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Welcome Baby Malcolm

Welcome Malcolm Terence Bennett

Last week we welcomed our little Beanie into the world. Malcolm Terence Bennett was born at 4:11pm on January 27th at St. Pauls Hospital in Vancouver. He weighed a surprising 9 lbs 4 oz and measured 21″. We have been getting to know him this week and have fallen very deeply in love with him.

Bennett Family Baby Malcolm Bennett Family Baby Malcolm

We’ve made it one week as parents! We are trying to savour these precious moments with a newborn in between some small chunks of sleep. I never imagined I would function this well on so little sleep. After one week together, I feel like we are starting to get the hang of things and get into somewhat of a schedule… for now.

We’ve been blessed by the generosity of family and friends, and we have been able to thrive as a new family because of their help. Thank you to all who have brought us meals, washed our dishes, and picked up miscellaneous items for us. We really appreciate the support of our community, and we can’t imagine doing this without it.

Baby Malcolm BennettBaby Malcolm feet Baby Malcolm holding daddy's thumb

If you are interested in reading about my pregnancy with Malcolm you can click the links here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I’m hoping to write out his birth story before I forget all the little details and share it with you here.

Baby Malcolm Terence Bennett

What a cutie! Am I right?!

Pregnancy Update: Baby Beanie at 32 weeks

Baby shower bump

Time has been just flying by lately. Can you believe it’s already December?! I’m now in the last couple months of my pregnancy at 32 weeks. It seems to go by quicker and quicker each week. I still have plans to do a bunch of reorganizing around the house and many preparations for this baby. Luckily I am no longer working, but my energy levels have gone back down again, and I’m struggling to feel productive. Any tips?

Baby showerI had my first baby shower the other day and was generously blessed by my neighbours, family, and friends. It was such a lovely event with games, treats, and prezzies for little Beanie. I am so glad I have such a great support network nearby.

Baby shower group photo

Our prenatal classes started at the end of November, and we have now been to 4 of 7 classes. The classes are through a local organization called Childbearing Society. We are enjoying getting all the information, though it takes time to let it digest. We have been practicing different positions and techniques for labour and birth, which I really appreciate as I am such a hands on learner. It’s difficult to remember everything I read about and to put it into practice, but by doing things I feel like I will better remember them when they become useful.

Baby bump at 31 weeksHas anyone else felt as overwhelmed as I have doing research on carseats and baby equipment? There are so many options and safety regulations that make it intimidating. We are lucky to have friends who have given us some hand-me-downs, but the remaining items we need to purchase make my head spin a little bit. Any recommendations or tips for choosing a carseat?

Building Relationships with Neighbours

Community building picnic with neighboursIt can be difficult to meet people in an apartment building. Everyone values their privacy, and often the only time we run into anyone else is coming or going. We are really lucky to have some great friendships with neighbours in our building. Some relationships we had before we lived together and some we gained after we moved in.

Since we built a community garden on the property, we have been spending some time out there and having conversations with people we didn’t get to know before. It’s been nice to participate in and build a community where we live. I am anticipating the harvest season as I’m sure we will have the opportunity to share vegetables, recipes, and meals. We have already received plants, tools, and gardening tips from our generous neighbours.

Community building picnic with neighboursWe typically gather with our neighbours for a dinner one night each week. It’s fun to connect with friends in close proximity. It’s a great opportunity to share what’s going on in our lives, to find someone to water your plants while you’re away, and to learn how to save 75 cents for each load of laundry. We have even experimented with sharing items in our community. There is one vacuum that gets passed around to a few different suites on our floor, and we’ve also been sharing an economy size bottle of dish soap.

Two of our neighbours left for the summer to work in another province. We had a fun little BBQ/picnic to send them off. We were able to enjoy the beautiful weather so early in the season. Everyone pitched in and contributed something to the meal. I’m thankful for our growing community and all the support and friendship it’s given me.

Community building picnic with neighboursWhat do you think about getting to know your neighbours? Does it concern you that you might lose some of your valuable privacy? How do you connect with people in an individualistic society?

Real Life Together: Moving past difficult times

blossoms

I hope you don’t mind if I share something a bit more serious today.

The last few months have been quite interesting for us. We have had some ups and downs. Many joyful moments and some that were filled with pain. There have been times where we have felt like we should lose all hope but for some reason become filled with immense gratitude. It has been a season of growth, of change, of opportunity.

A few months ago I left my job at Starbucks to begin working in the same office as Jordan. It was an exciting opportunity, as I had little to no previous experience in that position (Admin and Marketing) and because Jordan and I would be working in close proximity. It worked out really well. I was challenged in many ways to build new skills and get comfortable in a new work environment. Jordan and I also really enjoyed working together. We enjoyed commuting together, eating lunch together, making jokes about our coworkers/customers together… It made me feel like Jim and Pam from The Office.

It was a really joyful season for me. I enjoyed the proximity to Jordan, the regular schedule, the free evenings and weekends, making a decent income, and being able to put aside a good amount of savings. We felt secure and ready to move ahead in life.

Amidst this season I became pregnant. We weren’t really sure if we were ready to be parents yet, but we had been considering it for a short while and quickly became really excited for this next step in our lives.

Meanwhile Jordan began to consider his career path. He had already been feeling stuck in his current situation. His passion is music and recording, but with his office job he didn’t have the time to really build a client base and take on many projects. We decided that it would be best for him to take a risk in his career sooner rather than later, before new responsibilities took over. We would take a hit financially, but we could still get by on my income alone. An opportunity became available for him to volunteer and help out at a local studio, and he quit his job in order to focus on music. It made my schedule more challenging, but it was worth it to see Jordan work towards his dream career.

Jennifer and JordanWhen Jordan was in the last couple weeks of his job, we lost the baby. I was about 7 weeks along. It hurt, physically and emotionally. We had so much joy and excitement anticipating what it would be like to know our little one. We were crushed.

Luckily we found support in our community. We had family and friends who helped pick us up and dust us off. I was amazed by the number of people we know who had been through a similar experience. I was encouraged by their genuine empathy. I wondered about where I would be if I didn’t share so openly about my experiences. Would I have gotten the support I desperately needed? It’s circumstances like these that are difficult to talk about. So often we would be enjoying the lighthearted company of friends and would wonder if it is worth bringing up something so sad and heavy. In our experience we found it was definitely worth it. The depth of our relationships were increased when we made ourselves vulnerable, revealed our struggles, and asked for help.

We slowly recovered, and although we still have moments of sadness when we remember our loss, we have infinite hope for the future.

A few weeks later I was laid off from my job. I was surprised. I wasn’t sure what I should be feeling in that moment. I wondered about how we would make ends meet without any stable or substantial income. I considered the opportunities this opened up for me. The ones it closed. The issue was mostly money. I had decided years ago that I wasn’t going to let money dictate my life. I’m glad I made that choice. Instead of overwhelming anxiety, I felt peace. Instead of a sense of loss, I held on to a sense of opportunity.

With all this extra time I’ve had, I’ve been able to start a blog! I’ve been growing and challenging myself a lot. I’m excited to see where this crazy adventure will take us. I’m amazed by the peace I have had through all of this. There is a great, rich future ahead of us, I know it. I just don’t have any idea what it will look like. But I believe it will be even better than I could have imagined myself – just like how my life has turned out so far – with many blessings that I had not anticipated.

Jennifer and JordanHave you struggled with with an experience you felt might overwhelm you? How do you talk about difficult topics with your friends and family? Have you ever felt peace when circumstances around you have told you that you should feel otherwise?

If you have been through something similar I hope you have had someone in your life to share it with. I want to make this a safe place and build a community of trust and honesty. If you would like to talk with me about these topics, please send me an email at jenniferdrinksteaATgmailDOTcom. I would love to hear your story and to share more with you about my experiences.

Photos by Ivy Hofs @ivyrachel_