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The End of Summer

Oy vey!

You know you’re a parent when you are celebrating – no wait – begging for the end of summer.

Remember the days when you would count down the days until summer started?  And you knew that once it got here, your days would be filled with miles of this:

Woohoo!  Sprinklers of freezing cold water!  Wheee!

Woohoo! Sprinklers of freezing cold water! Wheee!

And this:

toasted marshmallows... nom nom nom...

roasted marshmallows… nom nom nom…

and this?

All friends, all fun, all the time

All friends, all fun, all the time

Yeah, me too.  Summers were the best, right?

So what happened?  Because I’m a parent now, and really summers are more like this:

OMG who are you people?!

OMG who are you people?!

Actually, I run some businesses from home so it’s actually more like this in my house:

... who am I kidding?  I never wear suits anymore.

… who am I kidding? I never wear suits anymore.

And really?  It’s time for them to go back to school all ready.  Here, take your baby sister with you.  Nono, she’ll be fine I swear.

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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Family, Raising Kids, Vexations

 

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Getting Back to it

Friends, how I’ve missed you!  Do you ever find that life just grabs the reins and you are left being dragged from commitment to commitment, obligation to obligation, day in and day out?  Yeah, me too.  And then last week, I started to feel almost depressed.  I could feel I was on the verge of a very dark period, and I had to do something to shake it off.

I was feeling frustrated with my weight, frustrated with my ever growing list of things to do.  I was also frustrated because on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, I was so overwhelmed by all that I wanted to do, and all that I had to do, that I became paralyzed.  And so I sat in front of my computer watching videos, reading blogs, watching my facebook newsfeed like a hawk for any changes, and of course eating everything in sight.

On Friday night I started opening up about where I was headed.  My sister was here, as was a good friend, and we were (duh) drinking.  While I was sharing, and they were responding and supporting, I subconsciously started to coach myself.  And then on Saturday, I again found myself in the company of some more great women, and I shared with them too what’s been happening with me.  And the subconscious coaching continued.

Sunday was my “repair” day.  It was a crazy week, full of activities, and trainings, and business launches and more celebrations.  Sunday, MOMD had volunteered for Doors Open Toronto which had chosen his workplace for their tour, and this meant that I was going to be at home, for most of the day, without a car.  I would be made to stay home.  And that is exactly what I needed.  I tidied, I sorted, I gardened.  I washed dishes, chatted with a friend about the chaos of her life, and I baked for my favourite customer: my family.  While all of this was happening, the coaching started to shift from subconscious to conscious.  I began to craft a plan for dealing with my stuff – both literally and figuratively.  When Monday dawned, I was ready for change.

One of the things on my never ending list of want to do and need to do, was blogging.  I have missed it so…  Another thing was doing what I need to do to be healthy.  Yesterday I stopped – literally – feeding my frustration, and began to listen to what my body is saying.  And today, I am writing.

These are little steps, I know.  Often I find though that the little steps are in fact the most important.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Randomness

 

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Twenty-Two Questions!

Twenty-Two Questions!

Why hello erstwhile stranger!  Yes, yes it has been some time since we last met.  What can I say?  Life with a baby, a 4-year-old and an almost 9-year-old can be hectic.  Not to mention all the “from home” work I do.  And then the lapse seemed so long that I got uncomfortable and I thought, “how can I go back there?”

Do you ever get yourself worked up like that?  Me too.  And you know what I realized?  I can go back there simply by…  writing.

And then Rocker Mom posted this questionnaire and I thought, “That is the perfect reintroduction to blogging.”  And so here you have it: 22 random questions about me.

Where were you born?

In Toronto, in East General Hospital at Coxwell & Mortimer.  I lived my whole life in the City, until MOMD & I got married.  We moved out to the East Coast of Canada to his old stomin’ grounds, the seaside city of Halifax.  While Halifax had it’s charms (among them the Brewers Market) I did not settle in.  It was the longest 6 months of my life, and on April 1, 2001, I moved home.  MOMD followed with all of our worldly possessions 4 months later and I vowed I would never again leave Toronto.

The lesson here?  Never say never.  🙂

Were you named after someone?

Two someones, actually.  Well 3, actually.

  

From left to right: Nana Scrimgeour, Anna Margaret Huffman, Nana Keenan, Margaret Lillian Kelly and my Mom,
Susan Margaret Keenan

My name at birth was given as Margaret Michelle Scrimgeour.  The story goes that my Dad was having coffee with my Mom’s Mom (that’d be Nana Keenan) in her kitchen, and pronounced one day that the name of his first child would be Michelle.  My Nan, without missing a beat, responded, “Well here’s hoping it’s a girl.”  By the time I was born, Nana Keenan had lost her long fight with breast cancer.  She passed away a little over 2 years before I was born.  And since my Dad’s Mom’s name was also Margaret, and my own mother’s middle name was too, it was decided that I would also be Margaret.  Trouble was, my poetic parents didn’t think that Michelle Margaret sounded as nice as Margaret Michelle.  And so, I have spent my life answering to my middle name. (And to boot, I doomed my own daughter to the same fate!  I’m sure she’ll love it too.)

If you have children, how many do you have?

Yes, despite predictions to the contrary, MOMD and I have been blessed to shape and mold 3 little people.  Our first is Connor Glenn who will be 9 (NINE!) next month.  Second is Samuel Francis who is 4.5 and last but certainly not least is our darling daughter, Catherine Elise whom we call Ellie Belle.  She is almost 8 months old.

How many pets do you have?

BoosterRight now, we have just the one.  The cutest little dog that you ever did see.  He is a labradoodle, whom we rescued.

MOMD and I have never been dog people.  In fact, we actively made fun of dog owners.  “They’re children that never grow up!”  “The expense of boarding when you want to travel!”  “Walking them….  in the rain!”  Oh how we laughed…  and then, one day a friend of mine sent out a pleading email with a picture of the most adorable little puppy you’ve ever seen.  Before I knew it, I had responded to the message saying, “I’ll take him.”

And then I had to call MOMD and ask how he felt about it!

It was  a tense moment or two, but once he too saw the picture he knew this puppy belonged in our family

The lesson here?  “He who laughs loudest laughs last,” is a pretty accurate proverb.

What was your worst injury?

I’ve been fairly lucky in my life to have very few injuries.  And really, it’s not because I didn’t try or anything; I tobogan down tree-lined hills, I road my bike at break-neck speeds down insane hills that were gravel roads and ended in a sharp turn and I’ve even been in my share of car accidents.  Perhaps it’s simply that the sooner you get your hard knocks in, the sooner you learn you don’t like them?  I dunno.  What I do know is that I was 8 when I broke my arm.  I was skating at our local rink with my little sister and I fell.  I’m sure I was showing off or something; I don’t remember those details.  What I do remember is the rink guard taking me off the ice and into his office where he inspected my arm and pronounced it not broken since I could move my fingers.  Broken or not, it hurt like a son of a gun and I got my sister off the ice and we went home.  My parents distrusting in the medical knowledge of a 16-year-old rink guard, took me to the hospital where it was determined to be a pretty serious break.  I had a cast from my finger tips to my shoulder, on my right arm, for EVER I’m telling you.  It was so frustrating not being able to use my dominant hand…  I remember crying about it in the school office.  Anyway, eventually it came back and my arm has been as good as gold ever since.

Do you have a special talent?

This sounds like a trick question; maybe vaguely suggestive even.  Perhaps that’s just me.  ~ahem.  To the answer then!  I have a couple of talents actually.  One I get to practice here and another one here, and the other one I just practice where ever I happen to be.  I love to sing, you see.  And I sing pretty much wherever I am, when the mood strikes.  It’s just one of my many charms, don’t you know.  :p

What’s your favourite thing to bake?

I think I could no sooner pick a favourite star in the heavens.  Seriously – I love to be in the kitchen.  But if you’re going to force the issue, I guess I’d have to say that I love to make cakes.  No cookies.  No, wait: pie.  No, cupcakes!  GAH!  Why do you make me choose???

IMG_3963    IMG_2484        100_4857 IMG_1420

What’s your favourite fast food?

You’re totally going to judge me.  I know it, and I’m ready for it.  When I want fast food, only one of two things will do: McDonald’s fries with their barbecue sauce or a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell.

God it feels good to have that off my chest.

Would you bungee jump?

No.  No I would not.

What is the first thing you notice about people?

Their smile.  Does it light up their face?  Do they seem genuine and joyful?  Do I want to be around them?  You can tell so much from a smile, aside from good dentition.

When was the last time you cried?

This morning, actually, as I watched this video.  I cry fairly easily actually.  Like if I see beautiful expressions of love.  Or a new person (like a baby, I mean).  Or for utter joy.  Of course I cry for sadness and greif too, but mostly for the other reasons I mentioned.

Any current worries?

Well, I’ve started this baking thing and while I had a lot of success in the previous 2 weeks, I don’t have any orders for this week.  And while that doesn’t exactly scare me, it has me wondering about how to make the work a little more consistent.

Name 3 drinks you drink regularly.

Arbonne Tea in Kiara's mugI always have a cup of water on the go.  I drink 8 oz before I have anything else in a day.  I love water.  After my first cup of water, I brew my Arbonne detox tea, mixed with 1/2 a pomegranate fizz tab and 1/2 a citrus fizz tab.  And then the 3rd one…  gah, I don’t know!  5 months ago my answer would have surely included coffee.  But since we figured out that it was causing my breast milk to be acidic, I cut it out.  That said, now that Little E is eating more and more food, I am having a cup here and there.  So maybe coffee.  But then, my favourite drink is a gin & tonic.  So maybe that?  With a slice of lime?  Or just a great glass of wine…

Are you starting to figure out that getting me to pick a favourite can be a little tough?

What’s your favourite book?

Again with the favourites, you guys!  So tough.  Because I have so many books that I absolutely love and can’t imagine my life without.  But if you’re going to force me to pick just one, then…  the I guess it will have to be The Mists of Avalon.  That book started my life on the course that brought me to who I am today.  And if I’m perfectly honest with you, I absolutely love my life.

Would you like to be a pirate?

Ummm…  no.  I’m not a taker!  Or a theif, or mean or violent in anyway.  I’m a peaceful giver.  A lover, not a fighter, to turn a phrase.  Although I would love the jewellery…

What are your favourite smells?

kok1) the smell of a Greek bakery.  I grew up in Toronto’s Greektown, just a little south of the Danforth.  My Dad would sometimes take me for walks to pickup stuff for dinner, and we would almost always wind up in a Greek bakery.  I loved those walks, and to this day when I walk into a Greek bakery, I see myself as a little girl, letting go of my Dad’s hand to press my nose to the display case of koks (image on the right).  2) the smell of freesia.  So sweet and beautiful!  I love love love freesia.  Yellow ones.  3) mens cologne, just a hint of it.  I love it.  Any cologne.

Why do you blog?

Initially I started to blog here because I wanted to know that I was more than just a mom.  Which may sound patronizing in some way, I know.  Thing was, my life went through massive transition and I was lost.  I felt like I was walking around in someone else’s skin, living their life.  I needed to find me, to confirm that I still had thoughts and opinions that I could express effectively and that other people might relate to.  And so I started here.  You’ve all been so warm and wonderful, and really: this blog saved my sanity.  So thanks for reading, and reminding me that I do in fact love my life.  xoxo

What song do you want played at your funeral?

GOD so many!!  Not that I think about my death all the time – I don’t, I’m not that morbid.  I do however attend a lot of funerals and viewings (no idea why that happens, but there was a winter where I had 14 funerals in a 3 months period.  True story.) and so I’ve given a lot of thought to my own celebration of life.

And that, my friends, is what I want: a celebration.  A big party, with a DJ, open bar, and excellent food.  A mic where people can talk about their memories of me, and share how I lived.  I want “Into the Blue” by Moby at some point; I want Bach’s “Air” played on strings, in the key of G; I want something by Sarah McLauchlan.  I want Finlay Quaye; Bob Marley “No Woman No Cry”; so many songs you guys.  I love music, and I”m sure there’s a soundtrack to my life.  I just have to sort it out.  Good job I have some time, huh?  😉

Name something you’ve done that you never thought you’d do.

Well, get married for starters.  True story!  When I was growing up, I always aspired to be the crazy aunt with a high-flying career, taking my nieces and nephews on jet-setting trips, living a life of dreams.  And then I met MOMD and he ruined – positively ruined – all that by being so perfect for me that I had to dream a new life.  And here I am, doing many things I never ever thought I’d do.

The lesson here?  Be open to change when opportunities to better yourself come along.

What are your favourite things to do?

Honestly you guys?  This is going to sound so lame, believe me, I know!  I love to put on my nasty old paint-stained track pants, order a pizza and sit on the couch with MOMD and watch something.  Just him and me, on our comfy couch, in our cozy “house pants”.  I also love a pedicure, border runs with my girlies, and of course, cookin’ up a scoff.

Any pet peeves?

Don’t you DARE leave the toilet seat up, that’s all I’m saying.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?

I laugh a lot you guys.  I can’t even remember what the last thing was that made me laugh because I’m sure I’ve laughed since then!  My kids are hilarious, the synchonicity of life often amuses me, and gin always befuddles my mind.  But here: this is the last thing on the internet that really made me laugh out loud:

188204_482649418449272_918876804_n

It’s SO me!

And there you have it.  My, summed up in 22 questions.  If you decide to take some of all of this for fodder for your blog, tag me in it so I make sure to check out your answers too.

It’s good to be back!

Me and my hunny in NYC in December 2010

Me and my hunny in NYC in December 2010

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Oversharing

 

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Things No One Tells You

So breastfeeding…

It’s great.  It’s fem-affirming, it’s convenient and man-o-man is it ever cheap.

Here’s the thing that I notice most, now that we’re 4-months into this thing, having my 2 previous children on formula by this point: it’s exhausting being the sole source of sustenance for this little person.

And really?  Motherhood is exhausting enough.  Well, motherhood for an infant anyway.  Once the kids are sleeping soundly through the night (yeah, yeah, “6 hours is considered sleeping through the night,” you helpfully point out.  To that I say nuh-uh and you know it too) the exhaustion I experienced was primarily of my own making.

I’m not talking about just the getting-up-at-3/4AM-to-feed-her exhaustion, I’m talking about the feeding every 3 hours, the changing of diapers (some times clothes too), the reading, the singing, the floor time, the chair time, the do-whatever-she-needs time.  I’m talking too – especially today – about the crying times.

What, for the love of all that is good and holy, do you want, sweet child of mine?!?!?

I mean seriously: I hold you, you cry.  I rock you and sing to you, you cry.  I feed you.  You are quiet for a moment but pop off to remind me – through more crying – that this is not going to placate you for ever.  I put you on your floor mat, you cry.  I pick you up, you cry some more.  I put you in your swing: yet more tears.  Car seat, crib, bath, all of it: no dice.

~ahem.

But I digress.  You’ll forgive me, I know, because I am tired.  I am tired of being yelled at all day.  And I’m tired of being the only one who feeds her (yes, I have a pump.  Yes, I use said pump.  And there are 4 bottles in the freezer waiting to be consumed.  But it takes a while to get enough pumped to make a bottle, and MOMD & I are looking at taking some time away so those bottles are reserved gold right now).  I would love love love to take off.  To pick up MOMD from the train one evening and head somewhere… else.  A beloved friend has offered to care for our 3 kids, giving us some time away.  And I want to take her up on it, like…  right now.  Like every thing else though, it takes planning and preparing.

And so, I continue.

To feed (and not just the baby but the whole family), to soothe when possible, to entertain and be entertained.  All the while I must remember to cherish these moments, because as so many helpful people point out, “the moments are fleeting,” or “You’re going to miss this,” or “before you know it they’ll be grown up with children of their own.”  And while at the moment I do not at all appreciate these sentiments, I know they are true.

For she is my last baby.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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Ohhhh we’ve been here before, my friends

It feels like it’s been a long time since I wrote.  And really: I’m not sure about why that is.  Well, that’s not true, exactly.  It’s just that every time I start to think, “I should blog,” the following thought is invariably, “About what though?”

It seems I have nothing to say.

Those who know me would say that this is a physical impossibility: surely Michelle has something to say.  Otherwise, she’d be dead!

I know, I know… I think the thing is, my world is changing and I have as yet to get my feet under me.

I’ve been saying for a few days now that the 4-year gap between each of my children is wonderful.  I means that the older one(s) can dress themselves, wash their own faces and brush their teeth even.  They can find their hats, shoes and backpacks, and even put them on themselves.  It’s a godsend, believe you me, when you’re trying to get everyone out the door for the day at 7:30 in the morning.  On the other hand, it’s just long enough that you forget pretty much everything.

Ellie will be 13 weeks old tomorrow, and 3 months old next Thursday.  She has slipped into a great nighttime sleep pattern (for which I am extremely grateful) and I think she might be mapping out a daytime sleep routine too.  Is she too young to do this?  My cousin, friend, and fellow blogger told me on Sunday that it might be a bit early, but somewhere around 12-16 weeks they really seem to establish a sleep pattern.  Well, she’s within that window then so that must be what’s happening.  What I hate though… and really: I hate it…  is that she will not sleep in her car seat.  She’ll sleep in the bassinet stroller, which works out okay when I want to go for a walk, but today?  Today I have errands to run in preparation for my conference in Ottawa this weekend and well, I need her in her car seat!

But no.  If I force the issue, she simply screams and screams, ceasing only when she is finally finally laid in her crib.  How do I know?  Because I’ve tried.  And wow…  this is a very determined little person.

So instead of marking things off my to-do list (like getting panty hose; which I haven’t worn in almost a full year now and I hope that I still remember where to buy the ones I like) I’m at home.  Waiting.  HA!  I’m in “The Waiting Place,” as Dr Suess described in Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  I’m waiting for a baby to wake, for a bus to arrive.  For the boys to come home, for bags to be unpacked, for the time to be right. I’m just… waiting.

While I wait, I’m throwing my Weight Watchers week to hell by eating blueberry banana cake and considering the merits of chocolate.  Won’t you join me for a slice, and maybe even a cuppa tea?

 

P.S.: In case you were wondering, Sam is just loving school.  In fact, at the end of his first week, he was upset that he couldn’t go to school on Saturday and Sunday.  So that’s a good sign.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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I feel like I *must* have something to say…

Every now and then I see a posting on blogs that I read regularly where the topic is basically, “I want to be writing but I have no idea what to write about.”  Those entries always make me smile.

That is, until I experienced my own bout of it.

Never having been through this before, I have no idea what to do to break the streak.  All I can think to do it just write a post full of randomness.  I’m sure it’s not going to be enlightening or riviteing – for either you or me, frankly – but maybe just the act of writing will get my juices flowing again.  So here goes nothing.

*****************************

MOMD is a Newfoundlander.  His parents mailing address is on “The Rock”, in a small town called Fox Trap, on the outskirts of St John’s.  Like so many Newfoundlanders, his parents are working in Fort McMoneyMurray in the oil sands.  They work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off and fly home for their 2 weeks off.  It works for them, because they are on the same rotation and so spend the majority of their 2 weeks off together.

Last night, MOMD took a call from his Dad’s cell phone.  Turns out that while he should have been happily arriving at his lovely home with his loving wife sometime after supper, he was in fact trapped in a hotel in Toronto.  His flight left Alberta on schedule, made a stop in Red Deer, Newfoundland and was on it’s way to St John’s when the fog rolled in.  The plane was not cleared to land.  And so, instead of going to either of the other 2 airports on the island, or any of the airports in the Maritime provinces, he was re-routed to Toronto.

We talked to him this morning and he has been scheduled to get on a 10:00 flight this morning, flying to Halifax, then to Gander, and then to St John’s.  Needless to say, he is not at all happy given that he paid for a direct flight.  There is a 9:00 flight that he’s trying to make it on which is a direct, non-stop to St John’s.

What gives with Air Canada, huh?  The worst part though is that by the time he actually makes it home, my Mother-in-Law will be halfway through her first week of her 2 week break.

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My darling daughter will be delivered in just 29 days today.  Unless – as many have pointed out – she decides to make an early entrance.  Which she may, and once I make it to 35 weeks (that’s Saturday, if you’re keeping track), I will happily greet her before then.  I don’t have words to describe my excitement about meeting her. I’ve been talking to her, interacting with her and her spirit for some time now, and I simply cannot wait to see her, hold her, kiss her… and dress her!!

Every morning, Sam (my almost 4 year old) asks me, “Mommy, what did you dream about?”  Usually my answer is “I don’t remember, honey.”  Because I really have a hard time hanging on to my dreams once I’m awake.  This morning though…  this morning I remembered.  I dreamed of her face.  Not her infant face – I think she was 2 or 3 years old.  And in my dream, I clearly saw her dark hair – like mine, which neither of our sons have – and her eyes.  I saw her beautiful, smiling, compassionate sparkling eyes…  I was entranced.  I could have stayed in that dream for 8 more hours, which is really a relief.  Because (as I wrote about here) the eyes I saw are my brother’s eyes.  They are also my Mom’s eyes, and her Mom’s eyes; a legacy of the Kelly-Keenan family.  As it turns out, I’m really okay with her having his (really their) eyes.  In fact, I feel giddy and strangely honoured that she will carry on that legacy of her Irish roots.

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A friend of mine returned to work this Monday after the end of her 12-month maternity leave.  I wanted to get together with her last week, for one last hurrah, but the craziness took hold and it was impossible.  She works shift work at Mount Sinai and I don’t know when we will have a chance to see each other again.  This makes my heart a little sad.  I know that when things settle down a bit, I can call her and figure out scheduling; I just wish I had called her last week is all.

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Life is moving forward.  I am not in control of many of it’s events; none of us are.  We are in the “flow of life,” as I like to call it.  We can get a paddle and speed up the journey, racing all the way to the end; we can watch behind us and spend all of our time pining for what has passed; or we can sit on the bench with a delicious, refreshing drink, enjoying each moment as they happen.

“C’mon Mom! Let’s go!”

Yes, let’s go.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Randomness

 

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I’m here, really I am

Hi there,

It feels to me like for ever since I wrote something.  I can tell you though, I’ve spent some time here actually just rereading my blog, and I’ve concluded something: I’m so glad I have a blog!  It’s great to have a record of “deep thoughts” I’ve had, and it’s been wonderful to reread the exercise of my mind.

Thing is…  I don’t have much to say.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll post something with pictures of the nursery.  That’s really been what I’ve been working on for the last week or so.  Baby will be delivered on July 5, which is just 36 days away now, if you’re counting (like I am) and I want to be ready.  And we almost are!  The final things that we need are not essential: her bear, and her piggy bank.  She can be born and even come home without those possessions having found their way into our home.  What I can say is that her room is even better than I could have hoped for…  I am so happy with it.  It’s a lovely space, and since Saturday (when the EPIC decal got on the wall) I have spent time sitting in the room, in the chair that I was rocked in as an infant, rubbing my belly and telling my little girl how excited I am that she’s almost here.

I’ve been having a lot of Braxton Hicks (fake-out contractions) for about a month now.  They’ve become pretty much a daily experience now… I don’t remember this from other pregnancies, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  You tend to forget a lot of stuff about being pregnant, which is why so many of us go back more than once!

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I’m still here, and one day soon I’m sure my dander will get up and I’ll have something to write about.  Or something wonderful will happen and I’ll rush right over to share the story with you.  For now, I’m just trying to get the quilt done.

Be well,

m

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Randomness

 

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