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.

Happy Days

Don’t you find when you are reading a book on a certain topic it starts to change your every day behaviour? For example, 6 or 7 years ago I was reading a book about spirituality and how to conserve personal energy. While reading the book, I began to notice how much personal energy I was losing because of how I reacted in daily situations. In the beginning, it was easy to remind myself of the tools I had learned to change my behaviour, but a few months after I finished the book, my old habits started to creep up again. Over the years I have read the same book at least 4 or 5 times until the teachings became ingrained in my memory and changed my behaviour permanently. (Although sometimes I still need a reminder; I read the book again about a year ago during a particularly challenging time in my life.) We’ve probably all heard that it takes doing something repeatedly for an extended period of time to form a habit. When I heard about the #100happydays challenge, I knew it was an opportunity to make a habit out of a healthy behaviour – looking for the good in every day.

Focusing on my blessings was the best coping tool I had when I was frustrated by the adoption/IVF process. Every time I would feel sorry for myself or worried about what the future would bring, I would remind myself how lucky I was to even be able to attempt IVF and pursue adoption. For many people (and even a few people I know personally) those paths to parenthood were not an option due to the heavy financial burden they carry. Reminding myself that there is always a silver lining, and that there are happy moments in even the worst days became a habit for me. Even though I’m not frustrated anymore, positive thinking is healthy and I never want to get out of the habit – which is why I am teaming up with Jo from The Thompson Treehouse to participate in the #100happydays challenge. (That was the first time I’ve ever used a hashtag!) When Jo posted about this challenge on her blog I was intrigued and wanted to participate, but I was worried that 100 days was too much to commit to and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the task. She said “Don’t let fear of failure get in your way, it’s worth a try!! Let’s do it!! :)” Then I told my husband I was thinking about taking this challenge and he said “You should do it! It would be good for you and also a good way to practise your photography” So I decided to take on the challenge.

Here’s what it’s all about: (from 100happydays.com)

Every day submit a picture of what made you happy!  It can be anything from a meet-up with a friend to a very tasty cake in the nearby coffee place, from a feeling of being at home after a hard day to a favor you did to a stranger. 
I will be posting my happy moments on the new page above #100happydays. I’ll be using my camera phone until I get a new camera (I planned to get one soon anyway)
Here’s my first photo:
PicMonkey Collage1
Who’s with us in this challenge?


I’ve been thinking about photography lately. I was getting into the hobby last summer and it was fun to read tips and tricks on how to create better photos. Some people are such naturals and take incredible photos with no training at all because they have the eye for photography. That’s not me. But I do think that with some practice, a decent camera and a basic knowledge of photography I could take some nice photos. With winter’s arrival I stopped practicing, but here are a few of my favourites from last summer:


Relaxing at home in the Maritimes…



A wheat field in PEI



I love how he hops like a bunny in the tall grass



My big slobbery girl

I contacted a professional photographer to have maternity photos taken, but we decided against it. We really want to have a newborn photo shoot and we can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer twice in the span of a couple months. However, we may end up having Andino’s friend who is an amateur photographer take the photos because I really want to have photographs of me pregnant and I feel kind of awkward posing for photos like this and asking Andino to “take a picture of me!”

6 months

Date night last Saturday

I’m hoping to get ourselves a good quality camera and a tripod before baby girl arrives. We haven’t upgraded our camera in almost 5 years so I think it’s time anyway. Baby Makin’ Machine has some great photography tips that have gotten me inspired. I especially like her tips for taking self-portraits with your kids. I love the idea of having a tripod with a self-timer and a portable camera (I don’t want a DSLR because they are too bulky for my needs) so I can snap a few shots whenever the mood strikes me. Have you read Huffington Post’s article The Mom Stays in the Picture? I found it quite touching. Plus, if we had a tripod and a good camera with a self-timer, Andino and I could be in photos together for once! The vast majority of our vacation photos are of just me (Andino is actually the photographer of the family).

summer2011 111

Cuba 2011

When I was putting together our adoption photo book I was hard-pressed to find enough nice photos of Andino when he wasn’t performing with his band. Speaking of photo books – that’s my plan. I really enjoyed putting together the photo book for our adoption and I want to start making one each year. We aren’t the type of people to have family photos in frames around our home, but I love photo books. We got a photo book as a wedding gift from Andino’s cousin & wife and I love it. It’s the best memento of the wedding we have, a small hard cover book filled with photos of our wedding that we can easily pull out to reminisce.

Anyone have some good photography advice/tips they want to share? Suggestions on a good little camera that’s not crazy expensive?


In Honour of 4 Years Together

I have been thinking a lot about my marriage lately. We are coming up on 4 years of marriage (over 5 years together) and they were certainly action packed years. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. I moved across the country as soon as I graduated University to start a life with Andino. It was exciting because I love adventure and new beginnings, but it was also really hard because I never envisioned living so far away from my family. It took me a long time to adjust to my new life and to settle in. Now I can say with certainty that I have adjusted and that I feel really happy about where I am, but it took me about 2 years to be able to say that. Then we faced the challenge of infertility. There was no way we could have prepared ourselves for it but I am so proud of how we handled it. I feel so blessed every day that I have a man who supported me and my dreams to grow my family every step of the way. He was willing to go to the ends of the earth to make my dream of becoming a Mama – A Gypsy Mama – come true.

Everyone who has been through it, knows that infertility can be hard on your marriage. Andino and I were just talking the other night about how hard things were in the year and a half after we officially got the infertility diagnosis. How he would call me in the afternoon and worry as he was dialing about what kind of mood he’d find me in when I answered the phone. If I was depressed or stressed it would throw his mood off for the rest of the day too. I was constantly researching adoption programs and then getting frustrated when they would close or we weren’t eligible. Andino was making budgets for the next 15+ years to try and figure out how we could afford to adopt. It was hard times. There were lots of good times mixed in there for sure, but there was always an underlying river of stress.

I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t been through the challenges of the past few years. If we had conceived when we first started trying 4 years ago. I know that some people don’t like to talk about infertility as a blessing in disguise, but in a way it was for me. There is no doubt in my mind that all the struggles we’ve been through over the past few years have only made us stronger. They’ve made me wiser and our marriage stronger. I feel so ready to become a parent with Andino and I’m glad I didn’t miss out on the lessons I’ve learned through the challenges we’ve faced. I know there will be many more challenges to come, but I feel confident we can take them on because of our history.

I look at Andino and see a man who not only said he would support me in my darkest days, but actually did. He shared in my pain of failed cycles, held me when I was sobbing uncontrollably, injected me with hormones, put up with countless hormone-induced mood swings, never hesitated when I presented an adoption program to him that meant spending $40,000+ and me being away for 9 months… and before all that he helped me write my application for a youth internship abroad, that meant I was away from him for 6 months in the first year of our marriage. He drove me to the airport a few weeks later and spoke to me on the phone every day while I was away and never ONCE made me feel guilty for following my dream. It’s an incredible feeling to know that my husband has my back no matter what.

We both place a high importance on travel and are constantly planning our next adventure. We travel together as often as we travel independently. I go home to the Maritimes once a year alone and once a year with Andino. I also spent a lot of time in Mexico alone while there for treatment. Andino travels with his band for festivals sometimes and he just got back from a month in Chile. I always thought that my idea of a perfect marriage would be one that allowed us both to maintain our independence. To have our own dreams as much as shared dreams. Having that with Andino makes me feel incredibly lucky. Even though it’s what I always wanted in my marriage, it’s hard for me sometimes because I have a strong jealous streak when it comes to my husband. I know that I owe it to Andino to support him 100% and not create unnecessary drama and its something I am committed to working on in myself. That’s my New Marriage Year Resolution.

Baby girl is due in 15 weeks and then we will enter a new chapter in our lives. I am so excited to see what kind of adventures and experiences parenthood will bring. More than anything I am so happy to be sharing them with Andino.


The Three Rs

I’m home in the Maritimes for a couple weeks to visit my family. While I am here, Mom and I are getting some baby shopping done. We picked up bibs, receiving blankets, crib sheets, swaddle blankets and a few outfits. And of course Mom gave me some baby gifts. She wrapped them and used my old doll’s bassinet to present them:


Up until a few weeks ago, Andino and I hadn’t done much to prepare for baby girl’s arrival, but now that I’m (almost) 25 weeks, we’ve decided to start buying things. Our first big purchase was a crib, mattress and changing table from Sears online and they should be arriving early this week. While I’m away, hubby and his brother are working hard to paint baby’s room (and our bedroom and the hallway). They are putting in crown moulding and installing new lighting and window treatment. I’m sure it’s going to look great when I get back! I am so lucky that hubby has a great sense of style when it comes to these things, because I definitely don’t!

We had been looking into strollers for a long time, but we hadn’t found one that we both agreed on and was within our budget. I really wanted a BOB stroller because they are consistently rated as one of the best for all-terrain. A brand new BOB sells for $480 + tax and we were hoping to stay at or under the $400 mark so we kept looking. I’ve been checking kijiji regularly to see if I can find some good deals on baby stuff. I LOVE a good deal. Did I ever mention that I bought my wedding dress second hand? I knew I wanted a lace gown but lace is expensive and I didn’t want to pay $2000 for something I’d only wear once. We found my dress second hand for $500 and it was perfect. Anyway, back to the stroller. I found a good deal on a second hand BOB stroller here in N.S. so I bought it and I’m bringing it back to the prairies with me.



(After taking these photos we scrubbed the stroller and now it’s clean & fresh) Even though we can afford all brand new baby gear, doesn’t mean we are obligated to spend an arm and a leg on stuff. As we all know, babies grow so fast they outgrow things before they are even broken in! Plus, I’m an environmentalist, so I’m all about the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). I’m not buying EVERYTHING for baby second hand, but whenever I can I will.

I’ll be home in the Maritimes for another 9 days and I’m sure hubby will notice I’ve gotten bigger when I get back. After 20 weeks, my bump really started to grow quickly! Here I am this morning at 24 weeks & 5 days:


When I get back from vacation, I only have 12 weeks of work left before I start my Maternity leave. Actually, I’m taking 2 weeks vacation time first and starting my Mat leave June 1. Things are moving so fast now and baby girl will be here before we know it!

The Weight of a Snowflake


Tell me the weight of a snowflake” A sparrow asked a wild dove

Nothing more than nothing

In that case I must tell a marvelous story,” the sparrow said.

I sat on a branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not a giant blizzard, no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch – nothing more than nothing, as you say – the branch broke off

Having said that, the sparrow flew away.

The dove thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself: 
”Perhaps there is only one voice lacking for peace to come in our world.”

Whenever you think your contributions, acts of charity, work for justice, gifts of love, or your talents are nothing, or are small in comparison to those of others, remember that when one is added to another, and then to another, great things can happen—from “nothing more than nothing.”

Merry Christmas everyone and may the spirit of the season be with you all year long.