Internet Exploring #1

August 18, 2016 — 4 Comments

Internet Exploring #1 // Julie Van Can

Huzzah! Here we are, the official inaugural issue of Internet Exploring. Fun! AND, it’s on time. That doesn’t happen often. Just ask any one of my college professors, or high school teachers, or grade school teachers, or sunday scho–ahh you get it. Since I talked more than I needed to in my first post explaining this whole deal, I’ll get right to the goods.

This week, Julie Van…

Can Read

Monstrous Births 
This essay. Man. It hit really close for me. I don’t consign on all of it, but if you’ve read or heard my birth story, you’ll get why some parts really jive with me. Even if you’re not a woman or¬†a parent, this is just a really interesting read¬†about the way we moralize¬†experiences¬†and¬†attach narratives to certain life events. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, read the last few lines. You’ll want to put¬†them¬†on a bumper sticker, and then¬†go back and read the rest.


Can Laugh At

1977 JC Penny Catalogue 
This needn’t an explanation. The clothing speaks for itself. It speaks for itself so loudly that if the clothing were¬†sharing an apartment with you, it would wake you¬†up in the middle of the night with its insane, maniacal cackle. And no matter how many times you politely ask them to keep it down, it would REFUSE to be silenced.


Can Follow

Mari Andrew

This week’s¬†“I DEMAND YOU FOLLOW” comes from my sister Laura, who has started the not-at-all unwelcome practice of¬†texting me¬†screenshots of Mari Andrew’s Instagram on a near-daily basis. She’s funny and clever and draws things are the so so TRUE. Follow her.

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Can Cook

Sweet Potato Hash

In case I didn’t make it clear in my intro, I am not culinarily inclined. I can follow a recipe, and I know what trendy foods to Instagram, but these recipes will best serve readers¬†with a similar cooking ability – people just looking for¬†simple, tasty weekday meals (because weekends are for delivery, and if you don’t believe that, we may not get along). And so! Here’s an easy favourite you can make tonight. It’s a hash. You literally just put everything together in a big messy pile, and it’s delicious. The real reason I like this one so much is because of the chorizo. A few years ago, I started making a cheesy onion dip with chorizo, and every time someone said “Yum! Is that bacon in there?” I’d get to smugly reply, “Oh no, that’s chorizo. It’s Mexican.” So, bring your messy-pile-game to¬†a conceited¬†new¬†level with this recipe.


Can Stream

Reply All

Here’s another recommendation directly lifted from my Sisters’ K group text: Reply All. It’s a¬†podcast¬†about the Internet, but you’ll figure out pretty quickly that tagline does it no justice at all.¬†It’s two very likable fellas talking through some seriously bizarre¬†+¬†interesting stories, and the common thread (or cable?) through every episode is technology. It’s insightful and engaging and sometimes a little silly. What more could you want! I’ve only listened to a small smattering of episodes, but I’ve got the On the Inside¬†episodes queued up for tomorrow, and I can’t wait.


Can Buy

Eye Buy Direct

I bought glasses! Partly because I’ve finally accepted my eyes have aged out of the “contacts” bracket, and partly because of Kelly Oxford. It’s a little misleading to say I bought them this week, though. I bought them two weeks ago, and GOOFED UP MY¬†PRESCRIPTION SO BADLY I LOOKED LIKE BUBBLES FROM TRAILER PARK BOYS. So, I returned them (for free!) and my proper frames + lenses arrived today ¬†(if you wanna see what they actually look like,¬†you’ll have to follow me on Snapchat, or see me in real life. Personally I think I’m funnier on Snapchat, but I’ll leave that up to YOU). So in conclusion, I made a really stupid¬†mistake, and they footed the bill. All in all, an excellent experience in e-commerce and customer care.


Can Internet

Fav 7 Shows

Twitter is having a moment with these “Fave 7” lists. I love lists and I am OK with the number so this was obviously something I’d attempt. And I did attempt. And I failed. Because I simply watch TOO MUCH TV and love each show like its my child. I wrote an initial list, realized I forgot a bunch of favourites, revised it, revised it again, and gave up. But Coach Taylor wouldn’t be cool with that, and TV is the only sport I’ll ever play, so here is my FINAL TOP 7 LIST. With a bunch of honourable mentions because I cheat like that.

:
The Americans
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Mad Men
The Office
Parks and Recreation
Breaking Bad
Fringe

Honourable mentions: Fargo, Friday Night Lights, Enlightened, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex Girlfriend. I have AT LEAST five¬†more but I’ve got to stop somewhere.

…OK I’LL SNEAK IN THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF.


And that’s it for the inaugural edition of Internet Exploring! Please go ahead and share your comments on anything you read or watched here. Writing about pop culture is fun, but talking about it is even better.ūüôā

One¬†edition down, a LIFETIME to go (or maybe like…40?).

 

New Frontiers

August 16, 2016 — 1 Comment

Internet Exploring

Alright guys. I’m going to try something here. It’s bold. It’s brash. It’s!…not really any of those things, but should be a mighty good exercise. I’m going to post a weekly internet roundup. And call it Internet Exploring. (Get it? GET IT?) This really *is* exercise for me because I’m very bad at deadlines, and not much for routines, either.

Here’s the deal: every Wednesday, I’ll pop in here with a little summary post of some of my favourite things on the Internet. The world certainly doesn’t need another roundup post, but I really do want to get back into writing/blogging more regularly, and this seems an easy way to do just that. Plus, it means all the time I spend looking at my phone might just benefit somebody else! Every week, I’ll share links in the¬†categories below.

So stop in once a week to see all the things Julie Van…

Can Read: This will usually be a long read of sorts. An article, essay, or reflection that was worth my time, and hopefully worth yours.

Can Laugh at: The internet is full of funnies! Who knew?

Can Follow: A person I think you should follow. Might be a snapchatter, might be a blogger, might be a writer (…is probably a snapchatter.)

Can Cook: I solemnly swear to share recipes I’ve actually made more than once. They will probably not be gluten free. They will probably involve cheese.

Can Stream: Really, this is when I’ll just pass along all the good podcast recommendations my sister Adele gives me.

Can Buy: I don’t online shop much, but when I do, I’ll blog about it!

Can Internet: This is where I will participate in whatever might be the internet fad of the week. Like when everyone made those dancing elf videos! Or posted no-makeup selfies! (Which, BTW, won’t ever happen here, because those high school acne scars are DEEP.)

Alright then! Heeeere we go! Well, not yet. But heeeeere we go tomorrrroooow!

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OH AND ONE MORE THING: I think I’m going to make segment this a Tiny Letter too. I don’t know entirely how¬†they¬†work, but it seems like all the people I like best on the Internet are doing it. This has been, so far, very good advice to follow, with the exception of those weird three weeks when people said Ello would be a thing. It definitely was not a thing.¬†Although, ack, I don’t know if people reuse their blog content for their Tiny Letters…whatever.¬†Sign up here and we will figure it out together!

Greatest Hits, Volume 1

August 11, 2016 — 2 Comments

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Summer Party // Julie Van Can

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Whoa guys! How ARE you, old friends? How¬†has¬†your summer been? (Or is it, “how¬†has¬†been your summer?” I really don’t ¬†know. If you could explain the preposition rule to me, and THEN tell me about your summer, that’d be great).

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been 5 months since we last met here, and instead pick up right where we left off. Although, there’s one small hiccup with that plan: when we left off, I was 29. And now I’m 30! MeeeeOOOOOW! (…I don’t know what that was. It’s really hot outside. I’m rusty. It’s been 5 months!)

Back to it:¬†I celebrated that milestone about a month ago today, and it really was such a great time, I said to myself many times since “I should blog about that.” And lo! Here I am. Blogging about it. Or at least I will when I eventually stop rambling and get to the point. ¬†And the point is this!¬†I thought a recap of my 30th birthday party would be a good excuse to get back to¬†blogging because the whole event really served as a Greatest Hits Compilation of (most) everything and everyone I hold dear.

Were I to retroactively apply a theme to my party, it would be Classic Julie, because if there were ever Julie-themed Bingo boards (*GREAT IDEA ALERT*), this party dabbed every box:

My weird, vintage, handmade¬†dress was thrifted for a song just¬†a few days before the party (CLASSIC JULIE); the decor was an random¬†explosion of every fun¬†thing we¬†could trade or¬†buy (CLASSIC¬†JULIE); the food¬†was, honestly, anything I deemed¬†delicious + much much cheese (CLASSIC JULIE); and all of it was pulled together and brought to life by my wonderful mom, who has the¬†unique¬†ability to make any space look and feel¬†groovy-yet-classy, without a whiff¬†of pretension. Lastly, and most importantly, the guest list was full of friends and family that I’ve either know for 30 years, or will certainly treasure for 30 more (SAPPY¬†JULIE).

I’m not too sure how many of those years I’ll document on this blog, but I just renewed my annual WordPress Premium plan, so you can count on at least one more. And with a Greatest Hits album out of the way, it’s the perfect time to start working on some new material.

Summer Party // Julie Van Can

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Summer Party // Julie Van Can

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Summer Party // Julie Van Can

 

Gray Gardens

March 16, 2016 — Leave a comment

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A few weeks ago, I finally made it to Florida.

I say finally because, growing up in cold cold Canada, Florida was like some mythical, magical utopia. The lucky kids in our class would take off a few days before March Break, and return with sunburns and t-shirts with neon¬†boats¬†on them. The really lucky ones would come back with burns, shirts, and¬†stories about Disney World. Well, I never made it to Disney world. I didn’t even get close.

But on March 3, to Florida I went. And on March 9, I came home with a sunburn, a t-shirt, and something else: a whole bunch of gray hair.

That’s right:¬†I went gray in Florida.

…DRAMATIC PAUSE…

Alright. That’s not technically true – but it makes for a good intro doesn’t it!

Now here’s the real deal: Of course I didn’t go gray in Florida. Old people aren’t contagious! Well, some of them are. But not like that. More accurately, a¬†few weeks ago, under the blinding fluorescent lights in our Florida condo bathroom, I realized that I am no longer going gray: I’m gone gray.

It wasn’t really a surprise. The surprise came almost a year earlier, only a few weeks after Connor was born. There were only a few strands back then, but they were each of them undeniably silver. A quick trip to the Googleator revealed that sprouting a few gray hairs was a common occurrence after rough labour. A more involved Google search suggested¬†a link between trauma and silvery streaks. Regular readers will recall I had both. Two points for Gryffindor!

rogueI developed a slight affection toward those colourless curls. I came to view them like the shock of gray Rogue gets at the end of the first X-Men movie: Hers,¬†a result from being hooked up to a bunch of machines while some guy basically sucks years off her life. Mine,¬†the same! Har har. But really, they were almost¬†like visible representations of the battle my body fought to bring Connor into the world. And that’s kind of cool, right?

Anyways, despite the pride in my mutant locks, I eventually made my way to a drug store and picked up a box of the same colour dye I’d used for years: (Loreal Preference Medium Ash Blonde¬†–¬†02!).

And that (as it was every year since my second year of university) was my routine.¬†Every couple of months, right around the time my hair started to enter unruly-triangle-head phase, I bought a box of dye then went to get a cut, hoping my hairdresser wouldn’t scold me for being too cheap to dye it at the salon.

But this winter, for whatever reason, I got a little lazy. I let my very mousy roots crawl a little further down my head.

stormAnd that brings us right back to that fluorescent Florida bathroom.¬†While the¬†dull deceptive Ontario clouds let me believe my hair was still mostly just a¬†dun-blonde, the¬†bright beating lights of The Sunshine State allowed for no such denial about my roots: I’m not Rogue any more. I’m Storm.¬†Well, I’m Storm on a cloudy day. But still.

The fact remains, my gray hairs are no longer a contained postpartum fluke. They’re the new normal. And you know what? I don’t care. Like, at all! I’m sure going gray before 30 would freak out a few of¬†us. But I’m surprisingly chill about it – and I owe some of that to¬†Florida.

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Here’s the thing about Florida: In Florida, everyone is gray. And yet, there is colour from corner to corner. There are blue skies and pink buildings, rainbow beach umbrellas and orange beach bods.¬†There’s something kind of lovely about the idea of gray haired folk deciding that, while their hair is no longer polycromatic, there’s no reason their surroundings can’t be. They don’t need highlights in their hair¬†anymore: the highlights that bounce off a shimmering ocean at sunset¬†will do just fine.

Basically, looking over my photos from Florida: my conclusion is this: who the heck cares what colour is coming out of your head when you have a world that will always be bursting with rainbow brightness?

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Now, were I to give this post an equally …DRAMATIC… conclusion, I’d tell all of you that I’m fully embracing my lovely lacklustre locks, and will proudly hashtag all future selfies #grayhairdontcare! But that, too, wouldn’t be technically true. Technically, I’ve got gray hair. I know it, you know it. But as my Snapchat followers also know, (username is JulieVanCan. Follow me!) I’m still planning to ride the boxed blonde wave a little longer.

If, and when, I decide to go gray all the way, I’m sure¬†I’ll have no problem finding colour somewhere else. Ideally, somewhere very near a heated pool.

Have a colourful day, friends!

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The Lion Coat

January 26, 2016 — 2 Comments

Hand-made Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Ok guys. I promise, when I rebranded, it wasn’t to sleathily convert this blog into a mommy blog. I PROMISE.¬†But, I do recognize that¬†between¬†this post and¬†the one previous, I’m dancing¬†dangerously close to that edge of mommy-blogdom. Much like Mufasa dangling over the edge of that fateful wildebeest-surrounded ridge. It’s just, THIS COAT. HOW CAN I NOT POST EXCESSIVE PICTURES OF THIS COAT? IT HAS EARS AND A¬†TAIL. LIKE YOU WOULDN’T DO THE SAME.

Woof. Okay. I’m sorry. Coats with ears launch me into caps-lock mode. Anyways, about this coat: This is the coat that Aunt Robyn made¬†from an old wool blanket.¬†Robyn is my dear eldest sister, and she’s amazing. She makes things – beautiful things, and this coat is among them. Robyn is Chief Proprietor and Head Sewer in Charge over at the shop Tulip and Bunny. (Insta here, Etsy here). She’s currently testing some patterns for Big Little, a pattern¬†shop, and this coat is the result. AND she’ll make you one if you want! I truly don’t know how she does it.*** Like, literally. I don’t understand. She has four kids at home. ¬†One is still a tiny baby. Whaaaaaaaaaaa? (That is both the sound of me saying a prolonged¬†“what?” AND the sound her tiny baby makes.)

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Anyways, Connor turned 1 this past weekend, and the gift of this coat is just one of the many wonderful ways our family and friends showered this little man with love. I cannot believe I have a one year old. Like, he smoulders.¬†How did that happen? One day he’s a little baby burrito and the next day he looks like he could be on the cover of Baby GQ. Geez! The circle of life! I could launch into caps-lock mode about it all over again but I think this post has enough of it. I’ll lay off the SHIFT key.

Happy birthday little lion man. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

(…oops)

***When I texted Robyn to tell her I took some photos, she said she’ll look when she’s home from McDonald’s. So, that¬†answers¬†how she does it. That’s how we all do it, #amiright?

1.You will grab your lunch from the fridge, because you prepared it the night before. It will be delicious and well-balanced. It will hit every major food group. There will be a microwavable component. It will involve no less than three tupperware containers in varying sizes. It is the only lunch of this kind you will ever eat.

2. You will spend a¬†long¬†(too long) amount of time planning out your child’s outfit. He will, for the first time in his 11-month long life, be wearing matching socks.

3. You will wear a black blazer. It will be a black blazer you have scarcely worn before. It will make you feel very professional. You believe it will announce to all your colleagues that you are now very serious because you have a black blazer. If they have any questions, they should just ask the blazer. The blazer is in charge.

4. You will be early, so early, to drop your child off at daycare. You will smile too much at his caretakers to mask your intense panic and distress at the insane speed in which time passes. You will go to your car, and have a tiny cry.

5. You will get to work on time.

6. You will notice a run in your nylons. There will always be a run in your nylons.

7. You will walk right passed the coffee kiosk on the wall to your office. You will not buy a muffin because of your¬†delicious, well-balanced lunch. You will notice, though, that they added new flavours since you’ve been gone. You will try to banish the words “Chocolate Raspberry” from your mind.

8. You will joke with all your colleagues about how your daycare has a webcam and WOULDN’T IT BE SO SILLY TO WATCH YOUR KID ON A WEBCAM ALL DAY WHO WOULD DO THAT NOT ME OBVIOUSLY.

9. You will try to login to the webcam.

10. You will unsuccessfully try login to the webcam.

11. You will demand that your husband, who has successfully logged into the webcam, text you screen shots of your child on the webcam.

12. You will do some work.

13. You will, at long last, log into the webcam.

14. You will see that your kiddo is smiling. You will smile, too.

15. You will log off the webcam.

16. You will do some more work.

17. You will reward yourself for all your hard work with a raspberry chocolate muffin.

18. You will do some more work.

19. You will pick up your child from daycare.

20. You will give him all the hugs. There is now a nation-wide hug shortage because of all the hugs that were given.

21. You will go home.

22. You will throw your nylons in the trash.

23. You will realize that you did it. That he did it. That we did it. And¬†we’ll all be OK.

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Honouring the Weird

January 13, 2016 — 1 Comment

My family liked weird kids movies growing up.

We liked¬†some non-weird movies, too: the usual¬†Disney fare, a J.T.T. joint, lots of¬†good family fun. But also?¬†Weird movies:¬†The Last Unicorn, Never Ending Story, The Electric Grandmother.¬†Just weird. Maybe it was because they were¬†the only¬†children’s movies¬†available at the library. Maybe it was because they were never rented out at the convenience¬†store downtown. Whatever the reason, the¬†only things that may have¬†spent more time in the VHS player were my¬†dad’s reruns of Star Trek TNG and a pirated copy of Casper.

Other kids in my class didn’t really watch these movies. They liked, I dunno…Wishbone?¬†And so, when my¬†slumber-party¬†birthday rolled around, I thought it might be fun to watch one these weird movies with my friends. I selected a personal family favourite: The Labyrinth.

…It wasn’t well received. They didn’t like it. They¬†thought it was creepy (to be far: it is), but they laughed for the wrong reasons, and we didn’t finish it. And that was that, for a time.¬†Not too long after, though,¬†a¬†friend who was at that party came over again. As we plotted out how to spend the rest of our day, she asked, almost sheepishly “…could we watch that goblin movie again?”

That moment was significant, and is, in some ways, the¬†official start¬†to a friendship that would go from grade school friends, to high¬†school besties, to college roommates. It started there because that’s when I realized¬†“this person likes weird stuff too.And you know what? That’s a big deal.

We watched The Labyrinth together that day, and many times after. We’d sing the songs, we’d recite the dialogue, we’d draw¬†silly pictures of Jareth in the margins of our school notes. We fully embraced the wonderful weirdness of that movie‚ÄĒand in each other, really‚ÄĒfor years to come.

As I read over the tributes to David Bowie on my Facebook timeline, so many things came through: his innovation, his artistry, his boundless creativity. But for me, it’s his legacy as a Conduit of Weirdness that I’ll forever treasure. Before the internet made it all-too-easy for other weirdos to find each other, David Bowie was there to light the way. And now that light has dimmed.

For a hot minute back in 2013, I did yoga.¬†Like any good yoga class, most would end with a communal Namaste: “The light in me honours the light in you.‚ÄĚ As the rest of the world bids¬†goodbye to Bowie, something very similar is rattling around in my brain to sum it all up: The weirdness in me honours the weirdness in you, good Sir. Thank you.‚̧

 

Oh hey gang!

My cryptic notice from a few days ago heralded this announcement: I rebranded (INSIDER SECRET: Rebrand is a fancy word for “new name!”).

So, what gives?

For those of you that were fans of my old site, We So Thrifty, you’ll recall that I was once a fairly consistent¬†second-hand style blogger. In fact, my blog was devoted solely to first-hand tales of second-hand style (I still like that tagline). Over this last year, however, I’ve had less of an¬†desire¬†to parade around in front a camera. That’s probably due to the child-rearing, but also¬†just a general¬†desire to expand the topics I tackle.

Don’t get me wrong, there will still be parading! I love a good parade! There will just be other things, too. There will be posts about thrifting, but there will also be posts about design, about parenthood, about what I’m reading (OK, fine: what I’m watching). Basically, if I can do it, I might just blog about it.

Also, since the internet is no place for shame, it would be so nice if you gave this blog a follow. I surprised myself by managing to import all my old blog content, and redirect people from the old site to the new one, but I did manage to lose all the followers I’d amassed at the old site. There weren’t many, but enough to feed my ego when I had a¬†a bad hair day. Just re-enter your email on the sidebar to get e-mail updates, OR (and?) you could like my¬†Facebook page. So many ways to cyber-stalk!

Alright. That takes care of most of the house-keeping around here. I’m off to try to create some content for this thing. Thanks, as always, for granting me some time in front of your eyeballs!

Van Can't

This is Not A Birth Story

December 19, 2015 — 15 Comments

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I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a story about the day my son Connor was born. But this is not¬†a birth story.

Oh, I wrote a birth story. 7¬†months ago, in fact. It’s 3500 words long¬†– a¬†good 500 words longer than most of the papers I wrote in my undergrad.¬†But I’m not going to share that story. That story sits in my drafts folder, and may surface someday, perhaps¬†as required reading in¬†high school¬†health classes¬†everywhere, as the country’s most effective means of teenage birth control.

So, why did I write a Birth Story Novella if I didn’t want to share it? Well, originally, I thought I would share it. In the weeks leading up to Connor’s arrival, I read every birth story I could find in my internet universe. Blogger birth stories. Family birth stories. Friend birth stories. Friend-of-Friend birth stories. Home births, c-sections, water births. You name it. If you’re reading this, and wrote a birth story, I read it.¬†And so, a few months after Connor was born, I figured I owed the internet our¬†birth story. I mean, that’s what¬†bloggers do, right? And writing a birth story is supposed to be healing! Cathartic! Magical, even!

So, I hunkered down, hospital charts in hand for reference, and wrote Connor’s¬†birth story. I wrote about my 36 hours of labour. The¬†tub labouring. The epidural.¬†The oxytocin. The epidural failing. The¬†saline injections. The¬†2.5 doses of lidocaine. The back labour. The midwives that began and ended their shifts during my labour. The 3 hours of pushing.¬†The vaccuum. The moment when everyone in the room finally realized Connor wasn’t coming out on his own.

And, worst of all,¬†I wrote about being strapped down to a table in the operating room, contractions still coming fast and furious,¬†and¬†realizing the spinal for my c-section wasn’t taking either.

“It’s not working. Oh God, Oh God, it’s not working.”

I wrote about the fear when I realized they’d have to put me completely under.

I wrote about¬†the panic, the agony, the despair unlike anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

I wrote about how¬†the¬†first memory of my son is hardly a memory at all – a fleeting image¬†– brief, and bleary. A hazy picture of Matt with a baby. “What is it? What is it?” I said, before drifting back to darkness.

I wrote about all of that, because that, technically, is¬†Connor’s¬†birth story.¬†And that¬†birth story sucks.

For a long time afterwards, I couldn’t think about it too much. It was too¬†unfair that so many people held Connor before I did. That so many people heard his cries before I even awoke. That I wasn’t there for his first hours on this earth. That after all the work, all the suffering, I¬†was robbed of the moment that was supposed to make it all worth while: A baby on my chest, my husband beside me, in on the world’s best little secret: that we were three.

Writing about those feelings wasn’t cathartic. It wasn’t healing and it wasn’t magical. It just made it all worse.

And so, after spilling 3500 + words on Connor’s birth story and feeling no better, I started thinking about the moments after that¬†story ended. Because when Connor’s “official” birth story ended, this story began:

This story starts¬†36 hours after my first contraction. 12 hours after my epidural. 3 hours after Connor was delivered¬†via c-section and 1 hour after I woke up¬†and¬†blacked out again. This is the moment I met my son. And it doesn’t matter who held him first or how he got here, because when my husband Matt put him on my chest for the first time, it felt like two pieces of a locket finally coming together.

This story continues when Matt handed me a phone, and I got to tell my mom, voice broken and cracked, that she and Dad had their first grandson. That his middle name was Thomas, after Dad.

This story gets even better when, after introducing Connor to a room full of people that will love him every minute of his life, the nurse turned of all the lights, wrapped Connor in a blanket, and tucked him right back into my chest. It was the complete reversal of the scene a few short hours earlier. Instead of¬†blinding¬†lights overhead, an operating room full of people I didn’t know, and a sleep that wasn’t natural at all,¬†I had only the soft light¬†lights of the city outside, an empty room,¬†and four hours¬†blissful¬†sleep with my baby boy.

This is the story that matters, and one I’m privileged to live out, chapter by chapter, every new day I spend with Connor.

blogcj

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Birth stories can be beautiful, empowering, and full of memories to be cherished,¬†but they can also be gruelling, disappointing, traumatic and awful. And I’ve finally realized that those stories are¬†OK to forget.

I think I found it so hard to come¬†to terms with with that last¬†statement¬†because¬†we live in an age where people make playlists for their births. They bring in¬†professional photographers to capture every minute. They pick out candles and hire doulas and plan a birth experience. And that’s not a bad thing! That’s good! But the undercurrent running beneath that sort of attitude‚ÄĒthat a birth story is the most important moment in your life, and it will fulfill every expectation the internet puts out there‚ÄĒcan make it incredibly crushing when you don’t get a story you want to remember. Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are always other stories worth remembering.

Those other stories everywhere. Like the story of a¬†couple’s first glimpse of the¬†sweet two year old they’ll soon bring home from an orphanage.¬†The story a precious babe’s first night at home after months in the NICU. ¬†The story of these three young foster children getting¬†their adoption papers for Christmas. They’re not birth stories, but stories of beautiful beginnings¬†all the same.

_

Once the clouds around my labour finally lifted, I not only had a new appreciation for the stories like the ones above; I was also finally able to hear, and appreciate, one more very important story from that day Рthe one from my husband.

Matt didn’t get to see Connor being born. He didn’t get to hold my hand for the final push. He heard¬†Connor’s¬†first cries only as muffled wails¬†through¬†hospital walls. But none of that tempered the unbelievable joy and relief he felt when the doctor rushed out to tell him “It’s a boy!”

Connor didn’t get to spend his first hours on this earth with me, but he did¬†get to spend¬†them¬†with his Dad: skin-to-skin, head on heart.

Now isn’t that a beautiful story?

 

 

What I’m Looking For

August 19, 2015 — 9 Comments

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Leather purse // We So Thrifty

A few weeks ago,Yen, Bekah and I hopped on the highway and headed to a city not too far down the 401. Value Village London was celebrating their grand-reopening, and we were lucky enough to be invited to do some damage in the new store, which was bright, clean, and packed to the brim with freshly-organized thrifted goods. (It¬†was also ALL ABOUT the Halloween life, but I am so so not there yet, even though they had a stinkin’ cute selection of baby costumes. For the love of all that is good and sweaty, let’s not rush summer, okaaaaay?)

Anyhoo, what I loved about going with two serious thrifters¬†was that we, without a parting word, immediately split up, and got to work. We’d occasionally meet in the skirt section, or pass like ships in the night by the change room, but these pros know that thrifting is a solo sport. After an hour or so, we all met up again by the housewares¬†to regroup. We refined our loot, tossed the extras, and headed back to Hamilton.On the drive home, one thing we all remarked on was how attentive the staff were. Not that that’s unusual, but these guys were EXTRA helpful. Around every corner, someone would ask “can I help you find what you’re looking for?” While they certainly meant that question in a general sense, we joked that the thrift store is the only place in which that question almost doesn’t apply. The thrift store is the one place that, most of the time, you have only a vague idea of what you’re looking for. The thrill of the thrift is always in the surprise, and that’s the beauty of it.

I wasn’t looking for a spaghetti strapped medi denim dress, a cheetah print mug, a cozy sweater or a pair of Brazillian sandals, but I headed home with all that an more. So, to the extra-chipper staff at VV London: No, you can’t help me find what I’m looking for, but that’s just the way I like it.

Dress: $12.99 // Value Village
Purse: $3.99 // Value Village (straight-up stolen from Yen’s cart)
Huarache sandals: $30 // The Edit