Category Archives: life update

Im the hero of the story, dont need to be saved.

I had a bad day today.

Well, it started as a bad night. Actually, if we are being technical, it started as a good night, which progressed to a bad night, and then an equally bad, if not worse day following.

Warning: Cryptic musings to follow.

My life is facing some new challenges as of late. Challenges that maybe I knew were coming for a long time… but have recently become more than I can bear.

I feel like Ive been treading water for too long, and my muscles are sore, and its getting cold out, and I dont think I can keep fighting to keep my head above the water. I feel like Im about to give up, and Im too tired to push through feeling like that.

I swore I wouldnt give up. That I would be a fighter, and stronger than any of the examples I was given growing up. But… the reality is… I am finding it hard to remember what I was so hell bent on fighting for.

Too many of the same problems. Too many trips over the same root as I circle the tree. Every. Fucking. Time.
God knows why I dont just learn to step a bit higher. Pick up my feet. God knows why I constantly pick myself up, brush the dirt off my hands and start circling again.

But Im tired. And I dont know how many more times I can get up off the ground and fill my lungs with another deep breath, convincing myself to try again. Im tired of trying again.

Or how much longer I can kick my legs, churning the water around me, desperate to stay afloat.

Or some other struggling life analogy.

And after a good start to last night, and a bad ending, followed by an even worse day…. I dont know how much longer I can be tired of being tired.

Because… maybe its time to pick up my feet and leave this tree and its tangled roots behind. Or stop swimming.

Or fucking grow up and deal with it.

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We all eat, right?

I am really unsure about how to start this post… so Im just going to do it, and preface it with a warning of sorts. This is NOT one of those blogs, and I am not one of those people. I just think there is cause to be concerned… and to wake up.

Be open minded. I think thats one thing this generation could really do. We could be the first to do a lot of things, and correct a lot of mistakes the generations before us made. Mistakes made, some in earnest, others in greed. But mistakes that without action will fall on our childrens shoulders. And hearts, and lungs, and brains and any other part of their bodies.

This is a farm.
No seriously. Take a good look. If you have kids, in the next ten years they may not even know what a farm looks like anymore. They may not exist.

I am reading ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer. I am about a third of the way through it and have been feeling a little heavy in the heart and head. Its a good book. I would, in all sincerity, recomend it to anyone, regardless of how you want to eat, to read it. Its enlightening. Maybe removing meat completely from your diet isnt possible, thats fine, there are good places and bad places to source your meat. Unfortunately, in this day in age it boils down to money for a lot of families. I get that. But I think, no matter who you are, the health and wellbeing of yourself and your children should always outweigh the health of your savings account. Or the treats and goodies you splurge on. Splurge where its important, and yeah, maybe it means you dont get your kitchenaid mix master this month… but you get the comfort and security of knowing you did what was best for your kids wellbeing.
Theres a good quote in the book from a letter from a poultry farmer that says:

“Just the other day, one of the local pediatritions was telling me he has seen all kinds of illnesses that he never used to see. Not only juvinile diabetes, but inflamatory and autoimmune diseases that a lot of the docs dont even know what to call. And girls are going through puberty much earlier, and kids are allergic to just about everything, and asthma is out of control. Everyone knows its our food. We’re messing with the genes of these animals and then feeding them growth hormones and all kinds of drugs we dont really know enough about. And then we’re eating them. Kids today are the first generation to grow up on this stuff, and we’re making a science experiement out of them. Isnt it strange how upset people get about a few dozen baseball players taking growth hormones, when we’re doing what we’re doing to our food animals and then feeding them to our children.”

Its true. Our kids, hell, even us, are science experiments.

We dont know the long term effects that what we put into our animals, and then into ourselves, can have on us. And some of the things that have already come to light should give you chills. Do we want to wait and see what else there is?

I think that it is simply a matter of putting your money where your mouth is. Demand good, clean, safe meat and other animal products, and the government and the meat industry will turn around. I would never, ever tell someone how to do it (life), all Im saying is that our childrens bodies, and our bodies deserve better than this. So do your research, source out local farms who raise their animals organically, feed their cattle grass, lets their chickens out to run around in the sunshine and use the legs they have for a reason. Do your homework. Where do you think the risks of epidemics and pandemics come from? Birds and pigs. And the environments that they are living in promote bacterial and infection and disease. Theres a reason you can trace those influenzas back to factory farms. Its not healthy.

Anyways, Im not trying to preach vegetarianism or whatnot at you, thats not my intention. I just want to urge people to be responsible to their children. And to themselves. Feigning ignorance isnt cute, or logical, or doing anyone any favors anymore. This is our own doing. We want cheap meat, but there are huge consequences for that. Im just not willing to use my life, or my daughters to pay for that mistake. Not when I can demand better, and turn things around.

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Why I should sleep in.

I love to sleep. I will sleep all day if you left me to it. Ive been blessed with a baby who also loves to sleep. And she has never given us an issue in sleeping through the night, twelve hours straight. Its bliss.
This morning, however, I woke up at 5:30. And not just woke up, looked at the clock and rolled over, but like. WOKE. UP. But it was so early that I forced myself to try and fall back asleep. An hour later I finally let myself get out from under my warm duvet and greet the day. I figured it was a perfect chance to enjoy my morning coffee in silent solitude. And it was. It was bliss.

We have been semi organizing Maddy’s room because I have a vision of how I want to redecorate it next month when she graduates to a big girl bed. We had been using her closet as mainly storage, so I figured since I was up I would sort through some of the big rubbermaid bins of crap. I snuck them out of her room and hunkered down in the living room sifting through memories I had been hauling from house to house since I moved out of my moms house when I was nineteen.

And the memories flooded. Jee-sus.

So, here’s the thing… when I was growing up my mom and step dad moved a lot. Like, once a year for many many years. When I say a lot I mean that by the age of 23 I had moved 25 times. And it seemed to always fall in the middle of a school year… so I got pretty good at making new friends, and at becoming aloof and standoffish my first few weeks at whatever the school dujour was. Sometimes growing up all over the place makes a person come out of their shell, be outgoing and exciting and confidant. Not me. Moving made me awkward and shy and lonely. I very strongly recall feeling like I was always leaving behind my friends. I was always the one having goodbye parties and writing letters to my ‘best friend’ in four different cities. I remember feeling very lonely a lot.
It took me a long time to start to act like myself and become comfortable enough to be me with my new friends. Usually that happened about a third of the way into our time at our new home town. And then by the time we were moving away again I had full blown best friends. If you have ever heard me tell stories about people I knew growing up you will notice I refer to a lot of people as ‘my best friend when I was a kid”… thats because they probably were. For a brief moment in my life those people were so important to me and the place I called home at the time.

So, back to the bins.

It struck me, as I read through old notes and yearbooks and scrapbooks Id been given my some of the sweetest people. I missed a lot of what could have been with some of those people. Some of those friends meant SO much to me. A lot of those friends I should have done a better job of keeping in touch with. I sat there this morning realizing I missed the lives I had before, and the simplicity of small towns and close houses.
I feel like I never really HAD that. I dont even know if I can describe THAT, its not what I was just listing of… its ALL of it… I just know I missed out on something big that a lot of my friends had. Stability. Growing up with people. I never had that. I had a chunk of my life with these friends, and then a different chunk of my life with those friends, and so on and so on. We moved away and I kept touch with a couple people with letters and phone calls, but when you’re 15 and your parents have moved you twice since you lived in the same town as your 13 year old best friend…. things start to change. And I missed out on the same group of friends moving through junior high school and senior highschool and graduation and beyond. It made me really sad to think about it.

I guess… I dont really know where I was going with this, if anywhere. I told Jeremy I want to move. I want to leave Victoria and all its snobbiness and cold people and constantly out of our reach lifestyle costs. I want to move to a small town where Im not afraid of Madelyn walking to her friends houses. I want to bake my own bread and give loaves to all my neighbours. I want to have drinks and dinners with our friends every Friday and have all our kids playing upstairs. I want what I remember, even so briefly. Because I miss it. And I want Madelyn to know it.

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Repetition.

I said I was going to start again. And then I did. And then I quit again.
And then… I said I was going to start again. And then I did again. And then I quit again.
So now? I’m going to start again all over again.

I’m a stay at home mom again! I love it.
Maddy and I have done essentially nothing since I lost my job, except color, cook, build and read. Its been amazing. I feel like she actually LIKES me again.
I know, that sounds so ‘whoa is me’, but that’s not what I mean by it… Shes a Daddy’s girl, always has been, that’s just a reality. When I went back to work after my year of mat leave it seemed like she almost harbored ill feeling towards me for abandoning her. I only really saw her for a couple hours every day and that was really hard on both of us. But, like I said, shes a Daddy’s girl, and my separation from her only made that stronger, and more apparent. But now? It feels like she is slowly moving back to the middle.
Like last week, when we were downtown trying to find a restaurant to hide from the rain and fill our bellies, she was running as fast as her little legs could carry her, and slipped and cleaned a good half a block with her tiny nose. And she wailed. But the first word out of her wet, bloody little face? ‘Mooooooooooooommy!!’
Or yesterday, when we were reading books before her nap in her bedroom, cuddled on the floor, and she stopped in the middle of ‘Gruffalo’s child’, pushing her sucky to one side (yeah, yeah, she has a soother still, I’m the worst mother in the world, blah, blah, blah – sue me, its comfort, and shes not even two)looked at me and said ‘I laffa Mama’, then kept reading, as if she were simply describing the snake on the page to me. An unprompted ‘I love you’ is usually reserved for Daddy only.
And today. Today she was playing with Nana as I was getting ready to meet Jeremy for a rare child-free lunch, and she stopped what she was doing to run to the door and give me a full body hug and a kiss goodbye, without my requesting it first.
So, I feel like its safe to say she might like me a little more than she did a month ago. Even though I will never be the parent who gives her life savers (pacapers) first thing in the morning, no matter how sweetly she asks. She likes me now. And I don’t mind a bit.

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That will be the begining

So… there’s a lot of talk going on at the Crawford-Baker homestead lately. Jer is going back to school. He’s been planning on doing this, well, talking about doing this, for years. Im glad he’s finally decided to go ahead and take the plunge. But its got me thinking. I know I want to go back to school. I know I want to get a degree. And a masters. And maybe even a PhD. So… maybe now is the time?
I started looking at courses on Human Resources. My Dad and step-mom are both in HR and I’ve long thought that sort of job would be fitting for me.
Im a people person. I like to help. I need a career that I can help people in. I need to feel satisfied.
We were driving home from the ferry Monday morning, listening to the cbc, as civilized folks often do, when a segment called ‘the hurried child’ came on. They had a psychologist sitting in talking about parents pushing their kids before they’re ready and the effects on socialization and esteem. I thought, God, what a perfect job. You get to help, you get to be with people, and you cannot leave that job without feeling some satisfaction in what you are doing.
Anyways, long story short, I started thinking about what it would take to become a psychologist. The answer: a lot of school. Obviously.
Part of my Dad’s job is helping people in their careers: finding the right path suited to their goals and their personality. He sent me an assessment and then we sat down and went over the results, and looked at fitting career paths for me. Second from the top was a psychologist. So I started thinking. And I started looking around at schools, and my options.
So… now Im debating between a couple of schools, and a couple of routes.
Do I quit my job, and go back to school full time? Try and condense my Bachelor of Arts – Psych into two years instead of four, so I can get on to my masters asap. And then work, and then after a couple practical working years, look at getting my PhD. I will accrue a lot of debt in student loans, and we will be living a much more modest lifestyle for the next few years.
Do I start taking all my courses correspondence, while still working full time, and crawl along to the finish line in the full four years plus the masters? We will be struggling to pay our bills and tuition, but come out the other side debt-free.
Do I scrap it and take the Business and HR route? With either student loans, or distance education.

Im so excited but Im freaking right out too. Im 26 years old. Im not going to be done until Im 30, at the earliest. As Jeremy has pointed out, school is not designed for adults with bills and kids and responsibilities. But I would have never thought of this kind of change when I was 18. And maybe age is actually on my side… Would you go see a 25 year old shrink??

The bottom line is this: I want a career I am happy in. I want a career I feel like Im doing something with. I want to be able to provide Maddy with everything and anything she wants (well, within reason and without allowing her to become a spoiled brat). I want th elife that I want. And the only person I know that can make that happen, is me.

So, now… I burry my head in my ipod and lose myself in Bat for Lashes… and I weight the options. And maybe look for some advice…?

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London calling

Im back, Im back! Ive actually been back over a week now, but have been revelling in cuddles and building towers and cutting tiny finger foods and changing bums.
I liked Paris a lot. But I LOVED London. The first hour we were there I called Jer and told him to start applying for jobs over there, because come hell or high water, or, a bad economy, we were moving to London.
I loved being yelled at by crackwhores in the tube .
I loved the ads for freaking ‘mayo chickens’ everywhere.
I loved the delicious and good for you fast food places. Yes, really.
I loved the free museums. Free. Museums.
I loved the tube.
I loved the buildings actually built on to one another.
I loved the fashion.
I loved the abundance of men (not that I was looking, obviously).
I loved the lack of snobbery.
I loved the pubs.
I loved the all in one shops.
I loved the history.

OMG I love London.

But I didnt love having to call home to hear Jers voice, and not being able to snuggle up on the couch and watch criminal minds.
I didnt love missing Maddys tooth come in and hearing about her crawling around saying “mum mum mum”.
I didnt love having to press my face into the nightgown I brought from her room to try and find the last spot full of her smell.
I didnt love being away from him, and her.

So I was happy to be home, and to hold Jer’s hand and see his face and hand gestures while he told me stories. And to feel Madelyn’s new little snaggle tooth and see her smile so proud. And to press my nose against her neck, and smell her deliciousness direct from the source.
Ahhhh, I love my life.
And its about to change. I go back to work in less than a week. February 2nd. My heart is hurting at the thought. When I was pregnant there were quite a few women I work with who said “You will miss the adult interaction, I bet you wont be able to wait to get back to work” and I scoffed. As if. I couldn’t wait to spend days playing with my little baby girl. And then three months of colic, followed directly by two months of heavy teething, all on top of post partum depression. I started tring to think of ways to go back to work, and let Jeremy just have her. But, then the clouds parted, and I started to enjoy my long and tiring days. I started to enjoy our routines of nap time, and play time, and destructo-rampage time. And I didnt want to go back to work. I started trying to think of ways to adjust our lifestyle so I could stay home with her until she was school aged.
But its not a reality…
Not with a wedding seven months away.
Not with a $1600 mortgage payment due every month.
Not with the cost of diapers.
Not with my addiction to starbucks.
And certainly not after that little trip to London. Because Im going back, and this time Im bringing her (and Jer) with me. Maybe permenently.

I shall post pictures soon. But right now? Its totally time to build some towers for destructo-rampage time.

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2008…out

Hello again blogosphere.
Ive been on hiatus, self-imposed and self-enforced. I needed to take December to be with my family, focus on my life and ignore the interwebs for a bit. I am happy to report that as a result I feel awesome. AWE-SOME.
And just in time for the New Year.

I have noticed a lot of 2008 reviews, some good, some bad. I cant deny that this past year has been one of, if not the biggest years in my life.

January
Jer and I had a huge and way to expensive dinner for New Years 2008 and then rang it in with the famous Ryan Rae’s amazing deep fried turkey at a house party. I left work early for my year of mat leave, and spent nearly a month fully efaced and three centimetres dialated waiting for that baby to JUST. GET. OUT.  I turned 25, and felt old for the first time although we splurged again on a fancy dancy meal out (justified by our upcoming ball and chain). I found out my Dad was having a baby, which resulted in a few months of us not speaking. If you knew our relationship, you might understand why.

February
Jer made me a steak and lobster Valentines feast, and I think it was the first time I actually celebrated the day. We went to the keg with James and Holly, and indigestion that night turned out to be the beginings of labour. Madelyn Olivia Baker was born at 1:08 pm on February 24. I was humbled. She was perfect and small and a mirror image of Jeremy. I learned how to breast feed, how to bathe a wiggly slippery baby and that sleep is something to be cherished.

March
We spent most of March hidden in our condo, or looking for a new one with our superstar realtor Sherrie. Madelyn was featured on the news.  I took to bawling my eyes out when anything happened. ANYTHING. I had a job interview when Mad was ten days old, and I was a leaking, crying, swollen mess. I did not get the job.

April
We made an offer, and became the proud owners of our very first home, if having a baby didnt do it, this definately made us feel like we had finally arrived at adulthood. Dan and Janet came to visit and spoiled Madelyn. I realized in April that I was suffering from post-partum depression, and it was a startling but comforting understanding because although it was scarey, at least I knew now that I was not crazy and losing my mind.

May
We left Madelyn with my mom and flew down to Vegas for Natalie and Tylers wedding, and I began a love affair with the city. We met Matthew Gray Gubler in Caesers palace and I tried not to barf on him out of excitement. We moved into our new home and ripped the shit out of it. Sweating and screaming and kicking is worth it somehow when its for something you own. I saw REM and the National live in Deer Lake. Madelyn developed a disdain for her carseat. My little brother was born. My father and I took big steps in repairing our relationship.

June
I got the job. That one I interviewed for ten days after Mad was born, yeah they called and offered it to me.
Alix got home from London. It was nice to have her back, I had missed her so SO much.

July
Madelyn started to refuse breastfeeding, and so to save my sanity, and Jeremys, we weaned and started her on formula. I felt so SO guilty for that. I still do. Mad tried her hand at swimming for the first time in my sisters pool. A true water baby was born. The three of us packed up and went to Pemberton for the music festival followed by a baby tour.Maddy sat on her own.

August
After Pemberton we drove through to Shuswap and camped for a few days with Jeremys parents and Matt and Andrea. Mad met her Great Grandparents and a bunch of Great Aunts and Uncles. She camped for the first time and slept like. a. rock. We drove up afterwards to Kelowna to visit my Dad and Roberta and my new brother Riley. We boated and dined vegan-style and somewhere along our adventures my wallet went awol. Allie and Caitlin got back from London. Maddy got her first tooth August 13, and her second the very next day. She also learned to crawl.

September
Jer asked me to marry him. Its official. We put a deposit down at Olympic View and picked our colours. Jers cousin Janica and her husband Jared had a baby boy named Deagan. I finally started to wake up feeling like myself.

October
Madelyn was a penguin for Halloween. Jeremy decided to run for Esquimalt town council. Madelyn got her first cold. I felt like a veil was lifted, corny as it sounds. I felt… good. It was nice to come out of the fog I felt like I was in for most of 2008.

November
MOvember. Jer ran and won both the lamest mo, and the best. Hillarious. Madelyn took her coos and gahs to a whole new level. She jibber jabbers all the time. Her little voice is husky and low, and absolutely beautiful. She started mimicking our sounds, the way words come out and the ebb and flow of conversation. Ah dah dah bah pssssssssssh dad mam mam mam. Ah hah hah hah. Talk and laugh. Talk and laugh. Jer and I decided to cancel the wedding. We called the golf club and luckily got our deposit back. We had let the wedding plans get carried away and turned it into some sort of fluffy frosted monster. Not us at all. We replanned a beach wedding and a backyard bbq reception, which is so much more our taste.

December
We had a white Christmas, in fact, I think most of North America did. Madelyn celebrated her first Christmas surrounded by both sides of her family and was spoiled. She loved the tree, and proceeded to demolish SEVEN ornaments I have had since I was a child. I got on and buttoned my old jeans. My pre-pregnancy siz 26 waist jeans. Theres a nice little muffin top as a result, but the point here is that I GOT THEM ON AND DONE UP! I booked a trip to Paris and London with Alix. Yes, no Jer or Mad. Im all sorts of nervous to leave them, but excited to, because this will be such a send off before I go back to work.

And here we are. Im about to go put some clothes on and go for an early dinner with my family. 2008 was a year. It was incredibly good and it was one of the hardest, emotionally, that I have ever experienced. I wouldnt change it. Well, maybe I would exersise a bit more, and eat a bit healthier… but thats what youre supposed to say, right?

So, so long 2008, thank you for bringing Madelyn to me, and strengthening my relationship with Jeremy. I can only look to 2009 with optismism today. In the words of Wille Nelson, It was a very good year.

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