5 acts of self-care for the postpartum mom

Well here we are, a little more than two weeks past the arrival of Ezra and I am officially enjoying my first day as a stay-at-home mom of two, without any help. 

I have been blessed to enjoy the assistance and care of both my husband and my mom over the last two weeks. While I credit part of my smooth and fairly quick recovery to the fact that Mr. Ezra decided to show up in about four hours from the time I started labouring, I also credit my recovery to having the time to rest and enjoy my new babe while Cody and mom took care of everything else.  Continue reading “5 acts of self-care for the postpartum mom”

Playing a little catch up…ok a lot of catch up

A little under nine months have gone by since my last post and now that things have calmed down a little I hope to get back to completing some semi-regular blog posts. I guess for this post I’ll catch you up on the whirlwind the last nine months have been for me.

In May of 2012 I was able to make a quick trip home to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my Grandparents on my mom’s side. This was such a blessing. Not only were my grandparents celebrating 50 years of God’s faithful provisions in their lives, they were doing it in a year when their two oldest granddaughters would also say “I do” and begin their own marriages. The party was perfect and I can’t say thank you enough to the people who made it possible for me to be there. 

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My beautiful niece Victoria

During that same weekend I got to meet my first niece. She captured my heart immediately, not that this was anything special. Victoria May-Lynn Feddema was the most precious baby I had ever set my eyes on and I could wait to start bragging about her – as you can see from this picture taken during the surprise bridal shower my mom and sisters planned for me. Needless to say it was very busy four days spent with lots of family. I don’t think I have ever been so aware of all the love that I am surrounded by as I was throughout the course of those four days.

In May the newspaper also hired a new employee. I’d like to say all kinds of nice things about this new hire but he only worked for the paper for a mere month and a half before leaving. Much lying and deception was involved so I’ll stick by the saying “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

In June I visited Ashley in Bonneyville. It was nice to drive through a different part of northern Alberta and see more of the province. I arrived late at night and after catching up, massages (of course) and saying goodnight, we fell asleep only to awake early the next morning to head out on a shopping trip to Edmonton. Much was accomplished including finding shoes for my bridesmaids as well as myself (two pairs in fact because I couldn’t choose and if you think that’s bad, on the day of the wedding I actually had three to choose from), we also ordered Ashley’s bridesmaid dress and purchased a ton of candy for the wedding. It was so great to do a little wedding prep in Alberta with one of my bridesmaids.

July was fairly slow so I’ll skip to August. In August I once again flew home to celebrate alongside my sister Lyndsay and her new husband Erik who were married on August 18. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, the ceremony was beautiful, the reception was beautiful, Lynds was beautiful. The whole thing was beautiful.

I think that’s all the catch up I have time for now…but part two including wedding, honeymoon and christmas will be soon to come!

Just a little Dutch pride

Amanda and I displaying our Dutch Pride, 2007

From the Sept. 7 issue of the Mile Zero News.

I grew up in a town where everyone, including my family, was from the Netherlands and words like doekie were common, dropjes were a delicious candy, and croquettes were a staple at Christmas and New Years. Now I have to ask my parents to send me dropjes (salty-black licorice) in the mail, I still enjoy a croquette or two while I am visiting in Ontario in December, but I have to stop myself from asking my friends where the doekie is, instead of asking for the dish cloth.

While I was growing up I used to think that I could only be happy as a reporter if I were always on my way to doing something bigger and better. I have also always been a family person and knew that one day I’d want a family of my own. While in school, I was told having a family and a successful career as a journalist were two dreams that, most simply put, did not jive.

However, the longer I work the more I realize that success, at least according to me, comes from realizing personal goals in addition to earning the respect and support of the community the paper serves. The older I get, the more clearly I’m able to see how my two dreams might eventually align.

Recently I read an article published in a Macleans magazine titled, “How Dutch women got to be the happiest in the world.” Not only was this article incredibly interesting to me as a Dutch-Canadian, but it helped further solidify my own definition of success. The research claimed women living in the Netherlands were happier because they lived lives balanced between working and being at home. About 75 per cent of women working in the Netherlands are employed part time. It’s important to note that choosing to work less is possible in the Netherlands because of a multitude of social program that make supporting a family on one full-time income possible.

The article explains that these findings upset feminists across the world. The feminists wondered how Dutch women could turn their backs on the fight our mothers before us fought in order that we might have the chance to chase a corporate dream.

One woman was quoted in the article saying, “Perhaps [Dutch women] are happy because they don’t feel guilty for falling short of perfection. We are torn to shreds between the American and the Mediterranean models of womanhood. On one hand, we are boardroom feminists expecting equality of expectation and outcome. On the other, we are matriarchs, wanting to run model kitchens and walk through meadows with bands of children.”

I re-posted the link to this article online and a number of dutch female friends left comments instantly. None of my friends grew up in the Netherlands, we’re all second or third generation Dutch-Canadians; but somehow, the values of our grandparents or parents have managed to fight through those of north-american feminists and remain strong through the younger generations. We may work more than our counterparts still living in the Netherlands, but I think we continue to think the same way and have many of the same desires.

I may be biased, but I think the Dutch might be on to something. For now, I’ll finish this thought by leaving you with another quote from the same article.

“Maybe this will turn out to be the fourth wave of feminism. Women protect the possibility that one day we’ll wake up and realize that life is not all about acquiring more material wealth, power, status. Many Dutch women that I know want to stay sane, happy, relaxed.”

Loving the new doesn’t mean I don’t miss the old

Photo courtesy of thetwentyfirstfloor.com

This weekend was a gorgeous weekend to be living in Grimshaw. On Saturday a couple friends and I went into Peace River to visit all the beautiful dogs at the SPCA. We even visited with a few cats, who were adorable, however did not fool me. Dogs are still way better.

Sunday there was a church picnic, which involved awesome company and a great game of bocce ball. No, I’m not any good at it (unless, of course, we’re playing on gravel), but bocce is very quickly becoming my favourite summer group game.

And yesterday I attended my first ever 4H event. Sure, growing up in Blackstock and Orono meant I was no stranger to farm life, but aside from visiting friends’ calves at the Orono Fair, I had very little experience with 4H. Those poor children! They spend an entire year feeding, grooming and otherwise caring for these calves only to sell them to Johnny Sausage (the local butcher)!

I had company at this event which was lovely, however, he didn’t seem quite as distraught as I was about the kids losing their rather large pets.

Perhaps the love for farm animals comes from how my family has treated animals. My grandfather raised turkeys and chickens, which we often ate at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but somehow that was different? I was looking through some old photos of Lyndsay’s at Aunt Sherry’s and instantly began to crave a day at the Rutherford Country Resort (as mom has appropriately named it). Living in Grimshaw is wonderful, but being so far away from home definitely has it’s drawbacks. Only 58 more days!