Thursday, 21 February 2019

Wait, I'm Bullet Journalling?!



     Hey folks. I've mentioned in a couple posts that I would be sharing a little bit about my beginnings with bullet journalling this year so here it is. In January I shared a little about my intentions for the year and how I plan on using them, and one of the ways I thought I'd be better able to keep track over the months of these intentions was through a bullet journal.


     I have to be honest that I've seen bullet journalling in the past as something that just wasn't for me. There are lots of great layouts on pinterest for how to set one up, but I initially thought they were just another form of procrastination. Kind of like procrastinating doing the 'to do list' by writing out the most beautiful 'to do list' ever, complete with illustrations and colouring. I also don't think of myself as an abstractly creative person. I like linear things, patterns, instructions, how to's, and a general guide line for all of my crafting (ironically). So I also saw bullet journalling as relatively useless to me since I don't draw or experiment with hand writing.

     However, my switch within the past year to motherhood and being home with my little one has changed the way I use a day planner and calendar. I previously used the Get To Work Book for the past two years while working full-time and I found it to be the best planner I've ever had. I honestly cannot recommend this planner enough. It met my work and personal life needs perfectly. Now that I am home full time, my weekly calendar isn't as full of appointments and I needed something a little less in depth. I've found myself in the past several months living off of a wall calendar and a very long running to do list on whatever paper is available.


     Even though I get on okay with this system, I found myself wanting to keep track of other things in life. What's more I need to keep my lists and ideas all in one spot as I'm sure many of us prefer. I love technology, but I was raised on the paper list and am slightly suspicious of computers and phones breaking down leading to a loss of all of our precious information. Lastly, I couldn't find a planner that I felt met my needs well since most focus on a big weekly layout and not much else. So I re-considered the bullet journal. After some heavy research on pinterest I realized that bullet journalling can be anything you need it to be and that a lot of people out there are keeping it simple and minimal, which appealed to me.



    So I started looking for the THE bullet journal which evidently is the Leuchtturm1917 dotted notebooks. Obviously there are no specific bullet journalling pens, but I use the V7 Hi-tecpoint Pilot drafting pens. I'm pretty picky about my pens because I'm left-handed and hate smearing ink across the page (left-handers will understand this).

    You can get quickly lost in the world of bullet journalling if your not careful, so I made a short list of what I wanted in a planner:
* To see my whole year at a glance.
* Track birthdays, special events, and gift ideas.
* Track my intentions for 2019 and word for the year.
* Lists of wants vs needs.
* Lists for ideas.
* Monthly at a glance calendars.
* Track blog posts.
* Weekly spread with to do lists and meal planning ideas.
* A space in the back for other lists (i.e. passwords, address change list, etc.).

*Disclaimer: These layouts are not originally my own. I absolutely took ideas from pinterest and other peoples bullet journals, because like I mentioned above, I like guidelines. Most of my pinterest searches were for 'minimalist blog layouts'.*

Future Log


       I wanted to be able to see the whole year at a glance and know how many and which special events (i.e. birthdays and holidays) were coming up in each respective month. I also highlighted out on the calendars where these dates fall so I can see the timing of things. Basically, I want nothing to sneak up on me this year. I kept it super simple because I'm a perfectionist and doing more means more time.

Birthdays and Gift Ideas


     A full page spread for birthday, special events, and gift lists keeps the gift giving we do throughout the year simple and stress free. I hate last minute gift buying, as I find it always feels less thoughtful (unless I find that perfect gift for someone a week before their birthday) so I'm hoping this helps.

Intentions and My Wishlist


     Each box is an intention I have set for the year as in "I intend to do these things" not "I have to do these things". I've also included some bullet points for small ways to accomplish these intentions. I'm hoping to focus each month around at least one. I've also documented these here in hopes that I will see it more often and remember what I wanted for myself this year. The opposite side is a 'want vs need' list to keep things in perspective and to remember to save up for wanted things rather than splurging. Again, super simple pages and I won't have to update these too much throughout the year, except for potentially adding to the want vs. need list.

Idea Lists


     Here I keep my running list of blog post ideas and a general brain dump for other ideas or project plans that pop into my head. My brain looks pretty empty currently, but I have a whole year to fill this page if my brain comes up with ideas.

     These were the key pages that I want to include every year or felt I would be updating most often, hence why they are at the front of the book.

Month at a Glance


     I live for the month at a glance. I'll be trying different layouts each month to find the one I like best, but I also added on a few of my own touches that I wanted to keep track of month-to-month.


     Like monthly 'wins'. This mostly includes finished projects or other things that I feel like were achievements for the month. I find this helps a ton when it comes to reflecting on a month or the year and wondering what you all accomplished with those 30 or 365 days?! There it is in writing exactly what you accomplished. I realized through past planners that I get a lot more accomplished in a year then I think I do simply by using this tool.


     I've also included the intention that I want to focus on for the month on my month-at-a-glance page, as well as a few ways that I can start doing it. I'm not yet at a place where I feel I should also track daily if I'm practicing my own suggestions for that intention. 


     I also included a spot for notes/ideas. I don't know yet what I will need this for, but I know that I will. And of course habits. There are some advanced 'habit tracker' layouts on pinterest, but if I set too many specific goals for myself I basically fail at all of them. Not sure why, but I don't do well with strict rules or restrictions. My habits right now are exercise, drinking more water, and reading. With no real rules. I just mark on each calendar day if I did it or not, just to see how I'm doing in general without trying too hard or not trying at all. I find I get way more out of myself it I take a lot of the pressure off and just do.

Blog Tracker


     I'm pretty new to blogging and, along with what I said above, I fail when I get too specific with my goals. So instead I have a blog tracker to see how often I am naturally getting posts up. I'm not paying attention to stats or whose reading. I'm hoping this will keep me focused on why I started the blog in the first place (maybe I'll discuss that in another post - too long for this one).

Weekly Spread, To Do List, and Meal Plans


     Again, the weekly layout is most often way more intense then my little half page spread. Some people do full spreads just for meal planning. I really only plan dinners and some lunches and I mostly just look at what's in the freezer and find a couple of recipes that fit what we have. So I list those recipes for the week in a short list here and then decide as the week progresses what we will eat. If there are recipes on the list at the end of the week, they roll over into next week. I also keep my long running to do list here. This means I will be re-writing some to do list items next week when I don't get it all done this week, but that's how I like it. I am planning on changing up the weekly spread each month or so to see what I like best.

    What do I think of it now that I've been doing it for a week? It's actually super helpful. I'm a big planner, quietly neurotic, and I love a good list so, in short, I'm loving it. I've also come to the realization that bullet journalling is not at all a form of procrastination, and I'm not sure I'll ever go back to regular planners. Why would I when I can literally create exactly what I need depending on my stage of life? Maybe if life gets busy enough again I'll return to my faithful Get To Work Book. I may do another post at the end of the year on whether I kept up with it, and how it changed with me through the year if anyone is interested.

- Katie
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Friday, 15 February 2019

Top 10 Things To Do in Alaska




     As promised, here is our top 10 list for Alaska on our road trip through the state this past summer. As noted in my previous Top 10: Yukon/northern BC post, I love doing some research before a trip to find some less touristy spots to check out along with our more touristy list. Now that we have Eli I'm also always looking for family-friendly options. Not a whole lot out there on the web laying out some 'off the beaten path' type places in Alaska to go check that are also good to bring kids. Also, finding a variety of options that don't all cost a lot is super helpful. So here's our little list of faves in Alaska.

#1 Drive out/take the White Pass to Skagway, AK 


     This is easily number one. Of the different legs to our drive, the drive from the Yukon highway into Skagway is definitely in my top 3 for beautifully scenic routes. Basically you can stop literally every 5 minutes (especially the closer you get to Skagway) and take uniquely gorgeous landscape pic to stock your Instagram feed for months. We chose to do this drive on a whim, seeing that it was only an hour and half to Skagway from the Yukon highway. And since we had the time (5 weeks), it was easy for us to add another day to our trip. We had also seen Skagway before on an Alaskan cruise several years ago, and wanted to see the land entry into this port. 

    Another option ($$) is to get on the White Pass/Yukon Route train to see this stretch of scenic mountainous terrain. Most of the trains depart from Skagway and do round trips stopping in places like Carcross, YT and Bennet. And although there is definitely a cost to this train (in US dollars) I would absolutely prioritize it if we ever get back to Skagway. The trip is well worth the cost.

#2 Visit Talkeetna, AK

     Between Anchorage and Denali National Park, and just a short distance off the highway is this super cute, underrated little town called Talkeetna. If you're looking for good food, great atmosphere, and cute little shops to pop into and out of for an afternoon, you should absolutely duck into Talkeetna. The Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe is also the best in the area, boasting some of the most beautiful breads I've ever seen. Talkeetna is also a major hub for charters to get into the Alaska backcountry and deeper wilderness. It's super close to Denali so if you were looking for a flightseeing charter of Denali National Park, this is where you'd find it.


#3 Hike in Denali National Park


     We didn't end up heading directly into Denali National Park due to there being one road that was accessible by a shuttle bus that would take you into the park for a fee. We figured that if we wanted to venture into the park we would need a couple days and thus all of our camping gear, which was strapped to the back of our truck and in our camper. There are some RV campgrounds in Denali that you can access with a park permit, but we weren't planning on spending as much time in Denali as we probably should've. We camped just a little ways up the road at Byers Lake Campground, another state run campground that cost a little less and lead to some equally stunning hiking. We spent a full day hiking around, coming across a very old sunken cabin in the woods, this beautiful bridge over this creek, and a gorgeous waterfall that you could hike up to aways at the end of the trail. This trail travelled out of Byers Lake Campground and was very accessible.

#4 Charter a fishing boat in Valdez, AK

Disclaimer: this is a picture of a commerical fishing boat in Valdez. The chartered boats are a) more comfortable and b) not usually this big. 

     Valdez, AK is stunning. It is a small port in the southern part of mainland Alaska. It is well known for its salmon runs and stunning scenery. If getting out on the ocean is on your list of things to experience then chartering a boat out of Valdez into Prince William Sound is one of your best bets for incredible wildlife sightseeing and catching some serious seafood. The dock is even set up for gutting, cleaning, and packing your fish before leaving so you don't have to find your own place to do it. Check out Travel Alaska to find the right charter for you. Note that this option definitely has a cost attached.

#5 Take a Ferry from Valdez to Whittier, AK



     While in Valdez, hop on a ferry (vehicles permitted) that leaves early morning and takes you on a 6 hour tour through Prince William Sound to Whittier, AK. If this is a little out of your price point, there are also several cruise options from both Valdez and Whittier into Prince William Sound for wildlife and glacier viewing. We prioritized and booked this ferry a month or two in advance as it does fill up fairly quickly, and it was a serious highlight to our trip. Prince William Sound provides absolutely stunning scenery of mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers. In the right season you can also see whales and other ocean wildlife. We weren't so lucky. The ferry has both indoor and outdoor options for seating and viewing, as well as a cafeteria.

#6 Drive through the tunnel in Whittier



     The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is a must if you're driving through Alaska at all. It is the longest highway tunnel (2.5 miles) in North America, single lane, includes a freight line, and is shared by both cars and train going in both directions. What does that translate to? Waiting in line for 20-30 minutes before potentially entering the tunnel. It is also the only way in and out of Whittier making this port an incredibly unique little stop in Alaska. This tunnel passes through the glacial mountains that separate Whittier from the rest of mainland Alaska.

#7 Explore Anchorage


     Anchorage is the main business hub for Alaska and boasts an incredible array of hiking and other recreational opportunities. Top things to check out include Snow City Cafe (amazing brunch/lunch menu, but get there early. It's popular with tourists and locals alike), and the Alaska Aviation Museum. Both super affordable and can be done together in a day. We also checked out a really good butcher shop for sausage called Alaska Sausage and Seafood (a fairly typical meat shop, but the best sausage I've ever had).


#8 Drive the Top of the World Highway into Dawson City, YT

   
      I think I've been finding any reason imaginable to talk about the Top of the World Highway. It's pretty out of the way, but I will never have to guess what heaven looks like anymore. Gravel road that follows the very tops of these alpine meadows through northern driveable Alaska and the Yukon. Endless opportunities to stop and take pictures and breath in the glorious smell of the high alpine conifers. I feel like this is the kind of place people write poems about.

#9 Visit North Pole, AK


    This may only interest the Christmas enthusiast, but just east of Fairbanks is the little town of North Pole, Alaska. The town has really embraced the Christmas theme, naming most of their businesses and streets in a trendy Christmas way. They also boast the biggest Christmas store I've ever seen in my life, complete with a full-time santa who essentially does a full photo shoot with you and your family for free. Also, no ugly mall line ups for pictures with santa and you walk away with the most unique and cutest Christmas decor you heart could imagine. I definitely grabbed a job application on the way out. 'Hello, can I work here?!'


#10 Check out Wrangell-St. Elias National Park


    I've included Wrangell-St. Elias National Park because my heart was just so set on getting into this pretty inaccessible national park. This park is a behemoth, being the same size as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Switzerland combined!!! There are basically two ways in through Nebesna and Chitna. We drove into the little town of Chitna and were going to venture down the forest service road (McCarthy Road) to the smaller and historical mining towns of McCarthy and Kennecott where there is an old restored mine. There are also accommodations available in both McCarthy and Kennecott however the road access is very poor. Many locals told us to bring up to a full set of spare tires before heading down this Forest Service Road. If it was just the two of us we would've gone for it, but stranded with a baby wasn't on my list of activities for Alaska. We passed on the option and decided we would try again if ever we came back. So this photo of us has the Wrangell-St. Elias mountains in the background barely visible due to the clouds rolling in. But PLEASE check it out and tell me how amazing it is!!

- Katie




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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Valentine's Day: How I'm Spreading the Love


     Valentine's Day is tomorrow you guys!!! Whose excited?!?!? Valentine's Day is such a sneaky little holiday. It takes us all a couple months right to recover from the Christmas/New Years mayhem am I right?! so apologies to all you January birthdays who get missed by friends and family because we all have our heads in the 'holiday sand'. I always feel like Valentine's Day sneaks up and then its a mad scramble to pull out some ideas for ways to show those around us that we love them.

Not this year.

This year I was ready and did up a batch of homemade marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate and wrapped them up in a Valentine's Day theme to drop of at our friends places. Here's what I used and how we spread the love.

Supplies:

* Homemade or store-bought sweets of your choice (I'll review the recipe I used below).
* Printed or handmade Valentine's Day tags (I printed mine from here).
* Cellophan Valentine's bags (mine are just from the dollar store, but these ones are similar).
* Stapler or twine to tie your tags to your bags.


     The recipe I used is from Butter Baked Goods. Such a great baking book. Their marshmallow recipe especially is out of this world. I would be huge if I let myself make these super easy marshmallows as often as I want them. I also think about them as a topping on so. many. bars. You see how things can escalate for me quickly when it comes to sweets.


     And Butter (the bakery in Vancouver) does so many incredible marshmallow flavours. They even share a couple in their cookbook.


     I should also note that in the tradition of spreading love at Valentine's Day, I feel that I am spreading more than the sweet treats I make for friends, because I love baking. And that love goes into the things I make and thus onto those who receive it. 


     And this recipe is also one of the most stunning raw ingredients-to-baked good processes I have ever experienced. You know (for the bakers out there) how humbling and romantic it can be to knead out a roll of sweet bread for cinnamon rolls by hand? Well that's the same sort of feeling I get when beating the ingredients that go into these marshmallows and pouring them into the setting pan. I would love to share the whole recipe with you, but you'll have to buy the cookbook to find out exactly how these come together. Otherwise there are likely common recipes on foodgawker.com, but definitely be clear that they are not like these marshmallows.


     And for something so gooey and potentially likely to stick to everything, this recipe is quick and so easy. The whole pan (once it has set for 3 hours or over night) gets lightly pulled loose by a knife and then the whole slab falls in one piece onto a baking sheet dusted with lots of icing sugar. The whole slab then gets covered in icing sugar to take away the sticky consistency, and then cut into 1" squares. Each square is generously rolled in icing sugar and then set aside to devour later, add to hot chocolate, or await its fate with warmed dark chocolate.


    Once dipped I rested each marshmallow square on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to set and prepped my packaging . Once set, I then carefully placed a few marshmallows in each cellophane wrapped bag, addressed my tags, and stapled them to the closed bag. Ready for delivery to all our friends.



Hope your ways of spreading the love are just as sweet as ours are.

- Katie
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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Top 10 Things to do in the Yukon and Northern BC


     As I talked about in a previous post, we took a road trip this past year up to the Yukon, northern BC, and Alaska. You can read about how we did it and where we went in Part 1 and Part 2. I also wanted to cover the top 10 highlights while we were there.

    I read a lot of travel blogs, but found that very few travel bloggers have done the Yukon or Alaska thoroughly. Add to that the search words 'family-friendly' or 'baby-friendly' and you find almost nothing online. The travelyukon website is pretty helpful at highlighting a number of good options depending on season, but travel blogs can get really specific about where to eat, stay, recreate, etc. And then trying to find these details including a 'baby-friendly' filter. Not so easy. So here's a few of our faves that worked well with our little one.


1. Panning for Gold in Dawson City


     This was a bucket list item while we were travelling for Chad. He just had to do it, and he took the task very seriously. Just slightly south of Dawson City as your coming into the city you'll pass several forest service roads (FSRs) on the left and right as well as some smaller neighbourhoods and some industrial outfits. Fairly well marked on the left is Bonanza Rd. (FSR). You turn here and hit Claim 33 Gold Panning at kilometre 10. Here you can pan for gold in troughs that are already set up for you for $15. Or head up Bonanza Rd. a little further to Claim 6 where the gold panning is FREE. However, bring a pan and shovel or rent this at Claim 33 for $2. We ended up at Claim 6 and spent 45 minutes panning for gold in the cool water glacial creek. Eli and I hung out on a blanket next to the creek and had a little picnic while Chad hung out in the creek. Such a relaxing afternoon. Chad did find some pieces that looked like gold, but ended up being other minerals. People have though been successful at this spot.


2. Hiking in Kluane National Park


    I think I left a little bit of my heart in Kluane National Park. This was easily my favourite natural space in the Yukon. If I'm being honest the whole of the territory that you can drive through is pretty beautiful and there are definitely spots (Tombstone Territorial Park or the Southern Lakes Region) that we didn't get to see. Kluane though showcases that timeless Yukon Territory landscape. Also, the hiking especially between Haines Junction and Haines, AK. There were so many really great hikes off of the highway between these two places with a wide span of difficulties and timeframes. We hiked out to St. Elias Lake with Eli in a front carrier. This was a low key half day hike that leads to a gorgeous lake with a camp site and fire pit. We had some lunch and hiked back out. I recommend stopping in at the visitors centre in Haines Junction. They have pamphlets there that list all the campsites and hiking trails along this stretch of highway. Seriously worth pulling off the road and stretching your legs.


3. Visit a Sternwheeler Graveyard


    Just across the Yukon river from Dawson City, at the far end of the Yukon River Campground is this old sternwheeler graveyard. Towards the end of the gold rush these old sternwheelers were beached here when not  being used. Eventually as the need for resources to the area dwindled, so did the need for these sternwheelers and they were left where they were moored. Time and exposure has definitely taken its toll. This is the only one you could see from the shoreline, but there were lots of trails going back into the woods where you could see other sternwheelers just as big that had succumb to the same fate. We counted five in total in and amongst the forest!! Note that it is not a maintained trail to access this part of the Yukon river. You walk to the end of the Yukon River Campground, past the yellow gate that marks the end of the campground and out onto the beach, and then down the beach aways. You can't miss it. Clearly.


4. Cruise around Dawson City

     
     Such a cool town. The main street is where most of the tourism is geared towards with cute little shops and cafe style restaurants. But be sure to walk the streets around the rest of the town. There are old historical buildings everywhere with a few sinking to their fate like this one. And so many hole in the wall restaurants or tiny little shops with artisans selling their wears. We spent more time here then anywhere else. If you can hit your timing right, you really don't want to miss their summer market. It was full of really talented artisans and local farmers. Also, oddly enough the most popular item grown in the area is romanesco. I didn't know it grew in temperate, dry summer climates.

5. Drive the Top of the World Highway


     This. drive. is. breathtaking. Technically this is a border crossing sort of drive as you cross into Alaska from Dawson City on this highway. However, you have lots of opportunity to turn around before the border if your just taking a day trip out from Dawson. Its called the Top of the World Highway because it truly feels like you are on top of the world. This road travels through beautiful rolling hills that are high above the clouds with the deep valleys of this countryside buried below. There is also nothing close to civilization (besides the border) until you get into Alaska and the road is not paved. It's not so bad that you need to worry about spare tires, but you'll definitely be driving slower then the speed limit. There are also no guard rails or dividing lines so watch for other traffic (we didn't see much) and wildlife. We stopped at a few particularly beautiful spots to snap some photos as the scenery in every direction is beautiful.


6. Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

   
     If its on your bucket list to see wildlife then absolutely fit this half-full day trip into your plans. The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is off the highway just a little ways north of Whitehorse. There is good signage to get you there and at $15/person or $35/family it was well worth the time. The preserve provides homes for several different species of animal with 20-30 acre fenced in areas for the animals to roam. They provide a safe home to bison, elk, caribou, mountain goats, big-horned sheep, lynx, different species of fox, moose, and deer. The path takes you in and around all the roaming areas, protected by fences. There are plenty of places to stop and have a picnic lunch and bus tours are offered if mobility is an issue. It took us about 3 hours to walk the property.

7. Stroll through Downtown Whitehorse


     Definitely spend an afternoon and evening taking in downtown Whitehorse. Start your afternoon by stopping in at Baked Cafe to grab a delicious baked good and a hot drink and walk on down to the Yukon river to marvel at and tour the S.S. Klondike. Head back into the downtown area and peruse some of the local artisan shops, and outdoor adventure stores. There is an especially cute little knit shop called the Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store. Stop in for dinner at the Burnt Toast Cafe or the Miner's Daughter for a slightly more upscale feel. Be sure to also check out the Yukon Brewing Company in Whitehorse. They're taps change regularly and they always have a couple cocktail options for those non-beer drinkers in the crowd. This was definitely a highlight for Chad and I. 

8. Camp at Boya Lake Provincial Park (BC)


     This was my absolute favourite campground. Boya Lake is a small lake off of the Cassiar highway in northern BC. The water is tropical blue and very clear. Don't let the colour deceive you. It is glacial cold. Chad and I took a quick dip while Eli was napping, and by quick I mean we ran in as fast as we possibly could and then ran out as fast as we possibly could. I just had to feel such inviting looking water. There are two beautiful, short hikes on either side of the lake, a kids playground along the one beach, and wheelchair accessible campsites. It struck me as one of the best long weekend, big family, lots of kids campsites going. We would've stayed much longer if we weren't eager to see other places.

9. Swim in Liard River Hotsprings


    Liard River Hotsprings is also a provincial campsite that we stayed at in northern BC. It is a sought after destination by many travelling north as the hotsprings have been preserved to feel as natural as it began while still providing the comforts of decking and change rooms. We probably hung out in the pools for an hour and a half. It was pretty chilly outside and raining and when you're looking ahead to a cold night of camping, getting out of the water is pretty hard. There are three pools with the highest of the three being particularly hot and the lowest being just warm enough for a baby. It's definitely a place where mother nature once again blows your mind. There is a $22/night fee to camp and a 5$/day fee to swim. 

10. Hike through Baba Canyon


     This is a hidden gem for sure. Somewhere shortly past Muncho Lake Provincial Park is Baba Canyon. It is right off the highway and only marked by a small blue and yellow square sign briefly outlining the hike. If you blink, you'll miss it while you're busy snapping pictures of the herds of Bison and Elk off the side of the road. There are several of these hiking signs through the northern rockies and many great hikes. We chose Baba Canyon on a whim (I was tired of driving and Eli was done with his car seat). We spent an hour hiking back into the canyon across the clear glacial stream several times through layers of different sized boulders. We only hiked for about 45 minutes before Chad deemed it too technical for a baby. I will definitely be finding some way to get back here and finish this hike. We did it at the beginning of September and it was -2 degrees Celsius outside so many plan for a summer hike if you can.

Hope this helps anyone planning a trip. If you want more baby/family-friendly suggestions or have some of your own please comment below or send an email.

- Katie
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Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Pregnant and How We're Preparing


    So I've got some news I've been wanting to share for the last little while and although I haven't been all that secretive about it, I also haven't come and out and properly said that we are pregnant with baby #2!!! Eli was just 5 months old when I found out that I was pregnant again and it was definitely a shock at first. We have always planned on having more than one and having our kids close together, but if I'm being realistic I was thinking we might start thinking about getting pregnant again February of this year (2019). Obviously fate had different plans.

     That initial shock lasted maybe an entire weekend, and let's be clear that Chad has been over the moon about it since I told him. It just took some getting used to for me. But we are both thrilled at this point, and despite what I'm sure is going to be a tough period in our lives having two babies (they will 15 months apart), I'm so stoked to see our kids grow up this close in age. Currently, I am 22 weeks pregnant and feeling pretty good all around. Both pregnancies thus far have been relatively easy on me especially when I think of the experiences of others. I may discuss how this pregnancy has been more in depth in another post, but for now it makes sense to chat a bit about how we are preparing for baby #2 in this current season of our lives.



#1 Staying Active


     In my pregnancy with Eli I got into a really great habit of doing yoga 4x/week in my second trimester, and then daily in my third. At the time I was really scared of childbirth and wanted to be in the right physical shape for the delivery. To me this felt like it would be helpful to practice focused breathing on a regular basis, while improving my strength and flexibility where it counts. I honestly believe that the daily yoga, especially in the third trimester, was the key to the positive labour and delivery I had with Eli. I'm convinced that my body did what it did because it was prepared.


#2 Spending Time with Other Parents


     We are very lucky in that we have an amazing group of friends who are active and have little ones all within 5 years in age. These people have taught us so much and been our number 1 support while living out in Kitimat. They have made the flaming entry into parenthood so much softer then it could've been. I'm especially paying attention now to our friends with two little ones. Mostly, focusing on how they are doing their day-to-day with two kiddos, and trying to imagine fitting a second baby into our current day-to-day. Questions constantly swirl through my head: "What will grocery shopping look like?" "If we take them both out for a x-country ski, what will the whole getting ready and execution of the activity look like?" "Will two car seats fit in our truck?!" So many questions and I'm definitely getting a good look at the picture from our friends. They make it look easy.

#3 Finding a Midwife 



     My biggest worry with this second pregnancy is who would be delivering this baby since we'll be living in a different community for the birth. Right away I started researching and contacting midwives in our new community. I was told to expect some major wait lists, but luckily after a week or two a midwife clinic told me they had space for us. Such a huge relief to have the medical end of things sorted out. It will also be my first experience with a midwife so I'm interested to see how the process is similar or different. There are no midwives in Kitimat, but we've been very lucky with our family doctor who delivered Eli.

#4 Finding Alternatives to 'Nesting'

    
      I really enjoyed the whole compulsive nesting process while I was pregnant with Eli, but with our current season being that we are in the middle of a move and living somewhere temporarily, nesting isn't really practical right now. However, the compulsive feeling to set things in order is still totally there. In dealing with this I've found some alternatives to the traditional nesting that is typical.


     As much as moving can be sad and hard since it is a change, I also love it for the whole going through every item you own while packing. I've been a little crazy about it this time around with reading Marie Kondo's book on the tidying up and seriously going through all of my things. I have come away feeling much more content with what we have packed into our life.


    Another way that I think I've been 'nesting' is in the kitchen. I have been baking and cooking a lot. I like to bake and cook normally, but not as much as I am currently. I'm hoping this one sticks since the outcomes are often sweet.

     I've also been nesting in regards to getting all my ducks in a row at our house, so to speak. I've pretty well looked at almost every system in our home (i.e. meals, mail, dishes, organization of items, schedules, calendars, planning, etc) and tried to find a way to make it work better. I've found myself very focused on all those daily hassles at home that we walk past a hundred times and think to ourselves ''ooohhh I gotta deal with that" and started seriously dealing with them. The outcome....a lot more lists that are actually getting crossed off. I've also found ways to make my huge lists less overwhelming and more achievable. I'll talk more about that though in a future post on bullet journaling.

#5 Working on Projects 


     One of my big worries with having another baby is that I won't have time with two kids to do the things that I love and make me who I am. Crafting is a huge part of my day-to-day. I've found it calming to continue to plan and work on different projects that I would've started if I wasn't pregnant. It's helping me not lose sight of myself, and maintain excitement for the things I love. Granted, I am aware that I may have to take a break from this part of my life at times, but having unfinished projects I hope will give me something to continue to work away at in those quiet moments (however few and far between they may be). The current project is a english paper pieced hexie crib quilt to celebrate the new baby. 


I'm finding that although I'm not able to set up a nursery (and probably won't be able to be until long after this baby is born) or set up our home to be baby ready, I've been able to clear my mind through several of these 'nesting' preparations I've been doing.

     This clearer mind and less stress in general has snowballed into having more time to love and appreciate Eli in what little time we have him all to ourselves. Because that's totally the reason we all have kids right?! 

- Katie






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