Uphill both ways
by Karla ° Wednesday, April 30, 2008
My parents came to visit last weekend, and as much as I love the actual visiting part, I really love that my mom takes over diaper duty when she’s here. Also pretty awesome is the free babysitting. Last weekend, Mark and I took full advantage of having my parents around and went out for some adult fun and consumption of draught beer under the yellow haze of an afternoon sun.

We decided to ride our bikes the two miles to sit on a sun-drenched patio and after putting on a pair of low-rise bootcut jeans, clear lip gloss and coating my lashes in a luxe finish mascara, I declared myself ready. But Mark was all, “Where is your helmet?” And I was all, “But I don’t want helmet head.” And then Mark got all Mr. Safety on me and insisted we wear helmets, which I suppose is justifiable on account of it being the law, and also on account of the fact that my belly would be filled with beer which could quite possibly shift my center of gravity off balance. Not that I'm speaking from past experience or anything.

To help offload some weight, I decided not to bring my giant diaper-stuffed mom purse and enlisted the help of Mark’s pockets to carry a few things for me. So there we were, all decked out in our bicycle helmets, Mark’s pockets bulging with my lady things and barely out of the driveway when a flared pant leg got caught in my bicycle chain. And do you know what I did? I became the epitome of hip and cool and tucked my jeans into my argyle-patterned socks and rode the entire uphill bike ride along the main road in town to the pub like that.

Once we got there, we passed the time holding hands on top of a faux granite-topped table and laughing heartily under the tilted cover of an oversized umbrella until the sun changed its path in the sky and it was time to tuck my pants into my socks again and leave. And I am not even kidding; the entire ride home was all uphill, too.

Seriously, when Nate gets older and starts complaining about how tough life is, I’ll have no problem telling him about how many fashion laws I had to break back in the day while riding my bike uphill both ways just to spend an entire afternoon consuming alcohol.

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Walky Walker
by Karla ° Monday, April 21, 2008
Guess who decided that he's an official full-time walky walker now? And guess who also decided that he's way too independent and cool to hold Mom's hand at the store, too.

This whole growing up thing is happening way too fast.

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No words necessary
by Karla ° Friday, April 18, 2008









Update: I’m sensing no one is sure whether or not to laugh about the balloons getting stuck in the tree. Just to clear the air, I burned enough calories laughing over this that I did not feel the least bit guilty when I ate two pieces of birthday cake that day.

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Three Years: Gone but Not Forgotten
by Karla ° Monday, April 14, 2008
Three years ago today, I held my daughter in my arms while her tiny body, limp and unmoving, slowly slipped away from me.

I still remember the sensation that overcame me the moment I awoke from my surgery and Mark told me that Ava was going to die. My entire body froze in a position of detached ascension while I watched a distorted reality unfold before my eyes. It was like I was watching myself in the scene of a surreal movie, trapped behind the panning whirr of a camera, embedded, yet oddly distanced from its dramatic long shots, intense pauses and uncomfortable close-ups. And then, just as quickly as the feeling of detachment came, it was gone, and the weight of an unfathomable truth swelled from deep within.

That altered sense of perception continued on and off for several weeks after Ava passed away, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if slipping into a dream sequence and detaching myself from reality was how my body coped - the physical teaming with the psychological on a mission to divide and conquer, load balancing the heart-crushing weight of despair, a temporary place to watch, listen and breath without sinking into oblivion.

It’s been a long time now since I have experienced that dreamlike state of reality. And maybe that’s because I no longer need the shelter. Ava may be gone, but her memory remains as a reflection in every mirror, our lives forever tied and intermingled in a love that can never unravel.

Her departing gift to me lives on as a stronger sense of self. Clarity has been restored with a hefty dose of perspective, and the profoundness of life illuminated by the astonishing fragility of humanity.

Life is so short. Enfold yourself in all its vivid reality, embrace it, feel it, live it.

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Antenna
by Karla ° Saturday, April 12, 2008
I asked Mark to pick up some of his stuff that was sitting on the kitchen counter because it was starting to bother me, and he all, “Bother you? Really?”

And then he poked me in the ear with his balloon antennas.

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Family Virtues
by Karla ° Friday, April 11, 2008

This hand painted canvas hangs on the wall of our living room as a sublime expression of our family virtues.

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The great escape, now on wheels
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I can sense the heaviness weighing down on me as the anniversary of Ava’s death approaches. Damn it would it be nice if the Universe would just apologize for its heartless crimes of humanity, but the Universe does not acknowledge what has happened, and it does not relent. And so, I must digress and seek other means in which to cope, to remember.

Writing, of course, helps. It’s like an open tunnel in which thoughts are filtered and the drudge is siphoned off, moving it away from a saddened heart, but sometimes what works best for me is a deeply rooted need for quiet introspection and solitude.

I’m sure that’s why I relied so heavily on running during those early months after Ava died. Stillness was when the crumbling dampness crept its way into my thoughts, but running - oh running was like the dawning of a new self awareness, a place to think, a place where the steady rhythm of deep breathing and the pounding of a resilient heart helped me escape from how uncomfortable it felt to be living in the shadow of my daughter’s death.

After losing my second pregnancy, running was put on the backburner and it’s been a long and sporadically slow process finding my way back into it again after Nate was born.

Suddenly though, as I’ve been sensing this inner turmoil boiling inside of me, running is all that I can think about. And just like that, my running shoes and I are best buddies once again and I have not missed a day in weeks.

I feel good about reconnecting with a long lost passion - to have consistent 'me' time, and the only thing that would make it even better is if I had a jogging stroller.

So do tell, in your experience, does one really need a larger fixed wheel to push their kid down the streets of suburbia? Because those dual-purpose jogging strollers look pretty darn handy with their smaller swivel wheel that can unlock and plough through those tight-cornered sales racks at the mall.

What says the Internet?

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Red Rocket
by Karla ° Friday, April 4, 2008
Mark works in the fast-paced, vibrantly cosmopolitan city of Toronto. A few years ago he snapped this photo, and it instantly became a favourite of mine because he managed to capture the Grim Reaper's headless hippie brother in the streetcar windshield making a peace sign.

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United, We Grieve
by Karla ° Wednesday, April 2, 2008
It has been almost three yeas since we've said goodbye to Ava. Some days, it feels like I have lived an entire lifetime since that tragic day, and other days, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was 38 weeks pregnant and obliviously naïve to the fact that my entire Universe was about to be shifted off its axis and flipped upside down.

It’s hard to find steady ground in the nebulous trenches of grief. It is infinitely vast, hollow, and gut wrenchingly painful. I can’t even begin tell you how many times I collapsed to my knees from the intensity of the heartache and screamed until my body was not capable of screaming anymore.

For me, part of the process of healing and finding breathing space amidst the claustrophobic grip of grief was, and continues to be, from the kindness of the Internet. I know I have said this before, but I truly believe that on the tapestry of humanity, each of us represents a thread, and that we are all carefully woven and interconnected in an intricate blueprint of strength of survival. Honestly, I don’t even know where I would be today without the strength of words and the kind, empathetic well wishes of others through this unified online collective.

Friends, I have something very important to ask of you. A very dear friend of mine, Jen, has just lost her six week old baby girl, Sadie, and my heart feels crushingly heavy for her and her family. Babies are meant to be held, rocked and fiercely protected, and the sheer cruelty of this Universe is beyond anything I will ever comprehend.

Please keep her and her family in your thoughts. And maybe, just maybe, the hammer of grief will ease, even if but for a moment, so that they too can find a small pocket of air to breathe amongst our united wishes of sympathy and compassion.

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Purveyor of Poo
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Last night, on a whim, I decided that it's time to put the house for sale and move to Northern Alaska. I am not ready for the deep winter freeze to come to an end and have decided that the never ending bone-chilling cold is rather refreshing. And besides, the crumbling dampness that hovers in the air from living next to the Great Lakes is nothing that a steaming cup of cocoa can’t alleviate.

I'm learning to adapt to this climate, and have grown rather agile running on uncertain icy footing. And what is not to like about restrictive, heavy clothing and fingers perpetually encased in stiff-gloved leather? I also happen to think it’s rather endearing that my kid looks like an inflated air mattress in his snow suit. It makes me want to poke and coochy coochy coo him.

I don't miss the warm glow of summer’s yellow sun, salmon-pink sunsets or the gilded blush of sun-kissed skin. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how much I do not yearn to open a window and flush away the lingering staleness of months worth of confined and recycled winter air. I especially don't love balmy summer gusts twisting through my hair, or the sleep-enhancing freshness of curtains billowing in a dewy evening breeze, particularly when met with the fragrant smell of ever-blooming flowers.

At least this is what I have been trying to tell myself, because living in an icebox sounds much more enticing than having to deal with the four months worth of thawing dog shit in my backyard.

That’s over one hundred pounds of digested and expelled dog food no longer encapsulated in a hermetically sealed, stench-inhibiting ice tomb that needs to be taken care of. And by taken care of, I mean slapping on a rubber glove, sloshing through the festering meadow muffins, and picking them up, one disgustingly mushy pile at a time.

Welcome to my glamorous life as a Stay at Home Mom, Housewife and Seminal Arbitrator to Samson, the Purveyor of Poo.

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Bribery Photo Contest
by Karla °
Pssst. If y’all have a second to spare, I would be most grateful for your vote in a Bribery Photo Contest that I entered Nate in. Nate’s picture is called “The Swanky Blankie Holder”.

http://durhamregionbaby.com/2008/03/the-bribery-photo-contest-voting-starts-today/

I’m so pining for third place, too, because it’s a gift card to the exact same store that I am slated to spend a several hundred dollars at for my next camera gear purchase.
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