closet. I pulled every last item out so that I was dealing with a completely blank slate. I also prepared two laundry baskets. One labeled “sparks joy” the other, “no joy”. I held each piece of clothing in my hands and passed them to the basket they were destined for. Some items passed more quickly then others. As soon as my eyes fell on some items I knew, ” yes you stay!” or “no! Why did I keep you captive for so long?!”
Other items didn’t spark as quickly one way or the other. I needed to hold them and look a little deeper. Most of those went in the “no joy” basket but not all of them.

One thing I’ve learned, that she warned about in the book, is that sorting really does take a lot of focus. I went in with so much motivation but found it hard to maintain with my toddler wanting to drag clothes hangers all over the tiny bedroom or unfold all of my carefully folded socks. (I also learned that a weird form of guilt can disguise itself as joy. When I did sense that guilt I used her quirky method of talking to the item in my head, thanking it for it’s use, for whoever gave it to me or whatever. I know it sounds silly but it was actually effective and admittedly I find myself thinking this way occasionally about other things.)
That brings me to the putting things away portion of the method. I was shocked to discover that I did in fact have all of the storage I needed to put everything away in an orderly fashion. My drawers and closet look beautiful when organized according to her method. A month and a half+ later I’ve been disciplining myself to maintain the method in order to develop a new habit of putting things away “just so”. I think the discipline is necessary to achieve the desired results but I’m giving up in one area. The socks just aren’t doing it for me. I miss my “lumpy potatoes” as she calls rolled up socks. When I’m folding laundry with my tot in tow, I don’t have to worry about him unrolling them. If he takes off with my potato socks I can quickly whip them back into the pretty box I discovered fits them perfectly. I was neglecting to put my clean folded laundry away because I knew the minute I started working at it, my meticulously folded socks would be everywhere. I even tried not folding until they were going into the closet but it didn’t work. They stayed in the clean laundry basket. So the lesson learned is that folding my socks into potatoes sparks more joy then folding them the Konmarie way. I wish it could have worked out but I’m letting go of the silly guilt of not being able follow through 100%.

After cleaning out my own side of the closet I wanted to tackle my husband’s side. I bagged up my clothes for donation and started fresh with two empty baskets. I emptied his closet completely and sent him in to sort his clothes. He did a great job. He was thankful that I was doing the majority of the work reorganizing our space. He’s been super helpful with caring arm loads of old stuff to donation.
Side note: our building has a community donation center! It means I’m a terrible procrastinator for not having everything out quickly! Gah!

Our closet space was lovely when it was finished. Here are some before and after pictures!

img_20161209_210201My side of the closet before and after.

Since purging my closet I find it easier to get dressed. I have basically created a capsule closet. I’m pretty happy with that. I only kept the clothes I enjoy wearing. I get more compliments on my outfits lately and I feel pretty good with how I look now. Getting rid of clutter really does make space in other area’s of life for a little more joy.

Stay tuned for another edition featuring our books, and the bathroom!

Micah’s Story: Remembering the first days.

24 Feb

Hey ya’ll, I recently joined our local Le Leche League group. I was nervous about getting involved at first. I wasn’t sure if I would fit in. Isn’t it always like that when you try something new?! I overcame the fear and some reservations and I’m really enjoying it now. I love the supportive community of women and the reach they have. New moms and moms of older babies and toddlers and really whoever are all welcome. I love that I get to meet women who are very different from me yet we have common ground as mothers. Maybe we will have even more in common as we get to know each other. This weeks meeting was super awesome as we discussed some of the challenges of maintaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship. I was able to ask questions about my own experience to mom’s with training who have been there and I loved that.

At the last meeting in January we discussed the struggles of the early days. It brought back a flood of memories as I talked to a new mom struggling to use a nipple shield with her sweet, very new baby. I thought I would write down my experience as a continuation of Micah’s story to share with all of you.

Bringing Micah home was such a surreal experience. That first night I was 100% relying on instinct. My mind was blank but my heart was in full control. Having a baby is hard work physically but it’s also hard mentally. I ran my Marathon, but then I realized that I had to keep going.

Bringing a newborn home becomes a challenge much like those silly game shows  where people run impossible relays getting knocked or falling into a pit of mud. You feel like a champ, “I can do this!” You might rock the first couple of obstacles but then another comes along, and the mud seems oh so close.

The first real challenge we faced was getting this precious angle to eat. I had colostrum coming in for many weeks leading up to having him, plus I’d read books and attended classes on breast feeding, so I felt confident that I knew what to do and things would go smoothly. (I’m going to get really honest here people. Heads up!)

I was sadly mistaken. I did everything “right”, skin to skin right from the beginning and a lot more when we got home. We let him do the “biological nurturing” of placing him on my bare chest and letting him bob and rout around. He was strong, and able to push with his legs to kind of crawl around. His mouth was gaping open and closed like a little fish. I helped him find what he was looking for. When his mouth was open I’d press his lips to the dark areolas and he’d  do a little ‘suck suck’ and fall off. He wasn’t getting any colostrum. This was freaking me out so we went looking for a way to get the colostrum into him. The first two nights I expressed my colostrum and hubby would catch it on a little spoon, we put it into a syringe and fed it to Micah that way. When my midwife came to visit she was happy to see we were trying our best, but concerned that Micah wasn’t getting enough. He was getting dehydrated and possibly a little jaundice. I knew he could do it if the top of his mouth could get a tickle, but in the words of my grandmother, “my nipples weren’t cooperating”.

I borrowed a breast pump from a friend and started pumping a ton of colostrum and feeding it to Micah with a bottle. I was so relieved to be able to feed him even though I wasn’t directly breast feeding him. I was willing to do whatever it takes to keep this kid alive. This was one of the first real lessons I learned about motherhood. We do whatever it takes to keep our young living. My grandmother with ‘uncooperative nipples’ found a food source for her kids that wasn’t breast milk. They lived!

I really wanted to give breast feeding a chance. I was well informed about the many resources Ottawa has to offer breastfeeding moms, so I went seeking help. Day three with Micah at home we set out on a short journey to a free breastfeeding clinic. Because of a combination issue of inverted nipples and a slight tongue tie I was offered the support of a nipple shield. This was a game changer! I went home feeling so liberated and excited. I nursed him often. We set our minds to revolve around stuffing this boy until he gained back his birth weight. It wasn’t long before he had. So- much- relief!

I continued to use the breast pump to supplement nursing. This was great because it helped establish a hearty supply. My milk came in right on time with no concerns that there wasn’t enough. It was also bad in that I may have gotten some mixed up ideas about what we could do with the aid of pumped breast milk. At some point we thought it would be helpful if after I fed Micah I just pumped an extra feed and then I could skip the next feed and let hubby help out. I could get a little longer sleep in the middle of the night. Great idea right?! Wrong! It was lovely to get a nice 6 hour stretch of sleep every night but I’d wake up with engorged, hot, hard boobs. At the risk of sounding stupid (but really I highly doubt I’m alone because no one knows much about boobs these days) I thought it was just what happens when milk comes in. I thought it would steady out after a while. I was getting information mixed up. Anyways, it wasn’t just silly it was unhealthy because I quickly develop mastitis, only I didn’t know it.

The mastitis journey… I was sick with Mastitis and didn’t know it. I left my sweet baby for the first time to go for a massage about a week after having him. My body was achy and we thought it would help. It was lovely but that night I started to sweat like crazy. I had crouched down to look for an outfit for Micah and when I stood up I blacked out. Thankfully my hubby was on the ball to catch me.

I was first checked by my secondary midwife then by my regular midwife, an on call doctor then by a nurse practitioner. They all checked me for infections and talked about why I was so sick and sweaty. I had a high temperature with no reasonable source. It was the nurse practitioner who was convinced that it was mastitis. She sent me away with a prescription for antibiotics.

I am pretty skeptical of medicines under normal circumstances but as a new mom my ‘oh natural’ sense was way heightened. I got in touch with my ND, my mom and good ol’ Pinterest in search of remedies for mastitis. I found some options that really worked for me. If it had gotten worse I would have taken the prescription but I wasn’t in the kind of pain that doctors get really worried about. I felt like time and my awesome immune system were on my side and it was safe to try some gentler approaches. For relief I used cold and warm compresses and cabbage leaves in my nursing bra. To rid myself of the mastitis I stopped over pumping and  nursed more. I also used lavender oil to massage any blocked milk ducts, took a LOT of garlic to fight infection and expressed milk any time I felt engorged as well as when I was in the shower. Within two week I was all better and haven’t had a relapse since.

Nursing was a really emotional skill to learn. I thought I was going to be a pro at it but even with abundant supply I really struggled. Getting the nipple shield helped me feed my baby for the first 3+ months but using a nipple shield is super awkward in public. Nursing in public as a new mom is challenging to begin with let alone trying to use extra hardware at the same time. I’m happy to say it does get easier! I am a huge fan of nursing wherever you are to nourish baby and meet their comfort needs. I also know how hard and emotional it can be.

Another interesting aspect of the early days with Micah were the hormonal shifts. So much changes for a new mama. After growing this amazing little human in your body then going through the most intense workout of your life to bring them out into the world, life just isn’t the same. It hits you and hits you again. For me there were a couple of lovely moments of welling over emotions, “I just can’t believe you’re finally here!” or  to my husband or baby, “I just love you so much” and of course a bit of, “Can I really do this mom thing?!” Emotions are just on high alert. I knew it would be emotional, but I don’t think I knew the extent. We just laugh about it now thankfully.

My husband had about 4 weeks off to help me with Micah during which time he was a champion. He literally attended to my every wish. I am so blown away by his love. He cooked the meals I wanted, brought me nursing snacks and drinks. He woke up with me during night nursing sessions a lot of the time. He was awesome beyond words. That being said, having a baby doesn’t magically make men into perfect daddy/ husband men. It was a transition for him too. Marriage is way harder for us with a baby, but it’s getting easier again now.  When he had to go back to work, I was sad, but I felt more prepared because of how much he helped me. My mom came to spend the next week with me for which I was so thankful. She helped me slowly transition into being able to get out and do fun things again, like shopping and baby photo shoots.

img_20150910_161503img_20150910_160633Awwweeee my peanut ❤



I feel like it really took the first three months before we actually gained some confidence and knew what we were doing as parents of a new baby. It was around then that I was able to stop using the nipple shield, I had a good understanding of his cues and when he needed to sleep. It was hard at times after that, but not for as long or intense periods of time.


I hope people expecting their first baby read my story and feel a little more prepared. I loved reading mom blogs while I was preparing to have my sweet boy. I felt a sense of kinship and confidence for reading other peoples stories. Remember we all make mistakes and we all struggle in the beginning and it’s all ok eventually.



How to host a blessingway

22 Jan

Today I co-hosted a beautiful friends blessingway. It was the 5th I’ve been a part of since my own when I was pregnant with Micah. That was kind of the for runner of blessingways among my friends. Have you ever been part of one?

A blessingway is kind of like a baby shower but the focus is less on gifts and more on the womans preparation for birth and transition into motherhood. Through a variety of rituals and sharing stories kindred women contribute to preparing the pregnant woman for the journey ahead. Here is what we did at this blessingway:

Food and hospitality:


Typically food and hospitality should be kept simple. Putting out tea and a plate of cookies along side a tea light or two would be more then enough. In the case of this event however we had a “grandma to be” with an English knack for hospitality. She planned a beautiful afternoon tea which we all gratefully enjoyed. It was complete with fresh pink carnations, tea cups with saucers, plus a variety of cakes, squares and cookies. She’d even prepared thank you gifts. These are above and beyond the typical blessingway but we were spoiled!


There are tons of ideas you can find online or make up your own. We incorporated a few of my favorites this time.

We had a blessing journal where the woman can write out prayers, blessings and advice.

We also did blessing beads. This tends to be a very emotional ritual. There is something really powerful about speaking out our blessings and words of love.

Finally we did a group art project. One of our more artistic sisters painted a simple back ground and everyone else was invited to add their finger prints.

How do they work? We made the journal and painting available so that everyone could contribute at their leisure but for the blessing beads we gathered around in a circle to present them to our pregnant friend along with our words of blessing.

The next component of our blessingway was to gather around our friend, lay hands on her and offer a prayer. For some, the prayer was spoken only in the heart. I love this part of the blessingway because it’s very intimate and spiritual. Rarely in our culture is it acceptable to act this way. It feels so good to share these prayers and kind touch together.

Lastly, we finished off by giving our pregnant friend some gifts for her and the baby. If you’re hosting a blessingway you really don’t need to include gift giving. We only tagged it onto the end of our event because people really wanted to bring gifts, and it’s the couples first child, so they can use the items. This aspect is totally up to your discretion.

I’m super excited for my friend to have her baby in a few weeks! After being part of her blessingway I feel like I sort of get to join with her in the journey. I love that!

What do you love or hate about baby showers? Would you consider hosting or having a blessingway? Let me know in the comments!




Remembering grandpa

14 Dec

I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016. It’s hard to reflect on the “hellos” of the year because there have been so many “goodbyes”. John Atkinson, Karen Tuttle, Liz Fulton, baby Aaron Samulack, my uncle Dave and now grandpa. It’s a lot all in one year. This last one hits me hardest.

He’s not just any ordinary grandpa. He was really what all grandpa’s should essentially be. That’s not to say he was perfect but in a sense his imperfection made him perfect. He knew the giver of grace intimately and he in turn became a giver of grace. He was wise and kind with a welcoming & giving heart. You didn’t need to be perfect with him but he’d guide you and would pray for you. He had depth beyond all of his wonderful playfulness.

My earliest memories of him are filled with laughter. I used to love when he would get down on the floor with my brother and I to play “horsey”. He didn’t think about his knees or pride, he loved to fool around and laugh. I hope I’ll have the same ‘way’ about me with my grandkids someday.

He and I also had an especially funny game we played, it was a bit of an inside joke. He started imitating the alien puppets from the Muppets one day and we laughted and laughed until we we’re in pain. Even into my teens and adulthood he could make me smile and giggle with a silly, “yup, yup, yup!” or “nope, nope, nope.” I don’t want to forget the sound of his laugh or his voice.

Besides those  mentioned above it’s hard to find memories of grandpa that aren’t linked to him in the woods. I remember that silly Billy goats gruff story we played out every time we walked across his bridge. My dad would run ahead and hide under the bridge pretending to be the oger saying, “Who’s that walking on my bridge!?” and grandpa would bear my little girl sheiks all the while “protecting” us from getting eaten by the ogar.


His mark is all over the property and my memory is filled with loving walks and four wheeler rides through those trees, across that bridge, under that tree fort, up that crazy steep hill. Those woods are more alive then any other I’ve ever been in. It will be strange to walk through them without him. Yet somehow I can’t wait to get back in them. As if that’s heaven and I can just go there to see him and I know I’ll see him in heaven.


Almost four years ago he was diagnosed with an aeortic aneurysm. Google told me that meant his aeorta (main arterie) was split in two with a very thin wall, meaning it was weaker and he was at risk of rupture. The doctor recommend he take it easy, give up strenuous hobbies and get his affairs in order. Our whole family was in shock/despair/fear of what was to come… I took some time off work and went to be with him and grandma and to help however I could. That week was filled with conversations about what would happen if he passed away. It doesn’t feel real even now that it’s actually happened. He also shared stories with me about his family and life before marriage. It painted a picture for me of who he is as a person beyond the role of grandpa that I’ll hold in my heart. I’m so thankful we had that special time.

Like my earliest memories, my most recent memories are also filled with laughter. I’m more happy then I can possibly express that just last week he was on the floor fooling around with my son. He was making Micah giggle and laugh in his magical grandpa way. I’m only sad that these days have come to an end.


The memories and grief come in waves that in a way I hope don’t stop for a long time. I want to feel deeply how much he meant to me before I’m through this grieving process. My family patriarch was honorable and deeply loved. May we cherish his memory and live by his prayers.


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