Why Blogger is Better Than WordPress – thegypsymama.ca

I started blogging about 3 years ago when we were going through the adoption process. I used blogger to host my blog for over 2 years before I decided to switch to wordpress when I got pregnant. At the time, I thought that it would be nice to start a new blog for our new journey and decided to check out wordpress. I’ve been here for about 8 months and I still miss blogger so I decided to go back. I know, I am crazy for moving Gypsy Mama all over the internet and I risk losing some readers along the way, but I don’t like blogging on wordpress as much as I liked blogger so I decided to make the move anyway. From now on, you can find me at www.thegypsymama.ca

Reasons Why Blogger is Better Than WordPress:

  • Customizaton – One of my favourite things to do with my blog is to change the look & design of it. I like to edit the HTML, update the template and add fun widgets. All of that is much, MUCH easier on Blogger.
  • Linked Accounts – Since Blogger is a Google service, my YouTube, email and blog are all linked together. I like that.
  • Comments – When people comment on my blogger blog, I can reply by email rather than on the blog. That means readers will receive the reply in their inbox instead of having to come back to the blog to see if I replied yet. I think that’s much more convenient for the reader.
  • Cost- I forget how much it cost me to update my wordpress account enough to allow for MINIMAL customization, but with blogger it’s free.
  • Template Options- There are a lot more options for premade and customized blogger templates than there are  for wordpress.+
  • Ads –  WordPress runs ads on my site. I don’t like that.

Obviously, these are just my own opinions. (Whose else would they be, it is my blog afterall!) I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who prefer wordpress to blogger. As for me, I’m glad to be back to Blogger. I hope to see you all over at www.thegypsymama.ca If you subscribe to this blog by email, I will update your email subscription so you won’t miss any new posts. If you subscribe to this blog by a reader (and you still want to keep reading) please update your readers.

Flying Towards my Dreams and Destiny

During our hospital tour, we passed the lab where we had some blood work done before starting IUI at the new clinic and a flood of memories came rushing in. This time last year, we had just returned from Mexico to the news that our second IVF had failed. In some ways it was harder than the first time IVF didn’t work because we had done all we could do the second time around. We transferred 2 Grade A blastocysts, I stayed an extra week in Mexico to relax, I took all the supplements…we felt there was nothing more we could have done that would have increased our chances of success. We didn’t even consider trying IVF a third time.

With the news that IVF #2 had failed, I wanted to go full steam ahead into adoption. But as I’m sure many of you know, adoption is not without its own frustrations and heartbreak. We were stressed and overwhelmed by the approximately $50,000 cost. It’s sad that money has to play a role in how we grow our family, but ultimately it is a reality we can’t ignore. We worried about how we could pull together the money, adoption programs we were interested in were closing or changing and we weren’t eligible for many other programs. I spent hours researching adoption programs around the world and the effects that fetal drug and alcohol exposure could have on the baby. I worried about how long it would be until we received a referral… and of course what many prospective adoptive parents worry about in an open adoption- “What if the Mom changes her mind?” This is only a short list of the things we worried about at the time – It goes without saying that we (and our marriage) were under an incredible amount of stress last year.

So on Monday, we walked by the chairs we sat in while waiting to have our blood drawn at the hospital around this time last year. I remembered sitting in those chairs last year and having probably one of the biggest fights of our marriage. It wasn’t a screaming match (because we were in public) but the energy between us was tense and we were both emotionally drained. We were at our breaking points. Until then, Andino had always managed to keep it together while I fell apart, but at that moment his resolve had worn too thin. We had already paid for 6 rounds of IUI and we were also in the process of preparing our dossier to send to an adoption agency in the U.S. But as we sat in those chairs, I told Andino that I wanted to give up on fertility treatments and just focus on adoption. I was tired of all the fertility drugs, the constant blood draws and Doctor’s appointments. Despite all the stress that came with preparing to adopt I knew in my heart that I wanted to. But Andino didn’t want to focus on just one path and he wasn’t ready to give up on fertility treatments yet.

Ultimately, I decided to try IUIs until we were ready to actually send our adoption dossier to the agency. It helped me to deal with my emotions while going through fertility treatments to focus on preparing our photo book and all the documents required to complete the dossier (immigration documents, criminal record checks etc.) The other thing that got me through the incredibly tough year we had was that I never stopped dreaming of what the future held for me. I envisioned many different scenarios as I’m sure all of us who struggle with infertility do – living child-free and travelling the world, adopting & getting pregnant. I pictured it all. I knew I could find happiness in any of those paths.

My husband’s band Andino Suns is getting ready to release their second album in a few weeks. In fact, the box of cds just arrived in the mail the other day. Andino was listening to the album tonight (while I was in this retrospective mood) and my favourite song of the album came on – Dreaming.  There are so many lyrics to this song that makes me think of how we were at that time:

The very first lyrics to the song – “Back on my feet again, my life is marching on” I really can’t think of a better way to describe how I felt after each failed cycle, after each hard day, after each good day…

when doubts creep up again, my courage takes them on” It takes a lot of courage to keep fighting, especially during the really hard days like the one we had that day at the hospital last year.

Sailing, strong winds, rough seas, crashing waves that strengthen me” I believe that the rough times we have been through have strengthened me more than anything else in my life.

I’m flying towards my dreams and destiny” I had no idea how my life would unfold, but I never stopped dreaming and I knew that whatever my destiny held – I was on my way. 

34 weeks

Andino and I went on a tour of the labour & delivery unit of the hospital on Monday. It was offered by the lady who does our prenatal classes and I am so glad we went. I’ve been to the Mother & Baby unit of our hospital back home (when a close friend had her baby) but I had no idea what to expect from the hospital where we live now. I was happy to know that I’ll have a private room with a full bath tub during labour and also for recovery. I was also happy to know that the hospital has squatting bars that attach to the bed because I definitely plan to try that position for pushing. Now that I am not wondering what facilities are available, I am able to relax a little more when anticipating the day I go into labour. But that day is most likely still 5-6 weeks away. I’ll be full term in 2 and a half weeks but I have a feeling baby girl will be sticking around for the long haul.

At my last midwife appointment, baby girl was estimated to be at 3kgs already. My guess is that she will be around 4 kgs when she’s born. I am so happy that she is healthy and growing well, but the bigger she gets I can’t help but wonder how much it’s going to hurt when she comes out! I hope my labour & delivery goes as quickly and smoothly as my Mom’s did – her longest labour was 4 hours!

Lately, we’ve been enjoying our last few weeks together as a family of 2 (plus our dogs of course) and tying up loose ends. I still want to pick up a few more things for her nursery, but if she were to come tomorrow we would be ready. My replacement has been hired at work and I have one last report to finish before I go. My last day is May 5th and I’m not due until May 27th so I am really looking forward to a few relaxing weeks. I plan to cook a few things to freeze, but not as much as I originally thought I would because I realized I don’t really like eating meals that have been frozen. I’d way rather have rotisserie chicken and a salad than a frozen lasagne. Plus, it’s almost BBQ season which means hubby can be in charge of making a lot of meals!

Even though I am reaching the end of my pregnancy, I am still feeling quite well overall. I am running out of clothes that fit though, so I’m glad the weather is getting nice enough to wear maxi dresses. My exercise has dwindled down to once a week on the weekend, but I’m determined to keep that up. I’ve heard that going for long walks can help bring on your labour, so I plan to take the dogs for lots of long walks once I’m off work in a few weeks.

I feel like I had so many ideas of things to write about lately, but I couldn’t find the time and now I can’t remember what I wanted to say. So I’m sorry this update is boring but I hope to write some nice posts this week. Here is my bump at 34 weeks:

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Ice Cream & Leaks!

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. Until now I’ve been cruising through my pregnancy with very little discomfort or cravings. I’ve been exercising regularly and cooking very healthy meals. Hubby even lost so much weight because of my healthy cooking he had to make a new hole in his belt this morning! Unfortunately, my health kick is over. I actually bought myself an ENTIRE ICE CREAM CAKE and I don’t even feel guilty about it! (I ate 1/4 of it over the past 4 days and put the rest in the deep freezer until my craving strikes again.) My snack drawer at work is fuller than it’s ever been. I almost always have some of my favourite treats in my purse these days so I’m never without something to snack on. The photo below isn’t me but it definitely could be.

 

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Along with the arrival of cravings, the discomfort has also arrived. My ribs and back have been quite sore lately from all the pressure of my growing uterus. I decided to get a prenatal massage since it is covered through my extended health benefits at work, so why not? I’m cancelling my benefits while I’m on maternity leave so I don’t have much time left to take advantage of them. I booked a 45 minute massage and it was very relaxing. She had a pregnancy pillow on top of the massage table that had indentations to put your belly and your boobs in so you can lay on your stomach comfortably during the massage. Afterwards, when I got up to get dressed, I noticed that I had about a teaspoon of wetness on my bra! I leaked – and only from one side! So I guess this means the time is really getting close now.

I have less than a month left of work and 47 days until my due date. I wonder how much bigger I will get in the next 6ish weeks? Here are some photos we took recently:

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Breakfast for Supper

I know most of my posts (all of my posts?) have been about my pregnancy lately, but there is really not much to say on that front right now. I want this blog to be about whatever is going on with my family that I feel like writing about and today, I feel like talking recipes.

Breakfast for supper. That’s what I’m loving right now.

A few months ago, we had a good routine of nightly meals. We did Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wednesday didn’t have a schedule, Seafood on Thursday and Pizza on Friday. It was good because I could prepare ahead of time and there was only one day of the week where I had to come up with something original. It might sound boring to have such a routine, but I can assure you there are plenty of different recipes to try within this frame. We had shrimp tacos, potato & chorizo tacos, vegetarian tacos, shredded beef tacos, chicken tacos… enchiladas, tostadas… I actually found some really great recipes this way!

But lately, we’ve gotten out of our supper schedule and we want to get back into it. We even came up with the best idea for supper on Wednesdays – BREAKFAST. I know this is probably already a thing for some people, but we never did it and I thought it was a genius idea. You see, Andino’s band jams at our place every Wednesday and they start showing up at around 6:30 pm. It doesn’t leave me much time after work to get supper going so it has to be something I can whip up quickly. Andino recently bought me a big new electric skillet and we decided to try it out this past Wednesday for supper. We had pancakes, sausages, eggs over-easy and fruit salad. It was so yummy that we decided we should make it a weekly thing. One of my favourite meals in Mexico is breakfast – fried bananas, refried beans, queso fresco, warm tortillas… I can’t wait to try my hand at making some Mexican breakfasts… for supper.

I love finding new recipes that are delicious and adding them to my repertoire. I hope that by getting back into my supper schedule I can find lots of new delicious recipes and of course save time trying to decide what to make! Do you have any delicioso breakfast recipes/ideas that you are willing to share?

The Baby Shower

Andino’s family threw a baby shower for me on Saturday. His Mom has been talking about it for months and his Aunts helped out with the cooking and planning. This is the first granddaughter for his parents (third for mine!) and their first grandchild in over 15 years. Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos because I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the whole experience, but I did snap these after most of the guests had left:

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Andino’s Mom on the left and his Aunt on the right – the party planners!

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Andino’s sister is on the right, which makes the other two girls my nieces. Weird because we are the same age! The girl in the orange shirt is one of my best friends and will be our support person during the delivery.

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My best friend who I also call my sister. She’s from back home but lives in the prairies now with her boyfriend (hopefully soon to be husband!)

p.s. I am only 5’4″ I’m but the tallest person in all these photos!

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The cake that was beautiful, but didn’t get eaten because there were cachitos & chilenitos which are chilean desserts that are DELICIOSO

 

cachitos & chilenitos – pastries filled with caramel!

 

I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed by the baby shower. I’ve been to plenty of baby showers over the years and they are all basically the same – women get together, eat, chat a bit and the guest of honour opens gifts. No big deal. Well, it is a lot different when you are the guest of honour. I don’t know if I felt so nervous because of everything we’ve been through to get to this point or if it is because it is nerve-wracking to have 30+ people watch you open gifts for an hour. I was sweating and nervous-smiling and very self-concious the whole time. I am definitely a shy person when it comes to social situations like this. I can give public presentations no problem, but put me in a room with a lot of people and expect me to be outgoing & friendly to everyone and I seize up. I remember when I was in Mozambique I went to a meeting with representatives from various government offices and NGOs and I was put on the spot to stand up and speak (in Portuguese) about the project I was working on. I got nervous, but it was nothing compared to my nerves on Saturday. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my best friends and husband are all very outgoing, friendly people who excel in social situations. I always rely on them to be the chatty ones while I sit back and smile/watch. The night before my shower I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was thinking about the shower but I didn’t realize I was so anxious until the next night (after my shower) when I also woke up at 3:30 am and had to get up to read my book because I still hadn’t fallen back asleep by 5:00 am. I couldn’t turn my mind off and stop wondering if I had been friendly enough, if I thanked people enough, if people had a good time, if they could tell how anxious I was and if so did my anxiety ruin it? I can honestly say that today (Monday) is the first day I feel back to normal again.

I was touched that so many people showed up to celebrate us. Andino and I have been very open about our challenges on our path to parenthood, so everyone in that room knew what a big day it was for me. What a long time it was coming. Every single gift I opened was so thoughtful and beautiful I was overcome by emotion. Andino’s family in Chile sent gifts too, and his favourite Aunt sent us the favours. A couple of my friends weren’t able to make it to the shower so we are planning to get together this weekend for lunch. My Mom said that I was probably overwhelmed because I realized that so many people were thinking about us not just on that day, but in the days leading up to it when they were picking out the gifts for baby girl, writing the cards and making food to bring.  I’m sure I was anxious for a variety of reasons but overall it was a very special day.

One thing is for sure, this baby girl has people all over North & South America who love her already!