Today is the one year anniversary of Madelyn’s due date. She was actually four days late, and so will be a year in four days.

Oh. My. God.

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meme

1. I hate pineapple. On pizza, in drinks or any pineapple flavoured thing.

2. I dont eat anything from the sea. I tried desperately to like crab and shrimp, because they always look so delicious on other peoples plates. But I cant eat seafood without violently gagging.

3. I have moved 28 times. When I was a kid I can remember moving an average of once a year. I started so many new schools in January, because for some reason, we always moved mid-school year. And no, my parents arent in the military… they just liked to move.

4. When I was a kid I was a big liar, and I lied about the dumbest things too. I once told my mom and my friends mom that a man had followed me at the park and tried to kidnap me, because I was mad at my friend for leaving the park without me, and I wanted to teach her a lesson. Apparently I was mean spirited too.

5. When I was in grade two my parents seperated. While visiting my dad once my sister and I were playing at a park with a group of younger kids. I got mad and cornered one of them at the edge of the park and threatened to beat her up. I didnt, but for years I felt horribly guilty every time I saw that fence, because I thought it knew.

6. I am hugely vain about my hair. It is the only thing I believe to be beautiful about me, and I obsess about it.

7. I love condiments. The more the merrier.

8. A boy I once saw used to pick flowers for me from the gardens of the houses between his house and my work. The relationship didnt prosper, but its still one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.

9. I am feircely loyal to anyone I love, friend, family or otherwise, but I am slow to forgive once I have been hurt, and can have a hard time letting go of past problems.

10. Up until my 20 week ultrasound I was very on the fence about having a baby. I still regularily contemplated having an abortion. Then, I saw the tiniest foot, and then a delicate little spine, and an ittie bittie heart beating with such force. And my breath hitched. And my eyes welled. And my own heart started pounding. And I hope one day she knows how strongly I loved her from that moment on.

11. Motherhood has been the single most difficult and simultaneously simple job I have ever had.

12. I had blue eyes until I was twelve, and then they turned grey, and then at fifteen they turned green.

13. I want to be a writer (when I grow up).

14. I have always wished I knew how to play the guitar, but I havent the discipline to teach myself, and music lessons intimidate me so badly.

15. I can sing, fairly well too, but Im terribly shy, and you will probably never hear me. I was in vocal jazz and choir in highschool… I have never sang for Jeremy.

16. I cannot whistle.

17. I had a recurring nightmare as a child about the michellin tire man, chasing me, and I STILL cannot look at him in commercials.

18. I have moles in the pattern of Cassiopeia on my arm, and I think the writers of ‘Serendipity’ stole that from me.

19. I lost my virginity in Greece. To an Albanian. But if you ask my father, it was with Jeremy, the day Madelyn was conceived, and that was the only time ever.

20. I love hot sauce. Jeremy bought a jar of Mo:le’s hot sauce and put it in my stocking. Being pregnant was torture, because I had such bad heartburn I could hardly ever eat any.

21.I love going out for breakfast any time of the day. Especially if it involves pesto potatoes and mo:le’s hot sauce.

22. I am allergic to penicillin and sulfa drugs. I found those both out the hard way.

23. I havent spoken with my brother since my sisters wedding six years ago. I randomly saw him at silvercity when I was seven months pregnant, and was too stunned to yell his name. I have no clue if he even knows about Madelyn.

24. I have never broken a bone.

25. I had a twin brother.

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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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Felis Navidad

This was our first Christmas as a family, and Madelyn’s first as a human.

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I hope yours was as full and wonderful as ours was.

xoxo

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Trying to draw a line between who you are, and who you invent

I have grown up with a name that is different, or weird in some peoples eyes.
I grew up, honestly, hating it. Coral. Thats the name of an under water sketital deposit. Its dried ocean things people put on shelves because it looks neat.Of course I hated it.
I grew up going to school with eight different Jessicas. I knew more Jennifers and Allisons and Kristys (or Kristinas) than I could keep track of.
And that was just the girls. I grew up being made fun of by Matthews and Chris’ and Justins alike. When youre a kid, whether most people will admit it or not, fitting in is difficult. And if being ‘normal’ is what you so wish you could be, theres nothing worse than being a Coral, when all you have ever wanted is to be a Danielle or a Leanne.

That said, I have grown into my name. I had such disdane for it, I would write stories and sign them ‘Dana’ all the time. I refused to accept that the name I had, was the one I had to have. Im sure it made my mother feel awesome. The name she chose so carefully, picked to wrap beautifully around the child she so adored, looked at with disgust from its owner. But I was a kid, and I hated being on the outside.
But, as I stated, it has become me. I learned to ignored the curious eyebrows from my peers, and the ‘what a BEAUTIFUL name’ comments from their parents.
I started to WANT to be different from my friends, to TRY to be a little weird, and anything but ‘normal’.

Now? I LOVE my name. I love when people question whether they have heard me right. I am so grateful that my name ISNT Jessica (no offence of course, to any Jessicas reading).

I decided that I didnt want my daughter to have a ‘normal’ run of the mill name. (Mind you, normal now, is Apple and Zephyr and Gidget). But I didnt want her to curse me under her breath either.

When J and I discovered we were parents to be we quickly decided on a boys name. Simple and timeless. Handsome and strong. Then we found out our little bundle to be was a girl, so we came back to the drawing table. I had a name I ADORED, and I happily breathed it to J, awaiting his eyes to widen and his face to break into a smile. But, as it turns out, he too had a name. It occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t the only one who dreamt up a name so perfect for my first daughter, that maybe 15 year old J had had that same epiphany.
And the name he loved so much? Madeleine.

Madeleine?

Yes, Madeleine. You know, after Madeleine Stowe, from Last of the Mohicans. My favorite movie EVAR!?

And, it turned out that my favorite chosen name didn’t work with Madeleine following it. It didn’t flow. Didn’t sound good. It wasn’t the name I imagined murmuring sweetly over and over. I couldnt even imagine yelling it when she refused to put on a more appropriate shirt. How could I call my daughter by any name other than her own?!

So, I smiled, and I nodded, and I agreed to think about it. Inside I shelfed it and KNEW it would never be open for discussion again.

A few months down the road and its one am and something has just gushed unannounced from within, and Im in labour.

*eleven hours*

Shes beautiful. Shes perfect. Shes…. Madeleine.

Well, kind of. Shes Madelyn.

Now, I will admit, there have been nights that I crawl into her room and gaze at her (sounds hand that rocks the craddle-y) and I whisper her name, and then I pause, and make sure its just us, and then I whisper her other name, just to see.  Just to make sure we really DID give her the right name. And sometimes when we’re playing ‘mommy builds towers and Maddy destroys them’ I coo and giggle and call her by the name I tucked behind, just to see if she looks up at me and smiles and says ‘Yeah, thats for finally getting it right mom!’ But it always feels…. off.  Like Im calling her Jessica, or Laura. It isnt her.

So shes Madelyn. Madelyn Olivia. (Because I still had to have it in there somewhere.) And when shes fifteen and hates me and her father for giving her ‘like, the lamest name EVAR’, and only wishes to be addressed as Quaniffa, then yeah, we can talk. But I hope she sees that its such a beautiful name, and it meant so much to us when we looked at her, and it was so suited to her face that it could have been written in her eyes. And that she keeps it, and grows to love it. Because its a beautiful name.

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Friday Five

Its been a while since I did one of these.

1. Ive been going crazy eating that laughing cow cheese on crackers for a couple days now (not straight, but enough that its a factor) and Im starting to worry about what thats going to do to my insides.

2. Im writing (as I mentioned before) and my main character is a chain smoker. Ive been itching to smoke for a while now…. I know, I know, I did it to myself.

3. I bought Mad this super cute rugby style hooded shirt and Im jealous that its her size, not mine.

4. I wish someone would spent $150k on MY wardrobe.

5. Madelyn got a Halloween book from Grandma and Grandpa Baker and she loves it to pieces. She keeps opening it to the back page to hear the witch scream, and then peering over the coffee table at me to see if Im watching, before laughing hysterically.

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Wordless Wednesday: First Chocolate Cookie.

(PS- I dont photoshop, her eyes are THAT blue.)

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Ha ha?

But this one is actually lol worthy… I think.

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If you want to be happy, be.

I dont even know if there is anyone still out there. I’d almost forgotten this place myself.
Phew.
Long time.

Im not going to apologize for taking time away. I dont need to, I know. I needed to not worry about feeling guilty for not writing for people to see. Ive been doing plenty of it on my own, in all honesty. And Im hella proud of it. How many people do I know right now that are planning on writing a book? The number grows daily. Add my name to that list. I am not planning, however, I am doing. I have been writing a story that has been spining in my head since I was eighteen. I know the exact day it wedged itself in between sinful thoughts of my boyfriend, and my starbucks partner number. Engrained. Its about time I let it out.

So, I have been away. but also here, kinda, ya dig? Ive been readin your blogs lovies, keeping up with you. Watching you grow and laughing at your jokes. I just needed some quiet time. I needed no expectations of anyone else. Even though… Im pretty sure I actually place them on myself, not anyone else. If that makes sence.
Regardless.
I dont know how many days I sat feeling hollow, watching my beautiful baby girl play, happily and inquisitively, by herself. She should be playing with me, I should be smiling back at her when she giggles and coos up at me, I shouldnt be sitting across the room from her, feeling empty and lonely and wrong. How many nights I said “Im right behind you, I just want to check one thing” and pull out my laptop while J went to bed, and found myself hours later, doing nothing. Except distancing myself from him.  HOw many dinner dates or movies or walks Ive declined with friends, or even agreed to, only to cancel an hour before. A headache, tired, got caught up, busy, forgot. Any excuse. Im finding that Im really good at coming up with excuses instead of participating in my life. Im changing that.
I dont want to miss out on important moments in my friends’ lives, or vis versa. I dont want to ignore my cell phone, or pretend I have other plans, and push myself further away from people who have been the world to me for years, and find myself alone, and miserable because I didnt value who I had.
I dont want to lose the kind of honesty and trust that I have with Jeremy. I dont want to give him any cause for concern, whether its if I want to marry him still, or if I am happy with our life. I dont want him to ever stop wanting to make our life good, and happy and safe and continually growing stronger.
I want to make every memory possible with Madelyn. I dont want to wish I had taken her for more walks, and seen her amazed at seeings birds for the first time. I dont want to find that its the night before I return to work, my entire year of maternity leave over before I got the chance to appreciate having the whole day every day with my baby. I dont want to look up to see why shes been making the same noise over and over, only to see that shes looking right at me, trying to get MY attention, trying to tell me she wants ME. It makes my heart hurt just thinking about it. Im missing out on her.
I am missing out on so many things. Or… I was. I dont know exactly how it changed, but it happened slowly, over weeks and days, inching along until I woke up one morning and felt… good. I felt back to me. Old me, normal me, good me.
So Im waking up and smiling, because I have good toothpaste, and comfy underwear, and a beautiful home, and fresh coffee, and a amazingly happy daughter, and a beautiful fiance, and good true friends, and words. I forgot how much it enriched my life when I wrote. Really wrote. Not updates and quizes. My writing, the stuff I pull from my heart. I just had to remind myself, that all those little peices I was neglecting? They are big peices of my heart. And it doesnt work when everything isnt there, tucked in together, pumping and pushing and moving the life around inside of me.

I missed you. But… I missed me more.

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