Paper planes fly around my living room as I write this, and when my eyes lift from the keyboard and meets theirs, they smile.
They’re happy. I am happy.
It’s a few days before June and where we live, dandelion flowers are in bloom all around us. Naturally, an afternoon walk turned into an evening braiding dandelion crowns. I grabbed my camera just before I walked out the door, and I’m so glad I did. So often, it’s so easy to rely on my phone for pictures, but there is just something about taking pictures with the camera.
I had never made a dandelion crown before, but I will certainly be making more. They collected flowers, and using the flowers with the longest stems, I began to braid. It didn’t take long for the shape to take form, and a crown it was. If you’ve never made a dandelion crown before, please do. It’s exquisite beauty available to all of us right now, and it’s everywhere.
Our everydays together, on an almost June evening.
Motherhood and my children have been the most inspiring thing that has happened to me, and it motivated me to write; about them, about us, about our days together – Our Everydays.
I cannot believe it has been a year since I posted my first words on this blog. And what a wonderful journey of creativity, self-growth and community it has become
Motherhood ignited a confidence in me to explore the love I’ve always had for storytelling, and so I began to write. This space not only allowed me to be creative, and to learn and grow in my craft, but it introduced me to so many other amazing women and mothers who were also telling their stories.
I’ve said this before, but I really believe storytelling is the way we connect and relate as human beings. In motherhood, especially, telling our stories allow us to relate, to feel connected, and most of all, to know we’re not alone.
Did you know there is a nude beach in Edmonton? Yep, neither did I.
OK, technically, this beach is just outside of Edmonton, but it’s close enough haha. You gotta love this city though! There are so many little hidden spots and adventures, and every time we decide to go explore, we find something new. I love it!
Yesterday, we decided to go to our favorite river beach spot after dinner. We didn’t have much time before the kids’ bedtime, but it’s the summer, the kids were in a great mood, so bedtime can wait. Off to explore!
Near the beach spot we usually go to, there is a trail we had been meaning to hike, but had just never gotten around to it. As we were in an adventurous spirit, we gave it a go. About 10/15 minutes in, we came across the first sign. “Nude Hikers beyond this Point”. Now, if that doesn’t catch your attention, I don’t know what would. We had heard rumors that there was a nude beach around this area, but we’ve been to the spot in the river a lot, and had always seen people clothed, ha. Determined to see where this hike would lead us to, we kept going. Penelope was having a blast running around picking up sticks, Oliver entertained by all the scenery, we walked past a canola field on the way; the hike itself is quite beautiful. There were a few mosquitoes, and since we didn’t come prepared, that was a little annoying, but then where’s the fun in being spontaneous, right? We continued, following little orange tags along the way, so we knew we were going the right way. The next sign, “Clothing Optional On Trail & Beach”. Good. We didn’t bring a swimsuit for Penelope, and we know she’s going to want to go in the water. Another 10 minutes after that, we had arrived.
It was a very private and quiet spot next to the river, and well, when in Rome…
We had a blast! I can’t remember the last time I swam in a river wearing my birthday suit, but if you can, why not? You only live once. It was awesome. Perhaps because of the time of the day, we were the only ones there, and that definitely helped in my comfort with being nude, but honestly, after a while, I didn’t even think of it. An experience that, had we not discovered accidentally, I probably would have never tried, and it’s good to try new things.
A balmy summer night, spontaneous adventures, canola fields, birthday suits, and my little family. A pretty good night.
Happy new month! The year is going by so quickly, my little family of four feels like the normal I’ve had my entire life, and my little guy is already half way to a year. It’s moving faster than I can keep up with; so many firsts, so many moments, so many memories. We just got back from a short vacation we took to visit my husband’s family who live two provinces away. It was lovely to travel, I missed it and definitely want to do more of it this summer. We got to spend time with family and friends, time outside exploring. We laughed, we ate lots, we didn’t sleep much (sleep when travelling with young kids is always interesting, right mamas? ha!). We felt loved, and we’re back home with a happy and full heart.
In honor of the first of the month, a few firsts from this trip that I want to remember.
First successful 14 hour road trip with 2 young kids #majorwin, haha!
First time both my babies traveled on a plane.
First time my little Oliver met two new provinces in Canada.
The first trip with Penelope after potty training…and no regressions and very few accidents!
Penelope slept on a floor bed for the first time this trip, and it was also the first time she got out of bed and tried to stall before bed time, ha!
A lot of family meeting my Oliver for the first time, and he was such a flirt and stealing everyone’s hearts with his smile.
I am back home feeling super inspired, full of ideas, and with so many projects I want to complete and explore. It’s a happy, happy time!
I picked up my guitar yesterday after months, maybe even years, of not playing it. I didn’t put it back down for the rest of the night. Today, I feel the familiar calluses forming on my finger tips again, and I smile because I am so happy .
I used to play guitar all the time. I loved it. Playing again for the first time in a long time sent me on a nostalgic journey; every song to a different memory of me and what I felt like at the time. It reminded me, of well, me. The part of me that existed before being a wife or a mother, the part of me I’ve forgotten a little lately.
As a busy mom to two little babies, it’s easy to put myself on the back burner. Over the past month a half though, I have been working to change that a little. I have started this blog, I have gone back to yoga, I am writing in my journal more, I am playing my guitar… doing things that nourish the part of me that is neither wife or mother.
I am a wife, I am a homemaker, I am a mother, and my family are my world and happiness.
I am something else too.
I am Gabriela, a simple, but definitely not ordinary, woman with long black hair, playing the guitar in a beautifully lit room, and I am so happy. A self portrait of who I am today.
Penelope and Oliver are 18 months apart, and I am currently 3 months postpartum. My pregnancies were pretty straightforward and I had two relatively uncomplicated births. Penelope’s was lonnng, and for Oliver’s, I climbed out of a birth pool with a head already pushed out (yep! haha). With 9+ lbs babies, I had an intact perineum both times and am forever grateful for skin elasticity! Though my postpartum periods and recoveries have been fairly easy, they haven’t been challenge free. In fact, the reason I thought about writing this post is because I’m currently going through a few postpartum complications. I also had challenges that were not directly related to me with each of my babies. By definition, postpartum means the period shortly after childbirth, so it encompasses a lot.
Penelope was born with a tongue tie. As a brand new mom, I remember not even knowing what a tongue tie was, or how it could affect breastfeeding, but with limited tongue mobility, Penelope wasn’t able to latch for longer than seconds at a time. My midwife’s support was instrumental in our breastfeeding success; she recommended we use a nipple shield right away, referred us to the doctor who performed the tongue tie revision, and even provided us the syringes we used to give Penelope top up feeds the first few days of her life. We saw a lactation consultant to evaluate our technique, perhaps that could get Penelope to latch better, but she couldn’t. At two weeks old, Penelope had her tongue tie revision, a short laser surgery that released the frenulum from under her tongue. We had to massage the wound for 4-6 weeks after to make sure the skin didn’t re-attach, but breastfeeding after that was so much better. We successfully weaned off the nipple shield when she was one month old, and breastfed until she self weaned when I got pregnant again.
Oliver was 9 lbs 8 oz when he was born, so I call his postpartum complications #bigbabyproblems ha! He had shoulder dystocia at birth; his anterior shoulder got stuck behind my pubic bone, hence my having to climb out of the birth pool with his head already out- yep. My midwife was amazing again, did some quick manipulation, and my baby was out in seconds, and perfectly healthy. If that wasn’t exciting enough though, the surprises didn’t end there. Two days postpartum, my husband and I noticed his head was still a little misshapen. I figured, vaginal birth, misshapen head, normal right? Nope. He had a cephalohematoma (a WHAT?!). His larger head bruised against my pubic bone during delivery, and caused a swelling on the top of his head. It wasn’t harmful or painful to him, it would go away on its own, and just looked a little (a lot) funny. My midwife and pediatrician told me it could take weeks or months!! to go away. I wanted my baby to have a perfectly shaped head NOW, so the waiting period sucked a little. He also had higher jaundice levels due to the extra bilirubin in his body from the bump, and almost needed light treatment for it. A few days before he turned one month old, his bump disappeared, almost over night, and he has a perfectly shaped head now. His jaundice lasted a little bit longer, but it was completely gone around 2 months old.
In the grand scheme of things, a tongue tie and a cephalohematoma are pretty minor postpartum complications, and I am grateful for my children’s health every day, but when it’s happening to your baby, it’s scary. I was also simultaneously recovering from my own labors at the time, and the first 2 weeks are when I’m most emotional and sensitive. In regards to my postpartum recovery, my first was easy. I had the occasional incontinence accident, but with pelvic floor strengthening exercises, I was able to get that under control fast. The second time around has been a little different; I have mild bladder prolapse this time, still dealing with a little bit of incontinence here and there, and I have the occasional vaginal flatulence accident during yoga class…known to many as a queef #justkeepingitreal (haha).
I know I am only 3 months postpartum, and early in my recovery, but never in my life did I think I would say I go to physio therapy… for my lady parts! ha! My boobs are a completely different shape than they were prebaby, I have stretch marks on my hips, legs and stomach area, and still working to comfortably fit into my prepregnancy jeans. I write about this comfortably for many reasons 1. It’s the reality of a lot of postpartum bodies so I know I’m not alone 2. I have a new confidence in myself since becoming a mother 3. My postpartum body housed and grew two perfect little babies, and I love my new body.
The beauty of motherhood, to me anyway, is how it shapes you in ways you didn’t expect. The challenges it throws at you, sometimes during pregnancy, sometimes in childbirth, sometimes after. We get through the unexpected, and come out of it more confident, stronger, and beautiful. We are just fucking amazing!