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Highlights of our Trip

The internet is remarkably better at home and there is so much I want to share with you about our trip. These are the last of the random conglomerations of photos. Then I will be doing a post on Charlotte’s birth and how Mexican hospitals compare to Canadian hospitals. But Charlotte’s birth posts must wait until the right time. I want Charlotte to give her take on her birth story long before I make any comments on it and she is still in the early postpartum days, thus we will wait with great patience as Lyra figures out how to be a tiny person.


The photo above was taken on a beach in a tiny surfing town called Punta De Mita. These fisherman were coming in off their boats and gutting their fresh fish in the hot sun.



Gabrielle is a cautious little girl. She is quiet around people she first meets and though she says “Hi” she’s usually pretty subdued. But beach creatures, she’s not worried about at all. She will pick up crabs, starfish, worms without too much trepidation. This fisherman was trying to make Gabrielle cringe when he stuck a live lobster in her face for her to touch. She looked at him, squinting in the bright sun, and reached out her hand to give him a little pet. Not a worry in the world.


Gabrielle often asked for playgrounds when we were away. She was craving a good ride on a swing but we couldn’t find anything like it. Finally in Punta de Mita, we found a playground that was much too old for her. No matter, the slides and tunnels were so hot that we couldn’t even touch them. I put a towel down so she could try the slide but as usual, there was too much exposed rebar and paramount danger for her to have much fun on it. Soon we were back to the stairs on the plaza and that placated her playground cravings.


We’re playing a memory game with our friends. The girls are just getting old enough to understand how the game works and luckily they each got a few chance pairings which kept things exciting.


When I was sick, Marc and Eric took the girls to a restaurant called “The Octopus’ Garden” and drank themselves an excellent cappuccino. Even though coffee seems like a very Mexican thing to have available everywhere, most places we went gave you a mug of hot water and instant coffee to add in at your leisure. At the Sunday market, there was fresh coffee beans for sale but it was surprisingly hard to find really good coffee. Don’t get me started on trying to find good chocolate!


This photo was taken at Yaya’s. Restaurant by day, hair cutting salon (below) by evening. Multifaceted businesses are part and parcel of Mexican life from what we could see. Or maybe it’s just a small town thing. My parents often go to the jewellers in their small town to pick up eggs.



These girls with their matching little crocs, holding hands, just kill me. The friendship these two developed over our month long stay was a joy to watch. At first they needed a little refereeing like most toddler combinations. Our last night in Mexico, Charlotte and I looked over to tell the girls that it was bedtime, and they had taken two tupperware lids for seats. They had a swimming noodle across their laps and they were sitting against the wall in their “car” with their “seatbelts” on, driving to Mexico. An empty wine bottle between them which Cora said was her tequila. These girls are ready for adventure, wherever they meet again.


The tour we went in, gringo style, was augmented by the wonderful opportunity see dolphins and humpback whales. These whales will come up to Tofino in three weeks. Such a remarkable animal, to swim so far in 3 short weeks. I’ve seen humpback whales off our coast, but to see them here with their babies breaching, it was breathtaking.





We were lounging on the beach on our day in La Caletas when Gabrielle announced she wanted to go out on those “tiny little yellow boats.” So we saddled her into the smallest life jacket they had and off we went. Gabrielle had such a good time, she didn’t want to come back in. After trying paddle boarding with Eric, I think I’m more a fan of that than kayaking. Though that may be easily influenced by the temperature of the water.


Oh yeah, so the last day we were packing up our clothes and under my black leggings was this monster of a scorpion. Actually he wasn’t that huge but it totally freaked me out. At first I thought he was dead but when Marc trapped him with a cup, it was clear it was very much alive. Since being home, I feel much braver about the huge spiders I may find in my house.




The highlight of the trip by far was getting to be there for this bundle. Doing this birth as the reason for us to travel was the best reason I can think of!

Heeey Mexico

So I have no idea how Charlotte posts a blog with pictures in Mexico. She must have connections with the Mexican internet gods. If I have any pictures in this post, know that they are not as many as I would love to show you.


We stayed overnight in Vancouver before we came here. You can read about this a little from my mom’s blog. We were bundled up, walking in the rain with woolly hats, scarves (or as my brother says,”snoods”) thick coats and umbrellas. Gabrielle confiscated one of the umbrellas to pretend she was Christopher Robin (her current favourite) and walked the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver saying “Tut tut looks like rain.”


Telling you about the layers we were wearing, and how we stopped for hot chocolate seems so?strange where I’m sitting now.

I have a flattering sheen of sweat on me. I have cold ice water beside me that is leaving a thick ring of condensation. The window is open to try to get a breeze from the sticky humid heat in our room. Gabrielle is sleeping in barely anything and I’m scratching mosquito bites. How can this be? It is freezing this time of year. But not in Mexico. Never, in Mexico.


In Mexico where they rarely have toilet seats on their?banos and their internet doesn’t seem to allow a lot of photos uploading. When we see an ATV rumble by on the cobblestone road with a 4 year old holding onto the handlebars while a big burly man drives, we smile and say “heeey Mexico!” Gabrielle loves the bus rides where they drive over a river bed under the highway. She exclaims “take a ride on the hump of the wump of gump.” (One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss if you were deprived of the reference) and she laughs and says “More More!”


After “knowing” Charlotte on the internet for two and a half years, I have met her in person. I have touched her belly, and kissed her face and had those face-to-face eye-to-eye conversations over chocolate that I had been hoping for. It is wonderful to have a friend materialize who I wondered for brief moments if it was all in my imagination, and have her be as delightful as I hoped. Or even more so. ?And her beautiful family. Eric’s sense of humour meshes with Marc’s as we listening to their hilarities over beer and tacos. And Cora. Oh there is not words for those soul-melting eyes and contagious giggle.


I told Charlotte I didn’t think it would be possible that Cora could look as lovely as she did in pictures, but her spunky personality paired with her beauty, oh Cora. She’s adorable.IMG_20130207_071842

We’ve been playing and exploring and swimming and eating and all the good things you do on vacation.

And we have been waiting for a baby.


It’s lovely to be here with friends. It’s so nice to have someone show us the ropes of how to get around by bus, which places serve amazing breakfast, and what is the best tequila. Now we’ve had a couple of lovely days, we’re caught up on our sleep and we’re ready for the appearance of baby!

Baby, are you ready too?

Heading off to Mexico!

(This story is shared with permission from Charlotte)

I have this great story for you. But I’m sure most of you already know it.


I started my blog four years ago this March. When I started writing, I was beekeeping, we were about to move onto a 160 acres farm. We were focusing on homesteading and self-sufficiency. Then I got pregnant. Then we moved aboard a boat when I was 7 months pregnant. That is when I met Charlotte.

Charlotte writes a blog called Rebel Heart. She and her husband had their first baby in July of 2010. Just 6 months before my baby was born. They were just waiting for their baby when we were researching moving aboard. They were liveaboards in San Diego. After emailing back and forth and asking a whole ton of questions on their sailing forum, we became friends. Over the 2 1/2 years that I’ve “known” her, she has sent me lots of cool stuff like ergo suckie pads, and a baby carrier bag from the etsy store she started. She also sent me lots of nursing shirts and nursing pads before Gabrielle came, and some very fun shoes for Gabrielle that she doesn’t quite fit yet!

We joked back and forth, as I became a doula, that she would want me as her doula if she ever got pregnant again. Surprise surprise! She got unexpectedly pregnant and she is due mid February. After much discussion, between her family and mine, we decided, Yes let’s do this!

It was a crazy idea.

I live in Canada. She lived in San Diego. But no, it got crazier. She and her husband and beautiful daughter took of sailing to Mexico to have their baby. Mexico in February, yes please!

But how do you time a baby’s arrival? The law of labour is that you never know when the baby will come! So we guessed. Seriously.

We leave Pender Island on Sunday, and fly out of Vancouver on Monday. We are gone for most of the month of February. February is a dreary month on Pender. It rains. Then it thinks about stopping, then it drizzles and rains again. Right now, fog fog fog.

Gabrielle shivers in the car on our way to play group. She tells me “Soon Brie will be in Mexico. Brie will be so so warm. Eat tacos and avocados and be so so warm!”

So it’s a family trip to Mexico to see about a baby. And meet a very dear friend of mine.

I will be blogging from there.

Maternity Photos Lyra Jan 2013 4
(Photo by Eric Kaufman, used with permission)

Now Charlotte, keep that baby in there until we get there!

The ways I am a Hippy.

Oh boy. So I was looking through my pictures from this fall and winter, and I came across so many that would provide plenty of evidence of my hippy nature, that it was overwhelming. I am actually convincing myself that I have well-earned the title of Hippy. As my friends commented, labels schmabels, it doesn’t matter. But it’s funny. So shall we begin?

I live on a Gulf Island.
The Gulf Islands are known for their alternative ways. There is an excellent book by Brian Brett called Trauma Farm, about his farm on Salt Spring Island. (One of the islands in the Gulf Island conglomerate.) He confesses (or exalts) that he often goes off for brisk jaunts late at night wearing only gum boots. Only gum boots. I’ll let that sink in.





On that note, my kid is naked a lot.
yup, a lot. I have quite a few pictures to prove it. And we believe in communal baths among the wee ones…. because apparently I have a lot of pictures of Gabrielle bathing with other children.




(I might have to give Gabrielle double hippy points for the photo above. Naked Toddler Yoga is a whole new level)

I knit and I keep my knitting in a basket.
This is like a chic hippy fad on Pender. Get a cool African basket and put groceries, Farmers Market produce or knitting in it. I totally bought into this fad. And I feel cool when I do it.





I take photos of the following because I think it’s funny…



Ok perhaps the mustache picture isn’t very hippy. But I couldn’t work out any better excuse to get this picture into a blog post. Isn’t that bumper sticker awesome?? And the fact that it is on a PT Cruiser. It was a great moment.

I’m totally sold on baby-wearing.



Gabrielle also chooses to wear her baby. Clearly it is amazing!

I keep bees.


I lived on a boat.
We were on that boat for 13 months. Most of Gabrielle’s first year was on the boat. We loved living small and consuming little. Even though we are land-living now, we still consider ourselves to be living small and consuming little and that is part of the hippy lifestyle we are certainly on board with.


Kale chips are one of my favourite snacks.For serious. They are tasty.



Not only do I drink out of mason jars, but yesterday I tried to felt a cover for one of them so I could use it as a travel mug.I’m not sure if this hippy move can be overstated. I had this brilliant thought and this brilliant idea. So I phoned up my friend for a play date and we felted mason jar covers together. Yes, for real. And yeah, she had all her own felting stuff too. My felted cover is ugly as a three-horned toad and needs some decorating but it was worth a try. Now, I’m working on knitting a sleeve for my mason jar. I haven’t given up yet.



I accessorize with feathers.
This basically seals it for me. I just renewed my passport and Marc opened it up to see the picture and laughed at me. “You have your feather earrings in your passport picture!” He teased. Yup. That’s what kind of good hippy I am.


I avoid consuming electricity when possible.


Alright, this one could be because I’m pretty cheap. I hate spending money where it doesn’t need to be spent. So heat, I prefer a wood stove. I prefer to hang dry my clothes.


This is a manual coffee grinder. I own one from when we lived on the boat and did not have power. I do not use this now unless I have no other choice. The fact that I own one has to give hippy points in itself.


I’m incredibly attacted to VW Westfalias.I have owned one. We sold it when it constantly broke down on us. But we have regretted selling it and it would not be surprising to find ourselves in the possession of one again. When I drove my westfalia (when it was not broken down on the side of the road) I was grinning ear to ear. I couldn’t tell if strangers were smiling at me because I looked so darn happy, or because it was such a cool vehicle.

The simple fact that this post is much longer than the one previous may speak for itself. We may have a mushroom identification book next to a New York Times best seller but nothing in this world is completely here or there anyway. Being very present, making time to enjoy each other, and living small are values that are very important to us. They lean us toward that hippy lifestyle. I suppose if you were gonna give us a label, I could live with that one.

Oh and how could I forget this one. One of the ways I am most hippy is that I am a doula!

End of story.

Birth Photography

I’ve only been in the birthing business for a year. A baby Doula, so to speak. And it seems strange that there is a business for birth but there is and I’m seeing fads become popular. Having a doula is becoming more popular in my area and that is a fantastic fad. Another fad I’ve seen on the rise is birth photography. I did my first birth with a photographer last month and here are some of the photos from that birth which I have permission to share.

These photos are taken by Darshan of Darshan Photography. They are stunning and a beautiful way to capture one of the most defining moments of a woman’s life.

The last birth I did a couple weeks ago had a videographer. That was a new one for me too. These memories are so priceless and to have them captured by a professional makes everything more polished. My birth was so fast that after it was done we were asking if anyone remembered to bring the camera to the hospital. If I had the forethought, I would have loved to do something like this.

Thank you Darshan for allowing me to share such beautiful pictures. And thank you Tiffany for giving me permission to share your very precious time.