Apr 082014

Are you expecting? Have kids already? How do you deepen the connection with your little one(s)?


Way back what feels like a hundred years ago when I was pregnant with the boy, I was a super nervous Nellie. And, I was sea sick – so, so seasick feeling for 24 weeks. I wanted to get excited about the pregnancy but after all the work to get baby in there I had a hard time believing it was real.


I spent months believing I’d have the rug pulled out from under me and the baby would be gone. Poof. I couldn’t make plans. I couldn’t buy tiny outfits, purchase anything for the nursery or see baby as a sure thing. I felt like I was in limbo.


I NEEDED to do something that made me feel there might be a baby at the end of the tunnel, but I also needed to have minimal emotional attachment to whatever this was. So, I started buying books for the bump. I choose books because I felt like I could easily donate them if something went wrong and I wouldn’t be imagining him in them like little clothes or blankies.


In hindsight, I wish I’d kept track of which book went with which week, because I dutifully purchased one book for each week of the pregnancy. In the early days of building my bump library I had to buy a few books at a time to make up for the weeks that had passed before I hatched my plan. And in the end, I only got to book 39 because the boy came 6 days early.


Laying in bed at night reading these carefully selected books to the bump allowed me to make a connection that I so desperately wanted and so desperately feared. We still read some of these books at bedtime. I bought picture books, board books and soft books. There were some I had loved myself as a child and some that just caught my eye at the bookstore.


It was at around 30 weeks that I finally started to get all the other necessary baby things lined up for his arrival. At that point, there was an empty room and a simple shelf filled with 30 books, just waiting for a little mind to open up and let the stories flood in. And a heart, full to the brim with love for the little unborn guy, just waiting for him to arrive so it could open up and finally let all of that love flood out.


If you need suggestions for some books to purchase for baby, feel free to see our weekly blog post called Amanda’s Pick.


DK Canada Baby Books

Mar 052014

Today is the day

to help Spread the Word to End the Word!


Why should you take a minute and pledge to stop saying the R-word?


First and foremost, when you say the r-word, you’re using a slur. Yep. Maybe you haven’t thought of it that way before? It’s not a racial slur, but it is a word that belittles those with developmental disabilities. When you use the word, you’re saying that the person or the situation you are referencing is ‘less-than’. You’re speaking disparagingly of or casting aspersions. And, it’s mean. And nobody wants to be a meany.


I know, I know, it’s just a word. It’s a force of habit. You don’t really mean it THAT way, you’ve been saying it forever, you don’t even notice…


Well, when you say it, I notice. I NOTICE. Because that word is used to reference people like MY KID. My beautiful, surprising, sometimes challenged, always miraculous, amazing, fabulous kid.


So unless THAT’s what you mean when you say the word, it’s time to stop. The R-word has no place in your vocabulary any more. When you say it others around think it’s ok to say it and your kids learn to say it. And someday, when your kid says it to my kid, you’re really gonna wish you’d followed my advice. The R-word is just not ok anymore.


Today is the day to take the pledge to stop saying the R-word at www.r-word.org.

Feb 192014

This time of year my thoughts are always drawn to the dark and chilly night I stood in our kitchen with vials and syringes laid out in front of me on the counter. I remember trying to calm myself down, (while hubs – terrified of needles paced around, avoiding eye contact with me and the medical implements) as the hope and the dread battled it out in my chest.  

It was Valentine’s Day. The day we started injections for our first IVF cycle. We’d already been trying for a very long time and for me anyway, this felt like the only hope. My only hope of becoming a mom. Due to age and timing, the likelihood of being accepted for international adoption was almost nil and the process for private domestic adoption seemed even more daunting.  

So there we were. At the time, what I felt I was laying on the line seemed huge. The time, the money, the injections – and for what? There were no guarantees. And yet…and yet…there I was, standing in my underpants in my kitchen, jabbing myself in my belly. That day, the hope won. And the day after that. And the day after that.  

If anyone tells you IVF is gonna be an easy ride to a baby, they are crazy. It’s a tough slog. But for me, it was one that was oh so worth it. It’s amazing how short that time feels now and how loooonnnnggg it felt while I was doing it (each time I was doing it.) We were very, very lucky to be successful our first attempt and now have our beautiful boy. Subsequent attempts to grow our family didn’t go as well and after 2 more cycles, both miscarriages, we agreed to try one more ‘last ditch attempt’ and from that we brought home our ‘against all odds’ baby.  

It’s been almost 2 years now since our last trip through the fertility treatment ringer – just enough time to be able to look at the experience through a slightly longer lens. Back then, I was so angry that other people had it so easy…that women around me seemed to be getting pregnant simply by gazing into their partners’ eyes…that I had to go to hell and back – why me??? And they were. And I did. And it really was hard.  

But then it wasn’t. And in the end, I got what they had. Sure my pockets were lighter and my belly was bruised and my feelings would never be the same. But my baby was just as cute (or cuter) the first time. And just as cute (after she put a little meat on) the second time. And I love them.  

I have learned that while becoming a parent was hard, being a parent is harder. The sleeplessness and the worry and the absolute lack of alone time unless you offer to go grocery shopping then sit in your car in the parking lot are hard.  

I’ve also learned that, in parenting, like in the fight to have a baby, there are also no guarantees. Some kids don’t sleep…ever and some don’t eat anything but toast, and some are soooooo whiinnnnneeeyyy. And some have special needs and some talk in a high pitched voice ALL THE TIME and some are too reckless and some are too shy and some grow up and don’t call enough and some grow up and won’t leave the house and, and, and.  

I have learned that all the things that make it hard are as much a part of being a mom as the parts that are so EASY – the baby snuggles and the goodnight kisses and the sweet tender moments and the proud moments and the silence after bedtime and the beaming light of the little face that runs to greet you at the door.  

Some things worth having don’t come easily. It’s true. Even then, standing in that kitchen, I knew that was the case. What I didn’t know – and, in the thick of it would never have believed – was the day would come when the things worth having would matter so very much more than the getting them ever did. 

Feb 042014


Well, I’m gonna say right off the bat, that while I am absolutely thrilled to be guest blogging for MommieFirst, I’m not an expert. I’m the same as every want-to-be-a-mom, expecting-mom and just-trying-to-make-it-through-another-day-mom out there.


The only ‘expertise’ I have on Motherhood comes from living it, sometimes loving it, other times just trying to survive it. My house can be an embarrassment, my older kid’s behavior can be deplorable, and, when I was pregnant, I didn’t glow. Not for one day. That’s not to say I wasn’t thrilled to my sea-sick gills to be pregnant or that I don’t thank my lucky stars for my sweet littles every day. (I was, I do). More to say it hasn’t been easy. Real life is messy. Well mine is anyway. And, for me, the rewards don’t come without their fair share of hard work.


Thanks to a boat load of stick-to-it-ive-ness and the miracle of modern medicine, our family has been blessed with 2 petites. The first is now 4 and is a charming, funny, adorable handful of a boy. The second is a 13.5 month old baby girl. She is tiny, and giggly and feisty. She has to be, I suppose. She was born 6 weeks early and took a 25 day pit stop in the NICU on the way home. She’s also been diagnosed with a very rare genetic syndrome and has to work hard at every little thing that comes easily to other babies. That has brought a whole other aspect to parenting that I wasn’t expecting but we’re taking it in stride. And, she really is very cute which goes a long way when she is wide awake at 3 am. I also need to note the two in between. Part of so many other women’s story too, my miscarriages also play a role in defining who I am and my perspective on the road to parenthood. I know, people say *you’re not supposed to talk about miscarriage*, but I just don’t believe that to be true. And besides, this is my story, and I can talk about what I like.


Huh, when you lay it all out like that, it seems like a sad story. Infertility, never-ending morning sickness, more infertility, miscarriages, special needs baby. Please don’t read it that way. It’s not. It is the story of a hope that endured to produce one joy, was tested not once, but twice, then was blessed again. It’s every mother’s story. It’s a love story. And really, what’s a good love story without a few tears, right?


Like I said before, I’m no expert, but I am thrilled to be able open up the pages of our book and share our story.


I hope you enjoy the ride.