Managing Back Pain with Young Children

Coming into my first and second pregnancies there was one thing I was vereeeee worried about.  That was the chronic back pain that I suffer from.  In 2008 I was rear ended at high speed and sustained damage in my spine.  I have damaged disks throughout my thoracic spine, a really nasty herniation at T7-T8 and various states of disrepair between T7 and T12 and the T-L junction.  Also some degenerative discs in my C-Spine and muscles in various states of tension, trying to do their best to hold everything together.  Maybe a bit too enthusiastically.

 

In English, this means I have the back of a 80 year old!

 

I lived in a cave of chronic pain for about 3-4 years before I learnt that managing chronic back pain means a holistic and global approach.

In the early days I thought of managing back pain in a very simple, sequential manner.

are getting married!

That’s a very western approach, isn’t it?  And do you notice how it’s so “out of my hands” – someone else did this to me. Someone else is going to tell me what to do.  Someone else is going to fix me.

There’s a huge piece missing in my first approach.

 “What am I going to do to take responsibility for this?  For addressing this pain?”

The patient must partner with the provider in a team.

Of course, after physio, the acute pain improved but the chronic pain continued, grinding me down, especially in 2010 when I was working on my Masters Thesis at a desk for l ong hours.

So, I stepped into another A-B-C type model.

Back to Dr –> Referral to pain clinic –> Medication –>A few workshops on pain –> more physio –> incorporate additional treatments (shockwave, active release, graston, kinesiotaping –> incorporate additional approaches (yoga, core conditioning)

*and the cycle continues.

 

I made progress in terms of pain reduction, functionality and posture going through these programs, but there was a missing piece to the puzzle.

  1. We need to address back pain globally
  2. We, the patients, need a mindset shift.  

We need to address all possible contributors with a global approach and the mindset that we are an expert on ourselves, too.

But, in our medical model, we tend to narrow it down to a few identifiable factors whose diagnoses and treatment is in other peoples’ hands – the experts.

We tend to take the view that we are a recipient of care and healing from a group of experts, rather than a partner in it.

Trying out Different Approaches When Physio Failed:

8 years after the accident and two babies later, I’ve gotten my back pain to a fairly manageable daily level.  It’s funny how pain really motivates you.  In 2013 I started going through some major life challenges in the psycho-social-emotional world.  In addressing self care, lifestyle and mental health, funnily enough, I addressed another component of my backpain.

In early 2014 I started working with a life coach as part of my own coach training.  We did quite a bit of somatics work.  This is an approach in the field of ontological coaching that honours the body as a domain in which we exist & communicate.

It is part of 3 domains:  The body, emotions and language (the mind.)

I learnt to approach my back not as an enemy or a difficult “other” but my own personal messaging system and guide.  We did a ton of visualization, meditations and “talking to my back as a friend” (yes I totally eye rolled every.single.time I had to do this.)

As cheesy as it felt, and despite my initial resistance to all of this “woo woo”  I had some profound mindset changes. Rather than treat my back as a person to be angry at, shut out, or struggle against, I learnt treat it as an ally, part of me, and a friend.

When pain occurred, it wasn’t something to be fought against with treatment, but listened to and engaged with.

Think about a difficult person you know.

When you shut them out and don’t deal with them, it continues to eat at you.  You get NOWHERE.  Nothing will change.  Ever.  Until you sit down and have a friendly, constructive talk.

It’s uncomfortable, but when you communicate with them and at least try to come to some kind of rapproachement, it eats at you less, knowing you engaged with them.  Even if it doesn’t work out.

Think of back pain the same way.  Do you engage with it?  

By sitting up and engaging with the pain, really taking note of it and observing it, and even journaling about it, I was able to determine when it was occurring and what the patterns were.

There Were Connections Between Backpain and My Life.

My physical environment (how much time I was spending sitting down or in positions with my back extended, for example particular chores around the house such as washing the floor or vacuuming) – so much of our day to day is automatic and habit-based.  Once we become a better observer of our habits, we can change them, and for me this involved reassessing which chores I could trade with my husband and being aware of when my posture was shifting into compromising positions.

My stress levels. If stress or emotional experiences happened in my day to day life, it would manifest itself as a flare up in my back pain.  I began to see the back pain as a nice barometer for how the rest of my self care was going, and it became an excellent companion in the pursuit of a good life style and good self care. On a painful day, I am able to sit down and take stock of how things are going.  It gives me huge motivation to pursue a healthful life and has helped me step into a growth mindset, rather than a fixed “this is the way it is” mindset, which I struggled with in the early days.

My life style.  Shockingly, despite the physical labour and nature of being on maternity leave with two large babies, I went through an incredible regression in back pain!  I was constantly in motion all day, without time to sit down in positions that compromised my spine.  With a flexible schedule I was more likely to engage in my core exercises and throw in some extra stretching.  Surprisingly, the constant state of movement was a game changer for me.  How do I know that?  I’ve had the change to return to an office job twice now, and the flare up in pain within days of being back at a desk has been astounding.

My Nutrition.  Pretty easy.  Lots of water and alkaline foods, healthy fats have worked well.  Lots of gluten, sugar and acidic foods have worked terrible.  It’s hard to pinpoint whether the backpain leads to shittier nutrition in the quest for comfort, or whether slips in nutrition lead to backpain (it’s like the chicken or the egg question) but I do know through experiments, these two are interrelated.

Seeing What I Could Control in My Life (That Influenced My Back Pain) Gave Me a New Sense of Responsibility and Confidence

I’ve learnt a ton in the last 8 years, and if I’m totally honest, the journey has been fascinating.  This injury has given me the strength to battle through a challenge and most importantly, a new mindset when it comes to managing our health.

I’ve gone from fighting against the pain as an enemy, to treating it as a friend and a messenger.  And I’ve learnt to put my energy into the areas connected to my pain.

If I was to put managing back pain into a model now, here it is:

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Your Mental Health On Maternity Leave: What is a Real Funk Like?

One of my goals with The Great Maternity Leave, from the get-go, was to step into a place of total openness, transparency, and authenticity. Something I think is so badly needed in our world – and that is happening in leaps and bounds thanks to the internet 🙂 and of course, really brave people.

It’s f*cking terrifying opening up on a blog because it’s such a personal thing to do, and you live in fear of being flamed, or somebody poking you right in that really vulnerable space with a comment on the blog. It takes huge steps to open up in the blogosphere, and I applaud every single one of you, especially you mamas who do it, openly, knowing that others will apply their assessments and judgements in ways that may not be helpful to you in your journey.

Today I want to talk about the peaks and valleys of your mental health.  I’m really damn happy most of the time, but sometimes,

once every few years, things get shitty.

Let’s talk about that today.  Because I’m there.

I’m 6 weeks back in at work now, and we’ve dealt with a few major things.

Events:

Wildfire natural disaster:  Extended family were evacuated and my husband flew to the fire to fight it as a firefighter while I helped evacuees at the University (my work place.)

Family Tragedy:  As husband arrived home, his dad was medevaced home from his South American cruise, straight to our local trauma hospital’s intensive care unit.

He was removed from life support 3 weeks ago.

Childcare Scrambling & Training Courses:   In the aftermath of a major loss, my husband was put onto a major 3 week course, which left him having to work his but off and remain totally focused, and us scrambling for childcare.

 

The Deconstruction:

First, the ICU part.  Visiting the hospital was an interesting experience for me.  It bought back many, many memories from only 3 years before – when the cancer / special services building became our second home as caregivers of a terminal cancer patient.  Walking over on my lunch breaks from campus, the halls of Foothills hospital seemed eerie some days. It was a strange case of de ja vu.

On a few occassions, I caught myself getting out of breath and panicky seeing oxygen tanks and hearing someone struggling to breathe.  For a long time, this was a trigger for me. I knew going into the ICU again, it would probably happen.  Each time,  I’d U-Turn and head straight back outside for a gulp or two of fresh air before summoning up courage and heading back in, my step triggering the sliding doors. I’d get through the door then that rush of hospital air, with its chemical smell, bought back crystal-clear memories.

Amidst trips to the ICU, stressed family, childcare logistics (and the difficulty of leaving your sobbing baby at childcare when you already feel crappy) and barely enough time to cook a meal, I was trying to get back into work after mat leave.

It’s difficult when you go through major life events, because they do eclipse your job. Photocopying or printing a report at work pales in comparison to consulting with a Doctor over rescucitation orders. I have to be honest about that. When you are dealing with major family medical emergencies, there are days where you stand at the printer, or type out and email and thing this is so meaningless.  How does this matter?  It’s a natural process in your brain, but at the same time it’s a totally unfair benchmark / comparison to make. You’re constantly struggling with your point of view and perception.

Yet you can’t just give up.  You have to walk from the ICU, to your office, and show up with a smile on your face, with the same dedication and commitment.

I was feeling incredibly proud of how my husband and I came out of this insane 6 weeks, how we handled our stress levels and came together as a supportive team.  I was pumped about how we entered mid-June totally exhausted but emotionally, pretty intact.  Maybe a bit discombobulated – but intact.

But two weeks ago, at the conclusion of all of this, I started experiencing some interesting things that made me sit up and take notice.  

I’m going to be very open, honest and transparent here, because it is my wish that one day, anyone can be themselves without fear – without reservation – It is my wish that we can and talk openly about these totally normal, totally human challenges.

On a camping trip two weekends ago, I had a FULL blown melt down in our camping trailer.  It was a rain downpour and a tears downpour.  I had a full emotional blow out.  It’s been a long time since one of those.  Me, two crying kids, and a very small space. I felt like the walls were closing in on me inside our small trailer.  I couldn’t catch my breath or think clearly.  Rather than gallop away, my brain melted into a puddle. It literally shut down. Went offline.

All I needed to do was pick up a bottle, feed it to my baby and corral my toddler so I could get the crib assembled.  Oh, and put a jacket on my daughter. That’s it.  I.Just.Couldn’t.Even.  I could not think clearly enough to remember those simple tasks were what I needed to do. I was standing there crying, saying “where’s the bottle!” when the bottle was right in front of me on the counter top.  My brain had flatlined and I was so confused.  Bursting out of the trailer, I sat on the park bench, in the middle of our campground and sobbed my heart out, alternating with gasps and ranting about a multitude of things while my poor husband looked on, nervously glancing between me and our crying kids with genuine concern on his face, which in itself felt heartbreaking.  The last thing you want to do is stress someone out, right? That’s why it is so damn difficult to admit you are doing crappy.   After getting my composure back, I entered a careful practice of avoiding eye contact with all of our campground neighbours.  We wound up conceding defeat and driving home 3 hours that night with two crying kids, rolling into our driveway at 1 in the morning.

I also started making a lot of minor mistakes at work; of no concern to anyone, but of big concern to me, because it was unusual; I was double booking my appointments in my calendar and having to constantly correct this; forgetting about meetings until the last moment,  and having a really, really hard time cutting through brain fog to think clearly about what I had to get done each day.  Post it notes became absolutely essential to  check off and execute tasks, and I wasn’t able to think about or remember what I had on the go for the next hour, until I consulted my outlook calendar.  I couldn’t even look at the iCal on my phone without getting thoroughly confused between my personal and childcare calendars.

This strange confusion also occurred in my car.  I’d avoid a back log of traffic with a different route home from work, but then find myself debating my new route back and forth in my head.  Stuck in such indecision, I’d wind up missing a turn off and then really putting myself on the wrong route home.  This indecision hit at other times in my car.  At the weekend I was ridiculously excited to have an hour to myself in the mountains to paddleboard, but the grating indecision between paddle boarding two lakes, led me to drive up and down the highway back and forth between them feeling incredibly anxious.  I almost didn’t get out of my car and paddleboard because of it.

Slowly, my excitement to be back at work and social side faded away. I started closing my office door, and needing quiet time to gather enough mental clarity to focus on a big list of tasks.  My self talk went from “wooohoo work!” to “holy shit, I just overcame SO MUCH just to be here this morning, I wish I could just pin on my door what it took to be here right now.”

My running, on a high point after a personal best 10k in May, dropped off.  My legs on runs are currently feeling like concrete blocks.  Running is usually a meditation of sorts, but that clear-headedness, presence and grattitude has been replaced with angst, pain in my foot, worrying, and negative self-talk.

Getting a 3k in has been a challenge. I just stopped going.  Today, I managed a nice 10k but rather than delirious happiness (the usual result of a good trail run) I just felt.  Well… “Meh.”

There’s a fog.  I often hear people with depression talk about how you are walking around in a fog, and you feel strangely detached from everything.  This is the one description I “get” – many of the others I don’t.  It’s like everything is muted. Have you ever had a dream where everything is fuzzy, or you are being “blocked” by some invisible force from what you want to do – like when you run away in a nightmare and you run in slow motion? – my reality feels like that.  Strangely blocked. Things that bring me ridiculous joy and enthusiasm are blunted. I have zero desire to get out of bed.  I’m not singing my heart out on my drive to work like I usually am.  But nobody knows that you’ve gone from technicolour to black and white, because this experience is an internal experience.

I was extremely careful with enough rest, as I knew my body was under extra stress, yet exercise, healthy eating, 8 hours of sleep most nights, and some lunchtime naps wasn’t helping what I can only describe as crushing fatigue.  In the past week, I’ve been  waking up with a start after nightmares, mostly around the 3am mark, and feeling really “amped up” in the morning.  I cut back on coffee and started taking advil to release some of the squeezing pressure I feel in my head.

This morning, running, I felt like my heart was going to explode, yet I was doing a regular pace / distance for my runs.

Self doubt sneaks in too.  Out of nowhere I am doubting myself, whether people like me, whether I am annoying to people.  It’s so ridiculous to say this.  But it’s real.  I went from happy go lucky, couldn’t give a shit, living my life, being inspired and inspiring others to, worrying about all of my least attractive and most annoying traits, and noticing only those.

All of a sudden, I notice myself just being me, and then lump on negative assessments, thinking “ugh, you probably shouldn’t do that.” You get a bit paranoid.  I started wondering if our friends were super disappointed in us and thought we were flaky for bailing on our camping trip after my meltdown.  Of course not, they’re best buddies of ours and totally understand.  But in my mind, it balls into a totally inaccurate and unhelpful self-assessment.  Then I withdraw from spending time with friends because I think “they must find me so annoying.”  This is precisely the thinking I worked hard to escape in my teens.  Why is it back? Ugh.

Four years ago, I went through what I prefer to call a “slump” that mostly presented itself as backslide in sleep hygeine, resulting in brutal insomnia and crushing sadness  – I sought out a good psychologist and with medication and counselling, managed to get my sleep hygeine back on track which slowly led to physical and mental improvements and a great bounce back to my usual happy self.  From that point on, I was incredibly careful with self care, advocacy, sleep quality and quantity, knowing that it was the key to my health.

So in the past two weeks, I couldn’t help but think, holy shit, am I going through a slump again? But then I’d say to myself,

No!  That’s impossible.  You eat healthy, you exercise, you LOVE your job, you have a good life – there’s nothing to be in a slump about!  

This is the struggle with mental health. Our human brains just want to explain everything with cause-and-effect.

But mental health is much more complex than that.

There’s good practices, but that’s only one thing.  There’s your brain chemistry, your biology, your genetics and if you are into that kind of thang, energy dynamics.

There’s so much more to it than eat healthy and sleep / exercise. Some of it is out of our hands, yet we get caught up in the thinking that all of our mental health can be controlled with a nice checklist of good practices.   Nope.  Sometimes, shitty life events happen, sometimes your brain chemistry is off.  And you just need to roll with it and adjust accordingly.  

I’m very guilty of cause-and-effect thinking:

Carina, you shouldn’t be feeling this crappy. Just go for a run and drink your green smoothies.  

You know what else is tricky?  How do you know the difference between a “funk” and a “slump” ?  When should you consider going to a counsellor and checking in with your doctor?  These are questions that are SO tough to answer because the human experience itself, in all its wonder and glory, is a mix of ups and downs.  That is the very beauty and gift of being human.  So when do you bring in the extra reinforcements? When is a down, a down that needs you to come out of the closet  and get help?

I hate that google searches usually returns a few depression questionnaires, or extreme case studies –  because my experience with mental health slumps haven’t necessarily check off the boxes in a neat fashion. There’s lots of days I am happy.  I practice great self care.  I always have an inner  pilot light that says “it will be ok.”

I don’t think anyone’s experience with mental health lines up with clinical questionnaires. Every person’s life, lifestyle, brain, personality is just so unique.

I whole heartedly believe the biggest stride anyone can make in mental health is committing to understanding oneself.

Checklists, questionnaires and professionals are good, but before you get there, work on self-awareness so you know when things are not normal for you.

My normal, is not your normal, is not your best friends’ normal.

Mental health is about picking up subtle changes and saying “ah-hah, let’s pay attention to this.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and experiences.  Let’s chat in the comments below.

Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Tests are just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand.

 

My Half-Baked Plan to Try out a Kickstarter Campaign

It’s making me giggle writing this blog post. This latest bucket list project feels a bit absurd.  I’m so in over my head.

In my personal life (definitely not work life), I have a tendency to favor action over research and just jump into things, and learn as I go.  Which is funny, because I used to over-research, take 20 different classes and struggle to execute, paralyzed by an exacting standard. I guess I’ve gone through a 180.

I’d argue it’s an unexpected gift that came from becoming a parent, and the resultant focus on  just get shit done – I don’t have time anymore to luxuriously peruse, project plan, build and then roll out projects casually.  The energy around projects whilst a parent is DECIDE.  EXECUTE.  ADJUST.  BE PREPARED TO FAIL.  There’s lots of fails as a parent, so fails have lost their “scary edge.”

Looking back over the years of bucket list items and personal goals, I’d rather be in a place of taking action, making mistakes and learning – than being caught up in over-planning, over-researching and over-thinking. I’ve been there. I know what it is like to be held captive by your own perfectionist standards, procrastination and fear to fail.

So this led me to launching a half-baked project – I got into Kickstarter without even knowing what I was getting into. I just thought it would be fun to try out getting some funding for a childrens’ book I am working on.

Don’t get me wrong, the children’s book is WELL-DONE.  It’s almost done actually.  We are in the final stages of imaging.  It’s a children’s book where a little girl gets to explore five magical fantasy landscapes featuring mystical animals and beings with magical powers.  There are some gorgeous values and character strengths woven into the story, which encourages each child to take their imagination onward with them, the rest of their lives.  Kintara is a world each child can return to if they close their eyes.  The magic passed on from the queens of each world is magic each child already has inside of them. Each image is derived from a recurring dream I’ve had since childhood.

 

(Here is one of the worlds in “development” stage)

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I’m literally just trying out the Kickstarter part for the “funds” component of this project – it’s a cherry on top of something that would go ahead anyways. So the nice part is that I have a bit of “gentle irreverence” as to the success of the campaign.

 

My project, The Gates of Kintara Children’s Book & App was launched this week.  

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Exciting, no?  As I read more on Kickstarter campaigning, I realized holy shit, there’s a lot I didn’t know about when I launched this.  But sometimes ignorance is bliss.  Had I read about all of the tips, tricks and “successful Kickstarter campaign checklists” out there on the web, I may have become overwhelmed and not even launched.

 

I really, really like drawing diagrams – I think in my past life, I was a sports coach, so let me put one up here for you.

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I think people can have success by preparing and launching with a great, sound plan.  But there’s also hard-won success, but just getting started, making mistakes, floundering and then adjusting as you go.

YOU CAN GET TO SUCCESS BY PREPARATION AND NOT MAKING MISTAKES.

YOU CAN GET TO SUCCESS BY UNDER PREPARATION AND FAILURES.

It’s just that one feels much more comfortable than the other.

There are SO MANY PEOPLE who want you to buy their courses, take their webinars and let them teach you how to prepare and do things right.   Everyone wants to do this route instead, it’s easier, so there is demand. People pay good money for these courses, and people make a good living “coaching” people on how to prepare and be successful.

The thing is though, you can be successful by making mistakes.  It is a hell of a lot less comfortable, it’s a longer road, but your knowledge is going to be hard won.

 

See?  There’s two routes below.

Route A takes longer (the pink route, it’s filled with time, mistakes, barriers and deep learning.  That’s the route I am taking with my Kickstarter.)

Route B is much faster (the red route.)  You work with a coach, take a course, learn from others’ mistakes, shortcut many of those mistakes, spend less time getting to your goal.  It’s a lot smarter on a lot of levels.

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Actually, looking at this, now I begin to wonder, why AM I taking Route A?  I think it’s simply because I like learning and am using this Kickstarter as a learning experience.  I don’t see challenges or failure as a bad thing.

———

I follow a lot of entrepreneur / business / coaching groups on linked in, Facebook and the web.  There are amazing groups out there.  I am a particular fan of Kimra Luna’s Freedom Hackers group.

I do still believe that the single biggest thing everyone struggles with is the action part.  People take endless courses. They are afraid to fail.  They try to make their plans bulletproof.  I could have easily spent 6 months reading up on Kickstarter.

———-

So here I am, realizing how much I did not know when I launched my Kickstarter, wondering why the hell I did this half-baked plan.  But I’m also excited for the brilliant learning experience and opportunity to really JUMP into it and learn fast.

I’m already making all of the mistakes that all of the courses say they will prevent you from making.

 

————–

And that’s okay.  I’m learning. Fast. It’s fun.

 

 

How to Have a Great Maternity Leave: Put your Children in Nature School in Calgary

I am bringing one of my deepest passions to the blog today, and gosh, it makes me so happy to talk about this and what it has given us!  So let’s get started!

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Every Saturday morning for two hours, we engage with nature through an “Urban wild program” put on by a researcher and Royal Rhodes Student here in our city, sponsored by the Canadian Wildlife Federation through their “Family Nature Club” program which provides resources & insurance for families to set up their own nature clubs (how incredible is that?)
There are story times, free play, guided activities, nature based arts and crafts and educational components, with Alex’ wonderful ecologist/biologist knowledge.  Each week, we submit a journal with reflections upon our experiences as a family.  For example, this was my submission 2 weeks ago.
Finwood Eco Park,2828 Finwood Road, Fords, New JerseyOctober 11, 2018 at 8-00 to 10-00AMSign up now atwww.finwoodecopark.com.jpg
Each week, we explore the incredible parks and provincial park areas that are dotted across our city with different units and activities.  The mornings are a combination of free play & exploration, story time, an arts or crafts activity, and a biology / ecology learning component.  Today was learning about wetland invertebrates and wildlife, with nets for the children to catch animals to examine and identify.
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Growing up a “wildling” who spent her days in the forests of southwestern Britain, I knew that I wanted my legacy to be giving my children a love and appreciation of nature, and a sense it will always be a home for them.  In any type of upheaval in my life, I always go back to the forest, and walk among the trees, asking them for their stable and grounded energy.
Standing, watching my daughter romp in creeks, throw rocks and construct stick structures in muddy mole piles gives me nothing short of true joy.  But today, the gift was given to us, the parents – particularly as we walked down this path dappled with sunlight, that was lightly fragranced with wild roses and featured the singsong of busy bees buzzing away.
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Pulled away from the program for 2 weeks due to death in our family, we have been scrabbling to keep ourselves above a chaotic tide of emotions, the business and administration of death and critical illness, while trying to balance work and my husband’s intense training with the fire department. Not to mention, rearranging all of our childcare so we could both show up at our jobs.  (When it rains, it pours.)
We were feeling maxed out in all senses of the word when we came to the urban wild program on Saturday, squeezing it in before our fathers’ celebration of life.
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There was something in the air at Pearce Park in Calgary, those 2 hours we spent in the park, much like the pollen floating softly in the air, had a gentle, restorative energy.
Both of us walked at an easy pace, as the air we took into our lungs was let out with big sighs – silent to the bystander, but a full-body experience for us.
As we stood in the dappled shade, watching our daughter wading with a net, we were able – for just a moment – to let the outside world go and enter the delightful world of chubby toes wriggling in the water and little fingers picking up smooth pebbles.
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So today, the urban wild program gave us, the parents the biggest gift.  As we sat at home having a cup of tea afterwards, our tuckered little ones gently snoring, we realized that nature has an unparalleled power to reconnect us, to ground us,  and to steady us in the chaotic tides of life.

Our little Urban Wild Nature Club also introduced us to some wonderful nature-based books for children.  Each Saturday, I joined the kids on the picnic blanket, equally enthralled with these books, which I intend to add to my daughters’ library!

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(page from the book Noisy Bird Sing Along, link below!)

My daughter for weeks now has been able to respond to the chickadees singing in the trees, thanks to the one week we had a morning read *and sing* along with a bird themed nature club.

 

Below are links to two of the books from the program.  Please note, I get a very small commission if you decide to purchase either of these books – which means the Great Maternity Leave can continue to grow and offer more posts 🙂

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Intrigued?
Have a look at the children & nature network of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Is there a club in your area?  If not, perhaps start one.  For yourselves and a few family friends.  Nature is a gift & it is waiting for us, waiting to open its welcoming arms and take us home.
Here are some of my favourite resources that inspire me to get out with my family in YYC and surrounding mountains and reconnect with nature.
Facebook:
 Calgary Outdoor Families Group.
Family Fun Calgary
Bloggers:
 Karen Ung of Play Outside Guide
YYC LINKS:
Common Digs Forest School – Preschool & Kindergarten in the Great Outdoors
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