Thoughts in a moment: mindful discussion book club

IMG_6818

I have decided to create a thoughtful book club! The reason is two-fold: I want to read more and engage in constructive conversation! There are no hard and fast rules to this book club and you don’t have to read every single book to participate! If there are a select few books you’d like to jump in on the discussion for, by all means! We are meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/399791290395171/

I made this selection of books because I believe these are all issues that are affecting our present day and also issues that relate to the intentions of this blog — some are little known. I believe we will generate positive dialogue and perhaps learn something about the world, ourselves, and each other! Happy reading!

April

For April, I decided to choose two books. The first, The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well is a quick read about this Danish way of life that you may already be partaking in without even knowing it!

The second book, In Defense of Food, discusses the industrialization of food as it relates to the decline of the environment. Pollan looks at food from a health perspective and discusses the multi-billion dollar food industry with facts.

May

“When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.”

June

TBD

July

“Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.”

August

“It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled—until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.”

September

“Your toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. Your preschooler refuses to get dressed. Your fifth-grader sulks on the bench instead of playing on the field. Do children conspire to make their parents’ lives endlessly challenging? No―it’s just their developing brain calling the shots!”

October

“Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.”

November

“#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed”

December

“From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.”

January

“Even as seas rise against the shores, another great tide is beginning to rise – a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.”

February

“Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.”

 

Bump Day Inspirations

design

I am new to this whole pregnancy thing but I have joined some pregnancy and mom’s groups that are really informative and the community helps to let me know that what I am experiencing is normal. The ability to speak freely with other pregnant women and mothers  can help to quell fears or just provide a good laugh when it is very much needed.

In one of these groups it was pointed out that something a second time mother found really helpful was to know that the feelings she was experiencing after delivering the baby were what other mothers were experiencing. Since I have no idea of the many different emotions that can be felt after giving birth, I thought it would be a great idea to share some first hand experiences.

Below are real responses from mothers across Canada about how they felt after giving birth:

Overwhelmed. It’s so much easier having one. When you get home it’s pretty hectic. You have another child that is used to having only you and your time now you have to share it. The first couple of months are very hard but then you fall into a routine.

-Katie

I had mine really close in age and it didn’t seem to even bother my oldest that there was a new baby. I was so much more relaxed and it was easy for me, like super easy that I thought something was wrong. Nursing was easy the second time and juggling the two were easy. I did a lot of baby wearing and cuddling both at the same time.

The first time was awful and horrible. I didn’t feel like I really loved my child at first but with my second it was automatic so I felt kind of sad that my first missed out on me feeling that way but I know she doesn’t even know.

We also fell into a routine (completely them guiding it as I NEVER put them on a routine) pretty quickly and easy.

-Jennifer

I was on pain control meds after my c-section so the first few days seem a hazy blur of love and sleep and newborn smells. Ha. But my husband recorded me saying the following:

“I was worried before (our daughter) she was born that you wouldn’t love her and that I would love her a lot and that means less love for you (my husband) but then, I saw you with her and it was like BANG! pie and ice cream on top. So I gave her a piece of my pie, and you gave her a piece of your pie, so now we all have pie, and I want ice cream on top of mine, please.”

I think that accurately sums up my feelings after birth.

-Karine

I brought my first home and was in shock for a while. For a few days it felt like a dream and I was very sleep deprived. After a few days, our baby became very colicky and I pretty much just held him and nursed him around the clock.

For a short period, I grieved for the old me. Before children I could have never imagined just how much of a wonder it was to do whatever I wanted with my days. It sounds dark at first, and honestly, it was. But then the first smiles came. My adorable baby smiled at me and cried for me and snuggled up to me. And then he started to laugh and reach for me and communicate with intentional sounds. There are no words to describe the love and joy your child fills your heart and life with. You are so so ridiculously proud of everything they do. From that, we adapt into parents and never want to imagine life any other way

-Brandi

Overwhelmed with emotion. So full of love so immediately that it felt sometimes like my heart was going to burst. Definitely the most sudden, intense feeling of love and emotion and the need to protect I’ve ever had. I remember having no fear for myself before or during my c-section until I saw he was safe (his heart rate had been decelerating and he had been in distress). Suddenly after I saw he was safe I had the sudden thought “Oh something bad could happen to me here. I could bleed to death, etc. It’s okay because he is safe.” It was a sudden feeling that my life and safety was no longer the most important.
– Erin
I just remember not having an instant bond like an instant “I would die for you” feeling. It actually took me a few weeks before I really felt bonded. I remember my mom telling me she felt the same way so I wasn’t concerned it was a sign of depression.
-April
I had a really great first few weeks with my son, but once the visitors stopped and I was left all alone, time stood still and I felt very bored and lonely. I had lots of issues with breastfeeding which brought me to tears numerous times, I worked so hard and was so exhausted. I started to feel myself slipping, I hated not being “in control.” It was around the four month mark when I finally got help and started going to a postpartum depression group. It was amazing to hear that everything I was feeling was normal and that other mom’s were going through it too.
I also longed for my old life. My friends were all still “living the dream” and I felt a ton of guilt and regret. It wasn’t until my son was about 1 year old that things started to feel better. He was sleeping well and I finally felt a bit more in control. I’m not sure how it’ll be with two. They say it’s easier to go from 1-2 than from 0-1 so fingers crossed!
-Danielle
A week or so after my son was born my husband ran to the store to grab food for supper on our first day without visitors. Being alone with our son I had this sudden panicky thought of “Oh dear! This is real… there is no undoing this now, this baby is here…” I think reality had set in that here was a little baby relying on us to care for him. I have never doubted parenthood again since but, there was definitely a fear of failure.
-Marissa

Three Southern Alberta coffee stops for your road trip this summer

IMG_1762

I am a coffee lover and no, generally the fast-food coffee won’t do. In previous posts I have noted my favourites in Calgary but, there are some great little coffee stops in small towns in southern Alberta. Here are three that I would recommend stopping at on your next road trip!

1. Station Coffee Co. – Medicine Hat

In my few trips to Medicine Hat this year, I have stopped into this coffee shop in the heart of the gas city. I love the historical vibe and the authentic, fresh Fratello coffee. They have amazing lunch and pastries and best of all down town Medicine Hat is just so cute!

2. A River Ran Through It Cafe – High River

This is a new little spot  in High River, with perhaps a very fitting name. But, the coffee is fresh and they offer a full coffee menu. They also have sandwiches that are uniquely created to be spectacular for your taste buds, my favourite is the “mosquito madness” which is their vegetarian version (no actual mosquitoes). They use high quality ingredients and all of their bread is from Cobbs. If you are ever heading south on Highway 2, definitely stop in as it is only about five minutes off the highway.

3. Wildflour Bakery – Banff 

Whenever I am in Banff, I love stopping into this bustling little bakery. They have endless breads and delicately crafted pastries. They also have a full breakfast and lunch menu. It is a delicious coffee stop in the midst of breathtaking scenery, definitely a must stop!

Southern Alberta Charm

IMG_1582

Cypress Club in Down town Medicine Hat

Recently, I have been travelling a bit more for my job. It has taken me to a few southern Alberta towns to visit local branches and to discuss my role in helping them with local media relations. And while Alberta has many charming towns, I also always thought our small Alberta towns had nothing on the charm of small east coast towns. East coast towns are generally quite quaint and more historic and I always thought I liked them much better. But, after spending a little more time in some of them I am finding quite the contrary, especially in Medicine Hat.

Before this year, I hadn’t been to Medicine Hat much, except for when I was a young child and about the only thing that I remember is the pool at the Medicine Hat lodge. But, now I have a good friend from University who lives there and recently I have travelled there for work. I never expected to be charmed by Medicine Hat but, in fact, I was.

The quaint down town has lovely brick buildings and old heritage homes, including this old school that was turned into a private residence. The core is surrounded by coulees, dotted with trees and other bushes. Medicine Hat is surrounded by Cypress County which consists of green rolling hills and miles of farm land. On my last visit in early May, everything was in bloom. In the summertime, Medicine Hat is generally quite warm and has a longer growing season compared to central Alberta, which makes it the perfect place for growing delicious vegetables too.

IMG_1572

View looking over down town Medicine Hat

Spending a little while in the city, I found that Medicine Hat has a lot more interesting things to offer than I thought it might. There is definitely a great underlying arts scene and the Esplanade offers up a lot of culture. As with any smaller city, the shopping may not be what you are accustomed to if you come from a larger centre but, there are a few awesome boutiques in the city with my favourite one being Shut Up N Wear It. 

IMG_1570

The store is trendy and offers cute options for a variety of price points as well as occasions. I love popping in every time I am in the city and it is always so hard to not buy something. They recently held their Spring 2015 fashion show, you can check out the photos here. 

I was also pleasantly surprised with what Medicine Hat had to offer in terms of dining options. Across the street from Shut Up N Wear It, I spent a solid six hours at the Station Coffee House doing work and enjoying the delicious coffee and some great food! P.S. when they have cupcakes,  get them – they are to die for!

10430911_10153004034771480_4689442640723010462_n

Another great cafe in Medicine Hat, located just North of down town is called Zucchini Blossom. They have some great fresh made to order food and delicious coffee as and a huge variety of freshly baked goods and fresh soups and salads.

IMG_1561

Medicine Hat is also known for being in the heart of the clay industry in Alberta. There is a historic clay district in Medicine Hat and a cool clay history museum at the Medalta Industrial Museum at the historic Medalta Pottery Factory, which was once one of the largest clay pottery factories in Canada. Here, you can take pottery classes, learn more about the history of the clay industry in Medicine Hat, and I am also told it is a beautiful wedding venue.

So there you go, some interesting information about a charming southern Alberta city. Definitely a great place for a weekend trip this summer!