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!}

10thAnniversaryof30

 

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!

Feschuk2

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,

Natasha~

The Tenth Anniversary of my Thirtieth Birthday.

Okay fine. Exactly 40 years ago today at 11:37 PM, I was born.

The last baby born on the first day of 1972.

I think my mom got a blanket and some kind of baby cup from the hospital to commemorate the birth of her New Year child.

Today I woke up and felt refreshed.

For the first time in a LONG time, I awoke and my body and my mind felt good. Like REALLY good.

And as some of you may know, feeling good has been a struggle for a few months.

In September of this past year, I was really looking forward to 40. I kept telling myself that 40 is the new 20 and kept planning all the things that I was going to to before I got there and then during my big milestone year. And then as the months progressed, I felt like I had a slow leak somewhere and all my enthusiasm and my plans just seeped out of me.

Even last night as I was celebrating the new year and my birthday with my best friend and her family, I still wasn't sure how I was feeling about my big day.

So I am not sure exactly what happened during my sleep last night, but I woke refreshed, with a sense of purpose and also a huge desire to clean and purge my closets, cupboards and well, yes, my life too, of all the clutter and excess that exists there.

I don't want to set resolutions for this year. I don't even think I want to set goals.

What I do want to do is set myself on a journey. One in which I truly discover who I am and who I am meant to be. One in which my life and my mind is not preoccupied with so much 'stuff' that does more harm than good and one in which I can clearly find and see the path that is mine.

Because trust me, nothing makes you realize how fast time is moving like looking in the mirror and seeing a 40-year-old you looking back at you and then looking down and seeing your now 5 year old looking at you too.

I have a starting point for my journey, thanks to some dear friends.

My good friend and personal trainer, Jessica, gave me the book and DVD of "The Secret" to read and get me going.

Karissa, another friend that I 'talk' to a lot on twitter gave me these words of advice, "Ask yourself "What is it that I want?" If no answer comes, ask the next day and the next day and the day after that until it does."

I also bought myself a journal to write my intentions down in because I find that things stick more for me if I go all old school and actually write them down.

And so my journey begins, today, right now and I am excited about it.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy Tenth Anniversary of my Thirtieth Birthday to me!!

Walking shoes on,

Natasha~

 

 

three years and almost three thousand miles

I wrote this post last Friday night while in Toronto at the Blissdom Canada 2011 Writing and Business Conference. I was having some technical difficulties at the time (darn hotel Wi-fi) and was not able to publish until today.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today my little girl is three years old.

And I am 2, 706 kilometers away from her.

It's not a big deal really...

We celebrated her birthday last weekend with family and friends and I am in Toronto at my very first big blogging conference having a wonderful time.

But still, I have been thinking about her all day....

I have been thinking about my labour and delivery, how different it was from my first time with Little C. Having a full-term, one week overdue baby is a much different experience than being induced at 35 weeks and having a teeny preemie baby. I was in control of most of my labouring with L and had to consciously push through those moments of self-doubt and pain and panic and trust my body, rely on my amazing doula team and lean on the ever-present shoulder of Natural Urban Dad.

I remember the moment that I was finally allowed to push and how it felt like 5 minutes, but was really more like 30. I remember feeling that final release and her entrance into this world and not hearing her right away....and then that tiny little voice crying and letting me know that she had arrived. I remember Natural Urban Dad telling me that she was a GIRL and my utter and complete shock at hearing this.

I remember holding her for the first time and unwrapping her from all the swaddling and letting her find and latch onto my breast. I cried at that moment...I was so proud of both of us.

I remember not wanting to let her out of my sight for a minute and refusing most of the usual 'ministrations' that the nursing staff wanted to do with her. (And I remember how respectful they were of all my wishes and was so grateful for that too.)

I remember getting settled into our room at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and taking her out of the bassinet and sleeping with her next to me all night. Okay, she slept and nursed... and slept and nursed some more and I just stared at her beautiful chubby cheeks for 6 hours straight.

I remember getting her dressed the next morning and anxiously awaiting our pediatrician to give us the green light to go home. We went home exactly 12 hours after she was born.

I remember Little C meeting her for the first time and how gentle and inquisitive he was. And how when I nursed her, he wanted in on the action too and what an incredibly amazing moment it was the first time I tandem nursed my two babies.

I look at my daughter now and I see me. A little dark-haired, hazel brown eyes me, but me nonetheless.

And in seeing myself in her face and her little quirks and expressions, I can't help but hope that she will be better than me.

Better at loving herself and seeing herself as the amazing person that she is.

Better at knowing her mind, trusting her instincts, and never letting anyone take these things away from her.

And I hope that she will always know how much she is loved, admired and respected by me.

I do not see her fulfilling any of my dreams or aspirations...

...I see her soaring in a world that she makes for herself, one in which a strong, beautiful and likely very feisty girl is celebrated and has a world of possibilities before her.

I love you my girl.

Happy Birthday.

Love,

Mommy~

P.S. Tonight at Blissdom Canada we had the opportunity to watch an amazing documentary called MissRepesentation, a film about the misrepresentation of women and girls by the media and the subsequent underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

It is a powerful and very thought and emotion provoking film. It made me step back and think about the world my daughter, and my son, are growing up in. How the choices of what we watch on TV, the magazines we read and the films we see affect our views of people (especially women and girls) and the world around us!

I have just taken the Represent Pledge and I highly encourage you to see the film and take it too!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gkIiV6konY[/youtube]