Waiting for Santa…and snow!

Waiting for Santa

This year, as we have for the past four years, we gathered with friends to line the streets of Gananoque for the Annual Santa Claus Parade.  As I snapped pictures of the kids enjoying the free hot chocolate, candy canes and sweets, I was struck by how big they looked all of a sudden.  There is nothing like an annual event to mark the passing of time and to remind you how fast it all goes.  So I took a deep breath, a sip of hot chocolate and savoured the moment.

A sight never before seen in Canada

I also didn’t sweat the fact that my daughter was running around in a SHORT SLEEVED T-SHIRT!!!  Pinch me!  My usual bag stuffed with snowpants, hats, mitts and fleece blankets to cover the curb so that little bottoms can sit comfortably whilst they wait for Santa was totally unnecessary given the unseasonably warm weather.  Fortunately we still had the singing, the lights, the dancing and general merry-making to get us all into the celebration.

The theme of the war of 1812?!

I admit I don’t really understand having a war theme for a Santa Claus parade.  Sure the musket firing was neat and soldiers looked sharp in their uniforms but isn’t this season about peace?


This guy was hands down my favourite character in the parade.  He looks so cheery! I  nearly fell over when his stick arm waved!!  What a great costume.

The big guy himself.

When Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived the kids were beside themselves with happiness! I don’t mind the kids loving a man who brings presents to all and promotes goodwill and peace – that is the kind of celebrity culture I can get behind.

The season officially starts now.  All we need is some snow!



For the spy in your house.

There are secrets being kept in our house of late.  Requests for “secret and safe” places to stash belongs or freshly made gifts are frequent.  Scarlett is the most keen to hide things of all sorts.  She let me know recently that Ivy “messes with her stuff” and so she showed me her “secret spot”.  Behind her clothes, on top of the dresser in her closet was a large pile of party loot bags, stickers, school crafts etc.  Basically anything she did not want her sister getting into was there.

We have a tradition at solstice to exchange handmade gifts.  The secret keeping and stashing plus Scarlett’s love of “Harriet the Spy” inspired me to make this for her this year.  I think she is going to love it!

purchased for $2 at a local thrift store...

I found this gem of a hardcover book at the M.O.D shop in town for $2.  Then I went here and here to find out how to make a hollow book.

the hard part is done!

I won’t go into all of the details because the links have much better pictures than I do to illustrate the process.  Basically I used an exacto-knife and a ruler to cut into the pages a few at a time.  Bits of paper were all over my desk but the clean up was fairly easy.  I used glue thinned with water to glue the pages together and applied it with a paint brush.

spy paraphernalia

When it was dry, I filled it with Dollar store spy items.  A retractable flashlight, a book with a lock and a magnifying glass are all a junior spy should need.  And of course it doesn’t hurt that it cost me about $5 to make.

can you tell the difference?

Looking at the girl’s bookshelf, you’d never know!

I can’t wait to see Scarlett’s face when she opens this.  I love handmade holidays!!

Breaking Dawn: One Midwife’s Review…

…of the trailer.  I admit I have not seen this movie.  Nor am I likely to.  I watched the first Twilight movie with my mother and sister-in-law and although they are planning to go the latest Twilight installment, I am not likely to be invited given the loud guffawing and shouts of “Oh my god!” and “is this for real?!” that came out of me.  Ahem, back to my review of this movie, in particular, of this movie’s birth scene…

Now I warn you, watching a “movie with a birth scene” with a midwife is probably something you should reconsider doing.  Unless you are a midwife and/or are into the “misery loves company” type of get together.  As a midwife, watching Hollywood birth scenes is excruciatingly painful.  Watching a midwife watching a birth scene one might think the midwife herself is actually in labour what with the teeth clenching, pillow gripping, profanity yelling, crying, inappropriate outbursts of laughing and, on occasion, she might lash out at her companion in a physical violence kind of way as she wonders why said companion is not as troubled by the scene in front of them.  It is like a bad parody of every TV/movie birth scene ever made only it is happening right beside you on the couch or worse, in the movie theatre.

The latest Hollywood attempt at depicting birth on-screen promises to be just as nausea-inducing as any other.  Click here if you dare:

You can tell just from this trailer that Bella is of course on her back to deliver and of course it is an emergency and of course she attended by an inexperienced ‘care provider’ who (I’m just guessing) will probably instruct her to push as if she didn’t feel that urge herself AND (again, just guessing) who will likely need to take off his shirt to dry said baby (c’mon you KNOW he is going to at least once in this movie). The worst part of this is that this scene will be burned into the minds of all young men and women of this generation and it will reinforce all negative stereotypes and misinformation regarding childbirth just like all Hollywood birth scenes before it.  Press play.  Repeat.

CBC’s own Eli Glasner wrote this scathing review:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/things-that-go-pop-blog/2011/11/film-review-the-twilight-saga-breaking-dawn—part-1.html.  He hits the nail on the head with this description: “This is a delivery that makes the Alien chestbursting scene look like a scraped knee”.  Mr. Glasner, wherever you are, I think I love you!

Unfortunately given this country’s Twilight addiction, I know many of you will go to see this despite my warning.  The only thing I can offer you is “Labouring Under An Illusion”, a brilliant movie, as an antidote to the birth insanity in Breaking Dawn:

Time will tell if Bella’s birth scene surpasses my “favourite” Hollywood birth scene in”Where the Heart is” where Natalie Portman gives birth in Walmart, on her back with some guy who jumped through a plate-glass window to “save” her.   If it does I think I feel a “midwives only” film festival coming on, where we watch all of our “favourite” birth scenes together.  The movies of course will be on mute and a microphone will be provided for spontaneous commentary and alternative dialogue.  Maybe this is the sort of get together that should be taking place in living rooms across Canada, midwives or not. Who is with me?

An Ode to the drive home after a birth…

This photo essay of driving home after a birth seemed like a lovely way to end my on-call week.   Early this morning I attended another lovely homebirth “out in the country” (the second in less than 24 hours).  And so I was given the gift of this glorious ride home.
Quite a sight – hundreds of bikes lined up against this farm fence…

I have been driving these now familiar roads for the past 7 years and today as I drove, I smiled as I passed the houses where I had attended a birth or a postpartum visit in the past.  And I thought of the  mothers and our visits spent admiring their little ones or enjoying a cup of tea together or taking a deep breath as we worked through some breastfeeding challenges.  I remembered the excited siblings who woke groggy-eyed to meet their new brother or sister.  My smile grew wider as I thought of each of them still snug in their beds or just getting up to start the day, totally unaware that the person who was there the moment they were born was driving past and thinking of them.

Imagine the sound of running water under your feet - wonderfully relaxing or dangerous for deep sleepers

I felt gratitude for the wonderful and skilled women I work with and for be able to do the work I do.  And although these photos were taken with a horrible Blackberry camera, they still capture the beauty of where I live and where I see life, beautifully.

Wishing I had more time to sit and dip my toes in...but off to the office I go!

I stopped for a few moments every time I passed a particularly gorgeous spot, aware that I couldn’t linger too long.  A drive home from a birth doesn’t always end in a bed and today it ended with a shower, some food, a trip to the real estate agent’s office, a meeting, some clinic, a homevisit, parent-teacher interviews, a lovely drive home with my family and now, a blog post to capture it all!

Okay, one more deep breath...trying to soak it all in quickly which is never as good as taking your time

So.  Finally, it is time to partake in the midwives’ time-honoured tradition of…falling asleep, truly tired from a days work, with wonderful and warm images like these dancing in my head.  Good night!

Nana knits…up some life lessons

We were lucky enough to have my mum down for a visit a few weekends ago.  Visits like these are treasured as they happen only every few months and sometimes only once a year.  I love watching my girls climb up onto Nana’s lap like this was something they were able to enjoy just yesterday.  Their relationship doesn’t miss a beat no matter how long between visits.  This is aided in part by frequent phone calls, telling them all about how my mum sang this exact lullaby to me when I was young, looking at photos etc.  But an important thread between Nana and these girl is an appreciation of Nana’s knitted gifts.  My mum has always been a prolific knitter and there have been many gifts of blankets, sweaters and mitts and hats to family and friends over the years.  In fact my sister’s littlest is still wearing a cookie monster sweater and hats that my sisters and I wore as kids (and this was after it had been handed down to at least three or four cousins before making their way to this generation!).

Nana’s newest gifts are simply gorgeous (and are based on the sweater made famous by Soulemama…the hats were created in my mother’s head)!  They clearly warranted a photo shoot with Brandy Jackson.

Ah, classic.  The child who won’t smile picture…next one should work…

Not quite.  This is Scarlett being scared by a dog just out of the frame.  It set the tone for the rest of the shoot for her.  Oh, and just try to ignore the baby doll…it was the only way to entice Ivy to do what we asked.  And besides she loves baby dolls so really a photo with one would capture the “real” her.  At least, that is what I was telling myself watching this.

Let us see if a nice kiss will make things better…better than scowling at the camera anyways.  It was unfortunate Scarlett wouldn’t let me adjust her hat…but I’ll take it.  Pretty sweet photo if you ask me.

Things are a bit tense so lets lighten things up by taking a look at some sheep (and the turkeys, chickens and the cutest little pigs who call Stonewall Farm home).

All in all not our most successful photo shoot but despite the less than cooperative kid challenges, Brandy (who is a photographic genius) managed to capture some really great moments…like this one.  And the lessons of letting go, rolling with it and embracing the complicated people that my kids are were, er, reinforced.  Because really, the most important thing is what these sweaters represent: a connection between the generations.