on the way.

Went to Toronto this past weekend, and it was definitely awesome, a definitely needed getaway, and I would love to go back sometime. We got CityPass, which meant tickets for all the major attractions lumped into one low price ($60/person) and were able to see: Casa Loma (famous castle there), Science Centre, CN Tower, and Toronto Zoo. All in two days! We also saved more money on gas, eating, and travel then I was expecting, so we came back with $300 of the $700 we went to Toronto with! Here’s how we saved money:

+ Husband’s dad paid for our hotel stay as our Christmas present.

+ We drove, and used gas cards that my parents got us for Christmas (actually ended up only using one! Yay!).

+ Brought food for breakfast, and I way over budgeted for lunch and dinner (I thought 25 and 50, respectively, ended up much lower).

+ The only souvenirs we bought were a few magnets, a shot glass, and T-shirt.

+ We found a 24 hour parking lot outside the hotel that charged $38 less a day than the hotel valet.

+ Instead of driving everywhere in the city, we walked, and on Saturday we bought a day pass for the train/bus that was only $10 for the both of us.

+ We cut down at the Toronto Zoo, because we underestimated the sheer amount of walking (and the heat) and opted out of the tram ride, camel ride, and Stingray Bay (things we have done at other zoos anyway).

Because we saved some money, we ended up stopping at a zoo in Michigan on the way home and we fed giraffes! We did that at the Tampa Zoo as well, but it’s always fun because the giraffes are sooo hungry! ūüėČ I definitely think Toronto is a doable destination for anyone, as long as you can handle the hotels (the prices of which are comparable to Chicago). The money is easy to exchange (we did ours at a local Canadian bank and got $694 for our $700) and easy to use, because except for dollar/two dollar coins, the money is the same as American. The people are super friendly there and the food was really good as well (love me some poutine!). It is a great way to go international without worrying about language barriers or a completely different set of money.

So, how did we get $700 for the trip? Aren’t I always groaning about our lack of money? The money came from a few places: my payment when I worked for my aunt’s open house, my Christmas money, and my birthday money. A lot of ‘my’ there, right? Yes, I know. I was really frustrated that all MY money went to a trip for the BOTH of us, while Husband’s various gift money went straight to bike parts for HIM. A few months back we had actually argued about this, among other things, that are meant for another post. But suffice to say that it wasn’t until we went to and got back from Toronto, merely because I had been sacking away all the money I got for US, that Husband agreed he would take his birthday money and some of his Christmas money this year and put it in the pot (we are headed for Nashville next May).

I am not excusing the fact that Husband is just now getting on board with helping me pay for OUR trips, but I will say this: with his previous marriage, his in-laws paid for every trip he took with his ex. So there was no saving or setting aside certain money. You just had the money automatically and went on the trip. But now he’s on board with helping me out, and that’s all I care about. We’re staying in the States next year, so it should be less expensive, but Nashville doesn’t have a CityPass, so we’ll probably still have to budget.

 

Why are we so hooked on traveling every year? Aren’t we just so low on money? Well, again, we use extra income and gift money on these trips. Also, we don’t do a lot of entertainment during the year — we go to Michigan at his stepdad’s cottage, and maybe we’ll do another bike overnight if we can find a good deal on Hotels.com — but we don’t have cable and we don’t eat out too much, plus we both agreed when we were engaged that we wanted to find some way to make taking trips / vacations a priority for us, because we both like to travel and see other cities. It was the same way with our wedding — we had just a dinner at a restaurant, not a full out reception, so we could spend 10 days in Florida for our honeymoon. We prioritize what we really want over what others tell us we need (like cable, food from Jewel, or an elaborate wedding/reception).

natural.

Get ready for some baby talk.

I finished reading Beyond the Sling some time ago and had a great discussion with my coworker (the one who lent it to me). My coworker actually did not finish the book, because she couldn’t stand Mayim’s tone. I encouraged her to give parts three and four of the book a shot because those sections were about less controversial topics, and she would probably agree with them more and be more willing to read. Although a lot of the reviews on Goodreads say that Mayim is nonjudgemental in her book, the fact is that she talks nonjudgemental, but then slices in there that her way IS really the most natural (which is to say, in her view, best for baby). I feel like this lessens the farther you get into the book. I would not recommend buying this book, but borrowing it from the library or someone who owns it.

In her book she mentioned the documentary The Business of Being Born, which is a film about natural and home births. It is produced by Ricki Lake and lucky for me Netflix had it. I had seen it up on the recommendation queue a few times but I hate films where they pick a bad guy and just stick it to them the whole time (I believe documentaries should be impartial). Last night I watched it.

Before my feelings on the movie, here’s how I felt before hand about natural birth. It was something I wanted to try because I heard an epidural can make you feel loopy and sick to the point of throwing up. That doesn’t sound very pleasant to me. Usually, you’ll want an epidural more if you get induced — when my cousin was induced (on request by her), my mom said her labor would be tougher because it is forcing your body to contract unnaturally. Why would I want to give myself more pain? I also DON’T want an episiotomy, which is where the doctor makes cuts on the vagina to ‘help the baby out’. WHY ARE YOU CUTTING ME?! Finally, I was completely NOT okay with a C-section because it is a major surgery with a long recovery time and I know I want to enjoy time with my newborn, not healing from a giant scar. Stepson was delivered by emergency C-section because he had the cord wrapped around his neck. I am not against C-sections — if an emergency warrants it. For me,¬†I have not had major surgery outside of getting my wisdom teeth out (where I had a great doc and never needed painkillers), and did not want my next major surgery’s recovery time to coincide with me having to take care of a baby.

HOWEVER, I am crazy pathetic about pain. My period cramps knock me out. Constipation makes me wince. I nearly broke my cousin’s fingers squeezing his hand when I got my tattoo. I couldn’t imagine pushing a baby out of me and NOT getting some sort of relief. Plus I had read the book¬†When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson. In it, she describes her dream of a natural birth, but once the labor actually happened, she was so lost in the pain that she not only got an epidural but also the episiotomy (which she was against as well). She later found out the doctor only did the episiotomy because he thought the baby was coming out too slow and he wanted to speed it up so it would be over with. And I think, that will be me. I will be all into natural, and then the time will come, and I will be weak and disoriented from pain, and just go, ‘Fuck it. Do what you got to do.’

After watching the documentaries, I now see that I have choices. I can choose to have my baby at home, at a birthing center, or in the hospital. I learned that laying down actually makes more work to pushing out the baby (but is easier for the doctor), but I could also squat and get some help from gravity. I see that I can have a midwife instead of a doctor, and she can help me through my weakest moments and have a baby without any assistance at all. Did you know that midwives know how to deliver a breeched baby naturally? Did you know that the World Health Organization thinks that only 15% (at a MAX) of births should be C-sections, but the US’s is 30%?¬†There was a lot of information from educated professionals about C-sections, inductions, and hospital births in general. The best way to get this information is to watch the documentaries yourself – the births are a little graphic, so be prepared! I don’t think it would have the same impact reading them off a computer screen; I certainly wasn’t impacted as I read about it in Mayim’s book.

I see now that I was always viewing birth a certain way because of two things: I had false knowledge that inducing was necessary, and I was letting my fear of the pain make a decision instead of what I was capable of doing. After watching numerous natural births on the documentaries, I really feel that this is something I can do, that my body was naturally designed to do without the help of drugs. Husband watched some of¬†The Business of Being Born with me, and he does NOT want a home birth. I totally agree. I don’t know how I’m going to feel during the labor, and I would like to be near a hospital incase there is an issue with the baby. I also don’t want to force Husband into a position he doesn’t feel comfortable, where I’m bleeding and busting out a placenta on the living room floor (actually, just the thought of that gives me the creeps too).

Luckily for us, Swedish Covenant (just a few neighborhoods over) has a midwifery and birthing center. I told Husband that’s where I want to go when I get pregnant. I don’t want to have to argue with a doctor over C-sections and inducing. I don’t want to lose my say in the discussion because I’m blindsided by pain. I want someone who is going to encourage me every step of the labor process and keep me on track, understanding I want natural before anything else.

far away.

This past weekend, from Thursday to Monday, Husband was on a trip to Costa Rica. It was really good for him to go down there with his dad and see his brother (who lives there). I had a nice all family weekend, staying over at my parents, hanging out with my sisters, and spending a ton of time with my niece. Husband and I Skyped every night he was gone but it was still great to come home from work Monday night and see him in the apartment.

Speaking of work, we have been swamped. I’ve been working a variety of schedules because of people taking vacations / days off, and I’m pretty much in charge of the infant room, so keeping on top of everything even when I leave early has definitely been tricky. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I happen to work with some entitled people. My boss already bought us lunch and breakfast this week, and we get to wear jeans the next two days (usually we have to wear black pants or khakis). Considering the fact that she doesn’t have to do anything for us at all, I’ve been very impressed with her and grateful. However, my coworkers feel that she should be doing even MORE for us (like getting massages or gift bags for us). It is funny that they feel they deserve these things when we are the LAST center in our district to get our rooms up to code (except for infants; district manager made it clear we are the only room up to code in the building). But of course they don’t want to think about that. They just want stuff.

Have to say that May is flying by. This weekend is Mother’s Day, and then next weekend is TORONTO! I already got new tires on the car, so I just have to finish cleaning it out. I can’t wait to explore the city, and go to the zoo. It’s kind of weird because I LOVE going to other cities and see how other people live — wandering around London aimlessly was my favorite part. Anyway, I was telling this lady at work how we were going to Toronto, and she acted like if we didn’t have family there, there was no point in going. I say what? Anyway, the following weekend is Michigan! Husband and I are going to bike some of the trails — very excited for that as well.

oh, ha ha.

UGH. Please. What I find ironic is that my 22 year old cousin who posted this has a Pinterest board with 100+ pins for her future wedding. Hopefully she can hold off for marriage until 25 so she can live her life to the fullest.