Wednesday, December 4, 2013

All over the place

Sorry, readers, for being unable to make up my mind about this here blog. From name changes to private entries and back again, I've been pretty inconsistent.

I just want a little space to flex my creative muscle from time to time, and keep distant friends and family in the loop without writing a million different emails. For a while there I was feeling weird about sharing my life with complete strangers, but what the heck. It's what all the cool kids are doing these days, right?

I promise I'll stop messing around, though. If you're still reading, thanks for sticking around!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


They say that when a baby is born, so too is a mother. I thought that was a one-time occurrence; that with Aedan's birth, I was born a mama, and that was that. But I've learned that I've been born all over again as a mama of two. 

It is taking me some time to figure this out, but figure it out I am. I'm realizing that I've been entirely too hard on myself. All of the expectations I had when I was a  mama of one have gone out the window, though it's been hard to let go of them.

Aedan watches shows on Netflix now, and he plays with our iPads. Over the past 7 weeks I've been wracked with guilt over his screen time, and it's resulted in some tearful battles. But today I realize that the day is incredibly long, when it begins at 5:45 am and it's too cold to go outside. There are a lot of hours to fill, and if I fill one or two of them Bob the Builder or a movie we watch together, then so be it. I grew up with television, and I guess I turned out pretty all right.

Then there's our diet.  Just before Colm was born, I was having a lot of anxiety over food. I'd started down a path of wanting to eat real, whole foods, avoiding processed foods and refined sugar. But that led me into researching grains, and then nuts and seeds and phytic acid and anti-nutrients. I was left wondering what the hell I was supposed to feed my family. But that anxiety is gone, now. We all seem to digest grains and nuts well, and we're all quite healthy. The processed foods and refined sugar have crept back in, and I would like to change that, but I don't find it consuming my thoughts these days. We are fed, and that's what's important right now.

I'm trying so hard to relax, and to enjoy each moment, but it's not easy some days. Aedan has suddenly, ferociously, become a two-year old, full of energy and curiosity for this world he's in. It's intense, and it's taken P and I by surprise, but we're catching up and trying to allow him the freedom to explore. Sometimes I feel like I'm running a race, trying to get to his next whim before he does, frantically trying to think of things to entertain him or distract him. I have to remind myself that he's quite capable of that on his own.

Anyway, today is one of those days where I haven't broken down and cried yet. I haven't even felt close to tears, and I wanted to write it all down so that maybe I'll feel lifted on a difficult day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Last night

Nights with two nurslings are not always full of Mama-sleep. Sometimes, mama gets tag-teamed by two very inconsiderate little boys.

Last night was one of those nights.

I'm not sure what time it was. It was certainly the very earliest hours of this day. Colm began waking to nurse, and not long after I got him latched, I could hear Aedan begin to stir. Still half asleep, he pressed into my back, searching beneath my shirt for a boob (if only I had one back there!) "Mama," his little voice called out, "nurse?" 

"As soon as Colm finishes, I'll nurse you, sweetie." I reached back and patted his bum, silently willing him to just fall back to sleep, as he sometimes does.

This wasn't one of those times.

He started to cry.

His requests to nurse became tearful demands. 

He screamed.

He kicked.

He thrashed the bedding around.

All the while, I kept my cool, and P did the same. I nursed Colm back to sleep, calmly reassuring Aedan that I would nurse him just as soon as I was able. Finally, I rolled away from Colm, and attempted to settle Aedan on his twin mattress next to ours. 

This was my mistake.

Rolling away from Colm gave us all about 5 minutes of peace before he noticed my absence and began to fuss.

"Boobies are going to sleep now," I tried. "It's time for Aedan to go to sleep now, too."

He wasn't buying it. I rolled back to resettle Colm and the kicking and screaming began again.


Eventually, I got everyone back to sleep. And I lay, wide awake, for probably another 45 minutes, at least, listening to three different sleep-breaths all around me. I thought about the new yarn my sister-in-law Karen sent me. I thought about blogging and privacy. I thought about Yukon living. 

I suppose, eventually, I fell asleep, because I was definitely out the next time Colm tried, unsuccessfully, to latch--his nose was full of snot. And then Aedan chimed in: "nurse?" And then "want it wake up?" I dragged them both downstairs only to discover that it was but twenty after four in the a.m.

I cleared out Colm's nose, got everyone back in bed, and nursed them simultaneously back to sleep. I don't like doing that, but I needed sleep.

Oh, except Aedan didn't immediately fall asleep. When he finally did, and I began drifting off, Colm woke up. 

I had to laugh, because, really, what else is there to do?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Two appointments

This past week we made our way to Vancouver for Aedan's regular 6-month check in with the diabetes clinic. He is doing really well; his A1C came back at 5.2, which means he continues to be in a non-diabetic range. They weighed him, too...he weighs about 30 lbs now! What happened to my little baby?

The trip itself was not much fun. Travelling with two little ones is not my idea of fun. After a few rather unsuccessful attempts to eat in restaurants, we resorted to "hotel picnics". I really wanted to take Aedan to the aquarium, but it didn't happen. We managed to get him to the park,but that was it.

Vancouver was beautiful, as usual. And it hit -44 C here on the Dempster while we were gone. I am so glad we missed that!

On  our way back through Whitehorse, we saw our midwife for Colm's 6 week check-up. He is also doing really well! He weighs 11 lbs 2 ozs now. Christina was really impressed  with how he's developing: he's smiling, cooing, and very alert.

I don't have any pictures from Vancouver, because I wasn't having any fun!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Today began in darkness, as every day does. We sat in our usual places in the living room, and we poured out our misery like the morning coffee. "I'm not having any fun."  "I feel so overwhelmed."  "I wish we were somewhere else." 

And then, as the sun rose, the bad moods lifted. It's amazing how the simple act of giving voice to our unhappiness can dispel it. 


I got a pot of roasted butternut squash soup simmering on the stove. I managed to get myself and the little ones outside for a half hour, and then back in for hot chocolate and lunch. Then it was nap time and a good phone call to my mom. P got home from doing some work in the office, and we all went outside again, this time to burn some brush.

We had the soup for dinner, and then the boys each had a bath, with only minimal crying from Aedan. He went to sleep easily, as he has been lately, and Colm is asleep now in my lap as I type this. The candles have all burned down, there is jazz and Tim Tam on the CBC. I'll tuck this day away in my back pocket, and remember it on a day that doesn't feel so smooth and rhythmic....

But I hope they become more like this!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Month

Has it been a month already? It feels like we've been at this forever!

I try so hard to mark the changes that take place in you each day, but I must admit, it is so incredibly difficult with a 2-year old being..well...being a 2-year old all over the place.

Colm, you take it all fairly well. Often I think you look a bit bewildered at all the action. I wonder if your brother, bouncing all over the couch and throwing plastic sea creatures around and kissing you and patting you and scratching your face offends your delicate senses. Sometimes, when I look at you, I am sure you are an old soul--you seem so much older than your older brother. Do you wonder into what chaos you've been born? I promise you it won't always be this way. Or maybe it will.

Your eyes are quite blue, and you've got a sweet little smile developing. Your hair seems to be fair. You look like your daddy. When I hold you to my shoulder, your strong feet push against my hand as you peek around behind me, holding your head up a few seconds at a time. You love to be held, all of the time. You don't like the car seat, and you cry as soon as the truck stops rolling. You are not terribly patient, but then again, neither am I these days, so I can't blame you.

I wonder what you'll be like, what you'll look like. Will you have curls? Will you like trucks as much as your brother does?

You are a sweetheart and I love you more each day.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hitting Stride

These days, I feel like we're starting to hit our stride.

Or at least, I don't feel like we're stumbling on a daily basis.

Our days are taking shape. We are finding a new rhythm. We begin in darkness, somewhere between 5:30 and 6 am. The grown-ups have coffee and tea, the littles have mama's milk and snuggles. Aedan plays some games on the iPad, or watches a video of humpback whales or diggers (depending on his mood). P makes us breakfast and does the dishes, and then he gets to work on plumbing or dog walking or wood cutting while I nurse babies, do puzzles, read books, play sea creatures or trucks or blocks. At some point, there is a bit of a struggle over nursing, but I try to set some limits with Aedan for my own sanity. I've also been trying to get Aedan into some undirected "arting". We've tried finger painting, play dough and stickers. He does not like sticky things on his fingers. It really puts a damper on most of the fun things for toddlers to do. 

Today, I got him painting with a toothbrush for a few minutes. 

He kept trying to brush his teeth with the paint. (Don't worry, it's made of powdered beets and water). 

 Aedan naps in the early afternoon, sometimes for three hours. I try really hard to nap, too, but I've never been a good napper. Instead, I read or surf the net (come 4 pm, though, I really regret that decision). When Aedan wakes up, I try to get us all outside for awhile, but lately he's been fighting me on that one. I'm usually too tired to press the issue, but if P is home I'll take the extra help to get us all out the door for an hour or so. I need it as much as Aedan does! Dinner has been uneventful. It's food in our bellies. I miss cooking. Bedtime is around 8, because I usually can't keep my eyes open any more. The nights are going okay, Colm doesn't wake often but you can bet that when he does, Aedan does, too. So I'm doing double duty at night, too. I really hated that in the beginning, but it's getting better.

The days sort of blend together. They are at once eventful and incredibly boring. Some days I want so much more. Or I want an hour of not being touched by little hands. But these things aren't possible right now, so instead, when it gets to be too much, I let myself think of the future, when my two boys are playing together happily and I am sitting on the couch knitting or in a room of my own studying some distance course or writing. 

Friday, October 25, 2013



As I type this (one-handed) Paul and Aedan are upstairs napping; Colm is asleep in my lap, and I am left with some quiet time to reflect, to gather my thoughts. It feels a bit like that scene in the movie "Twister", where Helen Hunt and Bill Pulman belt themselves to a water pipe rising out of the ground, to anchor themselves as the tornado roars around them.

I am holding on for dear life.

Two is intense. I don't think anyone could have prepared me for it. In fact, I don't recall trying to prepare myself for it. I suppose, deep down, I knew that was an impossible task. 

Aedan is generally being wonderful. I try my very best to give him as much attention as I can spare, while taking fleeting glimpses of the new babe, taking deep breathes of his new-baby scent before diving back in to an ever-changing sea of toddler needs. 

Aedan loves to share his toys with his brother.

I am so grateful that Colm is, so far, an easy baby. He nurses a whole lot, and sleeps a whole lot more.  My love for him has been slow to grow, but my heart is pretty much bursting with it now. I try to savour every little bit of him, every little newborn moment, because he'll likely be my last. I fear for him like I never did for Aedan, not until the diabetes diagnosis, that is. I think it's because of that that I harbour so many secret worries. But Colm seems healthy and content. I tested his blood sugar while the midwife was here, and it was within a normal range. I smell his breath often for keytones, and wonder if he pees too much. I tell myself, as often as possible, "He's fine."

It's not just two to entertain, two to lull to sleep, two bums to wipe, two to love. It's two to nurse, too. I had planned all along to continue nursing Aedan alongside Colm, and I think it's part of the reason that Aedan is adjusting so well, but wow. It is hard. My feelings about my nursing relationship with Aedan change from session to session, oscillating from gratitude to exasperation. He's not ready to wean, though, and I want to keep going. I just need to find some mom-support, another tandem nurser to talk to. 

And what about the two of us, the two adults in all of this? We cling to one another when we can. We try to help one another. I feel like I'm taking so much right now, but that's because I'm giving so much, elsewhere. 

Two is beautiful and frightening and overwhelming in every way. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Just a quick note to say that I'm reviving my blog. I'd set it to private over the summer, and have decided to keep it that way, with permission given to family and close friends to read. If you've already got a Gmail account, you just have to log in to view posts. If you don't have a Gmail account, you'll be sent a guest invitation. I'll have to resend it every 30 days, though, so if you'd like to read, it would be easiest for me if you just created an account!

Birth story and baby pictures coming soon!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gramma and Grampa's Visit

The last 10 days have been full of time spent with my parents, and it's been simply wonderful. We're so lucky that even with the distance between us, we're able to get together several times a year. Last summer, my parents bought a camper in Whitehorse, and we parked it on our property, so they have somewhere to stay when they come visit (our home is too small to be comfortable with 4 adults!) Lots of time was spent playing with Aedan, chasing him around the yard, or taking him to the park or the river in town. P and my dad got a lot of work done on an addition we're putting on our home, which will include lots more storage for us and a big water tank, too! I was able to put in two more raised beds, both planted with a green manure crop of red clover.

A full moon summer solstice passed while they were here, and it brought with it a week of very hot, dry weather. The still air was heavy with the scent of distant forest fires, and the hills were hazed over with the smoke. The highest I noted the thermometer hit was 38 C mid-afternoon. That is just craziness! I was quite ill one day, I'm not sure why (my best guess is a sudden food sensitivity, brought on by pregnancy), and was SO thankful to have 3 other adults here to mind Aedan. I spent an afternoon on the sofa, reading and napping and drinking lots of water and chamomile tea! It was strange to be still like that, but a nice reminder of how important it is to take care of oneself when it's needed.

My parents left on a rainy day, and we were all left a little at odds without them around. Life is getting back to normal now, though. We are finding our rhythm once again (slightly shifted, as I've finally got Aedan onto an afternoon-nap schedule!) I'm looking forward to our visit to Ontario in August. It's such a delight to see Aedan with his grandparents!


Park Time

Throw rocks!



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Feeling grateful...

...for the man I am so happy to call my husband and father of my child. I still remember the first real face-to-face talk we had after I learned I was pregnant. P was adamant that he did not want children. But he accepted my decision as soon as I made it, and I think it's safe to say that he hasn't regretted a single moment since. I feel blessed to have a partner so open to change, and so willing to learn new things about himself. It has been a joy to watch him grow as a father, and I am so curious to see how baby #2 will change the whole dynamic!

It has also been wonderful to see my own father with Aedan. I had no idea he'd throw himself so whole-heartedly into grandfather-hood. Aedan and I are both so lucky to have these men in our lives!

I love you both so much, happy father's day!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Twenty-one months


June 13th marked 21 months of little Aedan living on this earth. I can't believe how fast the time has gone! Just what is he up to these days?

He's started to put two words together. "Heavy" is his current preferred descriptor: heavy rock, heavy stick, heavy truck, heavy bus, heavy poop(!), heavy bottle. He's also started experimenting with "hot": hot coffee, hot tea, hot sun. I think "sun" and "sunshine" are my new favourite words in his vocabulary! He makes himself understood so Mama and Daddy, at least. He now points to my belly and says: "baby!", but I'm not convinced he doesn't just think that's the word for belly.

Over the past week or so, Aedan has become enamored of the "wee-wee" (television). We don't have cable or satellite, but we do have a few dvd's. He loves "Mo-nee" (Nemo) and we've watched it I don't know how many times. I'm conflicted about this. I want to limit his screen time; I don't want him zoning out in front of the television all day. And he asks for it all.the.time. To the exclusion of the books he so loved up until now. However, I tell myself that we have control over what he sees. He isn't taking in any advertisements, no violence beyond what is normal in nature. I tell myself this is a little phase he's going through. Sometimes, I can distract him with a book or blocks or going outside. But often, "Mo-nee" is all he wants. Sigh. It doesn't feel worth an argument.

Happy Father's Day!

It's not all movies, though! He does really love to go outside, but the sun is so intense at midday, so we usually try to get out early in the morning and again before dinner. We walk in the woods, where he picks up every stick and rock, gives it the once-over, and throws it into the trees. He loves throwing rocks, and we have to make sure he's throwing them away from people and dogs. It's impossible to reason with a toddler, so for now we mostly let him do what he will, so long as he's not causing any harm. He also likes to go down to the "gar-wah" (garden) to see what's new each day.

We've settled into a nice summertime rhythm. Aedan still naps once in the late morning, and is usually down for the night by 8:30. He still nurses to sleep and upon waking, and occasionally throughout the day for comfort. As ever, he is a delight to share my days with, and I learn so much from him!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A little bit of everything

I've been away from this space for what feels like a long time. That's because I've been enjoying every minute of sunshine and warmth we've had since we shook off the last of winter's snow. And being this close to the summer solstice in the North, that's a lot of minutes of sunshine!

Since the river broke on May 15th, we've had some very high waters. Our friends in the Rock Creek community have all had to evacuate their homes as the waters rose into their yards and swirled around their houses. Along the roadsides, many of the ditches ran high with water; in some places, it came level with the highway. Even in town, people talked of the possibility of flood (though it was just talk). The ferry landing was underwater, the walking paths by the river were all washed out. Huge trees can still be seen sweeping along in the currents: it is a dangerous time to be on the river. Most of the snow seems to have melted off the hillsides, though, and the water levels have dropped off significantly.

The leaves have all popped, and the wildflowers are budding and blooming. Purple spikes of lupine flash among the green and along the roadsides. The Jacob's ladder has just begun to open its little purple-blue flowers, and the bearberry is hung with tiny, pink bell shaped fairy-flowers. The labrador tea looks to flower soon, as do the bluebells. Our little hillside in front of the house will be covered in fireweed again this year, too!

We've been passing our time outside, trying to clean up the yard bit by bit, raking and burning brush. The area we cleared for the garden last fall is a mess of rocks and chewed up trees, it is incredibly overwhelming but I've been managing it by cleaning it up in sections. I hope to put in another 4 raised beds soon, and plant them with a green manure crop of red clover. It's hard to get much done with a toddler, though! He needs to be watched carefully with the dogs, as his gentle pats can often quickly turn to grabbing handfuls of hair and jowl and yanking with all his strength! I often spend a good part of the day just wandering around the property behind Aedan, helping him jump over logs, watching him explore the world. No complaints there!

I've been taking him to the pool regularly, too, and I'm happy to report that he's loving the water this year. The other day P and I were there together with him, and we got him to put his face in the water and blow some bubbles! Shortly after that, he lost his footing and dunked right under. He was on the verge of losing it, but we acted like it was no big deal and he decided it must not have been.

Sunday we're heading to Whitehorse for another midwife appointment. I'm finally showing a respectable baby-belly, and the little one is making their presence well known with kicks and pokes!

The other little one is waking from his nap...I'll try to post some photos later.

Monday, May 27, 2013

On the verge

Today was the first day we could really feel that summer is almost here. It was hot and sunny, with huge clouds like castles in the bright blue sky.

The leaves are so close to popping...there is a glimmer of green, like a haze over the hillsides and in the willow thickets along the highway. In our own yard, swollen buds have begun to  unfurl. The brief rainfall we had yesterday seems to have urged everything along. There are tiny yellow-green flowers on the soapberry bushes; the fireweed, bluebells and lupine are all pushing up out of the dark earth. 

My heart sings along with the birds: it's here! it's here! it's here!

Friday, May 24, 2013

One of those days

Today was one of those days when Mama hoped to get much accomplished, but Baby had other ideas. The weather has (finally) been beautiful, and I'm anxious to get the garden ready for planting. Our last frost date is June 6th, but I know a lot of people who take their chances and plant out before that. I'd at least like to get my seeds sown this weekend, if not a few other started plants.

All I wanted to do was get the manure mixed into the raised bed. That's all! It seemed like a small enough job, and I was sure Aedan could keep himself occupied while I got to it. Goodness knows there are plenty of rocks to be thrown around by little hands, down in the cleared mess I hope to one day call a productive vegetable garden. But he was absolutely not having it. He wouldn't stay with me, no matter how I tried to entice him. I found myself getting so frustrated, because I had plans and he had different ones. Why does he always get to win?

I admitted defeat, and followed him where he wanted to go. We ended up back at the house, playing with his little metal watering can, scooping and pouring water into a big black tub (and throwing some rocks in, too, for good measure).

As I sat in the warm sun, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees, the tinkling of the water and the babbling of the babe, my frustration melted. I let out a big exhale and my shoulders relaxed. Sometimes we must be reminded by the littlest ones to slow down, to step outside of our expectations, and just let the day unfold as it will.

May 24th

As it happens, Aedan went down for a nap just as P got home from work. So he lay down with him, while I got to shovel manure. Happy day, indeed!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A new day

It turns out that spending a day indoors, wallowing in self-pity, and eating way more refined sugar than usual, doesn't make a girl feel any better. 

So today, with warmer temperatures in the forecast, I've decided to list some of the things I'm feeling grateful for these days.

- Yesterday's wintery storm bringing all sorts of birds down in the yard. Aedan and I have loved watching them scratching around for food...

- A beautiful chorus of birdsong this morning...

- The local pool being open, and Aedan really enjoying his first dip of the season...

- P getting up early this morning to start a fire in the woodstove. It was so nice to wake up to a toasty warm house...

- P finally getting to feel the baby move while we lie quiet in bed...

- New glasses on the way...

- Lots of flowers, both annuals and perennials, filling the kitchen and waiting to go into the garden...

- Rosehip syrup in my tea...

- The local food movement: being able to buy fresh eggs year round, the chance to get some pastured meat put by this fall, the farmer's market and the community around it...

- Patience, and the clarity of mind to recognize life's lessons...

- Ideas and inspiration...

- The love of my family.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I dream of leaving

Yesterday, I was outside raking the yard in the sunshine. I was moving my tender seedlings onto the porch to begin hardening them off. I was thinking about where I want to plant the new flowers I picked up at the Gold Show on Friday.

Today, there is about 8 cm of snow on the ground, and more falling from the colourless sky.

Maybe it's this never-ending winter, or maybe it's something more, but I spend more than the usual amount of time dreaming of a life lived elsewhere. P and I have talked about leaving the Yukon 5-10 years from now, but I find myself wishing it could happen sooner than that. I long for milder winters and more than 90 frost-free days a year. I want to be out in my garden now, I want to see green things growing and to feel the warm sun on my shoulders.

It's more than just this winter business, of course. I wish it were easier to get local food more of the year. I'm not comfortable with how far our produce travels to reach us. The farmer's market will be open next weekend, but the first vegetables won't be available for almost another month. Living here just doesn't seem to jive with so many of my values.

I try to focus on the positives: the tight-knit community, and the fact that people are trying to farm here....but I know these things exist outside of the Yukon, too.

For now, though, I must accept where I am and make the best of it. I will support the local food movement as much as I possibly can. We will improve our little homestead, make ourselves comfortable for as long as we remain...but I will continue to dream of greener pasture.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oh, the birds!

They'd been arriving in dribs and drabs for about a week, the birds. A vanguard of brave water birds, clustered in ditch puddles; bald eagles, northern harriers and owls perched high in the spruce trees, surveying the land for signs of prey; the odd seagull, looking a little lost sailing over the frozen rivers. I imagine these first birds sending confused envoys a few hundred kilometers south, not sure what to tell their waiting friends.

Then, on May 10th, an explosion of song! That morning we had a large mixed flock of sparrows in our yard: white-crowned sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, chipping sparrows, lapland longspurs and fox sparrows. I spotted a warbler I couldn't identify, and heard robins broadcasting themselves from the tree tops. A confused sandpiper touched down in our yard for a brief moment, just as surprised as I was. 

I love waking to bird song each morning. Such a gift!  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Something nice to say

My mother always told me: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I suppose this is the reason for my silence here for the past...week? Longer? I'm not even sure how long it's been. Honestly, all I've felt like doing is complaining about the weather. And that gets old, and fast!

But it finally feels like this longest of long winters has had its last gasp. Each day, more and more bare ground is revealed. We're lucky to have full southern exposure at our home, so the snow banks that had built up are quickly disappearing. The raised bed I made last fall is fully uncovered and (I hope) thawing out, as is the remainder of the load of topsoil we had delivered last year. My flower bed is slowly being revealed, too, and I'm curious to see if the delphiniums I put in last year have survived. There still isn't much of any green out there (though I hear the crocuses are coming out on the bluffs). There IS a whole lotta ugly...I can't wait to attack with a rake! But spring has finally found us here in the Yukon, and we're all rejoicing!

The rivers are still frozen, but the ice changes daily. Each spring there is a danger of flood for many communities, but this spring it seems especially worrisome. Should we get a heat wave and all of this snow and ice melt in a hurry, there's no telling what might happen. There hasn't been a major flood in Dawson since the late 70's, and they built a dike along the riverfront following that. But I've heard more than a few people speculating that the waters could breech the dike this spring. Certainly our friends living right on the river, in Rock Creek and other spots like it, must be anxiously watching and waiting...only time will tell!

May 9th 2013
Taken today from the bridge at the Dempster Corner, looking north along the Klondike River.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Finally it feels a bit more like spring is here. The last two afternoons we've hit 10 degrees (on the plus side!) in the sun. Big, deep mud puddles are opening up in the walk to our house; little channels form between them, and they drain from one to the other, and then eventually down the little hill in front of the house. Our forest trail is becoming soft as the snow begins to rot away, and soon we'll have to take our walks on the shoulder of the highway. I've noticed a some silvery-soft pussy willows popping out along the road, and the tree buds seem to swell a little more each day.


There is light in the sky until well after 10 pm now, and it makes me eager for warmer weather. I think constantly of the garden, of what I will do, of the successes and the failures, too. The other day I dreamed I walked down to the garden and all the snow was gone, and I stood barefoot in the warm, muddy soil, the sun on my face. Ah, if only. I still need snowshoes to get down there right now. Next time we clean the ash out of the woodstove, I plan to spread it over the garden bed in hopes of speeding up the snow melt.


Splash! Aedan was soaked after his afternoon of exploring puddles. We need to get him some proper gum boots!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring? Is that you?

Once again, my blog roll is filled with images of blooming flowers and greening trees, and stories of wild-harvesting nettles, opening farmer's markets, and the first turnings of garden soil. And here we are, with 2 feet of snow still on the ground. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't discouraging. It feels like this snow will never be melted, like we'll never see green grass again...

...but of course I know that's not true. The weather is changing: last night only got down to -10 C. We've got hours and hours of daylight, and the roof is constantly dripping with snow melt, so spring must be here, right? It's mid-April for goodness sake!

Today I went out with my camera and tried (a bit desperately, I'll confess), to get a few pictures to prove that Spring is...on its way? Here already? I don't know. That it's not-winter, I suppose.



Spring? Is that you?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Just curious...

I originally started this blog to let my family back in Ontario know what was happening in my life. For a long time, I thought it was only my mom reading! But I wonder if there are more of you following along?

If you're family and you read regularly, please leave a comment here and let me know!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


We've just returned from a quick trip out to Vancouver for our regular check-up with Aedan's doctors. The appointment went really well. Aedan's A1C hasn't really changed since our last appointment 6 months ago: he is still in a non-diabetic range, which means we're managing his blood sugar really well. I've noticed myself that he seems to be in a much tighter range lately, so that means the 5 mg of Glyburide spread over 3 doses a day is working great. We picked up a new blood-glucose meter, one that uses a much smaller sample than what we've got now, set an appointment for 6 months from now, and we were free to enjoy the rest of the day in Vancouver.

Vancouver was absolutely beautiful, warm and sunny, with lots of flowers blooming. The air smelled of damp earth, cut grass, and green things unfolding. We had lunch on Granville Island, and then watched Aedan play in the park. I have to say, it wasn't easy to come home knowing we're still a month and a half away from weather like that!

On our way back through Whitehorse, I met with my midwife, Christina. That appointment also went really well. We talked about my low energy and decided I should start taking an iron supplement: I'm using Floradix. I told her about the headaches I've been having, and she said the iron supplement might help with that, as might getting more exercise and fresh air. She gave me the name of a chiropractor in Whitehorse, so I might book an appointment with her for my next visit. She confirmed that I seem to be about 14+ weeks pregnant, judging by where my uterus was sitting, and then we listened for the baby's heartbeat! It was so good to hear that pulse; it makes things seem more real to me.

Not the most thrilling or lyrical update, but an important one nonetheless. Enjoy your Sunday!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A moment I'd like to remember...

From my journal, April 2nd:

A pause in our walk so Aedan can run up and down a little rise in the path, while I contemplate the sun, so high and warm in the sky, not long ago barely able to peer above the hills.  A raven calls from the tree tops. Aedan stops, points, says "bird" in his way. The raven calls again, and my boy answers, crying "Ah! Ah!" with a big smile on his face.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Surprise #2

I've been keeping this one under my hat for a while now, but can't do it any longer...

I'm pregnant!

Just like with Aedan, I found out just as we were getting ready to go on our vacation. Not very good timing! It's part of why I didn't get as much out of this trip as I'd hoped...I spent half of it experiencing morning sickness and a serious lack of energy.

I'm about 13 weeks along now, due October 6th. I'm not feeling as connected to this pregnancy as I was with the first, maybe because I'm so busy chasing around a toddler so I don't have much time for reflecting. I look forward to the first stirrings from within. I think that will change everything. We have an appointment with our midwife in Whitehorse in a little less than two weeks, and I wonder if we'll get to hear a heartbeat.

As I enter the second trimester, I'm eager for the tiredness to abate. I feel like the house is always in shambles and I have to force myself to get anything done. The dogs haven't had a proper walk in weeks and my body is missing yoga practice. I'm making a conscious effort to get more iron in my daily diet, and I think that's helping. I'm going to ease myself back into my regular exercise routine, gradually lengthen my walks day by day.

Breastfeeding is becoming challenging for me, and I flip-flop between desperately wanting to wean Aedan, and an intense desire to work through it and let him wean when he's ready. I feel very antsy, almost irritated, while he's nursing, and my nipples are quite tender. It doesn't help that it seems like he wants to nurse often these days...and I believe my supply has begun to drop off. To top it all off, he started biting again yesterday. He's also got some red cheeks and has been chewing on his finger, so I wonder if he's just go a bit of teething pain right now. I think most likely I will work through this and let him wean naturally. It's what I've wanted for him all along, and he obviously still needs to nurse, whether for the calories, the comfort, or both.

I wanted to include a belly shot with this post, but I don't think I've got much of a baby belly to look at, so I'll forgo it for now!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

18 month old baby

Well, okay, he's actually closer to 19 months old by now. I've been meaning to make this post for a while! And I suppose he isn't really much of a baby these days. No, Aedan has fully embraced toddlerhood!

What is he up to these days? He TALKS! Wow does he ever. When he's awake, he keeps up an almost constant stream of babble, with about 20 recognizable words thrown into the mix. It amazes us how quickly he can pick up a new word; we go through periods where it seems like he learns a new word every day! Some of his words are: gah-gah (dog), ball, apple, date, wah-wah (water), bird, ice, and heavy. I think that last one is kinda funny, he usually says it when he picks up a big book or a wooden toy my dad made for him. Oh, and let's not forget "mama" and "dada"!


Aedan expresses himself in many ways. He still signs regularly, though I've slacked on teaching him new signs. But he still uses dog, milk and outside on a daily basis.

He's also become quite adept at expressing his frustration (much to our frustration!). I suppose toddlers are tempestuous creatures, and Aedan is no different. He'll be happily playing along and suddenly burst into tears because something hasn't gone right. He cries when he's getting tired (but he also signs that he's getting tired), he cries when he's getting hungry (I'm learning to anticipate his meal times), he cries when he can't get his way.

We must keep reminding ourselves: babies are not manipulative! It must be so hard to go through your day having a good 90% of your efforts frustrated. Although, he's getting better and better at most things he likes to do!


Completed Tower

Aedan loves stacking his blocks, whereas before he only loved knocking down the towers that Mama made. He can build them up quite high, though, and he likes to add non-block things into the mix, trying everything from bits of fluff, to bottle caps to a ball.

And speaking of balls, he loves those, too! His throws were pretty random and uncontrolled until recently, but now he's really good at throwing in one direction (straight ahead!) and he's a bit obsessed with having two at a time. Maybe he'll be a juggler!

He also loves to climb: furniture, Mama, stairs, whatever (or whomever!) he can get his hands and feet gripped onto. He seems like a bit of a daredevil to me, but what do I know about toddlers? Maybe they're all like that.

He loves to play outside, too. I still walk the trails with him on my back, but lately I'll let him down for the homestretch. He can walk a good distance, and likes to chase the doggies. He also loves being pulled up and down the lane in his little sled. This summer should be interesting...we need to get a fence up around the yard!


Aedan is still nursing, but I feel like my supply has really dropped off recently. In response, his appetite for solid food has grown immensely! He polishes off some pretty impressive plates of food, eating pretty much everything we do. He loves fruit (grapes being a favourite lately), dates, oatmeal, tofu, beans, broccoli...anything we put his way. It's wonderful! I feel like we're establishing a really healthy food-foundation for him. It's a lot of time spent in the kitchen, but I'm so glad I've committed to cooking almost all of our food from scratch, and keeping only nutritious, wholesome foods in the house.

Snack Time

Life with a toddler is exhausting, challenging, and joy-filled. I learn so much about human development, and Mama-development, every day!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Moon

Only a week ago, it was close to 40 below at night, clear and sunny and cold during the day...and here we are, all of a sudden surrounded by the first signs of spring!

~ The snow is melting off the rooftops, crashing to the ground in great thick sheets that rumble the whole house

~ The city and highways departments have been working to grade all the roads down to pavement or dirt

~ Ice Guessing tickets are on sale!

~ Starting seeds and dreaming of the garden (still lying under at least 3 feet of snow!)

~ Melting and drip-drip-dripping everywhere

~ Letting the fire go out today!

~ Opening doors and windows and letting the fresh air blow through the house

~ No long underwear and no plugging the car in!

~ Small flocks of snow buntings flitting around. I love these birds, so starkly black and white, and still remember the first time I saw them, right around this same time of year!

Now is the long haul before all this snow is gone, and the first green shoots of lupine and bluebells start to poke their heads up in the yard. 

What are the signs of spring where you live?

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Granada was gorgeous, beautifully restored colonial buildings: 

Cathedral Detail

Colonial buildings and a volcano

Granada had lots of really unique, colourful doors!


More doors

Isla de Ometepe was calm and quiet after the bustle of Granada. It was a bit buggy, but had lots of natural beauty to fill our days!

Volcan Concepcion
Volcan Concepcion


Watering hole Ranchers would bring their livestock down to the lake each day for a dip!

Jungle Walk

Volcan Madera
Volcan Madera

San Juan del Sur was the ocean...and not finding quite what we wanted. Still...there were flowers and ice cream and sunsets!

Bird of Paradise

Ice Cream!


We learned so much about what we want from a vacation, and about travelling with a toddler. Last year, in Belize, we stayed in one spot. We found that got a bit tiresome after 2 weeks...this year, we visited 3 different places over the course of about 2 and a half weeks. We found this to be a bit too much travelling. Aedan was a real trooper, but each move meant resettling of nap times, getting comfy in new surroundings, finding kid-friendly places to play...we're getting closer to finding what we want, closer to the perfect vacation. Learning about yourself, what you're capable of and what you're not capable of, is definitely one of the most exciting parts about travel!

P.S. In case you were wondering...I kept up with my photo-a-day challenge all through Nicaragua...and lost it while visiting family in Ontario. Maybe next year!

Monday, March 18, 2013


Oh my, I didn't expect it to take me this long to make it back to this space! Nicaragua seems so long ago now, and I promise I'll get some pictures up soon. The days following our return from vacation have been a bit hectic, to say the least...

We've been preparing for our wedding!

On March 14th, we drove out to Tombstone Park with a couple of witnesses, our friend who is a marriage commissioner, my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and we got hitched!

March 14th, 2013

We've been talking about doing this for awhile now, and we picked this particular day because it kicks off the Spring carnival weekend in Dawson. We thought that if any family made it up, it would be a really fun time for them to be in town. And it was! We spent a busy week cleaning the house and yard up, getting ready to hold the casual reception here. We kept things small and fairly private, as that is the kind of people we are (well, except for sharing my life on a blog. Heh heh!)

An hour before we left the house, we picked out a few readings from a selection our friend the marriage commissioner had in her arsenal, and pocketed our own written vows and our wedding bands. It was a gorgeous day, clear and sunny. After driving along the Dempster for awhile, we pulled into a runaway lane a couple kilometers past the Tombstone Interpretive Center, with a beautiful view of the snow-covered mountains. We built a little fire, and as we gathered in a loose circle around it, the wind died and we began. It was short and sweet and heartfelt, and seemed so right for us. Aedan slept through the whole thing on my back, but we were happy that he was "there", and not just back in the truck sleeping (or crying or running around).

Back at our house, we signed the papers and it was officially official. We had a friend cooking for us, pulled pork and baked beans and roasted veggies and potatoes and coleslaw and 3 different desserts. More friends joined us for a bonfire. Aedan had a blast running around the yard with his friend Emery and pretending to drink beer.

It was a beautiful day, a beautiful evening, and we are so grateful to everyone who helped make it special. I never thought I'd get married, but all of a sudden it felt like exactly the thing I wanted to do. So there ya go. I'm a Mrs. Bush Mama now!