A year of endings.

Since everyone else is doing it, I guess I'll jump on the bandwagon too. You guessed it, this is my "Year in Review" and also my Birthday post rolled into one.

Oh, don't worry, I wont recant all of my previous posts from this past year for you, that's what that handy dandy "Archives" button is for over there to your right and part way down the page. Click on it, choose a month and peruse at your leisure, I promise you, some of those posts were really, really good!

If we back up 365 days, turning 40 on this day last year was not as traumatic as I expected. I was with the three people I love the most in the world. I was spoiled with everything I asked for and more and it was a beautiful sunny winter day. It was perfection.

I had also made up my mind at that point to make some drastic changes in my world and all was well in my mind and in my heart with regards to my decisions. I did not make resolutions for 2012, I made choices that I needed to to be happy, healthy and present in my life and for my family.

Before I go one though, a word on 40th Birthdays.

They are a BIG deal. They should be celebrated with all due largesse and magnanimity. AND, in my opinion, that celebration should not just be for one day. I took some inspiration from a fellow blogger, Julie Harrison, and her #MonthofMe 40th Birthday celebration, and decided to stretch out my 40th birthday ALL YEAR LONG! My sweet husband indulged my desires (and my cheeziness) and surprised me on the 1st of every month in 2012 with a silly, yet totally AWESOME card and a small gift. Some months it was a night out to one of my favourite restaurants, one month a cool new camera lens for my iPhone, and another month it was the full Hunger Games series. Little things that he knew I wanted and that let me know that he actually does listen to me! It was fantastic and something I highly recommend you tell all your significant others about for your 40th birthdays (Just tell them Natasha said it is a thing, so they have to do it!).

{My dear husband also understood my trepidation with this rather BIG number and found a nice way to ease my transition into my fifth decade on this earth!}



What stuck me the most in the last few days of 2012, (and trust me, I had a lot of time to think about this as I was sitting here suffering from the zombie flu and blowing chunks of my brains out through my nostrils) is that I started out thinking that 40 was going to be a year of new beginnings for me. What it was, in so many ways, was in fact, a year of endings.

In February, I ended my foray into the online world of e-commerce with the closing of Natural Urban Mamas, the store. I've talked and blogged about this decision ad nauseum already, but just like a good party, it's always best to leave while you are still enjoying the night, and before you'll regret anything in the morning. I loved what I did with my business. I loved all of the mamas and babies and families that I helped. I have no regrets. It was a good party.

In April, as a family, we ended our time in our first home. A home that we designed and built for our growing family. One that bore the scratches and scuff marks of our puppy and our baby boy and then his little sister. The house that both our kids took their first steps in and the house where we celebrated our first family Christmas. The house that hosted many dinners with family and friends, birthday parties, massive playdates, mother blessings and kiddie pool parties alike. It was a good house. A home that we will remember fondly and forever.

Spring and summer were spent moving into our new home and finishing up all the bits and pieces that go along with that. Furnishing, decorating, landscaping, and getting to know our new neighbours and neighbourhood. Its been a big year and after building three houses in less than 10 years, I can most definitely say that we are finally done. Done, done, DONE!  I could not ask for more in a home and to be honest, don't have it in me to move or build EVER AGAIN! This home is the END to our construction bug! (Someone please be sure to remind either myself or my husband of this if ever our eyes or minds start to wander!)

My babies have grown so much this past year. Little C is not so little anymore and is so independent. He gives me a swift kiss and takes off to play with his buddies when I drop him off for kindergarten every day. And my shy little girl has come out of her shell and is a regular chip of the ol' block, kooky personality and all! And without even knowing it or realizing that it happened, our days of regular babywearing slowly came to an end this year.  With riding bikes and running like the wind and wanting to do everything on their own, we just didn't have the time or, as much as it pains me to say, the need for it anymore. The last time I got to wear L, my lovely friend Kyla came by and snapped a few shots of us and I am forever grateful that she captured these last beautiful babywearing moments. And while my days of wearing my own babies may be at an end, my arms are always open and my baby carriers always available to snuggle any and all babies that come my way!


Photo courtesy of Feschuk Photography

2012 was quite the banner year for breastfeeding. It was in the news, A LOT. From Facebook's continued witch hunt for and discrimination against mother's breastfeeding photos, to Jamie Grumet's cover shot on TIME Magazine, to celebrities talking about it and taking and posting their own beautiful photos. And in our house too, it was still a regular occurrence. Unlike her brother, who stopped at age three, L showed no desire to be done breastfeeding and so we kept going. I think that the concept of this part of our relationship being done was difficult for both of us and through lots of cuddles and discussions, my little girl and I came to the decision that we would stop on her fourth birthday in October.

Well. October came and we tried to stop and some days we nursed and others we did not. It went on like that for a while longer and then this past month, we are just... done. Another beautiful ending that came of its own accord and on its own time. She doesn't ask to nurse anymore, but does want to cuddle with 'her boobies' every now and then. I thought I would be a lot more sad about this ending than any of the others in my parenting journey, but I am not. I feel like I gave both my children all that they needed in this regard and I respected their needs and my own. Two children and six years is a lot to ask of my breasts, but they did their job and did it well. I am proud of myself, proud of my children and yes, I'll say it, proud of my "girls" too!

Breastfeeding Finale{You gotta love when they play with your 'waddle' while nursing!}

So you see. It really has been a year of endings.

The final ending of course being the chapter that is/was NaturalUrbanMamas.com, and you can read all about that in my previous post.

I saw a post and picture on Facebook today that said, "Chapter 2013, Page 1 of 365."

For me this is Chapter 41, Page 1 of 365. Many of those pages will get published here and some will not, but this year....

This is the one that will be all about new beginnings.

Happy 2013 Everyone!

Big Birthday Love and Kisses for all of you,