Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Program to Introduce.....

Penny Noelle
June 19, 2012
8lbs 2oz
We are "over the moon" with happiness on the birth of our baby girl.  It will take some time for things to get back to normal around here.  With the joys of learning to be a new mom and a constant flow of visitors, there isn't time for much else but a whole lot of loving.  Things will slow down soon and I will do some updating including the final nursery reveal! Stay tuned!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

THE Birth Plan

So I haven't really shared my birth plan with anyone but my close friends and family.  To sum it up, it does not involve any type of medical intervention whatsoever.  Before I was pregnant I was not familiar with the extremely controversial world of birthing.  From what I've learned, there are those women completely accepting and trusting of the medical way (induction, internal fetal monitoring, pain relief - drugs and a doctor/nurse directed birth in a hospital); and I am not opposed to their opinion if that's what makes the woman feel the most comfortable. The thing with interventions is that they are a slippery slope, one usually leads to another with the end chance of cesarean much a higher than a labor without any. 

Then there are those women like myself who thinks of labor and giving birth as a natural process that our body knows how to do on it's own! I want to feel the power of my mind and the natural coping methods such as the explosion of endorphins my body will provide me with.  I am not saying it will be easy but it is do-able; mammals for thousands and thousands of years have given birth and most have survived  with a smile on their face when presented with the greatest reward of all, their baby, after all that work. 

I am not trying to push my views on anyone, I would just like to spread the word, that you do have a choice. Like my doula says,  "If you don't know your options, you don't have any!" So, all that I ask is to explore all the information available, you will find out very quickly what you desire for your delivery day. 

I hired a doula from the Fort McMurray Doula Association (FMDA) to help support us and to be our natural birth advocate at the hospital. She will also be there to remind me why I made the decisions I made in our birth plan when I start to questions myself. This fact was taken from their website, "Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors can be shorter, have fewer complications, and result in babies who are healthier and breastfeed with greater success."  

Now here is my rant about the medical way: 

I have had a healthy pregnancy with no complications to report.  Therefore, there would be no reason why I would be asked by my ob/gyn to have my membranes swept at 38 weeks and 4 days.  At this same appointment, I was asked to fill out an appointment booking form for induction to take place at 40 weeks and 3 days.  I refused and was told I will be asked again during my next appointment this coming Monday where I will refuse once again.  If there are still no complications, there are no reason for me to accept. 

Unfortunately, this is the struggle with dealing with an ob/gyn, next pregnancy I will be moving to the big city and using a midwife, no doubt about it (Fort McMurray does not have any practicing midwives).  Not only does the midwife practice all aspects of the intervention free birth but you get to spend as much time with them as needed.  I will not have to wait in a women's medical clinic waiting room for 3-4 hours every appointment, then transferred to the examination room for at least another half hour to spend 5 minutes with the doctor.

My doula has been more that I could have ever asked for, especially for my first pregnancy.  She has always been available for any questions or concerns I have had and has been over at our house at leat four times to discuss my expectations. The FMDA also teaches the pre-natal classes at The Hub free to the public which I attended. I will be honest, the tone of the classes are towards a natural birth - fine for me but they could make a woman with different plans uncomfortable.
My doula also helped me understand my wants and needs for my labor and delivery and then how to express it on a birth plan which will be presented to the nurse at the hospital (a copy has already been given to my ob/gyn - he made sure to tell me that I shouldn't get my hopes up).  So when the time comes, she will be over at our place and then the hospital to guide us through all the stages of labor. I know in some small way the doc is right (he just didn't have to be a jerk about it!), if any complications do arise and medical intervention is needed, I need to be open as both mine and the baby's health is the most important.

So we are down to the day now, and I could not be more excited to meet our little girl.  I know we will be so overwhelmed with love that any pains experienced throughout the whole pregnancy and delivery will be completely forgotten about! Wish us luck :)

If anyone has any questions, please comment with your email and I will get back to you!

Front Yard Flower Bed and Mail Box Makeover

Everyone in Fort McMurray, well probably Canada knows the golden rule about planting their flower beds and gardens.....WAIT UNTIL AFTER MAY LONG WEEKEND!!! And so after we got back from our freezing camping weekend, the sun conveniently appeared signalling it was time to get working in the yard.

The perennials shown in yellow, were already starting to pop up a week or two before May long weekend. The only new perennials I added this year were to the bottom row, 3 Dianthus'.  The rest of the space, I surrounded in annuals; petunias, pansies and marigolds.  I guess my colour scheme this year is pink and orange.  For the hanging basket on the trellis, I am trying out the Sweet Potato Vine which is supposed to be good in full sun and can grow quickly.  In the past, I've grown Sweet Peas but they just don't fill out enough, which doesn't provide us the desired privacy from neighbor that we would like in the summer.

To pretty it up some more, I filled a planter with Creeping Jenny, Dahlias and a tall green spiky plant in the back and a small pot with a marigold.

After the planting was done, I stood back and admired my work.  Something was off, something was lacking the style the front of the house deserves.

It was the mailbox.  Have a look at the rusty gold and black mailbox it once was and now the transformed and sleek holder of mail.  All it took was two even coats of Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint by Rustoleum which I got at Wal-Mart. 

For the final reveal:

What flowers do you plant in the spring? I would love suggestions! I am new to the gardening world as my green thumb is only a pale, pale shade of green.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Geocaching - May 24, 2012

This cache was called "Wet Cheeks" for a reason.  Can anyone guess why??

Monday, June 11, 2012

May Long Weekend Camping

This post topic is a little late but when starting to write a post about my front flower beds, I realized our May long weekends in northern Alberta are a little crazy.

It doesn't matter if it has been above 20°C and sunny for the first three weeks in May, you can bet your life savings that it is going to snow, hail, rain like a motha and/or get pretty close to freezing on the May long weekend.  And, every year we make the same foolish decision to kick of the camping year with this particular weekend.  This year was no exception, we headed out to Mariana Lakes to camp, which is also known as "Mariana Triangle" weather wise.  Ironically, it did all of the above weather mishaps - snow, hail, rain and according to the thermometer we brought with us, the minimum temperature reached that weekend was 0.6°C.  

The past few years we (Mr. Loonie, Stryker and I) along with our group of friends have been camping at the Mariana site furthest south on Hwy 63 when it is available.  I don't know how long it has been there but there is an amazing teepee approximately 20 feet tall with a fire pit right in the center of it.  To keep the wind and cold out and the heat in we wrap tarps around the outside, which is especially essential for May Long weekends.

Here are some past pictures we've taken of the South/old teepee site.  This site also has a little dock perfect for fishing or just relaxing! 

Unfortunately, we missed out on this spot this year and had to settle for the north site (they are only 2 minutes apart on the highway).  There is more than one camping spot on this site but the nicest is right on the water, the downside is the wind off the lake.  The only solution was to erect our very own teepee!!

So, the guys went to work! Conveniently four guys with ASRD (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development) and their helicopter were parked while on a fire watch and decided to help out!

Drag the deadfall out. Cut the lengths to size, tie together at the top and all at once....LIFT!!!

Wrap the tarps around for ultimate protection!

Photo Credit to our friends Colin, Juniper and Melissa.

P.S. Team 3Strykes and team timestoppersua stashed a cache at the new teepee site - Stop in for a search on your next travel south! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Main Floor Half Bath Makeover

The first main half bath makeover was courtesy of moi, hence the horrible job.  The first paint colour (mustardy colour where mirror used to be), was painted when the main floor was painted (the main floor is still the same colour - and I like it).  It never looked good and it was just too much of the same colour on one floor so one evening a few years back I picked out a blue and went to town.  I can't believe I was lazy enough to paint around the mirror especially because it was only held into place by a few clips.  It is hard to tell from the pics but the walls were in AWFUL shape, there were holes and rough spots from old hooks, pictures and shelves, and a poor patch job of a door handle hole.

After I painted the bathroom blue, we changed the light fixture, the sink, faucet and the cabinet counter top to the same pattern/colour we chose to replace the old kitchen counter tops with. The silicone line at the top of the bathroom counter top was half the reason to paint, it was....what's another word for awful?!

I decorated with IKEA art, and a shelf above the toilet holding spray painted candles, Mr. Loonie thought this was ridiculous and would not let me live it down!  It was time for a change!! Check out the before shots........

Look at the extreme amount of mudding Mr. Loonie did to smooth out the walls!!

So.....I have to admit my mistake just to keep it real.  At first I chose Benjamin Moore's Bone, I painted one coat and almost vomited.  I thought a neutral colour would freshen the small space up, but nope, it turned out to be a yellow, pukey, depressing shade of shit.

Does this paint chip look the same colour as the walls below? NOOOO! WTF?!

Round 2: Second colour chosen was another Benjamin Moore colour, Bayou Marsh.  I have to say BM's Origin line newly available at Canadian Tire is a little pricey (approx. $50/gallon) but totally worth it.  It is the most smoothest and thickest paint I have ever used. The coverage after one coat was amazing, I just did two for good measure. 

This colour is fairly similar to the original blue but with a tinge of green in it.  Definitely a marshy shade.  So, I am loving the outcome, everything looks so fresh! I also repainted all the trim and baseboards to help clean things up.

For accessories...I used an antique mirror, stolen from another wall in the house and basket's screwed to the wall for storage.  Under the sink is where we store all the cleaning supplies, so we needed a place for toilet paper and toiletries used to freshen up when we're too lazy to run up stairs.


For the art, I printed off free botanical prints using the website provided by this blog and used some old frames I had purchased years ago from Michael's.  

All in all, this update cost $130 but should have been $80. $100 for two cans of paint (my stupid mistake).  And, $30 for the set of 3 nesting baskets (the third largest basket will be used in Penny's room for the change table). 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Time to get this baby out??

3 weeks left to go and I cracked the toliet seat.  Either I need to lay off the ice cream or Penny needs out!