Pregnancy Pilgrimage: Hatchelorette Season 2 Part 2

This is now a new tradition for me since the first The Hatchelorette Part 1: Celebrating the Woman Who Was, Is and Will Be. To take some time before the coming of a new human and celebrate and appreciate what is then, now and to be.

The first of many days I’ve been looking forward to. The Hotsprings. Last time I was pregnant I searched and made a list of all the natural undeveloped hot springs I wanted to visit. (To read about that journey check out The Hatchelorette Day 4: Secret Hotsprings and Reflection Time. ) I wasn’t able to check out all of them but this one was on my list and beyond thrilled to be able to finally experience this particular location.

In respect for the natural hot spring community its etiquette to not exploit and over share these sacred areas and therefore please respect that I won’t be giving out exact locations to these peaceful areas.

The drive from Missoula, Montana was about 2 hrs long and we arrived around 10:00 in the morning. We had been warned about potentially steep and icy conditions, and packing in a toddler also presented some other possible risks that we wanted to be prepared for. The day began roughly around -10 degrees Celsius and we are ourselves with hiking poles, traction aids for our shoes, snacks, tea, towels and down jackets…

By the time we began the trek and arrived at the pull out it was a beautiful -2 with the sun beginning to peep through blue skies. Good thing I pretty much stripped down to nothing under my down snowsuit or else I would have passed out from heat exhaustion!

The hike took about 30-40minutes and about 2km in to the first pool. It was a little icy, mildly steep in some areas and overall an easy jaunt that didn’t require our Gators (but if it had been snowing it would be a wise decision.) in our condition hiking poles was also a good choice but not necessary for the average outdoor humans.

There were a series of several pools, someone which we couldn’t access at this point due to both our current conditions. Adam recently undergoing ACL surgery and myself being 8months pregnant, we had to be pragmatic about our choice of springs.

We work up early to avoid any chance of running into a high traffic time and we were graciously rewarded because we had the entire spring to ourselves!

It’s quite common practice to be nude when indulging in natural hot springs. My logic is what’s the point of getting out of a beautiful hot spring only to have to peel off wet cold swimwear and pack out heavy water logged pieces of clothing when you can just throw on a jacket and pants or in my case a giant down onesie and be off!

Though there were three main pools with subsequent smaller pools around each, we settled on the middle pool. It seemed to have the most toddler, pregnant lady, ACL injury, friendly access. It also was a great depth and temperature for our little human.

It was so aesthetically appealing, with this beautiful sitting boulder situated right in the middle of the pool! One end of the pool you could lean up and watch the flowing river adjacent and the other end presented with a cozy little cave, from which the source of the hot springs seemed to release from.

Hands down my favourite moment is when my Little Human began to get comfortable enough she would begin to splash, play with the silt and floating pieces of nature and laugh at the novelty of a “outside hot pool.”

The temperatures were so ideal we probably stayed in the pool for almost an hour with no issues of being too hot or too cold.

To be able to share this journey with my Adam and my Little Human brings about many powerful and important emotions and revelations. My Hatchelorette and pregnancy pilgrimages have been a way to celebrate the past while welcoming the future with confidence and positive energy. (To read about the first Hatchelorette check out The Hatchelorette Day 3: Lesson 3 Take the Road Less Travelled. )

People often have looks of shock and confusion when I tell them I am leaving for mat leave 2 months early. I have learned in life that to be successful and calm, in times where life challenges us the most, the greatest thing we can do for ourselves is to prepare mentally. By having these weeks to myself to spend with my loved ones and exercise and practice mindfulness, I will have the power to keep a sound mind during labour and the struggles that come along with child bearing and rearing.

Pregnancy Pilgrimage: The Hatchelorette Season 2, Part 1

Many of you may remember The Hatchelorette Part 1: Celebrating the Woman Who Was, Is and Will Be. A pregnancy road – trip I took with my first unborn child at 8 months pregnant. It was a way of closing a chapter in my life while celebrating the coming of a new one. The intention was to visit natural hot springs and celebrate myself and who I was as Human and Woman.

Now the tradition continues, the Pregnancy Pilgrimage in search of new hot springs but this time with my family unit. Again I am 8months pregnant and this time, I will have my 21month old Human and my life-partner to share this adventure with.

I am excited for this trip because it’s been a long time since we have travelled and travelling has always been a huge part of our lives. Being in different places, exploring foods and cultures and climbing destinations has been a way to constantly remind me how fortunate I am and how to be value the simple things in life.

Our plan is to do a multi day loop down to Montana, through to Idaho and up through British Columbia and back home. It won’t be a long trip as I want to be within a reasonable driving distance from Canada in case of any medical emergencies but nevertheless I am confident that one does not have to go far to reconnect with nature and themselves.

Our first stop will be Sand Coulee, Montana. A little town just outside of Great Falls Montana. This will be a resting point em route to our hot springs and hopefully give us a chance to find some nice disc golf courses to hit up and get some mileage in for my pregnant bones.

Last journey, I slept in the vehicle with my Dragon the Toilet Trained Cat: Week 4 and the most painful part were the nights of changing position and having my hips pop and settle and resettle. I’m happy to report this time, since there’s going to be my whole family unit with me, I have booked airBNB’s along the way to make the journey much more bearable!

This Carriage House Bed and Breakfast really hit the mark. Warm, cozy and lofty it made us wish we could stay longer to really enjoy the extras! We arrived pretty late, close to dinner time and it gave us enough time to settle in, relax and make some dinner. There were a great variety of books and board games for us to enjoy and to be honest after a long day of travelling we just looked forward to some rest.

Our breakfast consisted of a some amazing homemade eggs and pancakes with homemade jams, fresh blueberries, fresh squeezed orange juice and a side of sour cream with a brick of butter. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of food and on top of this breakfast delight we were greeted by our hosts barrage of animals!

It was such a wonderful treat for our little human to experience morning on a Montana homestead! Horses, chickens, donkeys, kittens, puppies, roosters the whole she- bang made this a great kick off to our little family adventure.

We hit the road after breakfast, pooping and packing and took a little detour to check out Giant Springs Park in Great Falls which had a pretty amazing fish hatchery for us to check out.

With a full day ahead exploring natural hot springs we managed to just get on the road and make our way to Stevensville, a little hamlet just south of Missoula but a wonderful base camp for the next day.

Hopefully the weather holds and we’ll be able to hike in to a series of natural Hotsprings in Lolo National Forest where we will spend the morning & afternoon soaking old bones in nature’s mineral waters.

You *Blank* Like A Girl

There’s been a lot of girl power stuff going around these days and I was really inspired by the whole ” —– like a girl,” movement.

My whole life it always seemed like such a negative to be a girl. “You throw like a girl,” “you cry like a girl,” “you play like a girl.” Like what does that even mean? I was always one to play as hard, throw as far and run as fast as most boys in my school days and yet it was always the worst insult when someone said ” you *blank* like a girl.”

Well you know what? I’m taking it back and making it a positive! Damn right I *blank* like a girl, because girls are unstoppable now.

This is why when komfibaby approached me about making a custom shirt for Basia, it didn’t take long for me to decide on “Climb Like Basia.” It doesn’t mean she has to become a climber someday or even like climbing, but hopefully it will inspire those that doing things “like a girl,” is actually the best compliment.

Not only that, but I requested that her name be spelled in American Sign Language (ASL), because deaf culture needs more credit!

I hope that at the minimum it sparks conversation and intrigue to learn what those letters spell and at the best open the world to climbing as well as ASL!

5 Reasons to Own a WestCoastSewing Baby Sling!

With all my adventures and hobbies I often find ways to make my life as efficient and practical as possible. In my social circles I’m slowly becoming known as the “No Fuss Practical Mom.” Continue reading

Melba & Lydia Chain Letter Quilt : Episode 1

I don’t have many friends, but the few that I do have are very close and dear to me. One of these said friends shares many things in common with me including creating a baby only a couple months apart from my own.

We live in different provinces and if we are fortunate, get to see each other a day or two every year. On our last visit we decided to embark on a project that has so far brought so much more joy and love we both every could have imagined.

This was the Chain Letter Quilt. How it works is that one of us creates 2 quilt squares of identical design, keeps one for herself and mails the other one across far away lands. The finished products will essentially be two quilts with the same squares but uniquely configured in their own way.

Though this project is only in is early stages with 4 different square designs to start it has already become much more than simply making a quilt. With out care packages we send little notes and gifts. For each other and for our little Humans. We send little packets of tea so that we may think of each other when sewing.

This has truly become a labour of love and community and hopefully a tradition we will pass on to our daughters. May we grow old learning to create with our hands and infuse love in all that we make.

Stay tuned for most updates on the Chain Letter Quilt and follow me on YouTube for package reveals !!

Food for Thought, My Complicated Relationship with Food: Part 1 Childhood.

I often comment about how I have an over eating problem. I just really, really love food. You know that viral video where the girl cries about loving cats? That’s me – but with food.

I don’t think about it often but when I actually take the time to reflect on where it stems from, it can be perceived as a sad thing. Maybe that’s why I don’t really talk about this aspect often, I don’t want people to ever associate sadness with food.

Rather, I have always persevered to use food to send a message of love and value. Food is what brings people together. It can do what often words fail to do. Communicate emotions, bridge cultures, show love.

What I share now is to hopefully spread some awareness and bring about more respect to the thing many of us take for granted – FOOD.

I am going to share with you the stories, jokes and perceptions of my experiences with food and then where it originated from. Though many of these may be hard to read – remember there’s a lesson behind each experience. Appreciate the value of FOOD.

Baby Melba & “White Cheese Please!”

My extended family used to joke (and still do sometimes) about how when I was a kid I always asked for “White cheese!” Whenever I saw my cousins, my aunts and uncles – before I even greeted them I would say “Can I have some white cheese?”

For years they would bug me. From childhood, into my twenties and like I said sometimes even now. I guess they thought it was really cute. I mean a little girl just learning to form sentences and all I ever ask for is cheese? Priceless!

Where does that come from? Well. My dad would work all day and my biological mother, was supposed to take care of my brother and I. She suffered from extreme postpartum depression and would often leave the house. For hours. All day sometimes. Sometimes my dad would come home and there would be no one there but my brother and I. We were under 2 and 4.

This is the beginning of my resourcefulness. I learned to “hunt” at this age. Being under 2, you can only imagine my vertical limit. Couldn’t reach counters, cupboards, or cabinets. But I could reach the fridge handle and the lower fridge shelves. The shelves that contained the condiments, root vegetables… and Kraft Singles Cheese. The orange cheese.

This is what I ate. Day after day. Plastic cheese after plastic cheese. I remember – with a tightness in my chest writing this now. My father would often come home and ask “What did you eat today? What did your mom feed you?” Even at that age I knew it wasn’t cool to rat my mom out. Also because I knew that my answer would upset him. It got to the point where my dad would just see the sheepish look my face and instant subdued anger would swell in his.

He would then get to work in the kitchen, and though I knew he was angry. I always knew it wasn’t at us. I would be happy that dad was home and food was here. This was my earliest association with the power of food.

I learned that love is making food for someone even when you’re angry.

So, that’s why I always asked for white cheese, because when you eat 10 slices of Kraft Singles cheese a day… you get kind of sick of it.

Elementary Melba & “I’ll play with you if you give me a cookie.”

In elementary school I was always known to be the kid that you could buy company from. Yes, this is where I learned how to “work for food.” In grade 1 and 2 I would offer my recess company in exchange for your cookie, Fruit Roll Up, or Dunkaroos. Kids at that age didn’t care, didn’t think much of it and would either trade or not.

Most people would think “that’s pretty normal kids do that all time, trade snacks, whatever.” True, but the difference is the reasoning behind it. At this point I was still grateful for at least having a lunch.

My new step mom used to pack our lunches but within a week of trying to be a mom she learned if she taught us how to do it ourselves she wouldn’t have to. Which is fine, I’m all about learning things and teaching other people things. It’s important.

It’s only later in life I learned there’s a difference between someone who loves you and teaches you to pack your lunch versus someone who teaches you so they don’t have to do it. I witnessed this in several of my friends that though they packed their own lunches, their moms still would throw in a snack or on the occasion make something special.

My step mom always made sure to buy the cheapest, slimiest ham. We weren’t poor, she just didn’t think we deserved anything better. The god damn Kraft Singles cheese. Throw in an apple and a juice box and this was my lunch for the next 5 years. Sometimes she would buy the nice salami or deli meats, but we were only allowed to eat that when my step siblings were around and if we ate too many slices she would yell at us for days. She counted pieces, inventoried food and would discipline us if we opened anything without asking or even if we asked or took too much.

This is where I learned “how to hoard food,” and “how to always never take the last few pieces.”

It’s funny how I sometimes get so mad at Adam for eating the last piece, but over the years I’ve learned that… when you love someone you don’t care when they take the last piece.

From these years I learned what it felt like to be fed by someone that didn’t love you.

Mid Elementary Melba & “You’re a Beggar.”

Around grade 3 I discovered my love for cooking. I would spend hours in the library looking for recipe books and try to make what I could at home with what I was allowed to use. I was already cooking instant noodles and Mac and cheese by then so I was ready to advance my skills. This was also the time when I started baking. I recall fondly of moments when my stepsister would teach me how to bake. She wants always the nicest to me but these moments were very special to me because I didn’t feel hated.

This is where I learned that food can bring people closer.

During this time I also progressed from trading play time for snacks to just asking for food. I was getting sick of three years of eating the same plastic cheese and slimy ham for lunch. Kids started to care about associations and image so my offers of being a playmate were no longer effective currency, and trust me… no one wanted to trade lunches with me.

I recall this one friend of mine, she used to always bring hot food for lunch. Soup! One time she gave me a little and then I started asking her every day for more. Eventually it got to the point where she would yell “NO!” And then one day she said “My mom told me you’re a beggar!” I didn’t quite understand what that meant at the time, but I knew it was hateful and hurtful. I think this was the first time I felt shame. I stopped asking her for soup. We stopped being friends.

This is when I learned that food had status. Some people deserved food and others were resented for it.

Late Elementary Melba & Eastern European Food.

Growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, I had a lot of friends that were Eastern European. Ukrainian, German, Polish. By grade 4 I had transferred to a new school, closer to home, fancier, in a “good neighbourhood.” Several neighbour kids came along with me, as we all lived in an upper middle class neighbourhood and our community fed into the new school.

One of my oldest friend and first friends ever in life, Frannie, joined me in this exciting new move. From grade 1 to grade 12 we went to school together and lived a block away from each other. She was my new food friend. I discovered one day that she too, was getting sick of her lunches and she would actually THROW HER SANDWICHES AWAY! Imagine that.

This is when I learned the devastating feeling associated with wasting food.

Growing up with immigrant family members, you do NOT waste food. However it wasn’t until these moments where I saw a magical sandwich with wholesome bread, crisp lettuce, pates and German meats, did I fully grasp the meaning of wasting food. (I hope her mom doesn’t read this, I don’t know if she ever knew he daughter threw her sandwiches away). She used to tuck them under her shirt and ask to go to the washroom so the lunch lady wouldn’t report her to her mom.

Shortly after this confrontation, whenever she didn’t want her sandwich, Frannie would give it to me. No wonder she was my best friend. This was also very different from the soup girl. Frannie would often offer me her sandwich, I didn’t even have to ask. She also never made me feel bad or called me names because of it.

This is when I learned the difference between receiving food from a place of goodness versus contempt.

Junior High Melba & “Ew, what are you eating?”

These years were a game changer. By now I wouldn’t even be able to name the last meal my step mother cooked for us. Since grade 6 I had begun to cook entire meals for the family on the weekdays, split with custom Chinese take out from a local restaurant. My dad would usually cook amazing dishes on the weekends and let me help.

Now I had control over what I could pack for lunch. Now, I too, could pick hot meals for lunch! I could pack leftovers! I was also able to walk to the convenience store and use my birthday/ Chinese Lucky Money to buy snacks and junk food, potatoes wedges, chicken fingers, chips, slurpies! All the things that were normal for most kids, was suddenly a damn breaking experience for me. Trust me… I ate ALL the things.

Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian neighbourhood, kids weren’t used to seeing things like… rice. Seriously. Just rice weirded people out.

When I started bringing leftovers, I packed steamed seasoned pork, Chinese veggies, fish, salted black beans and salted meats. All on rice. People used to comment on how my food smelled and would make faces. I didn’t really care though. I mean you would think that it would be traumatizing and humiliating to be judged and discrimines against by your food as a pubescent teen but, due to my experiences with NOT having food… this was easy!

This is when I learned that my relationship food was empowering. I respected it for giving me love and sustenance and in return it gave me confidence.

Melba & “The Best Present Ever.”

Pretty much everyone in my life has received some kind of food from me, because food is how I show you I love you. Our family wasn’t really the hugging kind growing up. Mostly because my stepmom thought that unless you were a little child it was inappropriate to hug, hold hands or cuddle with someone of the opposite sex even in your immediate family. So, food and feeding people were how we showed love.

In Junior high I had started to develop a lot of resentment toward presents and gifts. There was a lot of broken promises and negative experiences associated with gifts. My step family attached a lot of sentiment to the dollar value of a gift and if it wasn’t what they wanted a receipt was quickly requested or even a humiliating lecture about being cheap when given handmade things or buying certain things not considered “nice/ fancy.”

So I hated gifts. I hated all feelings and stress and anxiety associated with gift giving and receiving. That’s why when it came time for my 13th birthday my two closest friends gave me a box.

Not just any box… a box filled with food. Canned tuna, KD Mac and Cheese, knorr’s chicken noodle soup, Cadbury mini eggs homemade jerky, all sorts of savoury goodness. It was the best present I have even received. It was the first present I ever cried because of what it was. It was the first gift I ever received that was truly made from love. I still remember everything in that shoe box to this date. Even now on my birthday, Adam takes me somewhere special to eat. No gifts are exchanged, just time spent with people we love, doing what we love- eating.

This is when I learned the true gift of food.

Teenage Melba & “The Pickiest Eater.”

You would never know it but when I younger I was labelled as the pickiest eater in the family. Yup, me. That’s because my family had such advanced palates! Most of my family are foodies. I was called picky because I didn’t like big chunks of onions and raw tomatoes . That’s pretty much it. And I still ate that stuff, I just didn’t like it. Now, however I love them both.

That’s why I don’t tend to connect well with people are are traditionally picky eaters (not the Melba version of picky.) My dad was always like “you don’t want it fine more for me.” And I would watch him eat these big red tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and it would drive me nuts to not be able to enjoy it the way he did.

That’s why I would keep eating it. I saw how much joy and delicious pleasure people got from eating certain things, that I would try and try and try it until I liked it.

Did you know it takes 6-11 attempts to acquire a taste? (At different times in your like not like 6-11 bites all in one night.)

It’s because our bodies and hormones and outlook changes. Therefore our tastes change. Nothing bothers me more than people who refuse to try things, and people who refuse to try things again because it take MORE than one or two or five goes! It also tells me that those same people give up in many aspects of their life very easily.

Which is also something that I don’t gravitate towards or find attractive. It’s different if you’re allergic or you had a traumatic experience, I get that, but to refuse food? Especially with my background of nearly starving as a child I can’t empathize with picky eaters. I also do not take kindly to people who mock food or call food disgusting or make rude comments on how food looks.

Respect your food, respect those they give you food and give thanks to your food.

This concludes Part 1 of my stories regarding how my life is affects by food and why I am the way I am due to the experiences surrounding food. Please check back on Part 2, which hopefully I will post shortly. I didn’t intend this to be so long but apparently … I have a complicated relationship with food!

Follow me on Instagram @Melba_Seto for up to date posts on how to embrace growth and adventure in your life!

Remember Gerrick Winston

“Mellie – Mel!!” That’s what Gerrick used to always call me. Nevermore. I found out yesterday that one of my longest calgary friends passed away suddenly.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/mobile/video?clipId=1563616

Gerrick Winston and I used to work together at the Talisman centre. I would lifeguard, he would coach diving. On our breaks we would seek out the acoustics in the rec centre corridors or the lifeguard break room.

I remember singing Simply Red “If you don’t know me by now.”

He was the reason why I wanted to learn how to dive and last year the month before I blew my ACL Gerrick took the time to coach me for my first dive competition.

He was bright eyed and bushy tailed and loved his wife and kids so much. He had the most beautiful voice, most precise and focused way of teaching that was fun yet impactful which no doubt contributed to his success.

My heart grieves for the loss of an amazing human and a man that made the world a better place.

Gender Bias. It’s Not About Being a Girl or a Boy. It’s About Creating #ABetterHuman

People often give me a hard time when they realize I don’t like to dress my human up in what society currently believes is gender appropriate clothing. My soft explanation Continue reading

Momsolation. You May Be Lonely, But You’re Not Alone… Calling Out All #RadMums.

Being a new mother I never realized this whole culture that existed regarding the isolation a lot of moms feel. Even ones that used to be outdoorsy and active, once the first months of excitement of a new baby die down, they are overwhelmed with loneliness. Continue reading